Drawing and Painting as Creative Nonfiction

Abra Bergen

We all know the saying a picture is worth a thousand words. I’d like to explore that a little from an art model’s perspective, following some conversations I’ve had with artists and those I’ve overheard between instructors and their students. The model stand allows me to both meditate and learn. On the one hand I learn to shut out the various stimuli of the body and of my surroundings, while directing my gaze to some focal point on the floor, wall, ceiling, window, etc. to hold my pose as steady as possible. While my body is thus constrained and gaze limited to some small space, the mind is quite free to roam. Yet even the mind must allot some steady attention to maintaining the pose. While the gaze is limited to the chosen focal point, ignoring the various movements of arms, hands, brushes, and eyes that shift back and forth like low…

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