Thanks for stopping by the porch! Stay in touch and never miss a post. *Follow on Facebook, HERE. *Subscribe to receive an e-mail notice when a new post is up, HERE. *Subscribe to the BNOTP newsletter, Postcards from the Porch, HERE. Please note: All of the above are completely FREE! :)
Recently, when I was chatting with Annie, a dear friend of mine, she mentioned she had done a “sitting” that day. I asked what a sitting was and Annie told me she occasionally sits or models for artists here in the Atlanta area.
How interesting, I thought! I asked a lot of questions and Annie patiently answered. Annie told me, “Modeling for an artists is generally called “modeling” and the real title of my job (I do get paid to model) is ‘Artist’s Model’. Annie also said that modeling is sometimes referred to as “doing a ‘sitting’ and frequently artists will take a photograph of their model so they can continue working on the piece after the session is over.
This photograph of Annie was taken during a sitting by a very talented artist, May Cao, for whom Annie models frequently.
Annie continued, “It all began for me when my good friend, Ray, was asked to model for another very skilled artist named, Sandra Anderson. He told me about his new venture. I made contact with Sandra after seeing her work and the rest is history. Rather new history, as I just started modeling for artists in early July. I met May Cao on July 7th at her home and the result of that very first sitting was the pastel called “Girl In Straw Hat”.
‘Girl in Straw Hat’ is the piece May is working on here:
Annie said, “I became an artist’s model because I love art and I love to be around artists. I am inspired when I am in the presence of artists. I am in complete awe of people who can paint figures and do portraits, and the like. It just fascinates me. Bottom line for me, it’s an honor to be an artist’s model. I don’t mind the time and sometimes the pain of an uncomfortable pose.”
‘Girl in Straw Hat’. was still not complete in the photo below. I find it just fascinating watching this beautiful piece unfold. I, too, am completely in awe of the talent it takes to create such a lovely and enchanting piece.
Annie described her first meeting/sitting with May saying, “Ah….the first time was a joy, and it is still a joy to sit for her and for other local artists.” The sitting for ‘Girl in Straw Hat’ actually took place in the home of May, which Annie describes as being “like a sanctuary…a vacation getaway.” Annie said, May “has a lovely home for an artist’s painting session” and “it reminded me of Hawaii…very lush with lots of flora and fauna, too!”
That day, a group of five artists, who are all part of The Mable House Art Group, joined May in painting Annie as she posed on a wicker settee in May’s home. Annie said, “We met at May’s home because the art center was closed for a period of time over the summer, so May opened up her home to host two sessions: July 7th and July 14th.”
In the picture below, Annie is holding May’s piece and she is surrounded by the paintings of the other artists who were there that day. I just love this pic and Annie is such a lovely model.
I’ve learned so much talking and exchanging e-mails with Annie over the last few days. Annie told me, “Artists of all levels employ artist’s models and most often we attend art sessions in studios where there is proper lighting. All artists need are two things, and that is to paint and to paint often! Many artists prefer to use live models. It seems to help because we’re in 3-D, vs. a flat photo.”
Annie continued, “I do allow artists to take many photos so that after the sitting they can work on their pieces until we meet again. May, is highly skilled at painting from photographs. I just love to pose for her when time allows because I enjoy her company and I love to see what she is going to make come alive on her canvas.”
Annie ended by saying, “In addition to painting consistently, the works that are created in the sessions are often used for artist’s portfolios and possibly used for gallery shows that they might be doing, or for juried exhibitions. It all depends on the artist. But all in all, artists need to paint and paint often.”
This lovely pastel caught Annie by surprise. She didn’t realize May was working on it until very recently because May created it by using only a photograph she had taken weeks before. May really knows how to capture Annie’s soft feminine features…just beautiful!
I thought after seeing all of these lovely pieces of art, you might be interested in learning more about the artist, May Cao. Annie forwarded the following biographical information, and I am in awe of the journey May has taken to reach this level of talent.
May Cao, professional portrait artist, received her degree and early training from The Art Degree Institute of Liaoning, Shenyang, near Beijing in the Peoples Republic of China. After winning four major awards and working her way through various government levels in the port city of Dalian, where May was born, she moved to New York City and worked as a textile designer and portrait artist and subsequently opened up her own studio in Syracuse specializing in her ability to capture the personalities of famous subjects and local professionals on canvas.
May expresses her gifts in oil painting and in pastels, as well as charcoal drawings. Her work is in the Classical style. She has such a perception for fine detail, her pastels look as if they had been painted in oil. May brings great empathy and compassion to the subject at hand. Her art career of more than 30 years painting and teaching has culminated in a specialty. She is also able to use severely damaged and almost unusable photographs of deceased loved ones to recreate a likeness in portrait form for families to cherish for generations.
May opened up her studio at the Galleria Mall in early 1996. Her deft touch in pastels, as well as oil, can be appreciated in portraits as rich and famous as Marilyn Monroe and football’s Jimmy Brown, to those of the average and unknown, including paintings of lively and beloved pets. May has no pets of her own right now, but loves dogs and cats whose companionship she has enjoyed most of her life since early childhood. May came to the United States in 1989, and loves the liberty of expressing herself here without repression and restraint. She resides in Marietta, Georgia with her husband, Ron. May has two grown daughters who reside in Texas and Massachusetts.
When not painting, May relaxes by reading mostly history and biographies of famous artists, writers and musicians. Her second love after painting is taking care of her house plants. May welcomes you to contact her if a portrait or other specialty piece is desired. May Cao can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you may contact, Annie, who acts as an assistant to May, at email@example.com.