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The Jolly Sketcher, London, 5 March 2018

10 March 2018

I’d been looking forward to debuting for The Jolly Sketcher group run by friend, artist and fellow life model, Tanja Hassel. Sessions had started at The Boogaloo, Highgate where Esther was their first model on 14 August last year. Since then, they’ve shifted venue a mere mile along Muswell Hill Road to a superb space at Common House on Woodside Square. That’s where I would be making my shapes.

The bygone change of address in no way explains why on the evening itself, my brain charted a course for Hampstead instead of Highgate. By the time I spotted my error, I knew a taxi was the only way I could arrive by 7pm. One expensive corrective journey later, I entered the warm stylish room with five minutes to spare and swiftly readied for the first poses: four of 2-minutes, three 5-minutes, two 10-minutes, one 15-minute.

I had a broad area of floor upon which to work. Artists were seated at tables in front of me, but could just as easily have been seated on sumptuous sofas – although, in fact, when one did eventually break ranks it was to spread out on the floor. A gentle playlist serenaded us and, as with all model-led sessions, heating and timing were perfect. At the break we took teas in an immaculate adjoining kitchen.

We finished with a standing pose of 20-minutes and a seated pose of 25-minutes. The unexpected taxi dash and a prompt start meant I had no time to limber up first – ergo, my back was aching a little by the end, but it had been a lovely evening of life drawing. Common House is surely the most modern setting in which I’ve modelled, and Tanja’s attention to detail is exemplary. Local artists are blessed to have it on their doorstep.

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