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Poses past, part XIII – Spirited Bodies at Battersea Library

20 November 2012

There is more to Spirited Bodies than multi-model life drawing extravaganzas like the one at Mortlake in July. They also arrange small workshops in which newcomers can try out life modelling for the first time. I offered my services at one such workshop on 26 September 2012, both as an experienced model to get the ball rolling, and also to bandy around a few ideas ahead of a real spectacular planned for late October.

The workshop was attended by ten first-timers, Esther and Lucy, and me. Everyone would have a chance to pose for ten minutes, clothed or naked, in twos or threes, while those not posing would draw. I was on first with a solo icebreaker, followed by two poses with Esther. Then the rest of the group stepped up to take their turns in pairs. I joined the last two first-timers for a final group of three.

With Lucy and Esther offering their insights, ideas and encouragement throughout, it was a remarkably relaxed feel-good session.  Everyone found something new in themselves.  For me, the greatest revelation came whilst drawing: not through the observation of models, but through the observation of time.

While posing, my concentration is on achieving a linear performance; maintaining a consistent position, and using various techniques to count down the seconds.  While drawing, however, I found that I started in a hurry, trying to capture outlines and forms; then I slowed and looked again and noticed new details; then I would apply detail in sporadic bursts of scribbling; then I would go back methodically and make small refinements to feathered lines, and so on; and throughout I had no sense of the minutes ticking by. It was quite fascinating.

All models should try drawing, and artists should try modelling, clothed or not.

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