There are a few subjects that I never tire of repeating and one of them is of my husband sleeping.
It all started when I began looking for a model to practise my newly acquired life drawing and painting skills. I needed one who’d be able to hold still for a pose, like the ones we had in college. Since I was just getting the hang of things it seemed wise to also look for someone who was not fussy about the results, available at short notice and on a regular basis. My husband fit the bill perfectly but didn’t share my delight when I told him about my find. All that he had in mind after a hard day at work was to unwind.
Never one to give up easily I tried to catching him unawares when he was watching TV or reading. He has some sixth sense and would begin to fidget and on being discovered if i asked him to hold the pose for the length of time I needed ( read hours) he’d complain. He used to say that he could feel me staring! I was only trying to be carefully observant. There are many incomplete sketches as I was too new to incorporate the changes in the pose into my work.
One weekend I had a home assignment. I need to paint from life. On discovering that my husband was sleeping I ran and fetched the easel and set it up beside the bed. There was no time for preliminary sketches or anything like that. I jumped right in hoping he’d hold the pose for a short while. And he did. I liked the way the piece turned out. I also liked the spontaneity of it all. Painted in one session as I knew I wouldn’t catch the same pose again.
After that I made several sketches of him sleeping and a digital painting or two too. After a while we moved cities and I stopped drawing from life relying more on photographs as references for painting. I found that in photos my models held their poses beautifully for as long as I wanted and at any time of the day or night. Always in the same clothes and in the same pose upto the nearest mm. Perfect!
A week ago we were once again living in one room in a hotel. I took quite a few pictures to use as reference for a series on Ramesh sleeping. My paints are all packed up and therefore all i could think of was painting. My trusty wacom was handy. I quickly uploaded the pics and chose one to do a digital painting with. Unfinished like a lot of other work that I do but I still like it.