Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Artist's Muse

 "His Right Foot"
Pencil and Ink
8" X 10"

About a year before we were married, my art show included some watercolor paintings of Clint, sans clothing. I wished I’d photographed them, because I thought they were exquisite (said without a shred of modesty). They were small paintings, only 4" X 6". Both were somewhat abstract with one capturing the curve of his hip, and the other his chest. The color was rich, the rendering loose, and the passion quite evident.

I was a little short of work that year, having spent more time with Clint than my art materials. On a whim, I put them on display. Very different from much of my work, they caught the eye of our neighbors, who bought them for the townhouse they were decorating.* I was delighted—because they liked them—but sad at the same time, because these pieces came from the heart and I would miss them.

Of course, the question came up (with the answer most likely known), as to who posed for these pieces. I smiled like the cat with the canary in its mouth and said, "Clint, of course."

Later during a lull in the show, I told Clint. He was horrified. "You told them it was me?"

"Well sweetie, I think they pretty well figured that out on their own," I replied. “And if I'm going to use you as a model, people ARE going to see you naked in my paintings."

Clint had posed for me a few times. However, there was one small problem, I couldn't get him to sit still long enough. He'd try, that's for sure; book in hand, he'd find a comfy position on the futon in the studio, but he just couldn't stay in one position. And I couldn't work fast enough to capture anything before he'd move.

At one point, I tried to focus on his feet, which were benignly hanging off the end of the couch. To my dismay, they moved more than anything else did: jiggling, shifting, stretching, and rubbing one another, ankles twisting, toes pointing and then flexing. I never knew feet could move that much when “at rest”. I decided, as much as I wanted to use him as a model, I would just have to paint him from still shots of my memory.

Anyhoo, back to the show…later that day, a quiet and tiny woman in her 70s that we invited also commented on the paintings, which now bore a “sold” sign. Whenever we would see her around town, she’d light up and say, “Hi Clint!” It was actually very cute and touching. She greeted him up on her tiptoes in excitement, bouncing like a teenager with a crush. She always looked at me vaguely, trying to remember my name. Clint and what’s-her-face. Very nice woman, but I'm sure she came to the show to see Clint.

I told her the story about the paintings and how Clint was so adorably embarrassed by the neighbors knowing it was him—and my response to him about being known as my model. In her soft southern accent she said, “Ah'm sure he has a very nice physique.” I assured her he did.

* By the way, these neighbors have been huge supporters of my art, having purchased several pieces. Thanks, Neighbors!

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