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Morley College, London, 19 January 2017

21 January 2017

Evening life painting – session 2 of 3

Lots and lots of stretching, rolling and limbering up: I was back at Morley College to fill a 3-hour session with the long pose I started last week. During that evening I held it for just 50-minutes, yet had neck and back pain for two days afterwards. This time I took greater care over preparation. There were no warm-up poses, so at 6pm I put my feet in the exact same position as before, set my arms, legs and gaze… and began.

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The first part of the evening lasted until 7:10pm. I took rest breaks for a minute or two after 20, 40, 55 minutes – each time delicately easing down my raised elbow from its locked position then sitting at the back of the studio, trying to shake suppleness into my sore limbs. Outside we could hear the constant sirens of emergency services. At our interval, I read that a World War II bomb had been dredged from the river nearby.

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We resumed at 7:35pm and continued till 8 o’clock before I took my next break. I felt fine – all things considered – up to this point, but upon returning to pose I discovered my arms were no longer happy. We carried on until ten to nine with two more breaks, but I can’t pretend not to have been relieved when it was over. Still, it’s a lovely group with a nice atmosphere, and my preparations did indeed pay off – fewer aches.

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Next week is the final week of my three consecutive bookings. It’s likely there will be some alternative warm-up poses, probably in an Egon Schiele style, so still angular rather than soft, but variety helps. I enjoy listening as tutor Gillian Melling gives her advice to the artists – “you need to make the nose bigger and slightly longer” – and I appreciated everyone’s applause at the end of this session; I’m liking it here.

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