June 5, 2010

Homer's Sirens

8 x 10, oil on canvas

These girls were The Perfect Models on the beach. And no, actually I'm not referring to the fact that they were fashionable, gorgeous and had absolutely no cellulite. They were Perfect because:
a) they stayed relatively still long enough for me to sketch them 
b) their varied poses make a wonderful composition
c) and I was especially smitten by how the shadows connected and formed an interesting dark and light pattern 
....all of which reminds me of a question... Another artist told me she was snapping photos of her son on the beach when a stranger approached and demanded to know if her children had been included in any of the photos taken. The artist explained that she would be happy to delete any that the stranger's children may have accidentally been a part of--and continued on her way, only to discover that the stranger had begun following her and announcing to other strangers that the artist was photographing everyone's children! Which begs the question...Should artists be required to interrupt The Perfect Models to seek permission to photograph and paint them, or should we go into stealth mode and do it unsuspectingly? In an age of cellphones in every pocket and cameras on every building, aren't we all being photographed all the time anyway? My experience has been that when I have asked permission, the "models" say yes, but then they are ALWAYS self-conscious and no longer strike a natural pose, which defeats the whole purpose. 
"First you will come to the Sirens who enchant all who come near them. If any one warily draws in too close and hears the singing of the Sirens, his wife and children will never welcome him home again, for they sit in a green field and warble him to death with the sweetness of their song...therefore pass these Sirens by, and stop your men's ears with wax that none of them may hear..." Homer's Odyssey, 800 B.C.


Teaworthy said...

As Lotte would say, "Cheese & crackers!" Amazing. I love everything about it.

Linda Popple said...

Beautifully done! Great gestures and as you said, the shadows connect nicely.

I've never experienced a problem like you had on the beach. Only when required do I let another person know I am photographing because, as you said, it ruins the pose. Few people can look natural when they know they are going to be photographed. Hopefully, it won't happen again!

FCP said...

Oh it didn't happen to me, Linda. It was another artist who told me about it. But I did have an Italian street musician yell at me for taking his photo (he spotted me from a block away), but I pretended I couldn't understand what he was saying (he was speaking English). He was furious. I deleted the photo because he was such negative energy. Who wants to paint that?

Edward Burton said...

This is wonderful, Faye. You captured the light beautifully plus it's a great composition.

Unknown said...

I love the composition too and I can fell the wonderful warm day! Beautiful!
I did have that scenario happen once in our culdesac when I was photographing a friend's little girl and some other neighbour kids came into the picture. when I explained that I don't paint their face, I really only wanted the form and showed the Mom some paintings she was OK but it did leave me feeling uncomfortable.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I once had a guy hold up a bag to cover his face when I was doing street shots in Provincetown. I shoot on the beach, frequently and I try to remain relatively undetected. Of course the 'models' are no longer candid when they know you're photographing them.
This is a beautiful painting, Faye.
Thanks for coming by to comment on my blog.

Crazy Ravens Studio said...

When shooting specific children, I ask the parents permission and hand them my card. That usually makes things ok. I have not had a problem getting permission although I have had several adults tell me that they don't want to be photographed. I agree, stealth is important in order to get nice natural poses. It's a quandary.
I love the Homer reference.

Gwen Bell said...

This is so sunny and beautiful. Love the patches of peach in the sand and that great diagonal that the water creates.

Marian Fortunati said...

That's a good question, Faye... One I often think about but never really act on...
I understand the person's concern, but...... I don't see a way around it to get the natural ease that unaware models present

I had done a series of paintings of people at a coffee shop I frequent and began to wonder what the people might think if they actually saw themselves on canvas... I haven't done any in a while because of that... I'd probably have to make the painting much more anonymous to continue I think.....

YOURS if fabulous!!!