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The Old Fire Station, Hockley, 10 October 2017

12 October 2017

Try to think of the torso as two tennis balls in a sock,” suggested Jake, while holding up two tennis balls in a sock. He was opening Tuesday’s Hockley Life Drawing with an exercise called ‘The Bean’. I was to create 20 separate poses of 30-seconds, each with a different tilt, lean or twist from which the artists would draw only my upper body, in the style of a kidney bean… or two tennis balls in a sock.

It was a curious exercise that I’d not come across before, but it went well, resulting in several wonderful pages full of beans. How many were accurate representations of my torso, I couldn’t say, but it certainly warmed-up our full house of artists. Afterwards we moved on to more traditional life modelling poses, permitting me to be expressive with my limbs. We started with two poses of 5-minutes, and one of 10-minutes.

I stood for both 5-minute poses – leaning backwards and reaching up for the first, then bending double and reaching forwards for the second. For 10-minutes I sat on the floor in a tangle of limbs that owed a debt to Egon Schiele. Surprisingly there was time for only one more pose of 15-minutes before our tea break, so I remained sitting, albeit in a much less complicated arrangement – an act of compassion for anyone struggling.

After the interval we completed the session with two poses. First was a standing pose of 15-minutes, with one arm draped across my head and the other crooked behind my back, then finally a reclining pose of half-an-hour – or rather 28-minutes, as a moment was needed to allow a spray of fixative to clear. I included a torso turn so artists could practice their new ‘bean’ skills. Such lovely drawings… these were magic beans.

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