The model was clearly upset. She couldn’t sit still, let alone maintain a pose. It was wiggle, sift, sigh, and sink for the entire time.
It wasn’t my place to ask her to leave, and besides, I think we were all trying to be kind—she seemed to be roosting in a nest of problems—so I had to just deal with it.
It’s hard to keep my imagination down (I can imagine 20 ridiculous things before breakfast!), so I ran with it, and pretended I was commissioned to draw a portrait of a rich, troubled, doomed girl (Paris Hilton came to mind). My imaginary patron was her doting Fortune 500 daddy. And I tried to find the things that a daddy would love in his wonky daughter, and express them in the portrait.
By the end of the evening, I was ready to return the hypothetical advance to the hypothetical daddy, and my heart was aching for this poor, clueless model.
James Gurney has a good post on activating your imagination while creating academic models. I loved his suggestion: add wings!