Painting models from life... Why paint a human still life?

Shawni. 16x12 acrylic. November, 2008.

What do you do when you find yourself in a model group... They have posed the model, often in a position no human would ever sit in for 2 hours (and it often shows on their face and posture), and you've been there, (yawn) done that so many times before?  I have begun to find patterns in the environment just as relevant to a painting that creates a feeling within me, like this one, a two-hour sketch of a model called Shawni.  I love to feel totally connected with "All That Is" (at the risk of sounding biblical...)  when I paint and so, instead of struggling to get a likeness of the model, everything else that intrigues me becomes part of the painting.  Just in the moment, seeing everything; quite Zen really, I should imagine.  (And no... I'm not sitting cross-legged humming all day!)

HANNAH. 16x12 Oil on panel. November, 2008

So.... I was in a model group and the model, lovely lady, was propped-up looking stunning (as usual), and my heart sank a little.  Meanwhile, whilst getting out my paints, drinking cups of tea trying to get motivated, I watched this wonderful woman called Hannah really "getting after it" across the room.  Hair and arms a-flailing, tongue poking through her cheek; her face expressing such a wide array of emotions I think she was painting a vampire one minute, and an angel the next, no vamipire... No angel.  Well... With such an interesting lady, it was no choice for me.  I was painting her, plus the doors and the air conditioning vent behind her, her bags below her, etc.  When she finally decided to walk around, about 2 (20 min.) sessions later, she walked behind me and said "Well I like that.... OH MY GOODNESS!  IT'S ME!!!"  Great for me is that she bought it, so everyone was happy.  Well worth my $5.00 model fee.