In search of a perfect model

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.


6 thoughts on “In search of a perfect model

  1. thank you Cathy. lol! mine can feel me staring in his sleep. he usually fidgets too and sometimes wakes up asking me to stop! maybe we share a super power – intense staring?!?

  2. I have the same problem! I really want to paint Mike, my husband, but he can’t sit still. He does love to sleep. I’ll have to sneak a study in next time he falls asleep on the sofa. Yours is a lovely painting, asleep, yet alive with breath.

  3. lol! and here i’d thought i was the only person having a problem with a reluctant but handy model 😛 I wish you luck in your venture. looking forward to seeing the piece.

  4. I hope you’ve arrived safe and well at your new home and will soon have your paints and brushes unpacked! your unfinished oaintings certainly already have enough character! Good luck on settling in

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