Two days ago, when I was talking, or rather trying to talk, to a group of theater students, words just leaked out of my ears before they could reach my tongue. Talking and writing is hard work. At least for me. That reminds me of what Terre Haute sculptor, Janet Scudder, said about the job of modeling for artists. In her 1925 autobiography, Modeling My Life, talking about the late 1890s in Paris she said “And so far as the profession of posing being an easy one, any one who believes that should try sitting in one position without moving for an hour; he will soon come to the conclusion that he would rather do hard work–especially when he considers the small price paid to models, who, in those days, received only five or six francs for a sitting of four hours.”
- Janet Scudder, Frog Fountain, c. 1901, Swope # 1942.38
1 thought on “Hard Work”
Boy do I know what you mean! Modeling for sculptors, an admittedly slow process must be unimaginably arduous.
A zillion years ago when I was an undergraduate at Oberlin College I organized a weekly figure drawing session as the art department faculty had no interest in providing models for the students. When I couldn’t find anyone willing to model I would fill in so we could keep the sessions going.
The very first time I took a pose it was supposed to last 10 minutes. One of the watch-wearing students there to draw to keep time for me. Within a few minutes my body was becoming really uncomfortable and I knew we must have gone well past the appointed 10 minutes. Asking how long the pose had gone so far I was curtly told ” four minutes.”
I’m embarrassed to admit I actually asked again two more times before the timekeeper finally announced the entire ten minutes had elapsed. I realized time passes a whole lot more slowly when you’re naked and motionless. And I learned there is an art to finding poses you’re body can hold as well as an art to the state of mind one needs to achieve if you’re not going to go nuts while modeling. I smile at the memory of all this now.