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My Life as an Artists Model
February 14, 2012, usually a day for making fond mem- ories, stands out not because of romance, but because I got  red. After they dismissed me due to budget cuts, I laughed and thanked the poor woman processing me out. “You’re the happiest person we’ve  red,” she said.
I live in Cocoa, but worked in Palm Harbor, just outside Tampa. And I  ew to of ces around the country three weeks out of the month. Since airline travel had fallen into chaos, I was happy to give it up. However, at age 59 I was too old to hire and too young to retire, so they say.
Afterwards, I slept for a month, published a book (The Royalty Principle) about being a Kingdom of Heaven prin- cess, and applied for unemployment. The Career Source Brevard of ce had a program to help start businesses. They offered training from professionals on becoming your own boss. I signed up in order to sell my book. In 2013, a woman walked in with a unique opportunity. Her husband, Dennis Childs, was an artist looking for models. I gave her my number. Several months later, he called.
Dennis, a grey haired older white man, met me in his studio. I’d chosen to wear a tiara in keeping with my books heavenly princess theme. For three hours I sat still holding a hint of a smile for him and two other artists. Every twenty minutes I got a ten-minute break. They said, “You’re the best model we’ve ever worked with.”
It took three successive Mondays to complete the oil portrait. While Dennis painted it without my tiara, the  n- ished product amazed me.
Dylyce P. Clarke
Senior Scene® | January Issue
I’d enjoyed the experience, so I asked Dennis if he would paint me wearing a gold peacock-feathered Mardi Gras mask. He agreed and a few months later we went at it again. During that session Dennis, a snowbird from Nan- tucket, mentioned he hadn’t started painting until after he retired. And he said he’d sold that  rst picture of me for $800.00 in just three weeks! It was the only portrait he’d ever offered for sale.
Because he liked painting my reddish-brown skin tone, Dennis wanted to do another portrait. We selected a  oral scarf as a prop. Then Bright House Network invited him to demonstrate painting on a half-hour show. I held yet an- other pose in the studio while he explained his process. In 2015 the King Center for the Performing Arts announced a competition. Dennis chose to paint me again.
For the portrait I wore a large gold hat. The picture hung in the King Center foyer for a month, during which time the patrons voted on their favorite. Dennis’ Sunbon- net Princess won the People’s Choice award.
On the shows closing night, a man asked if I’d sit for some students at an artist guild in Melbourne. We worked on three more portraits.
In 2016 Dennis injured his arm. I wondered if he’d paint again. Happily, he recovered. We began our  fth por- trait in October 2017. SS
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January 2018 | Senior Scene® Magazine | 47

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