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The Prince Regent, Herne Hill, 19 October 2016

23 October 2016

After a quiet summer, life model bookings have begun to increase. This would be my third session in as many evenings and, with each one coming after a full day’s work, I’ll admit I arrived at The Prince Regent feeling more than a little jaded. It happens. No matter that I love life modelling as much as ever; exuding inspirational dynamism and body confidence in the midst of a draining week was starting to feel an effort…

…but then I saw the skull.

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I missed my intended train to Herne Hill, yet still reached the venue ten minutes early. At the doorway I encountered the familiar smiling face of Vanessa who, unbeknownst to me, would to be working in the adjacent room. Inside, Lisa of SketchPad Drawing was busy setting up easels while artists claimed preferred sites. The atmosphere was good. And on the table where I was to begin posing, there sat a styrofoam skull.

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There’s no logical reason why the sight of a styrofoam skull should lift my spirits, but as the clock ticked towards our start time I found myself interested in its possibilities. Here was something fresh for me to be creative with – to react against or be dramatic towards. For my opening 10-minutes, I sat contemplating it – “Alas, poor Yorick, they drew him well…” – after which I opened up more for shorter poses.

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Four 5-minute poses followed, then two of 2-minutes, before the first half finished with a reclining pose that was intended to last 15-minutes, but which, on request, became 25-minutes. After the interval, I changed rooms with Vanessa and ended with a single seated pose of 45-minutes; less comfortable, but by now I didn’t mind. I was restored in my energy, had enjoyed my evening and loved the art. Just the tonic I needed.

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