One of the most vital elements for a sculptor - is live models. My children, myself and husband have often been utilized in my sculptures, and most commissions require research into posthumous portraits. However, being able to sculpt from live models is a gift to a sculptor. Friends and relatives have graciously sat for me. "Graciously" being a key word. Modeling is much harder than one thinks. I modeled in college for the art classes, and after each break, resuming a position by going back to where your muscles ache is an art in itself. Even with breaks, standing or sitting still for long (or short) periods of time throughout the sculpting session is truly hard work. Symone, had two days she could devote to modeling, and she was a jewel! Intuitively moving herself as I moved the sculpture, holding herself poised and able to go back to her pose after each break. Normally, I only ask two hours (with breaks) from my models, and have them come back several times to the studio - but with Symone's schedule, moving out of state, she was a trooper - modeling for hours over two days. I am close to completion with her sculpture now (having to work from photographs now) and am very excited about how it is coming together.
Another marathon of sculpting and modeling happened recently as my brother-in-law, Burke - military officer that he is - agreed to model while their family was visiting us this summer. Swimsuit clad, posing as a Centurion strapping on his armor (specifically the brace on his left forearm) Burke modeled all day long.... We had only one day, and we were both sore the next day - his left calf from posing with that heel raised, and I had a specific point on the right side of my back that was aching! That evening I took numerous photos and and caliper measurements and plan to finish the sculpture this summer.
Michelangelo stated at 87 years old "I am still learning" and working with models, I continue not only to learn, but also to be in awe of God's creative genius found in each individual person.