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The Dellow Centre, London, 14 February 2016

20 February 2016

For a while it seemed as though we might have a threesome. Within a semi-circle of artists, I was seated upon pillows with my back to the wall; Esther was between my legs, her back resting upon my chest. We were about ten minutes into a 60-minute pose after the interval when we noticed a third naked figure approaching from the art room doorway…

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We’d been booked by Toynbee Art Club for a two-hour session of Valentine’s Day duo poses. The group’s organiser, Tim, gave us a free hand to select our own pose lengths, so we agreed to start with 5-minutes and 10-minutes standing, followed by three 15-minute poses, up to a break for tea and biscuits. A single long pose would occupy the final hour, to the session’s end.

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We’d had an enjoyable time that morning practising nude poses together, finding out what was sustainable for short and long periods, both against a wall and in the round. For our first pose in the afternoon, I reached one arm over my head and held Esther’s raised right hand to support her in a one-legged stance. She didn’t need my support, of course; she can pose on one leg for quarter of an hour unaided when in the mood.

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Our respective heights mean I tower over Esther when standing side by side. In other poses, however, we made a point of setting Esther to be the higher, apparently more dominant figure. Too often in multi-model mixed-gender poses, the male model takes a central, dominant stance, leaving the female model draped weakly around his legs, like clichéd figures from a 70s film poster. We wanted to redress the balance.

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Comfort was essential for our final pose as it we would be holding it for a whole hour. But what about the third participant moving in on our romantic twosome? Very slowly the cat got nearer to us, strolled up to us, checked us out, but then wandered off to mingle with artists and continue its feline foraging. Alas, none of the artists included its furry form in their work, but they did us two humans proud.

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