Here she is modeling the heart-shaped fruit of a Japanese Climbing Cucumber plant that grows in a pot on her porch. I am lucky that our friendship has continued through the years, and that she enjoys posing for me now and then.
I first met Peggy in an exercise class over 10 years ago. After we’d gotten to know each other well enough, I asked if she would pose for a painting I was working on. It was her profile that I wanted to copy: straight nose, high cheek bones, long neck.
She enjoyed sitting for me, and after that experience went on to do more modeling for our nearby college art department. She is such a wonderful model, because she can stick a pose and hold it until the timer goes off. (Artists tend to lose track of time when engrossed, so a wise model utilizes a clock.)
I believe it is Peggy’s yoga practice and knowing her own body that help her settle into long poses. She is able to meditate or become lost in thought, even as she’s aware of the the bustling of artists at work: the scratch of drawing tools, creaks of easels and stools, sighs of exasperation!
I love when young people visit my studio. They approach my space as if it’s a playground, which it is. Paints, colored pencils, inks, clay – all kinds of art supplies are laid out on a messy array of tables and shelves.
Not too long ago a young boy and his mom came to see me. He promptly set to work on a composition called Day Train, while she and I walked around chatting about my various on-going projects…
When I was his age, I remember doing my version of Day Train. It was “My Back Yard” with swing-set, sand box, circular baby pool and brick house in the background. It’s the details that are telling. I put a girl sunning in the pool, arms out-stretched with hands sprouting fingers with red points on the ends of all ten. I didn’t have fingers like that. My mother did not have fingers like that. My mom had work hands from gardening, cooking, laundry, changing diapers. But I had somewhere seen ladies with delicate manicured fingers painted bright red. For me, making those fingernails was the most important part of that drawing.
Now, I happen to know the parents of my young visitor; very healthy types who work in the medical field. As I tick off all the wonderful details in his drawing (strong tracks to carry the train, blue sky with fluffy clouds, sunshine, a guy climbing a ladder up the back of the train, smokes stacks, and more…) the one thing that makes my eyes open up big and wide is the conductor with a smoking cigarette hanging out of his mouth!