INTERESTING? SPIRITUAL? what that….?
One of the highlights of my teaching painting in Naples has been Taylor Dutcher. Taylor is graduating this month from high school and the NaplesBallet School. She is a very gifted dancer…rather exceptional, in fact, and, beautiful and sweet as well…. a gentle and graceful soul. Taylor has modeled for my painting classes regularly. Aside from her beauty and grace…she is such a good sport! On some occasions she has danced for almost three hours straight so that my students could do action painting.
(Painting below by Syliva Pazolt) Her pristine pink toe shoes became grey after dancing on the art-studio floor… Other than the fact that Taylor is an exquisite and graceful dancer…WHAT MAKES FOR A GOOD MODEL? It surely isn’t a beautiful face…or even a “perfect” body. (In fact, quite the opposite. Too much beauty and perfection can detract for the “real” power of the “person.”) First, I need to use the word “interesting.” I know many people are afraid of the word “interesting”…but quite frankly, it works for me. Things really are often “interesting” …enough to create some curiosity and “interest”….for me…“interesting” is not the “safe” word to use when you don’t know what else to say. Often, it is simply just the right word. The second quality I look for in a model is something “spiritual.” Now that’s a word that causes some discomfort! People love the word “spiritual.” Oh, people say, “I am a very spiritual person.” UGH…. A spiritual person doesn’t need to announce it! But, the spiritual model has something deep in their eyes… or, you might say, some depth…. something deep in their soul. My best models have a certain warmth and kindness. I sense their pleasure in being there and sharing in the moment… a generosity of spirit. This does not mean a specific interest in what the painter is actually painting. In fact, that is usually counter productive. (Painting below by Martha Fine)
But the good models’ main interest is making it work for you, the painter, which means, whatever they have to do to make this painting session work. It’s pretty amazing when the chemistry is right!
The reason that I am writing about Taylor today, is that I attended her final performance as a student in Naples this past Sunday. The NaplesBallet performed Swan Lake at the Sugden Theater and they did a magnificent job. Quite an ambitious undertaking and I congratulate the School, the Troop, and, of course Taylor Dutcher. By the way, I am happy to share that Taylor is off to train with The Joffrey Ballet in Chicago later this summer. Not bad!!! Please take a bow, Taylor!