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Mall Galleries, London, 12 May 2017

14 May 2017

I was back on long poses for Hesketh Hubbard Art Society. It would be one 2-hour pose – one hour without a break, then a fifteen-minute interval for tea and a digestive, followed by a further hour without a break. Pose choice would be important. Crucially in this regard, on arriving at Mall Galleries I was approached by three portrait artists, each wanting to know if I would be laying down or sitting down (actually, I was toying with the idea of standing). Sensing their intent, I agreed to sit suitably for portrait.

I would be seated on a cushioned bench with my back to the wall between two large oil paintings. I’d arrived with time enough to try a few positions that could work as an interesting nude life pose, whilst being upright and facing forwards for the portraitists. The only one that felt immediately comfortable, and hopefully sustainable for an hour at a time, had my left leg crooked horizontally on the bench, right knee up, and both hands on my right shin. Decision made, I wandered off for a look around.

When it was time to start I settled into my chosen pose… but something wasn’t right. Small positional details make all the difference. Whereas I’d been comfortable before, within moments I was feeling little prickly pains up my back and a dull ache in my left buttock. Why? who knows – something imperceptible I’d done differently – but artists had started making their marks so I felt committed. I passed that first hour with micro muscle movements to alleviate stress without causing distraction.

When the hour was done I creaked and groaned to my feet. Reassuringly I could see excellent works were underway – somehow, good art can compensate for all kinds of soreness. On resuming the pose I found my original intended position without prickly pain or dull aches, but by now the damage was done. Mind games and more muscle manipulations got me through. At the end, Esther came bounding in – she’d been on 30-minute poses next door – and all was well. The artists had done us both proud.

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