Does my bum look big in skin? [8] True to life


Sometimes it helps to have a good moan.  I had one recently to a naturist mate, all about the trials of freelancing life. I’m fairly new to being my own boss, and there’s so much positive talk of the joys of working for yourself. The difficulties get skirted over. 

You soon find out what they are. The networking events which turn out a waste of time. The people who promise you jobs then so strangely forget what they said. The positive opener, a dozen emails,  a sparkly meeting – I’m in there for sure! –  then the nearly-client changes her mind. Worst of all, when the work’s been commissioned and done and the invoice is sent – no-one’s exactly in a hurry to pay. 

Cashflow problem? said my mate.  Had I thought about life modelling? He used to do it – and you’re happy naked, right? 

In Britain there’s a  life models’ register. You audition – and pay – and once you’ve passed, your profile goes up and you get a number. That’s how the artists and tutors, who’ve also registered and paid, find you.  I was warned the auditioners throw you in deep: either you’ve got the nerve or you haven’t, and trialling with just one or two, or with one gender only, is too easy. Pass that way, and you could go to a job and be faced with fifty sketchpads and a hundred eyes.   

In my case it was six women and five men plus the tutor/auditioner, at a studio in south London. It had a small – and very chilly – undressing area. You get clothes-free and put on a robe, then the class arrives and sets up easels in a circle. In the middle is the space for the model: a stool, a folded rug on the floor and a crate, for poses at different heights. Three-sixty exposure, this: forget about your most flattering angles. 

At 6.30pm the tutor shut the door, turned to me and said, ‘When you’re ready…..’ and I chucked my robe on a chair. 

I was glad that I’d had some advice beforehand. ‘Keep your weight even across your base’ – which means not standing mostly on one leg, or leaning on one arm if you’re seated on the floor. If you do, you’ll lose that arm or that leg to either numbness or severe pain pretty quickly – and by now, they’ve started to draw you.  Be sure not to trap, say, your foot under your bottom, for same reason. Don’t lift anything you can’t keep in place. Artists like ‘dynamic’ poses, though, so be arresting if you can. As you gain experience, you learn which positions work best and which you can hold most easily. Vitally –  try to twist, putting curves and flow through your body: the artists look for your line.  

 There was quiet jazz in the background; the minutes flowed by. What I hadn’t foreseen was the problem of feeling my hair, which is long: some pieces fell over my face. Most of us fidget constantly, making minute posture adjustments every few seconds; I must toss it the strands away without knowing it, thousands of times in a day. Motionless, the pieces tickled my cheeks maddeningly. 

But I didn’t make major mistakes and no position really hurt. I got a bit stiff. Between poses, there’s a couple of minutes to stretch. Then at half time, a tea break, and the tutor made me tea. To robe up, or not to robe?

A life model needs to hold power,and keep self-possession.  What I needed to work out was how best to do it. Here naturism helped me: I know now that clothes make you conscious of clothes. Clothes-free, I’d shed my ‘I am undressed’ feeling, so to stay in that space, I stayed as I was. I admired some of the drawings – and stayed comfortable, though I do know that one of the men was overly enjoying talking to me because I was naked. 

More poses. It’s strange to be empty and still so close to a busy, Christmassy street of shops. No pockets for my money. They’d put the heater alongside me; my tea was to hand. I daydreamed to the point of sleepiness. Being naked is peaceful. It’s turning a corner and seeing the sea where I didn’t expect, and resting my eyes on the blue. 

Good news – I passed the audition. My first paid job’s in three days. The money will come in handy for Christmas presents. 

Naturist takes on life modeling in senior years

Hold that pose! Life models bare all for the beauty of art

In a darkened Algonquin College art studio, Hartley steps down from the small lighted platform to take a break and then wanders among the 30 or so third-year animation students looking at their artwork.

Wearing nothing but flip flops and a towel draped over one shoulder, he appears to make the young students a little nervous as he stops to chat to them about their artwork.

He shrugs later saying he finds it curious that artists would feel uncomfortable talking to him while he’s still nude just moments after they spent 20 minutes sketching him in detail.

It wasn’t until he was a young married man serving in the Royal Canadian Navy while living in Moncton in the mid 1950s that he first tried naturism.

His wife was hesitant to join him at first. Some women from the club however, got in touch with her and managed to put her at ease.

Howard has been an avid naturist ever since.

Source: Ottawa Citizen
Hold that pose! Life models bare all for the beauty of art

Naked in front of strangers – Get Nude Get Drawn

My fellow sitter has just left the platform. Young, bearded and heavily tattooed, he high fives all the artists on leaving and does not strike me as naturally bashful. I go to the toilet. I apply some translucent powder – about the only thing I’ll be wearing for the next 30 minutes. It does nothing to cover the vivid blush spreading from my cheeks to what used to be my cleavage when I wore clothes to hold it together. And now? Now I walk into the studio in front of eight men and two women, say hello and drop my shirt in a rather apologetic way.

I am part of illustrator Mike Perry’s global pop-up experiment: his appeal to the public to ‘Get Nude. Get Drawn’. In cities around the world, he gathers together the artists and illustrators he admires and stages events asking members of the public, via social media, to pose for them.

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Artist’s Model Magic

CFL: How would you describe what you do: “Life modeling”, “nude art modeling” or something else?

 RM: The funny thing is when people ask me, “What do you do” I often reply that I’m a life model. They acknowledge my answer with a confused look on their face and I realize that I have to clarify what being a life model means. So I try to stick with describing myself as an Artists’ Model now.

CFL: How does a self-described all-American woman end up living and modeling clothes-free in the UK?
 RM:I was in the UK for several years before I began modelling. I was studying there but it quickly became a second home to me. Even now I look forward to spending time on both sides of the Atlantic and I am due to be sitting for a wonderful sculptor in Southern France later this month. I still think of myself as American but I hope my future will be international.
CFL: How did you get started as a model?
 RM: You never forget your first! I started posing for Oxford (UK) based artist Francis O’Neill in August 2012. I posed for Francis for a few paintings including my first nude – ‘Ruby Magic 2012’. I came across Francis via an advertisement on a local community website. I was looking though the classifieds for tennis lessons when I saw a notice titled “Model needed for a Painter”. The spontaneous decision to reply to that little notice has changed my life in ways I couldn’t have even imagined.
CFL: What is the most challenging thing about being a model?
 RM: Of course the poses can be very strenuous but the biggest challenge for me is just turning up on time! Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m always late for everything but with this kind of work there’s no room for tardiness. I can’t leave the artists waiting for me so I try to be a little early in order to be sociable and to get properly prepared.
CFL: Other than your “bum being numb” is there anything which makes you uncomfortable regarding modeling clothes-free?

 RM: Whether nude or clothed the poses are often challenging to hold. I try to push myself to get the best results for the artists but I have also learned how to avoid putting myself in poses for durations which my body cannot deal with. If you’re going to work in this field you have to be able to deal with the numbness and even some pain. I often used to get sore muscles after sessions.

CFL: Does modeling clothes-free require a certain degree of body acceptance and positive body awareness?
 RM: When I first started modeling nude I would not eat a big meal prior to a session. I used to shave all over and I would only do certain poses which did not draw attention to any rolls in my belly! So yes, you do need to accept that you are who you are and there is nothing wrong with that. I only began to feel comfortable with this when I realized that artists don’t care how big or small the model looks. They generally want to draw and paint someone who looks interesting over and above someone who looks traditionally beautiful. Having accepted my body I feel like my poses are more natural and hopefully more artistically fulfilling for my artists.
CFL: Do you consider yourself an artists’ muse?

 RM: I would like to consider myself that way. Sometimes artists really embrace me as a kind of collaborator as well as a model. That’s not to say that I have a direct hand in their work, but rather that we often brainstorm the poses, the props, sometimes the clothes and occasionally even aspects of their process together. I hope that I can help inspire some of the wonderfully talented people that I have had the privilege to work with.

CFL: Do you feel any connection to the clothes-free, nudist, naturist or body-positive movements through your work?

 RM: The work that I do has encouraged me to be more accepting of my own body and others too so I suppose I would consider myself to be body-positive. Being in the art world, being around other models and seeing so many paintings has all taught me that beauty doesn’t have a rigid formula and that all kinds of different body types hold their own particular kinds of beauty. When working nude for the first time with Francis I remember arguing with him about the way in which he had painted the shape of my belly. I had a vision of how I wanted to be perceived but Francis made it clear to me that my shape was perfectly natural. I began to see the beauty in what I had previously thought of as a flaw.
CFL: I am curious is there a story behind the professional name Ruby Magic?
 RM: Oh yes!! During my years studying at university I began using a kind of cheat sheet to aid my revision. Someone else asked to copy it and months later I overheard people I didn’t even know referring to the sheet as ‘Ruby Magic’. It struck a chord with me and it has stuck ever since.
CFL: What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue nude art modeling?
 RM: People sometimes think that it’s easy money. Taking your clothes off and being still sounds easy enough right? But if you’re thinking about it as a career then you’ll quickly learn that there’s a lot more to it. That said, I didn’t know much about it when I began and I am truly enjoying my work now. Life modeling is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re comfortable enough being nude among people, you are aware of your body, you love art, and you connect well with others then I think you might land yourself a new career idea!
CFL: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you and your work?
 RM: For more info on me and articles about my work please visit my blog at and you can follow me on twitter for daily tweets: @RUBYRMAGIC