The Perfect Model–A Dead OneFebruary 13, 2008
The standard of a good model seems to be one who:
1) sits still
2) does not sleep
3) does not chew gum
4) does not complain about uncomfortable positions no matter how contorted the position
5) will wear anything that is asked of them and act like they are comfortable in it
I would just like to go on record as stating that I think this standard is overrated. Let’s break it down.
#1. If sitting still is so important, paint a freaking statue. People move. Buy it.
#2. Models are BORED. Sleeping is the natural outcome of staring into space for hours on end. Cut them some slack, give them a pillow and a five minute break for a catnap. OR, paint them with their eyes closed. Not all portraits can be about the eyes being the soul of the sitter. Sometimes it has to be the eyelids. Here’s a thought: put an iguana on them.
#3. Does not chew gum? MIGHT HELP WITH #2!!!!
#4. They need to complain if they think they cannot hold a pose. You get that beautiful contrapostal position well established for two hours and suddenly the model jumps up with a charlie horse the size of a golf ball in her abdomen, and the session is o-v-e-r.
#5. Suppose you ask them to wear nothing and they are not nude models. Think about it.
Good portrait painters paint people from life, and they cannot all be professional models. I have always believed that the painter should converse with the sitter during sessions. It just might imbue the portrait with personality.
My portrait of my guru, Mr. William F. Kautzman.