Krissy is a great model. I told my wife that when I got home, and she asked me why. What a good question, I thought.
Well, there are several answers, all adding up to produce a great session. By "great session," I mean one where I find myself really, really engaged in the painting - excited and interested both by what the model is doing on the stage and what the paint is doing on the paper. A good model can help generate the alchemy that creates this rich engagement.
Of course, some of the "good model" phenomenon is in the poses themselves. Some models have a flair for the dramatic, like one who brought her very colorful parrot to the session (it sat obediently on her arm for two twenty-minute poses). "Dramatic" can mean the model throwing his or her arms overhead, wielding a support staff like a spear, etc. Or it can mean accessories: one model who poses regularly wears striped leggings or a jet-black wig. I think some artists like this kind of drama, but I prefer a much more laid-back approach to posing. Like other models I love to paint (Anna Maria, Angela), Krissy merely moves her body into very comfortable poses that reveal the natural grace of a particular human body.
And then there is the factor of the model him- or herself - the body in question. I would like to say that all bodies are equally interesting (all bodies certainly are interesting), but for a painter - or I guess I should say for me as a painter - the most interesting bodies to paint have good shape, by which I mean mostly rounded forms and soft planes. Krissy is that one I wrote about a while back about whom a fellow painter whispered to me "She's got a great butt!" It's true. She also has a lovely roundedness to her tummy, delicate breasts, and strong-looking limbs (Krissy is also a massage therapist). Sculpting her form with paint is flatly interesting. I should add that, for me at least, models should have some substance - not be too ectomorphic.
Finally, there is an indefinable additional quality, which I can only describe as a generosity of attitude. Some models seem sort of disdainful; others just go through the motions. Like all great models, Krissy is a pro through and through, interested both in her own body and its capabilities and in the work of artists - interested in the interaction between the artist and the model. Attitude is all, I suppose. But the three elements I've named here - a good pose, an interesting body, and an active engagement - all have to be present to make for a great session.
This is not a particularly accurate portrait of Krissy's face (she's not quite this sultry), but I like it for a ten-minute pose.