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East Croydon United Reform Church, 10 December 2016

13 December 2016

Our last session for 2016 is on Saturday 10th December and I have a special treat in store for you (and I don’t just mean mince pies!)” This enigmatic teaser was posted on the Facebook event page of Croydon Life Drawing Group by its organiser, Francis Wardale. His treat? For the first time in their nigh thirty-year history, the group was to face the challenge of two nudes in duo poses. Specifically, me and Esther.

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It could also be a challenge for models. At 3-hours, this would be the longest session in which Esther and I had worked together. An hour of short poses was to be followed by a single pose of 90-minutes. Our ability to sustain balance and intimate closeness without aches and numbness would be tested. The opening three poses of 5-minutes were a good start as first we stood entwined and then varied our relative heights.

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Short work was easy: 4-minutes, 3, 2, 1-minute. Our favourite was a domestic scene in which I sprawled flat and Esther stood with one foot on my chest, arms triumphant. Two relaxing poses of 15-minutes took us to a break for tea, coffee, mini stollens and, of course, mince pies. Soon it was time to prepare for our long pose. Happily, we had the option to be seated on a couch with our backs to a wall – so much better for us.

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We nestled into a position we’d tried before and knew could be held in relative comfort for long periods. I sat far back on the couch, allowing Esther to slide between my legs and recline onto my chest whilst my arms wrapped around her body. We had a couple of stretch breaks, and occasionally Esther would lean forward imperceptibly so I could breathe a little deeper.

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Artists rose to the challenge, whilst we remained pain-free and cosy throughout. Two electric heaters kept us warmer than was needed – even for mid-December. A couple of artists left early, either to start their festive shopping or perhaps we were a little too much for them, but those who stayed to the end seemed well satisfied with Francis’s special treat. Merry Christmas, Croydon – hope we see you again in the new year.

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