still model, acolyte to art
holding still as a model or actor is very meditative. it’s a high impact meditation rather than a relaxed low impact experience. much like a vow of silence, purposefully not moving takes on the same mindful qualities. in a culture that values the separation of mind and body, one must instantly become aware of the body as the seat of the intellect and solve the problem of immobility for the allotted time. as the artist, one is aware that the stillness is artificial and great drawings capture the sense of motion that the human body possesses. as the model there is always tension and movement, one just learns to be aware and control it, relaxation may change the pose, so a light active tension is what is required. closing your eyes often makes it hard to maintain stillness particularly if the pose is off-centre. dancing/acting techniques of focused looking help greatly. choose a spot or item to look at, for twisted poses this can help keep the curve you need. the creation of art is a sacred act, you are a part of expressing the soul of the universe, as the muse of the artist. balance between absolute rigidity and relaxation is the space to hover in.
think in terms of support. you are supporting the artistic endeavor, the artistic community functions best in a collaborative symbiotic manner. be a part of the activity that you are engaged in, your presence is necessary. each person supports the others. your psyche supports the pose: the muscles doing the main work of the pose are interdependent with the muscles around them, obeying your will. the last support in the scenario are the props. these are the cornerstones of long poses, allowing a greater range of off centre or arms away from the body compositions. compositions being the end result on the artists end of things, the placement and treatment of the figure pushing an idea out into the world. it is why the human figure has been used for as long as humanity could express itself with images, to express emotions, abstract concepts, and allegories. so much is conveyed in the tilt of a head, the turn of a torso or the position of feet. how are your ideas made physical?
tension build up will make itself known by discomfort after about five or ten minutes depending on the pose. discomfort is nothing. it is something that can be ignored, swing the mind to something else, and you won’t feel the minutes moving by. micro movements that don’t disrupt the lines and angles of a pose can be made to keep muscle fluids flowing. if you have relaxed into the pose then a lot of the muscles are not supporting the few that are doing the work. gradually tensing up to support those muscles will help burn up extra fuel in the muscles and relieve some of the discomfort. it is these long slow moments that the best ideas float into the mind. the vision tunnels and free ideas bump around.
pain usually happens around the twenty minute mark due to blood flow cut off. it is warning pain, your body letting you know that circulation may be compromised and clot danger starting. your body panics easily, three hours is the maximum time for blood to be restricted in extremities and forty minutes is the longest i have seen a complex pose held for. it is especially important in standing poses to never lock your knees, this restricts blood flow and can cause syncope (fainting). being in touch with your body and knowing it really well will allow you to choose your next pose as a relief to the current one, while still knowing your limits. pushing through the pain, compartmentalising the sensations in your head, brings your awareness to another level. this is the point where one feels whole, completely in the now. you can not cast your awareness away at this point, dropping focus once the level of pain and fatigue ramp up is when you lose the pose.
focus and clarity are the two main tools for actively holding still. it is satisfying and rewarding to know that you have the self discipline to choose an exciting pose and hold it well for ten minutes or more. it is hard work, mentally and physically and the feedback and appreciation from artists will let you know that you are doing a good job. the beauty created with yourself as the inspiration leads to greater beauty and appreciation of it your own life and inspiration will find a home in the stillness, whether you make art or not the ideas will find a way to work through you in the world.