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Wanstead House, London, 21 November 2012

24 November 2012

Two hours’ modelling on a Wednesday night, from 7pm to 9pm. It was a debut session for me at Wanstead House, just a good stone’s hurl from Epping Forest in north-east london. This would be a lovely location to pick up regular bookings as it’s just forty minutes by train from my day job to Leytonstone High Road, and then a leisurely twenty minute walk to the venue with a good amount of time to spare.

The booking was with Patrick, who I found setting out an arc of chairs in the top (second) floor room – a long, light painted attic space. He was happy for me to adopt any pose as the artists would never have drawn me before. Timings of 10 mins, 20 mins, 30 mins – a break – and finishing with 35-40 mins were suggested, which was fine by me. I was then shown to a spacious changing space that was rougher than the rest of the building, but had bags of character – a real artists’ work room – and a comfortable armchair. Perfect.

Artists started to arrive while I changed into my lightweight robe. There were about eight or nine by the time I took to the centre of their semi-circled chairs, slipped off the robe and struck the first standing pose. Immediately I could feel the warmth of heaters and lamps behind me, so comfort was assured. My second pose was also standing; the third was seated; and the final pose after the break was an open curl on the floor.

Five minutes into each pose Patrick walked softly around the artists, offering a few words of advice on lines, spaces, foreshortening, etc. One or two artists felt they were not ‘in the zone’. As a model it’s difficult to know how best to respond, if at all. My poses tend to emphasise my longer-than-average limbs and fingers, which I’m conscious may present unfamiliar challenges to artists. Should I tuck them away and close up in subsequent poses if I hear this feedback, or would it be presumptuous to change my approach?  It’s an interesting dilemma.

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