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The Sun, London, 7 July 2014

8 July 2014

Music. It’s the life model’s friend. It transports the mind out of its frozen, achy body; it measures time in lengths of three to five minutes; and sometimes, the nicest times, it can bestow small unexpected bursts of happiness.

Such was the case this warm bright Monday evening, modelling at The Sun pub near Clapham Common. From a hot and cool playlist of funk, ska and eclectic mellowness there suddenly came springing…

Once again I was modelling for the Life Draw N4 team, operating from their southern venue as The Sun and Nude. It was a new venue for me. The life drawing took place upstairs from the main bar in a room awash with midsummer evening light.

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Five cushions occupied centre space on the dark wooden floor. To these I added a low wooden stool to sit on, and spread a large sheet over the lot. I’ve taken to bringing two king-size sheets to bookings: one white, one purple. For this session, I decided purple would work best. No-one raised an objection.

The pose sequence to start was 5 minutes, 4, 3, 2, 1, then 10 minutes, 10, 15 and 15 minutes – a mixture of standing, seated, squatting and kneeling positions, alternating my direction throughout. There was a pretty good turn out for this one, so artists were in numbers all around, all deserving a variety of angles.

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After a break I settled down for a half-hour long pose, laying with my body curved, one leg bent under me and one arm crooked across my face.

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There were 8 minutes left for one final pose. I’d intended to finish on my feet, but come the moment I didn’t quite have it in me. Instead I squatted with arms curled around my legs, my face angled up towards the fresco-painted ceiling.

It seemed that no sooner was I in position than the playlist treated me to Mercy Seat by Ultra Vivid Scene – a much-loved indie track from my student days. A more heart-warming melodic dirge I could not hope to end with. The hardest thing to hold in pose is a smile. Not this time.

Afterwards, while I was chatting with a few of the artists, one kindly gave me a portrait she had created from the final pose. She said, half-laughing, that I would probably put it on my pile of other papers. Little did she realise that in all my years of life modelling it was the first drawing I’d been given!

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Small unexpected bursts of happiness… all add to the enjoyment of life art.

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