So, it hasn’t been a super productive month. Our semester officially started on September 15, and I spent most of the past month holding the hand of my dad, Mike, and then grieving him.
He was dying. We, his family, knew it, and I think on some level he did too. I am so grateful that I was able to be there in his last days, reading to him, talking to him, just being present. And then, early in the morning on the 30th of September, he died. I knew it was coming. I had known for a while; it’s why I was out in California. But it still hit like a punch to the gut. I don’t know if I fully accept that he’s gone; at some level I don’t want to accept the fact that he is gone.
I’ve had many losses in the past three years, loss with stealth and loss that I saw coming for miles. When my husband died it was unexpected. It was sudden, it was shattering, and I felt my world stop. I had no chance to prepare for his death, no days or weeks or moths or years leading up to the day- it just happened. With my dad we knew it was coming, that death was waiting patiently for him. We knew that his body was slowly betraying him, that his quality of life was diminishing.
Both deaths hurt, deeply hurt, but in different ways. I guess the pain of Dave’s death was like being stabbed in the back. It was quick, sharp, startling, and the full brunt force hit just a millisecond before the intense pain took over. All I felt was pain, with occasional breaks of numbness, for weeks after Dave died. With my dad, it is like being trapped at the edge of the tide. I’m stuck, and some moments it seems as if I can breathe, I can see what’s ahead of me and other times I feel like I’m underwater, disoriented with the waves crashing on me. It hits, and I find myself unable to get out of bed, to work, to do anything beyond cry in the shower. And then it passes, and I feel okay, or as okay as I get right now. I know my dad isn’t in pain any longer, that he isn’t trapped in his traitorous body any longer. I know he knows how much I love him. But it still hurts, like a brand-new hole in my chest.
Both of my trips to California were last minute. I barely remembered to pack my tiny sketchbook and a pen along with the essentials. I made one small self-portrait sketch, looking in the reflection of the window, while my dad slept.
When I came home, I went into hermit-mode pretty hard core. I only left the house to go to the grocery store once in five days. My exhaustion from sleepless nights in a hospital, the mental/emotional/physical stress, the traveling, it caught up with me. I spent a week as a hermit, then tried to get back to regular life. I applied for jobs, I set up my studio, I did laundry. I began helping to plan my Dad’s memorial service. And then I got sick. Not the knocked out, I-can-barely-breathe, Nyquil-dependent sick. I got the sore throat, absolutely no energy, migraines, sleeps too long, sick. My exhausted mind and body are yelling at me.
So here is what little I did accomplish this past month.
A pen sketch:
A charcoal self portrait:
An open acrylic sketch portrait of my boyfriend
I’ve just finished reading A Giacometti Portrait by James Lord. It’s a fascinating take on the artist/model relationship, presenting me with some new ideas about my research. I’ll post later this week with my ideas when I have them more solidly formed. One quote, however, really stood out to me concerning the contributions that each participant makes to a final image:
“There is an identification between the model and the artist, via the painting, which gradually seems to become an independent, autonomous entity served by them both, each in his own way and, oddly enough, equally.”
A model questionnaire:
I hope it’s clear. I’d love to hear feedback on the questions I’ve presented and any suggestions you may have.
Model Questionnaire: As a part of my MFA, I, Sarah Jane Eaton, am researching how the artist/model relationship can influence what the final image represents. Please fill out this sheet and the MODEL RELEASE FORM while I set up our session. Please indicate if you wish your responses to be kept confidential or if I may use your name in my writings which are published on my website. If you wish, I can change names or leave the term “model” in place of your name. Feel free to write on the back as well.
Have you ever modeled before?
What do you expect from the sitting?
Would you prefer a session with or without conversation?
Are we friends, acquaintances, or strangers?
What do you think the final image will represent?
Did the sitting meet your expectations?
What do you think of the final image? Please be honest!
Did anything happen that surprised you? Physically (sleepy limbs, aches), Mentally (bored, new ideas, et), Emotionally (happiness, sadness)?
Do you feel or relationship (friend/acquaintance/stranger/etc.) has changed?
ð I understand that my responses are part of a research project and will be recorded.
ð I give consent that my responses, name, and basic details may be shared on Sarah Jane Eaton’s website, her thesis, and her research.
ð I wish my name and details to be withheld from publications, referring to me only as “MODEL” or “ANONYMOUS” on Sarah Jane Eaton’s website, her thesis, and her research.
A model release form- I found a simple release form online and modified it to fit my needs. I’m having a friend look it over at her law firm just to be certain it is worded appropriately.
So that’s it for this month. I am working on scheduling my models this week for the next few months, building panels, and a few things for a side project. I’m going to go back to bed now, and pray to the elder gods that when I wake I have more energy.