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The Cambria, London, 4 March 2015

7 March 2015

I entered The Cambria pub and looked about. Having been here twice before I knew I would be modelling upstairs yet I couldn’t remember the way up. I wandered in an arc around the central horseshoe-shaped bar, searching without success for a staircase. And then I noticed the walls…

All around the walls were life drawings – beautiful life drawings. I scrutinised each one whilst I pondered my next move, even recognising a few of the models as friends. The simple outline curve of a woman’s back was bold and unmissable beside the fireplace. Even more striking to me, however, was the smaller drawing just beneath it.

It was the first time I’d walked into a pub and found a picture of myself on the wall.

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In the modest light I needed three or four attempts with my phone’s camera to snap a satisfactory picture. This prompted raised eyebrows and speculative muttering among nearby patrons. I’m not sure if they thought I was more or less of a weirdo when I told them it was me in the drawing.

This wonderful memento of my first visit to The Cambria brought memories flooding back and, feeling emboldened, I opened a nearby door marked ‘PRIVATE’ to discover the missing staircase. I ascended to the world of Camberwell Life Drawing.

Standing centre stage was multi-talented Tatiana Moressoni – group organiser, artist, photographer, life model, traveller and all-round stupendous person. She was midway through instructing a fellow artist in the science of setting up the room, so after some early banter I retreated to the sidelines and let them be.

Tatiana books life models for two successive weeks at a time. The first of these – this evening’s session – is for short poses. It’s my favourite as there’s more possibility for variation. It’s clearly also popular with artists as by the time we started there wasn’t a spare seat anywhere at the semi-circle of tables and chairs.

We began with four 2-minute poses: three standing, one crouched down, all featuring an attempt at dramatic arm gestures. Next came three 5-minute poses: two standing and one making use of the bright red couch behind me; an exotic item now looking a shade more worn than I recalled, but then I probably look a shade more worn myself.

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Three 10-minute poses took us up to a short break and a first chance for me to admire some of the artworks that had been produced. This is a particularly talented group, not with grand pretentions as such, simply a happy coming-together of gifted people.

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Three 15-minute poses completed our evening: first perching on one arm of the couch, reaching along its back; second, perching on the front of the couch cushions with one knee on the floor; third, a simple standing pose with hands on hips, chin tilted up.

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All done, I covered up and followed Tatiana in photographing artworks. The one I kept returning to was an extraordinary watercolour that I confess – if it’s not too vain to do so – I fell in love with. It was based on the second of the 10-minute poses though the artist continued developing it throughout the evening.

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Strong lines and striking colours that the artist used on the figure, contrasting with the blast of paints added afterwards as a backdrop, appealed to me hugely. If it joined the ranks of artworks on display downstairs I might be moved to put in a bid for it myself.

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Instead I put in a bid for drinks at the bar and settled down with Tatiana and artists to chat away the remainder of the evening. And the model in that drawing just above the one of me on the wall – the bold outline curve of a woman’s back? Tatiana herself.

We chatted for so long that by the end I’d left myself a sprint finish to catch the train home. All to the good, however; this is a place I would gladly run to model at again. I count myself blessed to be returning next week.

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From → Art

4 Comments
  1. Sounds like a great experience and that piece is very good

  2. Reblogged this on clothes free life and commented:
    Report from a a life modeling session

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  1. The Cambria, London, 4 March 2015 | ezarrinp

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