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The Star by Hackney Downs, 24 January 2017

27 January 2017

One high stool, one low stool, pillows covered by a sheet on the floor… all awaiting in the pose space upstairs at The Star by Hackney Downs. It’s become a familiar and welcome sight for me. The 90-minute sessions here are high among my very favourite bookings. As ever, short poses were to the fore, starting with 5-minutes, 4, 3, 2, three of 1-minute, and three of 30-seconds each.

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I was posing in the round for (I think) nine artists, including organiser Catherine Hall and my beloved Esther. Not the busiest it’s ever been, but it was bitterly cold outside. Mercifully, there were two heaters roaring away in our room. These proved so effective that I had to turn them off for the next two 10-minute poses. In the first I recreated my long standing pose from last week at Morley College.

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After opening with a sequence of quite complicated dynamic poses – one artist said I was the hardest model she’d ever had to draw – I decided to recline for the final pose before our break; partly to get my breath back and partly out of compassion for those struggling to capture my chaotic limbs. Similarly I elongated my body for the last two 15-minute poses of the evening: one on the high stool, the other on the low.

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Between dressing myself and returning to the red wine, I flitted around photographing drawings that had been shared on the floor. I will never cease to be impressed by the high standard these artists – regulars and newcomers alike – achieve in such limited time. When Esther and I return next week our roles will be reversed: Esther to model and me to draw. I’m crap at quick work so I fear the overall standard may finally slip!

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