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Albemarle College, London, 14 February 2015

18 February 2015

We’re nearing the sharp end of the academic year for college art. There are studies to be pursued but also substantial portfolios of work to be prepared for submission. With students torn between the two and – who knows? – perhaps also the distractions and allures of Valentine’s Day, this wasn’t the most heavily attended class ever.

Of course it makes no difference to me whether I’m modelling for one or one hundred artists. I’m booked to do a job of work, come what may. On this occasion we started with gesture drawing. I would be moving continuously, smoothly but very, very slowly throughout the length of the pose.

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The drawing above was one young artist’s first attempt at this type of study. He even needed a quick Google image search for examples of what it’s supposed to be; yet I reckon this is as fair an execution as I have seen. We followed it with a sequence of four 3-minute poses that together showed a single developing position.

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Next, for half an hour either side of our lunch break we took inspiration from an ‘After the bath‘ painting by Edgar Degas. In the absence of a bath towel I used my folded super-kingsize posing sheet as our prop. It meant I had to anchor one elbow into my side to support the extra weight, but the pose worked and the art was good.

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My final pose was three-quarters of an hour laying face down. I was comfortable, I was warm and my mind was wandering freely. I have no idea if at any stage I dipped into a light sleep although I was aware I jolted slightly, just before the end. I’ll kid myself that I got away with it and hope my breathing didn’t become audibly snoozy.

New poses, new exercises, new contexts. Life modelling is as interesting, varied and challenging as ever.

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