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The Telegraph at The Earl of Derby, 5 April 2017

10 April 2017

Two years had passed since I last visited The Telegraph at The Earl of Derby. On that occasion – before Esther and I were together – I was merely part of the audience for a sell-out performance her Girl in Suitcase play; even so, I managed to contribute a little life modelling of my own. Now in 2017, the same upstairs room is the venue for weekly life classes hosted by London Drawing Group and I was here to model solo. We started with four 1-minute poses and four 2-minute poses.

London Drawing Group is a trio of artists: Luisa-Maria MacCormack, Lucy McGeown, and Frances Stanfield. Upon arrival, I had first met Lucy; she would be facilitating the session this evening whilst the others drew. During the 1-minute warm-up poses, she encouraged her artists to draw me as a composite of geometric outlines. For the next 2-minute poses, she suggested they draw large open shapes on their pages and then try to fit my figure within them, thinking about composition. Interesting exercises.

After these early challenges, artists had more of a free hand to draw as they pleased, and I alone received direction. This was simply in the form of requests for standing or seated poses, but otherwise I was at liberty to select a stance. As pose lengths rose to 5 and 10-minutes, I switched direction and posture on a low bar stool, and finished the opening half in a standing attitude with one arm raised. After the break I was able to lay down for 45-minutes, mimicking the pose from a work by Lucian Freud.

Apparently it was a smaller-than-usual group this evening, with five artists joining the three organisers, but the space itself was quite narrow so this number felt about right. The format was nice too, with a healthy mix of short and long work, a little tuition and more time afterwards for self-expression. I was told that group members take turns to lead each session, and I hope in time I’ll have an opportunity to experience the styles of Luisa-Maria and Frances. For now, it was a pleasure to have had this introduction.

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