Hello everyone! My last post was November 25, 2009, or 47 days ago. That is FAR to long to go without posting on a blog, especially a relatively new blog. So I must apologize again for my lack of consistency. I really want to make this into a good, entertaining and enriching blog on figurative art, from a model’s perspective with heavy input from the artists out there. Waiting nearly 7 weeks between posts is not a good way to do that, so I am sorry yet again for the massive lull – I assure you that unless there are major extenuating circumstances it will not happen again.
HOWEVER, I do have some reasonably good excuses. In addition to hosting multiple family members and friends during the holidays at our cramped New York apartment, traveling to Spain for 9 days to visit my in-laws, and getting back into the swing of things at work, my wife and I received the extremely exciting news that we are expecting our first child! We found out on Thanksgiving Day (the first possible day a test would be positive), and are currently 10 weeks along, due August 7, 2010. We avoided any public announcements until our families were told in person, and now that we are so far along and have an ultrasound showing a strong heartbeat from the little guy/gal we are telling everyone. So there you have it – the MAJOR reason for my lack of posts is that our first child is on the way, and I’ve been just a little distracted!
To bring this full circle and back to figurative modeling, some of you artists out there may have had the opportunity to draw and/or paint a (visibly) pregnant woman at some point in your career. Google “life drawing with pregnant models” and you’ll get a variety of public photos and drawings and some interesting blog posts on the experience. As a male model, I am somewhat envious since it is something I can never do: pose while pregnant. Both artists and their pregnant models rave about the experience. One blog noted that the pregnant model was superb, but smiled every time the baby kicked – it was infectious, spreading to all the artists in attendance. Another artist was impressed by the incredible curves found on the form of a pregnant woman. Anecdotally, every artist I have spoken with personally has loved drawing a pregnant woman – they describe it as “special,” “unique,” and “powerful.” I can certainly understand why! My only personal experience with a pregnant model was when I was part of a body painting performance art piece with a female model – her nude body was painted entirely white except for fish on her belly, as if it were a bowl filled with water. Needless to say she was the hit of the evening. So the modern view of pregnant art models seems to be overwhelmingly positive.
Interestingly, this perspective was apparently not shared by many of the classic painters, who rarely – if ever – drew or painted pregnant women. The reason for this is unclear, but as I thought about this post I racked my brain for several days and could not bring to mind a single classic painting depicting a pregnant woman; certainly there are no nudes, and I couldn’t even think of a clothed pregnant woman. Even depictions of the Virgin Mary are after the birth of Jesus or the Immaculate Conception – none that I can recall are late in pregnancy. Many lay viewers believe the woman in The Arnolfini Wedding by Jan Van Eyck is pregnant, but most art historians believe this is the style of dress that leads to this misconception. I have heard a few people speculate that Manet’s superb Olympia is pregnant based on the slight prominence of her lower abdomen and the fact that her hand rests just above her pubic area, but this is highly unlikely as well. If anyone can think of any classic paintings, sculptures, or drawings or pregnant women – nude or clothed – please let me know!
My wife and I are both enthusiastic about taking nude maternity photos when she’s about 7 months pregnant. She has never had an interest in art modeling (unfortunately, because she is beautiful and has a superb figure), but loves the idea of posing nude for a photographer while pregnant. A Google search for “fine art maternity photography” yields some superb work from a variety of photographers. Personally, I love the curves found on pregnant women, including the obvious abdominal curves, the massively upsized breasts, and the extra padding on the hips and buttocks. There is something tender and unique about it that makes for great photography and beautiful art in general. Though it isn’t for drawing or painting, I’m excited about my wife and unborn child’s foray into the modeling. Might our little one grow up to pose for artists as well? I hope so – that would have his or her proud father that much happier!