Not all Artists paint people. I know this, however, those who do probably all have the same problem that I do. Finding models… I am an absolute Troll on Facebook when it comes to photographs. Every now and again (when my stupid Internet connection works!) I jump on to Facebook and scour through all my friends photographs. Often I have come across a photograph that just works for me. If the friend is kind enough, they give me permission to use the photograph as reference. (Please read my blog on BAD ARTISTS COPY…GOOD ARTSISTS STEAL)
I also have 3 gorgeous sons with gorgeous girlfriends so this also helps me when I need a body. This is probably the best way to go…taking your own photographs, but what do you do when you cannot find?
My son Roy has a superb body for a model. He also has the ability to do what he is told when it comes to posing (ONLY when it comes to posing…trust me…he’s a boy!) So very often I have had men and woman offer to pose for me for a painting (not a photo shoot) and I don’t think that they really understand what it entails.
A little while ago a bunch of Artists got together in my painting cave for a live painting session. We hired a model to sit for us. It was intended to be a nude session simple because we wanted to do an exercise in nude paintings. Even our hired model took strain! It was cold…I mean REALLY cold.
We had heaters everywhere and tried to make him as comfortable as possible. He had to sit for 20 minutes at a time with a 10 minute break, and we had him for 3 hours. Can you sit still for 20 minutes? 6 times…in 3 hours? Not likely! He managed the first 20 minutes nude and then we told him to get dressed. It was too painful to watch. The poor chap was so cold and looked so miserable that I couldn’t concentrate. The next 5 sessions he wore his jeans and a shirt, but he was still so cold. It was not just the cold though. Believe me. We didn’t expect him to sit perfectly still, as long as he could get back to the original pose after scratching his nose or flexing, or whatever he needed to do. Yet, it was hard for him too. A good idea in these live painting sessions is to take photographs anyway. It is not easy to finish a painting in 3 hours let alone 2 which it eventually worked out to with all the breaks and the photographing etc. Having said that, if you do manage to find a model who can pose for a live session, grab the opportunity. It is wonderful painting from life. Such a rare yet awesome experience.
Back in college days, we used to hire vagrants. For some reason (probably all the meths and booze they lived on) these people could do it. Sadly, they were not the most beautiful subjects, but they were happy to have a warm meal and a few bucks in their pocket at the end of the session. They could literally just sit … for hours on end!;
Jack Vettriano often uses himself as his male model.
Artists like Jack Vettriano has his model who features in many of his paintings. He brings her in, gets her dressed in the way he needs her for his paintings, photographs her, then sends her on her way. He is fortunate because he has found a subject who he can work with. She understands him and she is perfect for him. For me, I am still looking.
My son has long limbs and well defined muscles. He is a lovely subject and I use him as often as I can. However, he does not live with me, so I need to schedule time for a photoshoot for when he is available which is SO frustrating. When I have an idea for a painting, I hate waiting. I want to do it NOW!
As far as women go, I have mastered the technique of photographing myself. My little camera has a timer, which I set and then get comfortable in the position and take the shot. Considering that when I am behind the camera taking shots for a painting, I sometimes take a few hundred photo’s to arrive at the one I want. This way of doing it is difficult frustrating, time consuming and just down right annoying. Not to mention the fact that I hate seeing my self in posed shots…..uuugh! I have been lucky…some times, but I am yet to find the female body I want to use, with the face to match. Until then, I will keep looking.
Often I have met a person who I think will make a great model, until I get them in front of my camera. It is the most bizarre thing. They either have it, or they don’t, although it is really a very personal taste on the Artists part.
I do many paintings on commission and I do many photoshoots for the nude paintings that I am commissioned to do. Inevitably I will get the shot I want and one that they like for the painting, however, I have yet to find models who I want to paint over and over again who are also willing to pose for photographs as and when I need them.