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The Birds, Leytonstone, 26 June 2018

12 July 2018

We hadn’t reckoned on being quite so out of practice. Last year, Esther and I had duo posed for life drawing groups on seventeen separate occasions. In the first six months of 2018 it had been just twice, the most recent being way back in February. It’s easy to forget the extra concentration needed to make a well-balanced sustainable pose for two people – especially when both are so eager to take position.

We resumed our double act at The Birds in Leytonstone – a new venue for both of us, but with a life drawing group led by an old friend, Jenny, who runs the Monday night group at The Plough and Harrow nearby. I took an immediate liking to The Birds as its upstairs room is ideal for art – warm, spacious and flooded with natural light. Plus, we got 25% off the price of all drinks! No wonder we began with a 5-minute dancing pose.

This starter was fine, if occasionally requiring some tension to steady our balance, but thereafter we got it very wrong. Only for ourselves, mind you; we remained solid for the artists but internalised a lot of discomfort. Esther stood for 10-minutes and I sat by her feet with my head tilted too far back, thereby earning an excruciatingly achy neck. For 25-minutes, we then sat in an embrace with only arms and back muscles for support.

After an interval for refreshments, we finished the session laying down with our bodies spooned together for an hour. It looked serene but by halfway we were into all sorts of numbness and pain. With hindsight each pose was more suited to the pose time that preceded it. But never mind! It was great to model as a couple again, to catch up with Jenny, to inspire the creation of such wonderful drawings and to socialise afterwards.

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