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The Conservatoire, Blackheath, 8 December 2016

12 December 2016

Evening life painting – session 4 of 4

It was the final week of term at The Conservatoire, Blackheath, and the last of my four weeks modelling for their life painting classes. On this warm December evening, an end-of-year pre-Christmas feel-good mood was all-pervasive: fairy lights entwined the wide-stretching tree outside; light lilting jazz lured smart young people to a party at adjacent Blackheath Halls; comings and goings at The Conservatoire itself were breezy and jolly. Every step seemed to have a spring in it.

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Upon entering the art room I found tutor David Webb in characteristic good humour, midway through the familiar chore of arranging easels and tables. Artists were close behind me: in week one we’d had eight; in week two it was seven; in week three we dropped to six; now we were back at seven. Such was the extraordinary ambient warmth that I could almost have done without the two heaters provided. I took off my robe and adopted the now-familiar stark standing pose.

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Despite the warmth, this was probably my least comfortable session for strains and numbness. I thought less of it, though, as by now the symptoms were familiar, and I took comfort from knowing the end was near. Maybe a few artists felt that way about their own struggles but I believe they could all take positives from their effort with the materials. These sessions were as much for learning as they were for pleasure – I’m pleased to have experienced both whilst in pose.

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