Since prehistoric times, loving and fighting are the two things that have meant most to people, both in doing them and in remembering. There are why we developed art, poetry, music and drama: to give a lastingness to what means the most in our lives; a lastingness that stays on beyond us, not only for our future but for the future of the world.
There is a strong behavioral tradition, sometimes considered religious, sometimes considered “mystical”: it always involves singing, dancing, prayer, until you get yourself worn out. At that point, you ought to be healed. “Tradition” is key: different traditions for different cultures, all of which indicate:
We have to work as hard as we can until we are worn out.
We have to recognize that, on our own, we haven’t succeeded.
We have to ask for help.
This post was written following a workshop on sculpting miniatures taught by Paris Alexander at The Artspace in Raleigh, NC in Summer 2010.
“I have three of you on my kitchen table in blue.” Over the last month I have been having a new experience: I have been making clay sculptures of two people: three of a woman, and two of a man: both of whom I have drawn pictures of before.
Making a miniature offers the same problem that making a monument does,
At the end of my fourth year in the seminary where I was studying to become a priest, the rector brought me to his office, and told me that I would have to leave, because people in a parish would find me uncomfortable to be with. His judgment devastated me, chiefly because he was letting me know that my “not fitting” was somehow wrong.
It seems reasonable to suppose that most people who choose to model for artists begin with a feeling that they are worthwhile to look at. This is true, but not necessarily in a way that is evident either to the model or to the artists who work with them.
Over the past weeks, my wife, Beth and I have watched a few movies which portray relationships of various kinds.
When I model, I like to put as much of me as I can into the artist-model relationship – so I like to put talking and/or singing as part of the mix.
There are two things that I want to stress in working with models, and I think that both are important. I want to recognize people when I have seen them before, and I want to remember them between sessions where they model.
Maybe the only impossibility that is real is repetition. The only reality that is not new is newness. At the same time, “novelty” is not new, because doing something to-be-new is “old hat.”
I have worked with many subjects, and with many students, from nursery school into graduate school. As I have studied “teaching people,” I have learned that the “who-being-taught” is always more important than the “what” that is being taught to them; and that the one result to look for, in all of us, at every point in the process, is delight.