Artist Focus : Daphne Storm

I met Daphne Storm while posing for the Sunday Crealdé School of Art Open Studio. Daphne is the moderator for the sessions. She is also without a doubt the youngest of the artists I have featured on my blog. With this point in mind, it’s exciting to share her work here, because if she’s this good at her young age now …. I can’t wait to see her artwork develop as the years go by.

I first became aware of Daphne as I saw her drawings after the session at Crealdé School of Art’s Sunday Open Studio where I posed as an Olympic rhythmic gymnast. Even though the poses were quick, she captured the ribbon each time. You can feel the movement in her drawings from that session below.

I gave up on the ribbon prop after the quick gestures. Below I have ropes tied to the stage (left) and no props for a compression pose on the right. I love the detail of the compression pose, and this is the drawing I have of Daphne’s featured in one of the website headers.

The drawing below was from another Crealdé School of Art Sunday Open Studio session. I posed as the Holly Golightly character from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Love the detail of the pearls here.

Here is another from the Holly Golightly session. I love the flow and softness in this drawing.

For my last session at Crealdé School of Art’s Sunday Open Studio session, I was a cowgirl … complete with cowboy hat, rope, and “horse”. Daphne is using a different drawing technique here and the gestures seem to come alive with movement.

Below are some longer hold poses from that session. My favorite of this group is the middle drawing, where I am turned to the side with my hat tipped.

The drawing below was one of my last poses during the cowgirl session, and I love that Daphne made the most of this drawing, despite her restricted view here. I love how the shading is loose, but the lines are perfectly defined, combining together in a beautiful image of softness. This is my favorite of all of her drawings.

As far as I know, Daphne doesn’t have a website or any way to contact her for commissions at this point in time, but I am sure that will change. In the meantime, Daphne is finishing college while always honing her craft to become the best artist that she can be.


Artist Focus : Andre Grosvenor

I met artist Andre Grosvenor during the very early stages of my life modeling adventure. It was my fifth modeling session, and my very first Open Studio session, held on a Monday night at Crealdé School of Art. Before this session, I had only posed undraped for one artist at a time. Technically the second session was in front of a teacher too, but there was only one artist in the class, so that kind of counted as one artist. This open studio was pivotal for me, because I finally could see if I really could pose undraped in front of a large group of artists. Would I be comfortable? Would I be able to hold the pose for the entire session?  I counted 14 artists there that night, and the session was incredibly memorable. At the end of the session, Andre called me over and asked me to sign his incredible drawing of me. I gasped “Oh my … you made me so … beautiful!” – without skipping a beat, Andre reassured me with “Nah, that’s all you. You went up there with all this confidence … I just drew what I saw.” I happily signed his drawing and took a photo of the image below, with his permission to share.  Andre’s feedback, along with the vibe I got in the room that night made me realize, “I CAN do this. ”

I had the privilege of having Andre at a few other random sessions over the next few months. I think the drawings below were from Winter Garden Art Association‘s Wednesday night Open Studio sessions. Andre captured the movement of these gestures so beautifully.

The bottom drawing was one of my longer poses that same night. His proportions are spot on accurate.

Andre has always been so incredibly supportive of me at sessions, giving me accolades at the end. He has does this each and every time I see him and this surprises me every single time. He even did it with seeing me when he arrived very late to a session. He had to work and had so little time to draw, but that didn’t stop him from making an effort to come talk to me at the end and compliment my ability. Professional, concise, glowing feedback. Andre always makes me drive home feeling like I was appreciated for my efforts that particular night.

Andre’s shining ability is the fact that he is always, 24/7 positive.  His social media posts reflect how happy he is with his life … just ecstatic to be out there creating. He is one of the few artists I know that has the ultimate honor of getting to engrave his fantastic artwork in a person’s skin. As a tattoo artist, it has to be incredible to have clients so happy with his work, they will walk around with it for the rest of their lives. Andre is also super busy too. He works non-stop and also travels all the time to tattoo conventions to share his talent on a grander scale. It probably might embarrass him, but he’s also drop dead handsome too, with a killer smile.  That kindness and positive attitude,  and his love and gratefulness of life just shines out of him when he beams at you, with that fantastic smile.

I don’t have any tattoo’s …. yet. One day, I’ll probably get a Bowie one. Andre will get that honor, because of his amazing talent.

Whether you’re in the market for new ink, want first time ink, or just want to check out Andre’s incredible art – follow him on his Instagram.

Artist Focus : Heidi Savage

I met artist Heidi Savage while modeling for Don Sondag’s portrait painting class at Crealdé School of Art. The session was a total of three sessions, spread out over 3 weeks, for 3 hours each session. When I saw Heidi’s work after just the first week, I was in awe. Even though her painting below is only in the initial gray tones drawing phase, it already had great likeness.

Below is Heidi’s painting at the end of the three weeks. Lovely accents of color to showcase the light and dark areas. I especially love how she detailed the light in my hair highlights and the light accents on my face.

To me, Heidi possesses something that no other artist has. She seems to constantly change her painting/drawing style. The drawing below is a standing long pose I did at a Crealdé Monday Night Open Studio session. I was holding onto ropes for support, but Heidi did not include them in her drawing. The effect is this kind of cool feminine power pose with my fist raised up like that. That is one of the neat things about modeling … each artist can take a pose/setting and totally create a different energy and feel to the moment in time. Heidi captured the tension in my face of the hold. My favorite part of the drawing is my spot on accurate torso, which she drew beautifully.

The drawing below was from a three-hour long pose session at the Wednesday night Creative Night at HENAO Contemporary Center. I rented an elk horn hat for this session, and the way Heidi captured it – along with my stoic expression –  is just an incredibly powerful drawing. I seriously had my mouth open when I looked at this drawing at the end of the session. I just stared at it for a few moments. The pops of color seriously blow me away. There was a blue spotlight light (à la Steven Assael)  shining on my right side, and Heidi picked up that light so beautifully here.

The drawing below was from another long pose, open studio session at Crealdé. The moderator tied a beautiful scarf in my hair. The end result is that I look a bit like Frida. 🙂 This is Heidi’s best likeness of me and is my favorite from the times I’ve been fortunate to model for her at a session.

I do not believe Heidi has a website or any contact information I can share. I am sure that will change soon though as she continues to be a creative force in the Orlando art community. You can, however,  meet Heidi in person by attending one of her Friday Open Studio sessions at Crealdé, which runs from 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm, and meets in Studio 1A. Heidi is easy to spot. She will be the artist who constantly has this amazingly peaceful, beautiful, serene expression on her face. It’s a joy to be the recipient of her Zen attitude coming out on the paper/canvas. If you meet her, tell her I say Hi. 🙂

Artist Focus : Hugo Giraud Jr.

Today’s blog features the artwork of Hugo Giraud Jr.  I have only had the pleasure of meeting Hugo one time, during an Open Studio session at Crealdé School of Art. For this particular life modeling session, I decided to emulate a marionette by hanging black string from an exposed beam in the ceiling, then  looping the string ends around my wrists for the puppet effect. The first 2 minute poses are directly below.

Hugo teaches drawing at Full Sail University, and it was really fortunate for me that for this particular session, I had the presence of an incredible illustrator there to capture the session with incredible flow and motion.

You can pretty much see me moving in the drawings below. Note the pose hold times that Hugo wrote in the drawings below.

After the standing series, I let my marionette collapse into this pose for the first 10 minute pose.

Then I stood up again for this challenging 20 minute pose…

The detail in my expression below is really incredible. This was the last pose for the session.

In addition to his teaching, Hugo has also just launched a cool new business called Pin Cats that he started with fellow artist Audrey Zindler. Any concept you can come up with, Hugo and Audrey will create the logo and create it into a beautiful, quality pin. Check out Pin Cats here.

You can also follow Hugo’s animation adventures on his Instagram account here.

Artist Focus : Daphne Hammond

I discovered artist Daphne Hammond one day while posing for a long pose at Crealdé School of Art. Out of all the artists I have had the pleasure of posing for thus far, Daphne hands down wins the award for drawing me with the most accurate musculature.  The drawing below was from that first session I became aware of her, and I was amazed by the definition she captured in my back.  I also noticed how my scoliosis – something I never think about when posing – was on display. Somehow Daphne made it beautiful. Notice how one shoulder is higher than the other? I did have a slight twist going on in the pose as well, but when I stand perfectly straight, one arm does hang quite a bit lower than the other one. It’s slight, but Daphne caught it right away.

For the drawing below, I found a pose on the Internet that I wanted to duplicate for the session. It looks like an easy laying pose, but my legs were twisted a certain way in the front, and my hands were also intertwined and placed uniquely. This was another long pose, open studio night at Crealdé, and Daphne was so helpful in helping me get back into the pose after each break. I wanted to have it accurate, and – using my cell phone to refer back to the reference photo – Daphne made sure I was positioned correctly each time.

The standing pose below was from another long pose, open studio night at Crealdé, and is my favorite of all her drawings of me. The level of accurate detail is amazing to me. Daphne herself is much like her artwork … direct, open, concise, and honest. There is no guessing, no mystery, Daphne is just a straight shooter. She also is very warm, caring and giving in her nature. Her kindness recently in handing down some cherished family kimono’s really touched my heart. I have already used one of them at a session, and want to include both in a future photography session. They are beautiful and Daphne found a great home for them with me. <3

The last drawing below was from a long pose, open studio night at Maitland Art Center.  I think the way Daphne captures my sacrum is my favorite part to her drawings. I jokingly referred to it as my butt triangle / fat pad, and Daphne said she likes to think of that area on women as a butterfly. I rather like that comparison. 🙂

Daphne does not have a website or display her artwork anywhere that I know of.  She seems to be just living her life and focusing on other things than showcasing her art. I have tagged her in Facebook posts when I post her drawings, and every time I do, her friends come out in droves with the likes and praise, seemingly shocked. She jokingly said she was too lazy to take pictures and post the art, but I think it’s more-so a testament to how humble she really is. But as long as she’s at a session, I will continue to take photos of her artwork, and – with her permission – continue to tag her in my posts. Art is meant to be seen and shared. Especially when one possesses the amazingly detailed level of talent that Daphne has.

Artist Focus : Orit Reuben

If all art models were to be honest, they would admit that there are some artists out there that are on their bucket list of artist they would love to model for. Orit Reuben is my white whale. 🙂

I first became aware of Orit’s beautiful pastel drawings when I was just starting out pursing art modeling, while perusing the Facebook gallery of veteran art model. Orit’s drawings are a frenzy of beautiful colors that somehow mix to complete stunning images that capture light and shadows in a way that is uniquely her own. It’s impossible to just view her drawings and feel nothing. Somehow Orit is able to put a life and soul into all of her artwork, whether it be the balmy breeze you can feel while viewing one of her Florida landscape paintings, or the emotions the model was feeling while sitting for a life study session, or even the feeling of the setting she has captured in one of her room drawings.

Orit is a member of The Florida Painters and I first saw her in person at one of their shows at Crealdé School of Art . Since I had already become aware of Orit through social media, I already knew how beautiful she is. Orit has these big, beautiful, haunting eyes and an exotic beauty not many women possess. I was a bit star-struck when I saw her. I wanted to approach her and introduce myself, but I felt very odd about going up to someone I never met and telling them I already knew who they were. I ended up chickening out and leaving the event. I was dazzled by a figure piece Orit had in the show, and was kicking myself for not going up to her.

Many months later, I was walking into Crealdé School of Art for an Open Studio session and I noticed a thin woman, with dark curls, getting out of her car, and gathering her drawing pad from the back seat. It was Orit! I was excited to finally get to meet her, and I could not wait to see how she captured me. I always try to give 100% at each session, but that session, I felt a bit like a peacock. I tried to shine as bright as I could. I wanted her to think I was a good model. The pastel drawing below was created from that first session.  Bingo. Likeness from the first sitting!

I didn’t talk to Orit a lot at that session. I carefully played it cool, by slowly making  my way around to her easel, at the end of class. I was blown away by the likeness I saw, and Orit graciously granted me permission to take a photo of her drawing, as well as feature the drawing here on my website.

I had the pleasure of posing again for Orit when she attended a few more Open Studios at Crealdé. I quickly learned that Orit is incredibly friendly, thoughtful  (bringing candy for Halloween to an Open Studio session on October 31st),  and is very down to earth.

For the drawing below, she chose to create a figure drawing.  I love the commanding power she emotes through this drawing.

The drawing below is a more raw image. The use of light and shadow appears effortless, as your eye accurately finds the details in my face: my high cheekbones, the defined chin, even the way the light hits my forehead … it’s all so methodically detailed yet feels so effortless. Beautifully stunning.

You can find out more about Orit and view more of her work by viewing her website. You can even purchase accent pillows, throws and blouses featuring Orit’s work here. Needless to say, posing for Orit was a great honor and it was all I hoped it would be. 🙂

Artist Focus : Shiniko R. Floyd

I met Shiniko R. Floyd while posing for the Richmond Road Painters group. Niko has a sweet, shy smile, and easygoing nature. To use an old/outdated term – but it fits- Niko is one cool cat. 🙂 He is instantly likeable, not only for how low-key friendly he is, but also for his detailed, beautiful artwork.

The drawing below was from my very first session posing for the Richmond Road Painters. It was a long, standing pose. I was amazed that Niko was able to capture my likeness from the very first drawing! I remember he was so happy that a standing pose was chosen that night, as he revealed that he loves to draw backs…

The next session for the group, was a clothed session and I think it was at this session that Niko confessed that he loved to draw my face. I’ve heard my face is either fun to draw, or hard to draw. I guess Niko falls into the former category.

The drawing below is amazingly photographic in nature … such incredible detail! And this was only from a 2.5 hour session! 

The drawing below is my all time favorite of his work. He has my body dimensions spot on, but I especially love how he captured my messy braid. It’s so soft and feminine. 

For the drawing below, Niko told me that he measured my body, and the middle point of my body is actually my derrière – not my waist. Through life modeling, I am learning cool things about my body that I never knew.

The drawing below I love so much, but was actually taken back by how realistic it is when I walked over to Niko’s easel after the session. I used the word “graphic” to describe it.

The pose below in reality was just me sitting in a chair, but through Niko’s eyes, I was in a forest, with a fairy floating in front of me. For the toe – I originally had it down. Niko asked me to raise it for a brief moment, and he then captured this fun finishing detail on the drawing. I am drawn to my daydreaming expression here. I love that reflective, deep in thoughts look….

I will sometimes also see Niko at Crealdé School of Art during their Open Studio sessions. The two drawings below were from a session where I decided to be a marionette, by fashioning string around my wrists for my poses. I love how these gesture drawings totally capture the pose movements so well …

While the top drawings capture flow, the longer gestures below let Niko capture more of my musculature in detail…

Each portrait that Niko creates of me renders more and more spot on likeness…

The drawings below were from another Crealdé School of Art session, and this time, I decided to emulate the character Holly Golightly from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Niko totally nailed my likeness at this session. I can tell the right and left side of my face in the drawings, because the right side has more collagen (drawing directly below, one on the bottom) while the left side has less collagen – and I consider that my “best” side (drawing directly below, top right)….

I finished the session wearing a sleep mask – like Holly does in the movie in one scene – but I didn’t have time to get a stuffed animal orange cat to put on my back to make it exact. 🙂 Yet again, Niko nails the details. Look at my obliques! I also love how for the top and below drawings, Niko added color and highlights that make the drawings “pop”. 

Unfortunately Niko isn’t on social media to follow and doesn’t have a website at this time. Hopefully in the future he will adopt one of those mediums so that his artwork can be enjoyed on a larger scale, as it should be.

For now, I am happy to just get this small selection of his work out there that he created of me. If Niko does add some type of contact info, I will circle back and update this blog with that info.

Artist Focus : Derek Gores

I met Derek Gores while attending a memorial for my friend and favorite/first photographer – James Regan. I was very close with James and attending the memorial was very hard for me. Several times I had to break away from viewing the incredible tribute to him to sneak off to the washroom to regain my composure. At one point at the end, deep in my thoughts, a man came up to me and asked if I was one of the models on the wall. I pointed out the bathtub image James shot of me and proudly told him I was. He remarked what a great photographer – and man – James was. Tearing up – I agreed. He then asked if I had considered modeling for artists for drawing sessions, and he said he holds drawing events at his gallery. At this point, with no fanfare and just a low-key conversation – I realized he was artist and gallery owner – Derek Gores.  I was struck by how down to earth and friendly he was, despite his traveling all over the world to promote and display his art. 

I told Derek I had contacted a few colleges and art schools in my area to model for artists in the past, but had not heard back from them. He gave me his card and told me to follow-up with his assistant, if I had interest. In the end, the event – Dr. Sketchy – was held on a Friday night, and since I live in Downtown Orlando and Melbourne was just over an hour drive for me, it just didn’t work out.  And we lost touch.

I went back to Orlando though with a renewed vigor and passion to seek out trying to pose for artists. I posted one of James’ amazing fine art photos he photographed of me in a Facebook Orlando drawing group, and was happily surprised by the response from the group.

In that group, I had many artists reach out via private messages that said they wanted to work with me. Through these connections,  I was able to finally get into the art school I wanted to pose for, as well as get posing experience through private sessions with artists. The biggest incentive to get that life modeling experience in, was the owner for a local gallery – Jose Henao.  Jose said he liked my look and wanted me to pose for his upcoming workshop for artist Steven Assael – at his gallery – HENAO Contemporary Center. I had never heard of Steven (since I was new to the art world), but after viewing his website, I realized what an incredible opportunity had just landed in my lap. With Derek planting that seed, I would not have found my passion for life modeling – nor would I have had that opportunity.

Deeply enmeshed in the Orlando arts  scene, I gave up on my idea of modeling for Derek’s gallery. And then one day I received a private message on Facebook from artist Susana Maria Rosende. Susana found that image from many months ago that I posted on the Facebook drawing group’s page. She encouraged me to branch out to the East coast  and provided many leads on artists and galleries, as potential venues. One of those artists was Derek Gores.  Susana didn’t stop at just giving me info though … she believed in my modeling so much that she personally messaged the artists and after she messaged Derek, he showed interest in booking me. Derek and I reconnected again and I was elated to find out that he had an upcoming Wet/Dry workshop and he needed a model. A few months later, I finally got to model for artists in Derek’s gallery as he had envisioned almost a year before.

The Wet/Dry process was really cool. Unlike watercolor, the whole paper is drenched in water, then charcoal is used on the wet paper. Not only did Derek teach the students in the workshop the fundamentals of Wet/Dry drawing, but he also spoke about his favorite artists. I was inspired to recreate this Egon Schiele pose after Derek showed this drawing (below) during the teaching portion of the workshop. (Fun Fact! I originally wrote this blog over a week ago, but Derek was in Austria viewing an exhibit featuring the work of Egon Schiele at the Albertina Museum, and he had more drawings he wanted to send me, so this blog was a bit delayed.  🙂 )

And here is Derek’s take on that iconic Girl with Yellow Scarf pose….I had a few modifications – a flower crown and a neck scarf …

This was my first time posing for an all female artist group and it was a really rewarding experience.

Here is another drawing by Derek that has such incredible likeness, which is amazing to me, considering the technique used. He also has such a unique way of creating the artwork …. he kind of does the standing splits while standing at the table. It was interesting to watch him create from my peripheral view. The drawing below is amazing … Derek nailed my side profile …

Here is an amazing torso drawing Derek created from that session …

And by the way … waiting for Derek to return was totally worth it. He sent me the drawing below he created from the session that I don’t recall seeing when I was there. It is my all time favorite from all of his pieces from that day. So beautifully light in certain areas as your mind fills in the complete image. Such a peaceful, dreamy image. Love this ….

So I have Derek to thank for leading me on this life modeling journey. Had he not planted that seed two years ago, I would not be having so much fun as I am having now.  Had Susana not reconnected us again, I would not have had the great opportunity to pose for Derek’s workshop. This proves everything in life that is meant to happen, will eventually happen.

You can find out more about Derek, and find locations to see his incredible artwork in person, on his website , Facebook page, or his Instagram profile. He not only creates incredible drawings, but is probably most know for his intricately detailed and beautiful collage art.  Keep an eye on his workshops page if you have an interest in meeting Derek in person and learning his varied forms of creating art.

Finally, Robot Love is the most current project Derek is working on, click here to find out more about this exhibit that marries art, music, tech, dance and love. Or follow his Facebook page for his gallery to keep current on all his varied projects.


Artist Focus : Ruth Squitieri

Out of all the blogs I have written thus far, I have to admit, I have been stumped on writing Ruth Squitieri’s blog. It’s not like – as with some other artists I have little content –  just the opposite, for Ruth I have TOO MUCH content. 🙂 I’ve had to pare down my favorite works of hers for this blog.

I met Ruth while posing for Artists’ Workshop. The painting below came out of that first session with her. I love this painting so much, because of how Ruth chose to paint it. In reality I was laying on a white hard plastic patio bench. Because the bench had open areas, I could twist and turn to pull myself into a contorted cool pose that would have been impossible to hold for 20 minutes. This was my most painful pose to date. My arm fell asleep and my hip hurt … all of that doesn’t matter though, because of how beautiful Ruth captured this moment from her paint brush – and the fact that she chose to omit the bench. Magical ….

Another painting from that session was this beautiful painting. This is my favorite painting she has created of me from sessions so far. I love the flow of my hair brushed off to the side, the indent of my shoulder blades coming together …. the roundness of my backside … soft, feminine, beautiful …

Another neat thing about posing for Ruth …. I never know what medium she is going to show up with for creating that night. This particular night, she chose to use pen & ink…

On my last session with Ruth, she was debuting using a Chinese bamboo brush. I love how this painting came out, and it’s incredible it was her first time using this medium. I love the reflective stare I have. The mood she created with that brush is so serene and peaceful. You wonder what I am thinking, in such deep thought …

The most beautiful art from my collection Ruth’s work, is this incredible drawing she did of me. The likeness is spot on. I love how soft and delicate this drawing is. Shading only in certain areas that needed some attention and definition.

Ruth keeps busy creating wherever she goes. She has even been known to beautifully sketch a car dealership while waiting on her car’s oil change, or just relaxing on the beach. She also travels the world, and you can follow her adventures and see the art that comes out of her adventures here. Ruth also teaches a weekly Colorful Pen & Ink drawing class at Artists’ Workshop on Thursdays from 9:30am – 12:30am. Ruth is currently taking commissions for pet portraits as well. To contact Ruth about a commission, click here.

Artist Focus : Andrew Sides

Andrew Sides is one of the artists that I met while posing at Crealdé School of Art.  I don’t know Andrew that well – and we’ve probably only exchanged about eight sentences each time we’ve seen each other, usually ~ Me: “Wow! You made me so {INSERT ADJECTIVE HERE}! “ Andrew usually answers with either : “I don’t think you realize how much muscle you have.” OR “Where I am sitting, there is great lighting shining down on you, so I can see every muscle.” Either way, Andrew draws me like no other artist.

The drawing below is from the first time I noticed him at the end of a session.

I eventually found Andrew through mutual friends on Facebook, and friend requested him. I am really impressed with his dedication to constantly improving as an artist. From his posts, he seems to travel to conferences for his art, and I’m really impressed by how much time he invests into creating. I don’t know what his day job is, but it seems every lunch hour he is devoting to drawing and mastering new skills. I admire that dedication.

I am always floored by how powerful my body looks in his renderings. I also love that Andrew has such a unique way to sign his art. It reminds me of watermark logos on photographers images. It’s a great way to know whether you are viewing an Andrew Sides original or not.

I’m always happy to see Andrew at a session and if he is there, I always make it a point to go over to see his drawing at the end. I always hope to see a figure drawing, but I think one time created a portrait of me instead. I saw his drawing in progress that day on my first or second break, but sadly didn’t make it back to see the finished portrait after class.

The drawing below is my all time favorite of his. Such amazing strength and confidence is conveyed in this drawing. I look like such a bad-ass. 🙂  Andrew kind of draws me like a superhero anime character. If I am ever having a bad day, or if I ever doubt myself, I need only look at Andrew’s drawings. I can’t deny the confidence he is pulling out of my posing…

The last drawing (below) is from the last Monday night Open Studio session that I posed for at Crealdé. By this time, I was used to seeing how buff Andrew draws me, and was captivated by the incredible shading behind me in his rendering instead. The way Andrew captured the pose details are spot on accurate, but the shading is what really completes the drawing and adds panache. And there it is again … that look of power, confidence, … strength. Andrew’s view of me is something no other artist gives to me, and for that, I give him thanks. 🙂

You can see more of Andrew’s stunning art here by viewing his website.