Wednesday, September 2, 2015

"Thou Art the Man."

At this session we again were fortunate to have three models, greatly increasing the possibilities for poses, which I took advantage of by creating historical scenes. Erica is an experienced model and will soon be starting her own open studio for figure drawing in East Boston, if you are interested in attending, I'll send you her contact information. Patrick also is an experienced model as well as musician (guitar) and actor. His acting experience was helpful in the poses for this session which were designed to tell stories. This was Bhavik's first time modeling and he took to it naturally, excelling at dynamic poses. While primarily a drawing session, three poses were photographed to record the event. Thanks to The Church on the Hill, Boston, for letting us use the room.

"Thou art the man." (2 Samuel 12:7). This scene takes its name from the prophet Nathan's accusation of King David after David seduced Bath-Sheba and arranged the murder of her husband to cover up for the fact that she was carrying David's child. In the biblical account Bath-Sheba does not appear in the episode of the accusation. But I have added her to the scene behind the other figures (to represent being in the background in the text). She looks out to the viewers and, by engaging them, reminds the viewer that she, too, will suffer (note how she caresses her belly, wherein grows the child that Nathan prophesies will die). Both Nathan's and David's heads are in profile, engaging solely with each other, with Bath-Sheba being the only figure looking directly at the viewers. Whereas the text says that David comforted Bath-Sheba after the death of the child, I have Bath-Sheba placing her hand on David's head to comfort him.

Susanna and the Elders. This scene, which was very popular in the Baroque period, is taken from the 13th chapter of Daniel (in Catholic and Orthodox Bibles, it is omitted in Jewish and Protestant Bibles). It is the story of the virtuous woman falsely accused by lecherous old men when she spurns their improper advances. Here we see them spying on her, and even attempting to grope, her as she bathes in her walled garden. The models enjoyed this pose, which is why our Susanna, quite inappropriately to the scene, is smiling.

The composition is based on that the Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari's late Baroque Susanna and the Elders.

First-time model Bhavki created this dynamic pose himself and held it for several minutes.

Here I am posing the models.

Photo credit Christopher Morgan.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Intimate Apparel

Beauty salon scene from our May 14, 2015, life drawing party.
Photo credit Chris Morgan.

Our Thursday, May 14, 2015, life drawing session featured two new things, a photo shoot that was not part of the drawing experience, and modeling instruction for a first time model.

This coming fall, David Trumbull will be teaching a course in the Textile, Fashion Design and Merchandising Department of the University of Rhode Island. A major part of it will be on the sourcing of the various component parts of a finished garment. Take for example, the narrow elastic fabric that goes into the waistband of underwear and is used for brassiere straps. Some years ago there was a dispute, between apparel retailers and the U.S. textile industry as to whether elastic waistband and brassiere straps were essential components of the garments or were "findings or trimmings." In some cases narrow strips of fabric sewn into or onto a garment are "findings or trimmings." But David argued, from the law, the regulation, and several prior U.S. Customs rulings, that in the case of intimate apparel such as pictured below, they are essential components. At stakes was potentially millions of dollars in tariff duties the importers would face if David were to prevail.

Our models, Jennifer and Jim
Photo credit Chris Morgan.

The legal arguments while strong, were not quite enough to win the battle, so David approached it another, more practical way, saying, "They are not findings or trimmings, they are essential components, because this (see photo below) is what happens when you omit an essential element, not a finding or trimming.

Photo credit Chris Morgan.

The case of the brassiere straps, David won. In the case of the waistbands straps it was a partial win. Customs said brassiere straps were not findings or trimmings and that waistbands were not necessarily so and would have to be decided on a cumbersome case-by-case basis. Since business hates the uncertainty of Customs or any government agency saying "maybe, maybe not" the effect was they didn't even try to use the findings and trimmings exemption for waistbands.

Our model John
Photo credit Chris Morgan.
Jennifer is an experienced model having done many advertising or promotional shots, but this was her debut as nude art class model. She was a delight to work with, took direction well, and with an art history course under her belt, immediately got what we were doing with some of the classic poses. Jim has previous art model experience and was the perfect chose for the embarrassed "Joe College" character suddenly, and unexpectedly, depantsed. John had no modeling experience, but after some brief instruction, he took to it fabulously. As usual, we started with the models posing separately in quick two or three minute poses to warm up the artists and models alike. Again, we thank The Church on the Hill for the use of the room and the spot light, carrying on an ancient tradition of churches as patrons of the arts.

Danielle L. created this Shakespearean pose for John.

Jennifer, John, and Jim as the Three Graces

Jennifer getting the full beauty spa treatment, pedicure from Jim and hair washing from John
(pose created by David)

Jim (left) and John (right) fight over Jennifer
(pose created by David)

Nancy created this interesting pose with all three models.
David chose to focus on Jennifer, rendering her in a abstract, streamlined fashion

Nancy created this interesting pose with all three models.
Chris created this pose
with the models leafing through
the pages of the book Art Models 2

David and Chris created this pose, with Jennifer recumbent, her hair cascading into Jim's lap,
while John sits nearby, inscrutable.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The "Nude Deal"

Thursday, March 6, 2014, Mary and David held their sixth life drawing session, and, once again, space for the event was graciously provided by The Church on the Hill.
It was also a birthday party for our friend, and Mass College of Art student, Danielle L.
Our models Alex and Sally were both excellent at taking direction and creating poses.

Monday, November 25, 2013

How to be an Artist

In keeping with Mr. Benchley's "How to Sleep," "How to be a Detective," and his other "How to..." essays and short film subjects, the "We've Come for the Davenport" Chapter of the Robert Benchley Society presented, Sunday, November 24, 2013, "How to be an Artist." This was the fifth such life drawing session, and, once again, space for the event was graciously provided by The Church on the Hill. Due to some unavoidable delays both models arrived late so, in spite of the title, David did not give the participants any tips on How to be an Artist, and we jumped in immediately to sketching.

The Thea had modeled for us before, in September 2012 (, John, also was with us before, in November 2011 (

Thea has the curves of a classic art model and excels at formal poses, such as the one above, inspired by the ballet "Swan Lake." John is tall and lean with clearly defined muscles, excellent for teaching the artists anatomy.

The height difference between the models presented challenges in poses such at the one at the right.

As usual there was music, conversation, and drinks throughout the session. Just as the models finished our food order arrive (chicken -- legs and breasts) and the party continued.

For the next life drawing session David plans to explain some of the tools (pencils, crayons, etc.) available to the artists and how they are used.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Barefoot up to Her Chin

The Boston "We've Come for the Davenport" Chapter of the Robert Benchley Society was rounded up Friday, January 18, 2013, for "Barefoot up to Her Chin." The name of this life drawing session was taken from the title of H. Allen Smith's interview with ecdysiast Sally Rand. Smith, a newspaperman and humorist of the mid-20th century, was a friend and great admirer of Robert Benchley.

Alicia, seen above with Mike in a sketch by Alan B., is a beautiful young curvy lady, with a good repertory of classic solo poses for artists of all abilities. In poses with other models of both sexes her comfort with her colleagues results in natural-looking scenes of friendship and affection.

With the lithe figure of a dancer, Natalia, here seated, posing with Alicia, excels at creating fascinating dynamic poses that challenged even the most experienced artists while also offering beginners some classic poses. We recommend Natalia of the beautiful face and twisted torso to artists and I would definitely hire her again. You can see more of Natalia at

This second time working with Mike was, again, very enjoyable. Posing with the female models he was comfortable and confident, creating poses that delighted the eye and showed off to good advantage his muscular build and the curves of his partners. In solo work on hand gesture studies his causal chatting with the beginning artists put them at ease and he also gave them helpful pointers on sketching.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reviews of David's Life Drawing Sessions

"Nothing but great things to say about David. He provided a light-hearted and comfortable atmosphere (food! music! conversation!) and was also a true professional. When he had a pose in mind, he was able to articulate what he was looking for in an understandable and non-demanding manner. I had a great time working with David and would absolutely recommend him as a host." --Thea, model.

"David is an amazing host and a great guy, he is absolutely one of the best hosts that I've worked for by far. The venue was nice and clean, refreshments of food and drinks were provided, and he payed very well. I would definitely work with him again and highly recommend all new and experienced models to work with him and his wife. It was a fun and professional environment to work!" --Mike, model.

"Thanks so much for your nice comment, David! It was a pleasure to model for your group yesterday! Please feel free to contact me anytime for modeling :)" --Jim, model (

"I wanted to follow up and let you know I had a fantastic time yesterday. It was good meeting everyone and I just loved the relaxed feeling of it. Had a lot of fun. :):) I hope to see you again someday." --Shoney, model (

Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's Okay to Stare

On Saturday, September 15, 2012, the Boston "We've Come for the Davenport" Chapter of the Robert Benchley Society celebrated the anniversary of the birth of Mr. Benchley with an evening of life drawing.

This, the third such session, was directed toward learning how to draw a posed couple. The artists ranged from several beginners to a few advanced students. We had two excellent models, a male and a female. We started with the models doing self-directed solo poses, offering a variety of poses, from simple to more complex, suited to the varying levels of the artists. The young man was handsome, with a fighter's physique, and the artists enjoyed the opportunity to study the muscles as he executed stop-action athletic poses. The artists were fascinated by the young woman model as she combined the classic beauty of the young and shapely female nude with a hint of the exotic in her hair and make-up choices.

In the couples poses, which David created, our models were thoroughly professional, taking direction well. Both stretched themselves to execute physically demanding poses, such as one derived from classical ballet and with good humor got in the spirit of some whimsical poses designed to appeal to the mostly beginner crowd.
Music Selected for the Evening

After sketching, we had chicken dinners delivered -- anyone up for breasts and thighs?