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Hello come on in and take your clothes off

He contacted me a few weeks ago with regard to me drawing him and his wife, in the nude (them, not me!). They wanted a picture of the two of them in a tastefully erotic life drawing pose, we quickly agreed a price and a size for the piece of art. He and his wife had never been drawn before so it was all new to them, and that of course lead to some questions. How long would the session last, what would be involved, had I any suggestions of poses for them? I asked to see some photos of them, which he duly sent, which gave me an idea of body size of them both, because there’s no point in suggesting a pose if its not appropriate for the body shape or age. Over the next few weeks we discussed by email various ideas and any further questions that arose.

Then, it was the day of the drawing. A day that is very usual and normal for me, but one that usually has some trepidation for newbies. So when they arrived I wasn’t at all surprised to hear that she almost didn’t come. I nodded when she said it, and explained to her that there isn’t a woman in the world who is happy with her body shape, and that it was my job to take the bits she was happy with and enhance them, and take out the parts she wasn’t at all happy with and reduce them. This was not a photograph with all the tiny details on show, its a piece of art that is life enhancing, and makes you happy to see it of yourself, its a reminder of how you want yourself to be viewed, and something that you can look back on years later and smile and say “That was me and I’m proud of how I was!” with celebration. It’s you, with all the good bits.

Before we even started we discussed what poses she liked, cos it was all about her really to start with, the guy was happy to be drawn, he had made all the arrangements with me, and I knew he would be happy if his wife was happy. She suggested a couple of things she liked, and I nodded as we discussed them, and tried them out, working out where the two of them would be in the picture and how they would be interacting together. Because this was to be tasteful, elegant, erotic, and sensual showing them as lovers, but was to be hung in a room of the house that all visitors would see, from family to friends to neighbours. That helped me to know what sort of poses would work nicely, and would be tasteful for them.

We found a pose that we all three liked, they stripped off, and I took some photos of them in it as a memento of the day for them, and did a five minute sketch of the pose for them, so that they could see it as an idea and in that five minutes would know if they could hold that pose without having the agonies of life modelling. Cos, let me tell you, there is nothing worse for an artist than seeing a model with gritted teeth, and the fixed glazed look of having to keep the pose when every muscle in your body is screaming in agony and all you want to do is leap up and rub the blood back into your legs.

Ok, all agreed, and then I need an answer for the next big decision which usually makes them blink in surprise…. “What sort of music do you like?” and the answer I got was the usual one “Ooooh, anything!” but no, that’s not the answer, because if you let me play MY *anything* you are likely to get loud rock or the latest club music. So, a bit more probing and I got the reply “Bee Gees” to which I retorted to him “You can’t expect me to draw to the BPS life drawingee Gees!” and she said that she liked Toni Braxton – perfect! So do I and I have one of her albums that I can play which set the mood beautifully for artist and models.

 They moved into the pose, knowing that they knew what they were doing, and I started the lines on the paper. I was framing it for them before they left at the end of the session and I helped them pick a colour of paper that would be suitable for the silvery frame and lilac mount. And also asked if there was any preference on the conte pencil colour they wanted, but they were happy with my choice, and looking at her lovely flowing black hair, it definitely had to be the black pencil. And, we’re ready!

It took most of the afternoon to do the picture, as I knew they would want ample tea and fresh air (otherwise known as fag!) breaks. And because the pose they had opted for meant both of them being on their knees embracing each other, I made the decision to be at that height too, and knelt accordingly to be at their eye height. It also gave me a good idea of when they would want breaks, since my knees were hurting a bit from that position too, so I could empathise in the struggle for art!! 🙂

We chatted and I listened to their lives and the people in them, as I drew and let them get into the zone of the pose, there were a few grins and giggles, and joking laughter and chat, and I built up their picture through it all, liking them as easy going, friendly, chatty people.

By the end of the session I showed them the picture, knowing that they had had a peek at it as we’d gone along, and checked that they were both happy with it and got grins and affirming nods from them both. I never want the client to go home unhappy with their piece of art. And whilst they chatted with my fella, I went and framed it for them, so that they had a finished piece of art to take home and hang. It makes the process so much easier for the clients.

And I know as they left that they’re already thinking of the next piece of art they want doing, so I know I got it right for them.