real MODEL, REAL model

Christophe Nayel, any time, any place!
Riding the subway at 2am, I received two amazing opportunities: to draw both a real MODEL and a REAL model for my "Before I Transfer" project.

Coming home from an opening at Kraine Gallery in the East Village (which supports my irrational fantasy of experiencing the "artist's" New York City based on my college painting professor's Beatles-fueled, bohemian - his name is Bukowski, so there you go - bacchanalian Zeitgeist), the trains barely run in the middle of the night and the platforms are almost vacant so it's nice to have a friend along for the ride.

Christophe is an art model in the City, and I've spent many hours in charcoal-coated classrooms drawing him in various states of ________ (just name it, he's done it). We transferred, waited, transferred, waited... and finally devolved into nonsensical conversations in those wee hours, so I asked him if I may draw him for my project. But of course, cheri!

It was such a treat to work, again, with a real MODEL who despite the jumpy-bumpiness of the rails can hold any pose. (Usually, I look for the folks who are snoozing because they're not switching positions.) So as I began to sketch him, sitting nearby was a young lady who began to watch. And as I was finishing the sketch, she offered to sit on the subway for a portrait, too. But only if you can finish the sketch in six stops, she smiled. With the pressure on, I knew that this sketch would challenge me. Not only had I a time-limit visible on the horizon, but also because this was a request. A work that wasn't just for me or for this project, but for her, too.

As she was sitting, we had a pleasant conversation and the stops flew by. While we were chatting, I was studying the breaks in the line of her nose, the way the curve of her lips arced gently like the lids of her eyes... and then I realized there was only one stop left. I knitted in her scarf and perched her head on top of her jacketed shoulders just as the subway slid into my - and her - stop. She was my first REAL model in this project, and I hope our paths will cross again so I can paint her portrait, too.


  1. Hah! My heart is racing. Good for you.

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