The view from model Frances Balan

I began my journey as a professional model to re-engage in the art scene after focussing on music for most of my university years. I met Rich through a life model agency in 2012, and after modelling for many student art classes, I had a desire to work with practicing artists. Rich gave me a fresh opportunity to express my own creativity in this manner, and I now model solely for his art, as I value his attitude and methods.

I am always well briefed for our sessions. With the current trends of texting and emails, I appreciate the thoughtful letters Rich prepares, and also the accompanying pictures, photographs and sketches of his ideas he sends me. The sessions flow really well because he is super organised. Over the years, we have accumulated quite a collection of garments, accessories, fabric lengths and additional props. Selections from all these materials assist in ‘setting the scene’ for each pose.

We like to bounce ideas from time to time, and always discuss the poses at the start of each session. I use this as a guide as there is room to improvise in terms of costume, accessories and styling. Rich’s schedules demand quick changeovers, so I will often suggest garments and suitable supporting material. When I dress up in costume, it reminds me of my childhood dress ups, and I become another character from another place.

“Part of the procedure that I really enjoy is seeing the first sketch in the making while I am posing. I’m delighted every time I see Rich’s approach to drawing.”

I also like the element of being more recognisable in some finished works, and not so much in others. When my face is not drawn, or so subtly drawn, the works have an openness, mystery and charm about them. I like that Rich draws the viewer in to see beneath the surface of the skin, deeper into the complex pencil strokes, and rich layers of drawn and coloured textures.

I can see by Rich working out the sketch, and taking photos what the end result could be like, however, I’m always thrilled to see each finished picture, with the clothing and my figure often transformed! The textures, colours and patterns emerging from the paper are all crafted so brilliantly. Rich mails me colour prints of each picture to view, and that makes it more exciting!

“I enjoy the whole process of modelling. I like the structure of our sessions and the sense of flow from one pose, to the changeover for the next. We have journeyed through, and explored various themes.”

I see Rich’s style as a looking glass into different scenes, almost like a dream . . . Our sessions have depicted ancient and modern life, from exotic ‘odalisques’ of the past, to a contemporary scene casually wearing t-shirt and shorts, with earbuds and an iPhone.

My favourite picture of Rich’s is displayed in my guest room. It is one of his most beautiful works, and one of the most interesting from his ‘odalisques’ series. Being a part of Rich’s art journey is a highly rewarding experience, and he is a great inspiration for me.