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Candid Arts, London, 26 November 2015

12 December 2015

Of the various discomforts that might afflict a life model in late November, over-heating is rarely one of them. Nonetheless, it was a mild evening and before leaving the house I had dressed heavily for deep mid-winter. When I reached the heart of the city, I found myself being funnelled through crowd-control at Bank tube station, and then crammed aboard a claustrophobic carriage on the Northern line. Temperatures were rising.

On ascending the escalator at Angel, I craved the first waft of outside coolness. There was scant opportunity for savouring the night air, however, as soon I descended stairs to the basement life drawing room at Candid Arts Trust. Barely had I settled for a few minutes to chill when all too quickly it was time to pose. I slipped from my lightweight gown and stood naked upon a central raised platform.

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Models’ needs are properly catered for here, with two ceiling-mounted electric heaters radiating warmth towards the pose space. Ordinarily these seem like a rare treat, but on this occasion I needed a breeze. Standing six feet four inches tall, it felt as though my head and upper body were being lightly roasted. After the first two 5-minute poses I sought lower altitudes for relief.

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Learning from experience, I mixed and moderated poses so that gradually I could find a more balanced body temperature yet still enjoy working through a variety of stances for a crowded room of 23 artists. By the time I reclined on my back with head pointed towards the centre of the room I was comfortable in my own micro-climate. Even so, I contrived somehow to give myself a numb hand.

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At the end, when fully composed, I checked out a few works and then retreated to the toilet sinks where – as is always necessary here – I scrubbed generations of charcoal dust from my feet. Upon re-emerging I found the room had been quit by everyone save for our facilitator, Luca. I signed his paperwork then returned to the dark streets, cosy and satisfied as I vanished into the autumnal ambience… job done.

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