Chapter 9 – Belly Dancer

Artist Jackie Jacobson


The Model is a Belly Dancer


This story is another about drawing from the model. The model was a belly dancer. I’m back with my art career, and all distractions are in the rear view mirror. And I’m drawing or painting at least 5 days a week. 
So I’ve reunited with many of my artist friends. I’ve put out the word that if someone is hiring a new model, I’m really interested.

I must tell you about hiring models


With so many art schools, art groups and artists in the Chicago area, there aren’t many models doing the circuit. After a while it does get really boring, drawing and painting the same model week after week. 
The model who I remember vividly is a guy who posed in costume. I had him all through art school. His costume was Napoleon Bonaparte. I know you don’t need to see one of my drawings. Your imagination is absolutely correct. Weird. Very weird. And there were many weirdos among the stable of artist models. But this guy looked like Napoleon. 
So today I’m going to tell you about my favorite drawing of an artist model. My friend phoned and said that she has found a new model and has hired her for the next week. Would I like to draw with her and share the model fee? She’s hired a belly dancer, who was new at modeling. The arrangements my friend made with this model is that it would be one pose for the three hour session. 
Of all of the models in the Chicago circuit, there were many dancers but none were belly dancers. I was absolutely excited and couldn’t wait til the next Wednesday session. 

Wednesday arrived and I drove off to the suburb where my friend lived.


Her studio was in the 4rd floor loft. I arrived to find a note on the door, “We’re in the studio, Just come up“ This trip meant 3 flights of stairs with my heavy leather portfolio, drawing board and my favorite Oak Tag Manila paper. I actually had to stop at the third floor for a breath.
The door to the 4th floor loft was closed, but as I opened it I could hear the music, see my friend and the easel she had set up for me. Now from the bathroom where she had changed into her belly dancing skirt and top, came the belly dancer model.
Her skirt was on just below her navel, her breasts hardly fit in her top, her hair piled high on her head. She may have been a belly dancer, but she weighed somewhere between 350 and 400 pounds. Yes she had a belly, a very big belly. 
This surprise model could not have happened in the same month as the last guy that I drew, but it was in the same month. OK what should I do? Leave was one option, but I agreed to pay half the model fee. So I stayed. We spent at least 20 minutes trying to come up with a pose. 
The model said she had no problem standing and we agreed to make it just a two hour session, not the usual 3 hours. That meant 2- 20 minute poses with 2-10 minute breaks, each hour.


I did not draw in the first 20 minutes. It took me 20 minutes to setup my easel, side table, and attaching paper to drawing board. I used my favorite oak tag clipped to the board in landscape format, meaning 36” wide by 24” high. and clipped a second piece to a second board. And then I walked all around the model looking for the perfect view for my drawing. 
I picked my spot, moved my easel and stuff, and was ready to draw after her first break. The drawing began with her navel at the top of the page and drew just down to her knee (skirt included) Then I clipped the second piece of paper to the first and drew up from the navel to her neck.

At the break the model came over to see what I drew.

She paused, looked at the two pieces of paper clipped together and asked “couldn’t you get all of me on the two pieces?” I was excited to answer, wait until you see the rest. She went back to her pose and I took out a third piece of paper and drew in her legs and feet. I really loved her ankles and toes. And I must say I did a great job on her big toe. Another break and then another piece of paper. And now for the chin to the top of her head. She really had a pretty face and I became fascinated with all of the curves I’d been drawing. Her mouth had beautiful curves, her eyes were really curved and pretty, and her belly the most beautiful of all the curves
I did the drawing with a soft charcoal pencil, which meant for her hair and for her skirt, that I could blend the charcoal. Whereas the rest of the drawing was mostly lines of different weight. 
In the end the piece was now 96” tall x 36” wide. I think it was really a masterpiece if I must say so myself. And the model thought so too. I titled it Curves. 

Now there were my children and this drawing.


I had the four pieces framed individually in a narrow black moulding and hung them on the dining area wall. My chair at the table faced that wall. My three children sat at the side of the table and hated that they had to look at her through every meal of 5 years. But of course they were embarrassed that there were naked people on many walls of our house. 
It was difficult growing up with a Mom who was an artist. Their friends, on the other hand, thought it was cool. 

Well there you have it, Two of my favorite artists model stories.


No more about model stories. You now know what it’s like to hire models. Onward to some interesting parts of this art career.

10 Famous Belly Dancers


My Painting of Celebrities



Effective next story, I’m moving the schedule to every other Friday. I’m apologizing to you for the change, but I’m actually too busy painting, website upgrade and story writing. So I’m slowing down and so is my publishing schedule. See you with the next story in two weeks.

Thanks Jackie

Would you be kind enough to have friends and family who’d be interested in this series “Meet The Artist”  sign up to become a friend of the artist. Thank you.

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