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The Old Dairy, London, 3 September 2014

7 September 2014

Following the novelty of standing in as facilitator on my last visit to The Old Dairy for Life Draw N4, this Wednesday I was back in character – and out of clothes – as their life model for the evening.

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Roll up, roll up, welcome one and all

The first thing I noticed on arrival was the new layout to the function room used for life drawing. Previously tables had been piled out the way at the back of the room in front of frosted windows facing out to the main road. Now they were in a line at one side of the room making the whole space rectangular rather the square. Artists would still be surrounding the model on all sides, however.

One side effect of the change was that anyone outside who cared to peer through the clear glass lettering or animal shapes in the window would have a lovely unobstructed view of me in all my splendour – an option also available to anyone on the top deck of a passing bus. As previously at this venue, I never noticed it happening and would not have cared one iota if it did.

And so to poses. We began with the traditional 5 minutes, 4, 3, 2, 1 minute dynamic sequence, then continued with longer poses of 10, 20, and 20 minutes.

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10, 20 and 20 minutes poses

I love modelling for this group, yet curiously didn’t quite feel comfortable in myself this evening. Absolutely nothing to do with the environment, just a state of mind and body internalised that wasn’t quite right. Maybe this was captured in my expression on the fantastic work below by Karrie Fransman.

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20 minute pose

After a short break the finale was a 30-minute reclining pose with one knee and one hand raised. It was after this pose that I asked Karrie if I might photograph her work. Instead, in a beautiful act of enthusiasm and generosity she offered to photograph it herself and let me keep the original drawing. It’s reproduced below. Wonderful.

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30 minute pose

Karrie’s kindness, the warm applause of all the artists and a lovely vote of confidence from Life Draw N4’s Aless at the end meant I came away from a personally unsettled session with a real spring in my step.

My next life modelling will be at The Sun in Clapham on Monday. Like Life Draw N4 it is a part of The Moon and Nude life drawing project. They’re flourishing nicely.

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