Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ms Bass: My Model

Portrait of Ms Bass, oil on canvas, 24"x30", 2009
Ms (m-i-z) Bass was 95 years old when she posed for this portrait last summer, when I belonged to a group of artists who met on weekends to paint from life models. Ms Bass came wearing a neutral colored dress with floral prints and a black hat. Her companion carried this two-piece, royal blue suit in a long dress bag behind her. She changed into it before taking the model stand. Ms Bass sat patiently for us for about 3.5 hours. Then it was time for her afternoon nap, as evidenced by the numerous miniature naps she took during the pose, for which she scolded herself and apologized every time she snapped awake.
I absolutely, positively, loved painting her.
  • I loved her blue suit - it had shiny jewels on it.
  • I loved painting it using my very expensive cobalt blue paint.
  • I loved the way she folded her hands over her laps.
  • I loved her flat-soled shoes, clunky but neat and clean.
  • I loved her patience.
  • I loved her falling asleep, her head drooping slightly over one of her shoulders.
  • I loved her waking up, and in her little-girlish, spidery voice, apologizing for her failings.
  • While surveying the works-in-progress in the room during the break, she stopped at mine, pointing to the head part and saying in a firm tone, "Put more white on the hair!"
  • It sounded more like an order than suggestion, still in that same, little-girlish, spidery voice.
And, I really, really loved that she came to the opening of my show!

 Upon entering the gallery, she asked the cameraman, in her little-girlish, spidery voice: "Do I need to comb my hair?"

Posing before her likeness

Ms Bass: best-dressed woman in town

She stayed a good part of the party, and enjoyed the crowd, cookies, fresh fruits and cheese. When she was tired, KDM drove her home. She told him that she had been raking leaves in her yard the day before. She also showed him a street named after her.

1 comment:

  1. This makes me miss you.

    The opening was great, by the way. Did I ever tell you that?


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