Back in 1994, my friend Garin Baker invited me to join him for a figure painting session at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He was working from the model with a group of master figure painters that included Max Ginsburg and Steve Assael.
As I recall, they had already been painting from the same model for some weeks. This was their fourth or fifth session with the same pose. By the time I joined them, they had put in 20 or 30 hours into that one pose.
I was amazed with the quality of their work, which showed deep observation. I was so accustomed to painting from the standard 20- or 30-minute poses in most sketch groups, that even a three-hour session seemed like a huge luxury.
After two hours on the same pose, I felt like I overcooked the pasta.
So I applied the Ninety Degree Rule. Steve Assael became my subject. I felt energized. Here was a living, moving subject and only 45 minutes of time left. Even though he wasn’t holding completely still, there was a quality of life and tension that excited me.
I greatly admire what my colleagues have accomplished with extended observational poses, but I guess I’m more suited to catching life on the run.
I’m curious to learn from those of you who have more experience than I do painting from long poses. How much time is ideal for you? How do you pace yourself with longer poses? If you were running an atelier, how would you balance short and long poses?
Related GJ post "Artists as Models," link.
"Ninety Degree Rule," link.
Websites for Steve Assael, Max Ginsburg, and Garin Baker.
Max Ginsburg has an exhibit "Visions of Reality," in NYC through Sept. 26.
Also, Garin, Steve, and Max are part of a group show called "The Old Hat Club" at the High School of Art and Design, through October 3.