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Rhodes Avenue Primary School, London, 6 July 2017

12 July 2017

Back to school! Not modelling for students – that remains a rarity – but after hours for parents, carers and friends at Rhodes Avenue Primary School in Muswell Hill. I’d arrived early and was greeted by a couple of employees who asked if they could help. “Ah, yes,” they said when I gave them the tutor’s name, and then accompanied me to the correct classroom. This was a relief as nothing is more likely to make a chap feel self-conscious than prolonged waiting around school gates.

Life drawing is new here, and I was to be the fifth model in a term of just six evenings. Eight locals had enrolled, paying up front, and six of them joined the tutor, Rosie, and me for this session. Each artist would be provided with an easel, and had their pick of the school art supplies. Rosie had arranged the easels in a semi-circle around sheets and a seat whilst explaining to me her plan for the evening. With everybody in position and ready to draw, we began with three standing poses of 3, 5 and 5-minutes.

Apparently the first three sessions of term had seen the artists progressing nicely, but particular foreshortening challenges in the fourth session had shaken their confidence. I’d kept foreshortened elements to a minimum during the standing poses, but the next set of reclining or seated poses – all 10 or 15 minutes – was intended to provide more opportunity to tackle this trickiness. For a class with mixed experience, I thought they did very well. The final pose of 40-minutes saw me standing again.

There wasn’t much foreshortening to tackle in this last pose, just the usual trouble of gauging the length of my legs in proportion to the rest of my body. Rosie visited each artist in turn, offering her observations and advice, including tips on measuring. Some were open to learning new techniques, while others preferred to rely on their instincts. The pose was comfortable and I enjoyed listening to the discussion and observations about my body. All in all it was a very pleasant evening; I hope the group prospers.

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