Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Great Sculptor

     Her name was Janet McShain. After raising eight children, she decided on the pursuit of art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Though I believe her major was painting, as you can see she was quite a sculptor as well. "Tom the Prophet," in the photo above, was done, I believe, from a session for which I was standing in a somewhat twisted position in a summer session at PAFA's auxiliary building at 1301 Cherry St. Janet was the only one in that class, as I recall, who focused on just my head. 

     Janet's title for the above sculpture was "Irish King," because that is how she said she saw me in this pose.  It was just a stick I was holding; she added the spear point herself.  Both "Irish King" and "Seated Satyr," were done in the Fall of 1995 and the Spring of 1996, both in two-week sessions, with me posing five days a week for two weeks for each pose.


     The Academy has an odd structure, I suppose to save money. Long poses like these involve some days that are "instructed," i.e. with the teacher (or teachers) present, while other days are "uninstructed," with only the class, the model, and a student monitor to mark the pose and keep the time present. It never ceased to amaze me how many students simply didn't show up on the uninstructed days, especially considering how high tuition is at PAFA. Janet, however, was always there, as was Mauricio, whose head of me was done partly from the Satyr pose and partly from a few extra sessions I posed for just him.
  The last photo at the bottom shows Delores Lombardi's interpretation of the pose Janet used for "Tom the Prophet." (You can see some more of Delores's work in the post on Fleisher Art Memorial.)  

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