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Helping hands in Dalston, London, 10 June 2014

13 June 2014

By no conventional standard do I have a ‘good’ body. It’s the only one I’ve got though, and I’m fairly well at peace with its limitations so I do my best to make the most of it.

Wondrously, the lack of a conventionally good body is no hindrance to progress a life model. Artists value originality and variety. And while my body may be an accident of birth, my application, attitude and attentiveness are in my own hands.

All this comes to mind as some slight acts that I take for granted were unexpectedly complimented on Tuesday evening. I’d been booked to model for a group led by Aaron Jones, a friend and all-round creative talent from many an Art Macabre salon.

First compliment came with the booking itself: “It’s gonna be a hands and feet theme for the first half and I really like the expressive poses you do with your hands, hence wanting your services! Second half is a long nude pose.

The slight acts on the day itself were, first: the sending of an early courtesy email to reconfirm I would be arriving when expected; and second: bringing my own sheet on which to pose. I’ve always thought these things were important and to some extent I take them for granted, but it’s still nice when they’re appreciated.

To the business of posing. Having been told that the first half would be hands and feet I was a bit hesitant before undressing. Strictly speaking one doesn’t have to be nude in order to have one’s hands drawn, but hands in relation to limbs and body were all part of the programme so I stripped completely.

Timings for this first session were two lots of five-minutes, four quick-fire one-minutes, then 10 minutes and finally a 20 minute pose. All with the emphasis on hands.

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After a break for watermelon and wine we resumed with feet; once again starting with two five-minute poses, then 10 minutes, and closing with a 30 minute long pose.

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Aaron was giving detailed one-to-one advice throughout both sessions to each of the four artists present. This remains one of my favourite kinds of art group – it’s always fascinating to hear observations and knowledge imparted. Not even a numbed foot at the end could detract from a positive reminder of the nicest aspects of life modelling.

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