The Perfect Model–A Dead One

by Lisa 

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.

This entry was posted in Painting, Portrait, Tips. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to The Perfect Model–A Dead One

  1. grfxho says:

    I love the expression on his face. He looks so concerned.

  2. This guy fits as the perfect model. Good points, all of these!

  3. 100swallows says:

    A very nice portrait, Lisa.

  4. wrjones says:

    Now here’s a happy guy. He must be the one who passed on his upbeat positive world view to Lisa.

  5. Really nice portrait. Just love the expression.

  6. gypsy-heart says:

    This is quite lovely! Mr Kautzman must be proud (wherever he is now..looking from “just beyond”).:)

  7. lbtowers says:

    Mr. K is still with us, and you would all have that concerned expression if you were 92.

  8. gypsy-heart says:

    Oops sorry about that..I hope he doesn’t read your blog!:O

    My little old Grandma will be 101 in June, and she recently acquired that same expression because my Dad insisted they talk about her will and some kind of funeral plans!! She refused until now..she is a stubborn thing. I have been told I am even more so.:)

  9. David says:

    Lisa, Fred Kautzman is my grandfather and I came across this posting as I was searching for some pictures of his work. I just want to say that I have always loved this painting of him and you did an outstanding job. Thank you.

  10. Tilitha says:

    Mr. Kautzman is my brother in law, and when I was a child I used to hide and watch him paint. I have always been extremely proud of this wonderful man, both as an artist and as my sister’s husband. He is awesome, and it is nice to find someone else who thinks so.

  11. Ken says:

    Lisa, This portrait of my father is one of my favorites. He thought highly of both you and your ability. You have been a good friend to him, and he still cherishes the time that you spent with him. You are a talented artist, and this protrait of him is testament of that fact.

  12. Lisa, this is amazing! this is my grandpa and you captured both him and his studio to perfection!!! I came across this looking for his paintings to show to a friend. I am sooo glad i did! and FYI, grandpa is still with us and giving that look whenever he is in deep thought! LOL

    • Lorna says:

      Thanks for your comment, Alisa. Yes, I know. I spoke with your grandpa a few weeks ago. I love him dearly and check in with him from time to time! I’m glad you think I captured him and I consider this one of my best portraits!

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