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Masks hiding nothing as we fly around the world

Finally we met after more than two months of planning. Keiths first contact with me was at the end of August, when we first discussed me drawing him. He wanted to be naked in a semi erotic pose, and I asked if he wanted an sort of prop, since I had earlier on in the year done a tasteful erotic painting of a guy wearing a red and gold Venentian mask and thought how more interesting the painting was for the mask giving an air of mystery and mystique. Since I didn’t have a mask to lend him, I left it with Keith to sort out what he wanted….

The original meeting in September was cancelled by Keith  due to other appointments, but we finally met up this week for the drawing we’d discussed.

He had described himself to me  but I hadn’t seen a photo of him before hand, since all the arrangements were done by email. But I was gratified to find he was near enough what I was expecting as we shook hands and I welcomed him in. I realised that he hadn’t got his mask and presumed he had left it in his car until it was needed, but then he reached inside his jacket pocket and extracted a small black mask and said that was all he had been able to find. Ok, not the be-feathered, be-dazzling Venetian mask I was expecting, rather a smaller half face mask.. it would still create the air of mystery, just not quite so much of it.

I led him to the room that had the most light for the drawing session. I much prefer to work by natural light as much as possible, and knew at this time of year that it can be hit and miss how much daylight is available for us artists. As it was, it was just enough for the two hours drawing. Before he took his clothes off I asked him what the pose would be and asked him to show me, he reclined on the settee in a simple enough life drawing type pose. I know he has had experience of life drawing before so he knew what would be comfortable. I was happy with the pose, and laid out my cotton throw, that is the best thing for my models to sit on, not only does it protect what ever they are sitting on, it gives me a light coloured background to illustrate the model in the best way, and is soft to sit on for them.

The next question was what size since we hadn’t discussed it at all, but he instantly agreed on the A3 size that I had presumed, since it is my natural preference for doing life drawing, being not too big to get the details lost in, or too small to not see everything clearly. I had some nice creamy white smooth cartridge paper and offered him that, or more textured pastel paper in various colours, which is the one he preferred, opting for a warm cream. I had a selection of conte pencils and graphite pencils as well depending on his choice, but he opted for the black conte pencil which was my choice too, although I knew I would have done a good drawing in any of the pencils I offered him, they just have different colours and textures. Ok, decisions made, pose discussed, and we’re ready to draw… oh, except for one other question — what music did he like as background? He wasn’t bothered about any music but I pushed for some, as I know I draw and paint better when I am lost in the music in the background. Ok, then …. “Eagles” he said, and fortunately I had their Greatest Hits, so that went on, and we’re ready to go…

He stripped off, I sat on my stool about ten feet away and started drawing. I asked him about his work, his knowledge of this area since he lives in another county, and his background. And then just happened to mention as a response to something he said, that I had visited 32 countries. He said “I’ve visited over 50” … OOh, that perked up the conversation as I asked him which he liked and checked which he had been to that I liked too.. it seems we have a lot in common.. as we flew around the world jumping from country to country…and city to city.. we both loved Paris, and Rome, he didn’t like Venice but I did, Amsterdam, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney. We both loved the vibrancy of Hong Kong! Singapore, China, he didn’t like New York but he did Chicago, I liked New York but hadn’t been to Chicago, but loved Las Vegas, but he hadn’t been there. We had both been to Argentina and loved Buenos Aires, he hadn’t done the Peru and Macchu Piccu trip that I had done. But he had been to Canada which I hadn’t and loved Portugal which I hadn’t been to. The time flew by as we chatted and I carried on drawing.

Keith in a mask JPGIt was only after about an hour and a half of the two hour session he mentioned that he liked Fleetwood Mac and “Rumours” – I grinned and said I wished he mentioned it before since it would have got me drawing quicker, as I put it on, and instantly my drawing speed picked up with the faster beat. I don’t know why I draw quicker with faster music but it improves on the drawing no end.

Finished, just before the day light went. Phew.

I was pleased with the drawing, as was he. And we both know that he is planning on my doing a painting of him at some point, after Christmas, possibly in a similar pose.

The drawing is erotic but not pornographic, which was what he had decided on for the pose. The mask adds an air of mystique, and I know this sounds strange but I am really pleased with the way the cushion actually pulls the composition together – because of that square cushion on the diagonal, it adds flow within the drawing, that as you follow his outstretched leg along the settee, your eye gets to the diagonal on the cushion and follows up along the line of the settee, and then flows back towards his head, diagonals are always powerful in artwork as they add more interest to a composition.

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