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The Star by Hackney Downs, 5 July 2016

17 July 2016

Drawing the Star at The Star by Hackney Downs is firmly established as one of my favourite life art groups. The poses are snappy and dynamic, the artists make superb works, and the upstairs room is both characterful and comfortable – especially during these light summer evenings. Moreover, there’s always pleasant chat before we start, during the interval, and afterwards over drinks.

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There’s only one drawback for me: the session lasts only an hour and a half. Most of my bookings are for two hours, two and a half, or three hours; such a pity that one of the sweetest is also one of the briefest. Then again, perhaps that’s not a coincidence. Who knows? This session at least was made all the sweeter for having Esther come along to practice her drawing. I’m overdue to return the compliment.

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Pose lengths followed a familiar format: 5-minutes, 4, 3, 2, three of 1-minute, three of 30-seconds(!) and two of 10-minutes up to a break. Afterwards the preference was to have two 15-minute poses rather than a single long one to the end. I stood, sat, knelt, and ranged about within a horseshoe of artists whilst organiser Catherine Hall called the times and kept the pace lively.

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No aches and pains, no numbness, no coldness, no interruptions, no bureaucracy, no discomfort whatsoever, just a satisfying session resulting in some nice art – not least the Egon Schiele-style drawing in pink, and Catherine’s own vivid watercolours in red and yellow. After a fortnight in which we mostly felt desolation at the UK’s referendum vote to leave the EU, it was a relief to set aside the gloom… if only for 90-minutes.

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