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Telegraph Hill Centre, London, 6 November 2014

7 November 2014

There’s always a frisson of excitement attached to the first time modelling somewhere new. The true joy, however, comes from being asked to return – even more so when it happens much sooner than could reasonably be hoped.

Such was the feeling when, a month after my debut at the Telegraph Hill Centre, I was asked by life drawing organiser Alexandra Unger if I might be available to model again. I was, and I did.

For six artists, plus Alex also drawing, I started with three dynamic two-minute poses. These formed a kind of sequence with my body shaped as if shielding and fleeing from a threat swooping in from my left.

These must have gone down reasonably well as I was asked to add a fourth before we progressed to longer poses. I began these with 10 minutes standing, my palms raised outwards at chest height.

Before the next pose Alex reminded me that on my previous visit I’d held a few poses in what she called a “Gothic” style: twisted or crossed limbs, spindly fingers, crooked joints. Since we were still in the shadow of Halloween she asked me to try something similar, but hunched closer to the floor.

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Thus for the next 10 minutes I was a kneeling, crouching, hand-splaying creature. For 10 minutes after that, I was on one knee, the other leg extended, forehead planted on the ground and arms outstretched: my fallen angel pose. Alex captured my best side.

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I continued the Gothic theme after the tea-break. First a 15-minute variation on a pose from my previous visit, seated on the floor, one knee raised, both elbows on the knee, with forearms crossed and fingers arced. Quite a difficult one to hold.

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Next a gnarly semi-recumbent 15 minutes as a skeleton emerging from its tomb, and finally a half-hour reclining backwards on a beanbag with a hot lamp casting shadows from my jagged limbs.

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These weren’t necessarily the easiest poses I’ve ever maintained but their reward was in the staggeringly good art produced. All the artists seemed genuinely appreciative of my efforts and thanked me individually, which was quite lovely.

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Once again I’d been serenaded by a well selected mood-setting soundtrack: The Lay Llamas and Solar Fields. I wonder to myself how much more “Gothic” I can become in my next poses – I hope I’ll return again some day to find out.

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