Joseph Russ stared at the painting of himself. It wasn't done yet, but he asked the question anyway.
When you're over 80 and you're modeling for the first time, these are the kinds of things you ask.
"You going to put more wrinkles on it?" Russ asked the painter.
Judy Takacs laughs. "You'll get more, don't worry!"
Takacs, a painter from Solon, has created a buzz in the with her weekly visits to capture the age-worn faces of Solon's elders with paint and canvas.
Takacs shows up on Thursdays to paint seniors in the lobby. Russ and her other models, receive $40 to hold still and make a variety of poses for two hours. Other seniors gather and watch her work, and that's how many of her models, including Russ, sign on.
Takacs said she likes to paint new people, capturing the human face with all its "pieces and parts and twists and turns." But the dearth of models in the area sometimes makes it difficult to find new subjects.
But the senior center provided a great opportunity to do something different. While many artists may prefer the young and the beautiful, seniors provide something unique, Takacs said.
"I love painting older people, the wrinkles and everything that happens to your face as you get older," Takacs said. "They have so many wonderful expressions."
Takacs starts with a fresh model and blank canvass each Thursday. She takes lots of pictures, and paints the essence of the person during that two-hour modeling session. Then she takes the painting back to her studio, consults her photos, and fleshes it out.
The plan is to have a show featuring the paintings at the . The show is tentatively scheduled to begin November 16.
Russ said he was a bit uncomfortable at first, but loosened up as it went on. Russ has done lots of things in his life: He was in the Army, and was deployed during the Korean War. Had he ever thought he would be a model.
"No," he said with a laugh.
Takacs said that she is impressed with the work ethic of her subjects, and that they all take the job very seriously.
"These retired seniors are a goldmine of strong work ethics, responsibility, intelligence and are truly a joy to have pose for me," Takacs said.
Visit Takacs website to learn more about her work.