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Morley College, London, 12 January 2017

15 January 2017

Evening life painting – session 1 of 3

I sat in the cafeteria at Morley College, killing time. Having already had train trouble that morning, and with severe weather forecast, I’d travelled up early. A pool of water collected beside me beneath the tip of my umbrella. At half-five I glanced through the window, into the street-lit blackness, and saw the afternoon’s downpour had turned to a flurry of snow. What an evening to have my first life model booking of the year.


This was to be the first of three successive Thursdays for me here, working with tutor Gillian Melling. Each 3-hour session would be centred on one single repeated long pose, but to warm-up our artists – eight of the expected eleven turned up – we began with four 15-minute poses. Despite two dodgy heaters and unreliable radiators, there was enough warmth coming from two other heaters to make sure I was never cold on this wintery night.



And so to the main pose I would be sustaining over three weeks. I’d been forewarned by Gillian that she was hoping for something ‘angular’. When I arrived, she tentatively asked if I would be willing to stand – of course I would. At first I found an upright pose with arms close upon my torso, but this was considered ‘formal’. “Would you like me to make it more open?” I asked. Yes. So I widened the stance, bent one knee, raised one crooked arm to my neck and angled the other from my stomach.



Not the most comfortable position I’ve ever taken, but it met requirements. I only had to endure it for 50-minutes at the end of this session, with short stretch-breaks at the 20 and 40-minute marks. The next two weeks will be more challenging as I expect I’ll have to hold it for anything up to two-and-a-half hours, with breaks. Still, it’s a friendly group, considerately run, and I know I shall enjoy watching the artworks develop.


From → Art

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