Examples of Life Modelling Poses

Here are some pictures of recent poses I have done. If you are about to try life modelling for the 1st time and have not seen a model posing, this can give you some ideas for how to pose. It is a very individual activity however and must be necessarily adapted to suit each model.

by Deborah Collins

These six 10 minute poses demonstrate some varieties of balance. One is leaning on a chair; there is one pose with weight distributed evenly between the legs; the others have most weight on one leg. The top left hand pose is a good example of a twist, whereby the body faces one direction lower down, then another further up. Artists tend to love a twist; it is a challenge, but also makes the pose more interesting and lets them see more of you from one position.

One leg up on the seat gives more levels to the pose. Arms leaning back makes the pose feel open and lends complementary triangles of negative space, shown here balancing the shape of the upward bent knee.

I am skinny so taking advantage of my angles works for me. Different body types do well to emphasize their features accordingly

Here my back is arched forward gently creating a different impression. My back naturally forms an ‘S’ shape which artists frequently want to draw. Posing to accentuate the ‘S’ however is not good for my back if done excessively. Sometimes I need to give it a break and rebalance by curving the other way. As a model it is vital to understand these needs of the body so you don’t over do it.

A pose showing the curve of the back

The same 10 minute poses as above, from a different point of view

Longer poses tend to be more natural so the model may settle into them. Picture by Deborah Collins

Some artists use longer poses to concentrate on portrait. These are by tutor Cathy Bird

Elbow to knee connection creates negative space and helps artists to measure

Negative space is the area in between which is not the body, and may be formed by limbs connecting with the body and creating a shape. Artists use particular measurements in a pose to relate to other lengths to help them achieve an accurate sense of proportion. They often hold a pencil up in line with a pose and with one eye open measure how much of the pencil length is taken up by the head for example. They then use that measurement to compare other details in the picture. The length of the head may be comparable to say that of the arm touching the knee.

Here is a post I wrote a while back about how particularly to pose in the group situation at Spirited Bodies;

http://spiritedbodies.com/2012/03/13/how-to-pose-guidelines-for-life-models-at-spirited-bodies/

That was for a previous event and I would like to add that on the forthcoming occasion – 21st July – there will be some shorter timed poses to warm up, from 5 to 15 minutes. Then there will be a period of freestyle posing when models may change pose when they prefer.

There will also be at least one timed half hour pose when I would like all models to remain still at the same time. This is good for feeling what life modelling is like, as well as giving artists a better chance of creating a good picture!

Also I have just found this http://jasonandthegoldenpose.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/finding-your-happy-place/#comment-103 which is the blog of a male model describing his experience as a life model. He’s got some good advice and covers many topics from what to think about whilst posing to what to expect financially from being an artist’s model.

Looking Back to Nina Hamnett

The very first artist I modelled for invited me to a film; ‘What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor?’ by Chris Ward – the life, times and troubles of Artist/Model Nina Hamnett (1890-1956). Queen of the avant garde she had a bohemian lifestyle with a glamorous heyday. The film caught more of the sense of waste towards the end of her life deteriorating in alcoholism, being used as an object for sex by whoever around.

That was sad; I wanted to know more about her as an artist, writer and model of Picasso, Modigliani, Roger Fry et al.

Nina Hamnett by Roger Fry

I left with the feeling that this queen of cool had ultimately been devoured; I started out wanting to fall in love with her and felt disappointed by her decline. Being free as she was must have had a high price and she did not hold back in exercising her free spirit.

Nina wearing an Omega cloak (from a workshop of the Bloomsbury Group) on the left

As a life model, writer & performer I feel grateful to be around now that more taboos have been worked and to people like Nina for beating the way as she was far from a victim, quite the creator of her world, albeit worn out and broken by the end. Aleister Crowley even tried but failed to sue her for saying in her autobiographical ‘Laughing Torso‘ of 1932 that he practised black magic. Come on – we would be disappointed if Crowley hadn’t been delving into the dark side! Mind you, he was pretty desperate by this time, living about as hand to mouth as she ended up too.

Nina by Modigliani

She had upset Crowley, and fell out of fortune spiralling downwards. She let her love of the social scene take presidence over creating art and that was the shame that kept her from greater success, as she had all the potential and support of renouned artists.

Nevertheless, as James Conway puts it, ‘Even in the depths of squalor Hamnett never pitied herself and we shouldn’t either. She fit more living in one of her Paris sojourns than most of us do in a lifetime, and as the Times obituary noted, “Miss Hamnett was a complete success as a person; generous, good humoured, loyal, and witty.” ‘

I like that. Here are some of her acclaimed paintings;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/artists/nina-hamnett/paintings/slideshow#/3

Double Exposure: Meeting my Match!

Stoke Nudington, Nude York or NuDelhi; this Summer is about stripping off.

Ursula had tried to contact me about modelling with Spirited Bodies – she is a life model, artist and performance poet. I had clearly been busy. Serendipity lined us up however as Ron double booked us yesterday and we got networking in the nude. The Portobello artists had a rare treat!

Carol finds the Henry Moore in us

getting comfy

A beautiful occasion we wanted to remember; a most auspicious meeting!

I found Ursula very relaxed and open, it was easy to feel cosy together straight away

We chatted a bit in pose, and got to planning some nude action!

It was wonderful to have some of that experience models at Spirited Bodies get through sudden yet somehow natural intimacy

The stillness and relative quiet sort of make up for what might otherwise feel unnatural, i.e. those conditions give you a chance to breathe and settle with the new company so close and nude

quick pose by Mike Down

Felt tip colour by Mike

Check out Ursula performing:

And here is one of her poems:

Poetry Extravaganza
Poetry Extravaganza
I write verse by verse
Stanza by stanza
I write to be free
I write to be me
Poetry for self-exploration
Words for my expression
Every letter
A part of the puzzle
That put the words together
Which make up the picture
Of what I want to say
Of what I feel
Deep down inside my soul
Of what I know by intuition
Of my work which comes to fruition
Poetry extravaganza
I write verse by verse
Stanza by stanza
Now what is my intention?
What is the purpose of my exploration?
To talk about some secrets of my soul
To communicate the depth within us
To make us remember our dreams
And what we wish for
What we desire, long and yearn for
And what we know
And how we can live in unity
How we can live happily and be free
Poetry extravaganza
Word for word
Sentence by sentence
Line by line
We write our liberation
With letters and punctuation
And recite them with intention
We sing
Verse by verse
Stanza by stanza
Poetry extra
Poetry extravaganza
Chapter and verse
Each chapter a verse
We write
Verse by verse
Stanza by stanza
Poetry
Extra-vaganza! © Ursula troche, 5. 2011

A New Man & a Kitten

It is said we attract the people we do in our lives for a reason; they are right for that time. Today I modelled for a gentleman, alone. It is a while since I modelled privately for an artist – most who seek models are men, and navigating the politics of what they really want, even if never expect to get, is bothersome.

A good life model friend of mine refers to this ‘gentleman’ artist as ‘improbably sexy’. What she means is he has exceptionally well defined features, is classically good looking, but very awkward with it. He hides himself and his work in an aura of uncertain dishevelment. When she heard I would model for him, she wanted me to find out his mystery; what lies beneath his stammering, unfinished sentences?

I was never worried about this appointment; he seems the opposite of the troubled bravado so apparent in several male artists seeking inspiration from their naked models. He may be awkward but he has a kind demeanour and is as considerate as the demanding constraints of his class allow, where I met him before.

Blackheath’s studio receives brilliant light in the morning, he says it reminds him of his first studio at art school in Edinburgh. Yes, how bright the light there. His usual reticence shrouds his easel, but without the sapping attentions of his class, he does open up, voluntarily. I am still a little sleepy and grateful to be lying down, but during breaks he asks of my education and origin. I hear of his family and the difficulty of choosing schools, if there is a choice.

I want to ask more about his work, but the fact of his moving the easel to face the wall every time I am up or he leaves the room does beg a softly softly approach. I cannot even see him as he works because he is stationed behind me. My guess is he is a very sensual, sensitive man who best attracts what he wants by being unassuming. As my friend says, normally men who are that good looking have a confident manner with women. But if this man was to display grand charm or seduce his class and models, they might not trust him so well. I might have made my excuses, and a showier muse may have taken him up.

I still trust him; he is one of the few with that ability to make me feel at ease when I am naked being myself. And there is an unsatisfied curiosity because he is not someone you get to know in a morning. It has been my wish to meet more of such men, so thank you world!

Here is another creature I recently attracted;

This little kitty refused to be turned away as I arrived home one day, so I let her come in to play. She toyed with drapery and nosed at mouse hide-outs, then slept peacefully till I had to put her out. I can’t imagine she isn’t loved by someone, but I hope she comes to visit again.