Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pamela Pindell

Working with Pam has been the highlight of my career as an art model.  Not only have we produced some beautiful work together, we have become good friends.

I use to joke around with people that ask me why I model.  My response, "because I want to become immortal like the Mona Lisa".  It is just a joke but working with Pam has certainly taken me closer to this goal.

We first started working together right after I arrived in Boston in the summer of 2009.  She got my name from The Guild of Boston Artists.  She wanted to do a charcoal study of the torso.  It was a reclining pose that forced my torso into an arched position, revealing all of the beautiful anatomy that attracts us to the nude.  The piece was completed, framed and hung in the window at The Guild of Boston Artists on Newbury street.

While the work was beautiful as a reclining pose, Pam was not satisfied.  It bugged her that something was not right about the drawing.  It just did not have the strength she wanted to portray with this study.  Finally she took the drawing back, called me to come back in and turned the drawing into a standing pose.  It took some reworking of the drawing but the results are stunning.

This is absolutely one of my favorite drawings.  I love it so much that it is the symbol on my business card as well as the opening image on my website,
Male nude by Pamela Pindell

Man with the fur collar

For the next project, Pam wanted to honor one of her teachers and a former head of The Guild of Boston Artists that had recently passed away - Robert Comier.

Man with the fur collar by Robert Comier

Mr Comier's most famous painting was Man with the Fur Collar.  I have run into several people that knew Mr. Comier and have been told stories about who the model was.  Some of the stories are not very flattering to the model so I will not repeat them here.  It is not important anyway because the beauty that the artist captures when a model is sitting there comes from within the artist.

While the model may provide inspiration, the beauty that is put down onto the canvas is the responsibility of the artist.

Pam draws inspiration from the connection she feels with the model.  As we continue to work together, that connection strengthens and every piece seems to be better than the one before.  It is the pure love of the artistic process that is unleashed within Pam when she connects with her subject.  That is what makes her such a powerful figurative artist.

We started Pam's version of 'Man with the fur collar' with a charcoal study.  I took some pictures of this project along the way and the first one here is when the drawing was loose and flowing.

Personally, I like this image better than the final drawing.  Mostly because I feel it is a better representation of me and my personality.

While the final drawing is beautiful, the person in the drawing is very regal looking and it does not fit my personality.  That is just my opinion and since the bulk of the viewers of the final drawing are never going to know who the model is, it will be appreciated as it is.

Charcoal study for 'Man with the fur collar' by Pamela Pindell

The oil version of "Man with the fur collar" is brilliant.  There are similarities with Comier's model in age and the silver hair but this version is more open.  The model is looking you in the eye and the coat is open.  The open neck of the shirt reveals the neck that is rendered so beautifully. The colors are rich and the intensity of the blue eyes and how they follow you around the room makes this piece more than a portrait of the model.  The viewer connects with the painting.

Man with the fur collar by Pamela Pindell


Pam often says that she must fall in love with her models.  The significance of that did not occur to me until our latest painting.  Pam has the ability to capture the emotion she feels for her subject. It does not matter if it is a still life, landscape or a nude torso study, this artist provides the viewer a chance to feel the passion she struggles to release onto the canvas.  I say struggle because it is definitely a struggle for Pam.  Her paintings do not come forth easily.  She starts with an idea or inspiration but that she must coax out of herself in her labor of love.  

When we are working together, often we chat or listen to music.  Sometimes we have conversations and I know that she is not really listening to me because she is concentrating so much on her work.

'December' was finished on November 5th, 2011.  It is a life size standing nude.

This first image is an up close view of the face.  The head slightly forward with the eyes open but cast down.  As the piece came together, the experience I had when viewing the painting was the following of emotion.  Like the eyes of some paintings follow you around, the emotions evoked by this painting seem to follow you around.  Sometimes the image was sad and at other times resolute peacefulness.  Sincere and deep contemplation of a full life is another feeling that is often invoked.  

The painting is 42 x 48 oil.  All of Pam's work is done in natural lighting.  We took two different photos of the painting; one with studio lighting and the other in natural lighting.  I couldn't decide which I liked best for this blog post so I decided to post both versions and let you decide for yourself.

'December' by Pamela Pindell (studio light)

'December' by Pamela Pindell (natural light)

Some of the comments that came from a couple of Pam's ardent supporters and critics:

It's as if he's standing before God, waiting to be judged.  He's serious, humble, but not frightened, because he has a good heart and no darkness inside him. - Nancy Thayer, author.

As with all of your work I see it as a self portrait. You painted it head on as if to say, here I am, this is me , I have nothing to hide. This is a statement on the dignity of aging. The tight lips and strong jaw line say that there is no room for conversation here. Your hair looks like icicles matching the cold wintery backround, where you stand alone, eyes cast down contemplating the next step forward. This is a structure composed of many geometric triangles, one stacked upon another and the muscles strain to carry and hold up the weight. All of this and at the center of the the canvas is the heart. Right where it belongs. - Douglas Flackman, painter.

The painting will be on display the entire month of December at The Guild of Boston Artists on Newbury Street.  I hope you have a chance to visit because the photos in this blog definitely does not do it justice.  For more of Pam's work, visit  

What is her next project?  I don't think Pam even knows the answer to that.  It is the excitement and inspiration that must comes from within her before she can start another project.  We will all just have to stay tuned to see what comes next.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Art Modeling 101

What is it like to be a nude model? Pretty much like other jobs but you don't have to worry much about your wardrobe.

The easiest part of being a nude art model is taking off your clothes. Coming up with interesting poses that you can hold for 20 minutes or more, is hard work.

I often see people advertising on Craig's List that they will model for free because they want the experience of modeling nude for a group. Often these ads have qualifiers e.g. female artist only. If you start specifying which gender you are willing to model for, it sends up a red flag.  If you are serious about modeling for artist then you better get comfortable with being nude in front of a group that is often mixed genders.  If gender matters then you need to re-examine why you want to do this work.

If you are interested in becoming a model, I will answer any questions you might have e.g. how to find work, what to expect, etc.

The one question I am often asked by people that have never been in a life drawing session is the erection question. Well, it has never happened to me but that is not to say it never will happen. Erections are a normal bodily function and yes it is typically associated with sexual arousal but any guy will tell you that sometimes the penis has a mind of it's own. If a male model gets an erection in a drawing class, I would hope that the artist are mature enough to just keep drawing and accept it as part of life. After all, it is called drawing from life.

But.....even though I accept that getting an erection is a normal response to any number of stimuli, it really should not happen in a classroom setting; at least not from an experienced model. After you have done this a number of times, the fact that you are nude becomes a non issue and you focus your energy on providing interesting and dynamic poses that inspire and challenge the artist. That is your job, provide inspiration and subject for the artist to draw.

Providing inspiration requires a lot from you. First off, you must know your body and what it is capable of tolerating. You don't want to take a pose that you can't hold for the allotted time. If you wan't to be a great model, you will need to lower your outer shell, starting with your clothing and then the emotional shell. Allow yourself to express your feelings through the poses you take. Let your emotions help you find the right pose. That is when you will inspire the artist.

Being nude helps remove the barriers that we erect around ourselves that end up defining who we are. Drop the barriers with your garments and allow yourself to be seen for who you really are - a true child of God. There is a wonderful poster that is often seen at nudist resorts that shows people in their normal office attire then standing in the same pose completely nude. It is amazing how we let outer decorations define who we are as people. Remove the clothing and see more of who the person really is. If you are going to remove your clothing and step up on the model stand, you are choosing to expose your body.  Take the next step and expose yourself and you will inspire.

Modeling is not easy work. I have had people say things like, "so you get paid to just stand there?" Okay my friend, before the conversation goes any further I want you to try something. Stand completely still for 20 minutes. Take any pose you want and stand there without moving for 20 minutes........tic tok.......tic tok....... Okay, now we can talk about what it is like to be a model. If you are looking for an easy way to make a few bucks, this is not it.  

What does it take to be a successful model? Show up! Show up ON TIME! That is the most important thing you can do as a model......................Now that you have arrived at your modeling gig, take on the right attitude. Understand why you are there. You are there to inspire the students to produce great art. That is your job. Be prepared to be part of the creative process. Tap that raw emotion within you and allow it to come out in your pose. Don't be afraid to let yourself go and express the emotions within you. That will get the artist asking for you to come back. They want to be inspired and that is your job. You are more than just a naked body.   Let go of your inhibitions and express yourself. That is how you become a great model. Let your self be expressive.

Got any other questions? Just drop me a line and I will be glad to answer as frank and honest as I know I can be.

Pointers and tips for the wannabe model

In order of importance:

1)  Show up - ON TIME$!
2)  Communicate.  We all get stuck in traffic once in awhile, call and alert someone if you are running late.
3)  Be prepared to get on the model stand at the appointed time.
4)  Listen to what the instructor wants from you.
5)  Don't initiate conversations from the model stand.  You can be friendly and answer questions if someone asks but don't become chatty.
6)  It should go without saying but for the record - be clean.  B.O. does not mix well with the other smells in the room.
7)  Pay attention to the time on break.  Be ready to start back at the allotted time - even if the artist are not.
8)  Know your body and what it can do.  Don't get into a pose you can't hold for the alloted time.  Not sure how long you can hold a pose?  Practice in front of a mirror.  When I started, I set up a playlist of 20 minutes on my iPod and would get into a pose and hold it until the music stopped.