Saturday, 4 April 2009

Hello, come in, take your clothes off.....

It was good to finally meet Fitzy this week after many emails back and forth and a few phone calls inbetween. I'd got a clearish few of him as a person, and a clear idea of what artwork he wanted from me, and a feeling about his thoughts regarding it. And I knew he was a little nervous at the thought of sitting for me. Its understandable!!! LOL But I try not to be too scary......... and I do know what I'm doing...........and I have had lots of experience of these matters.............. so ... I wasn't nervous, and I knew I had to allay his fears as much as I could.


Its like any new experience, the many thoughts in your head usually outweigh the reality!


So, we finally met, face to face. It was far easier for him to come to me, since I've got all my "tools of the trade" here. First tool ...... a hot drink! Tea for me!!! :) Coffee for him. And a chat, about anything really, because that communication is important for two people to get to know each other, you look at the body language, read the face, listen to the connotation in the voice, look at the eyes, and get to know about the person better. It makes for a good working relationship, for me, certainly. Because if I'm going to paint someone I like to know abit about them, it helps to be able to put that image of the person into the pose for the artwork. I'm not just creating an image, I'm looking for the essence, or soul of the person, to put that in too.....


So, on to work. Fitzy wanted three pieces of artwork doing - he loves the "Living flame" painting and wants a painting of himself done in that style. So, I needed to take photos of him to work from for the painting. It takes a long time to do that style of glazing painting, so its totally impractical to work from life for that painting. So, you would think taking photos would be easy, and it wasn't! Because I had to get the light right, and make sure I picked up the nuances of muscle tone, make sure I'd got all the detail in that I wanted.


Then on to the second piece of artwork that he wants - a Fantasy Willie painting. Infact he will be my first fantasy willie, which I'm very excited about! But because of that, I wasn't fully sure what I was looking for in the photos. With the fantasy fannies, they are abstract in shape to start with, so its easy enough to hide the image in the abstraction. But, a willie is more obvious! So, it took a few photos until I was happy with the image I'd got, and how I was going to create a painting from it! Success!!!


After a short lunch-break, it was time for the main reason for the visit - the sitting, whilst I drew him. I know he's had health problems and the very pose itself was probably going to be difficult for him. We discussed a standing pose as opposed to a sitting pose, and decided on the latter. But when I asked his thoughts on a pose, and he showed it to me, I knew from past experience that he would be in agony within five minutes from it. We discussed ideas and quickly settled on a simple seated pose, that would be comfortable for him, and would show to good effect his long legs. He also wanted a white on black drawing done, and to set up the lighting for those is a bit challenging, as I had to make sure that the light was creating interesting shapes on his skin, without lighting all of his body. This usually entails a low light off to one side, and although I have proper lights on proper stands, it turned out that the light itself had to be on a book, on a larger book, on a low stool, to create the correct lighting to satisfy me!!!! It might look very odd, but it worked!!!! LOL

On to the drawing............... I started with a blank piece of black card, and with a conte pencil in one hand, and a rubber in the other, I started. I know I'm a quick worker, but afterwards when I explained to Fitzy the thought process that had occurred through the drawing, I was surprised myself how much "thinking" I do. I first look at the pose, and work out the angles within it, I look at the blank paper and envisage those angles on it, I measure with my pencil, to make sure that the body that I'm drawing will fit on the paper (I sounds silly, but I've seen enough amateur artists miss out the feet at the bottom of the paper because they've not done this simple exercise!). Then I start to draw, to get the basic overall shape in, check the measurements again, and if need be adjust anything. Then I start to build up the body shape, gently drawing in all of it, slowly, bit by bit, until its all there, and then use the rubber to remove the parts I don't want. These are the bits that cause the interest. The pencil and the rubber working in conjunction with each other, to create the effect I want. And all this is done whilst the model sits still. And it helps enormously if the model CAN sit still. And Fitzy could, beautifully! He's a natural! So that helped greatly, that I could see the tiny details that I needed to put in the drawing to make it interesting.

Whilst all this is going on, I played my "art music" - thumping rock, bouncy pop, throbbing dance music, it all helps me to work quickly and easily and for the creative energies to flow. No music, and I'd be a lot slower!!! Fortunately Fitzy liked listening to it too, and said afterwards that it had helped him to get through the sitting, whilst he played a musical quiz in his head, as to which band was singing which song! He only needed one short break, but was able to sit long enough for me to produce this drawing. Its called "The thinker". I had originally thought that Rodins "The thinker" might be a good pose, but Fitzy thought it might be too reminiscent of Bruce Forsyth! MMM...I know what he means!!! LOL Anyway, here is the image I did of him.......

We sat chatting afterwards, about all sorts of things, and that was good to do. I know exactly how I'm going to do the paintings now and can't wait to get started on them......


Since then, Fitzy has emailed me to say a lot about his experience of being drawn by me, and is happy for me to quote some of them here:


"I was drawn to the title of one of your recent blog entries “Empowered” and it certainly was an empowering experience, but really it was so much more than that, I felt a great sense of achievement in becoming part of something that will last, well longer than me really.


I also found it a rather liberating experience as well.


.....your mention of a friend that works as a therapist, and they thought your Fantasy Fanny paintings could work well in a treatment room as a means of improving body image and perception about an intimate area of the body..... Anyway, that struck a chord with me as I have always had a very negative view of myself for all manner of reasons .... but I do feel so very positive about what I was able to achieve on Thursday and this is thanks in no small part to you. Now whether there will be any lasting benefits of course remains to be seen, but for the moment at least I really do feel very pleased and proud about what I have achieved and your drawing of me really is so much better than I could of ever hoped for, so thank you so very much for that and it was worth it at any price.

That reminds me of something I said to you a while ago when I joked about paying you thousands of pounds and do you know what, it really would have been worth it.


The day really did have such a profound effect on me and for that I will always be grateful, so thank you very much".


So, it looks like I didn't scare him, too much, and he, like my previous sitters, have found it a very positive and uplifting experience! That's good then!!!! That makes me happy.

7 comments:

Indigo said...

Well he sounds like a very nice guy Jackie. Another great achievement. I guess it takes a lot of bottle to strip in front of a total stranger, to suddenly become aware of your nakedness, then to have to sit completely still for ever...for art! How does your usual model cope? I have great admiration for anyone who can do this posing stuff for art.

Fitzy said...

It was really great to meet you as well and I have to say a huge thank you for making the day as easy as possible and whilst as you rightly pointed out I was a little nervous, you certainly made it as painless and normal as the situation would allow for the uninitiated. I would agree that the thoughts in my head completely outweighed the reality.

Whilst you may well have been able to glean a clearish view of me as a person during our many emails and a few phone calls, in typical Fitzy style I was still able to throw a last minute spanner in the works with a slight change to the “Living Flame” painting and of course a complete change for the drawing, well back to my very first thought at least.

The coffee certainly was a great first tool and as it turned out there was no need for anything stronger! But more importantly, having that time for a chat to begin with also helped a great deal as well. Whilst some might feel it simply prolonged the inevitable moment when their clothes would need to come off, for me it at least it allowed me to feel more relaxed in Jackie’s company and to see she really is the same person she comes across as via her blog and of course during our calls and emails.

So it seems that I was not alone in trying to work out just what someone was like as a person, and I am very pleased to report that Jackie is exactly like the person I expected to find, so that was indeed a welcome relief and that also helped to settle my nerves. Something else that helped was the fact that Jackie was not only easy to talk with but more importantly willing to talk, as she is running a business after all not a drop in service, so it was certainly nice not to feel rushed either before we started, or after, when we again sat down for a drink and a Jelly Baby (apologies for the private joke that will be wasted on the rest of you), so this really did all help to make me feel both part of the process and the experience, rather than simply a bit part of it (I shall leave you to think of your own jokes about that one), as I am sure that other artists would not be so willing to spend that time, nor provide me with lunch for that matter, something which I forget to thank you for in my email, so sorry about that. But all of these things helped to make the day far easier to deal with than I could have ever hoped or wished for.

Personally I thought the lighting solution was great, as I always like a Heath Robinson solution to any problems and although it did lead to sitting still for a little longer than might have otherwise been the case, I really didn’t find it as hard as I thought, but I certainly wouldn’t dream of calling it easy and anyone that works as a life model has my utmost respect for what is clearly an incredibly challenging and at times painful job. I am pleased to be considered a natural though!

I must say the music was an unbelievable help and my musical quiz helped to pass the time very well, I also enjoy your choice of music as well, so much so I had similar music on during my drive home.

I shall finish by saying that you certainly didn’t scare me and it truly was an uplifting experience and I really am so pleased that I pushed myself to do it. I really would recommend it to anyone, even those that would never dream they could sit naked in front of someone, much like me then. I am sure that Thursday will make a lasting impression on me and I really do mean that in a good way and above all that, I already have a wonderful drawing to show for it and the knowledge of two equally amazing paintings to follow.

I must also add that seeing the drawing on here gave me the same stupid grin I get from looking at the original, which is here beside me as I type this.

So thank you very much Jackie.

Jackie Adshead said...

Indigo - Thankyou. Yes, it does take a lot of bottle, and I also admire anyone who can do it. My usual model is used to it and enjoys it very much.

Jackie Adshead said...

Fitzy - That's good then, that I was able to make the day easyish for you.

Even though there were the last minute changes to what you wanted with the painting and the drawing, it didn't faze mt particularly, as I have enough experience to be able to cope! LOL

Sound like the coffee was a great first tool then, and it did it's job beautifully! And I'm very pleased to hear that I am the same person in real life as I am on the blog. That really is good to know. And also that you found me easy to talk to. Having the time to sit and talk with you is part of the service I provide, as I want us both to be happy with the artwork I produce for you, and that happens when I listen to your thoughts. As for the jelly babies, they didn't last long after you'd gone!! :) Thankyou for them, they were delicious. And it was my pleasure to give you lunch, I like my models to be happy and a growling empty stomach doesn't make for happy or comfortable models!!

Yeh, the lighting system was a little Heath Robinson, but it worked perfectly for my purposes! And I'm delighted that my choice of music was acceptable for you, it helps me enormously!

Its also great to hear that it was an uplifting experience, and I hope others who may be curious, might be better persuaded to sit for me, having read your words here.

And I'm delighted that the drawing raises a grin each time you look at it, that's what art should do, I believe. Its there to give you pleasure.

And its been my pleasure too, Fitzy to work with you. Mmmm..... now I need to start painting!!

Fitzy said...

Should anyone be reading this and they find themselves in two minds as to whether they should commission and or pose for Jackie, then there really is only one answer, they have to, simple as that! I really am unable to put into words the feelings I was left with after the session, but just a few of the words that spring to mind are: Positive, uplifting and achievement, it was also a huge confidence boost that I could simply do it.

Anyone that is considering doing something similar to me will no doubt be thinking about the cost, and I must admit that this was something I thought about and I did worry it might simply prove to be an expensive indulgence, but that would be a huge mistake to make as it really is so much more than that. Not only will you be left feeling really good about yourself for achieving something you clearly wanted to do, but you will be left with an amazing work of art that will remind you of those feelings every time you look at it and that has to be worth the money at any price. As Jackie said in her earlier reply, art is there to give you pleasure and it does that!

Jackie Adshead said...

Fitzy - Wow! I feel quite humbled by what you've said there. I'm so pleased that I was able to give you such a positive experience, and the artwork will be a lovely lasting reminder of it.

Fitzy said...

You are very welcome, and I am sure that your artwork will indeed be a lovely and lasting reminder for me.