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Exhibit B, London, 28 August 2018

9 September 2018

Upon arrival at the Exhibit B bar (a “youth club for adults“) in Streatham, I found group facilitator, artist and fellow life model, Lily Holder applying the finishing touches to her preparations for this evening’s Life Drawing at Exhibit B. For me, it was a first return since I’d modelled at the inaugural session here in November last year. Boxes of art materials were already arranged immaculately, just as they were nine months earlier.

At 7:30pm Lily pulled a large black curtain across to separate our life drawing from the rest of the bar. She explained that for the first half of this session she would be setting exercises for the artists. So for example, after a 7-minute warm-up and three 2-minute poses, the next three 1-minute poses were all to be overlaid on top of each other – as per above – and then a 3-minute pose (below) was drawn without looking at the paper.

For the 6-minute pose that followed, Lily asked her horseshoe of artists to spend their first minute simply looking at me without making any marks on the paper and then, in the second minute, the challenge was to try representing me with only four geometric shapes. Another minute was spent looking again, and after that they were free to add as many more shapes as they wished…

5-minute, 6-minute, and 3-minute poses – each with their own specific accompanying exercise – took us to the end of the first half. After a break we completed the session with two more poses: 20-minutes, and 30-minutes. For the former, Lily suggested that artists commence with a fully shaded sheet, then spend five minutes erasing light and five minutes shading dark. The final pose of the evening was fully freestyle.

For a class of this type, in which the organiser is talking and setting tasks throughout, artists have to be totally bought into the idea. Certainly it seemed to me that everyone present was up for it and having a fine time. As the model, I also found it inspiring; our two hours raced by. I’d not seen Lily since we were part of Art Macabre: In Voluptas Mors last December, so it was great to find her on form. Strong energy in the room.

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