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Royal Inn on the Park, London, 23 May 2019

12 Jun 2019

I’ve been modelling long enough to know that heatwaves and life drawing don’t really mix. By some unwritten inverse law, a sudden surge in temperatures will be matched by an equivalent plummet in attendances at art groups. So, whilst it’s a dream for the model to be cosily warm, the advantage is reduced by a shortfall of artists. Such was the situation on my last visit to the Royal Inn on the Park.

As absentees presumably frolicked outdoors in the long light mellow evening air, I set about presenting my best shapes to the dedicated handful who’d paid to draw. Poses were timed at 10-minutes, 2, 2, 2, 5, 5, 15 and 15-minutes during the first half. After a half-hour break, we completed the session with two poses of 30-minutes each. First I sat on a chair, contemplating a balloon, then ended in angles, seated on the floor.

Barrie Novell

Perusing messages on my phone during the interval, I learned the very sad news that legendary life model Barry Novell had died earlier in the day following a major cardiac arrest. I’d only experienced his unique larger-than-life mischievous character a couple of times myself, but had long known him to be spoken of affectionately by all who met him – passionate about his life modelling, a gift to portraits, a true one-off. RIP Barrie.

‘Barrie’ by Antony Williams NEAC PS RP
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