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Mall Galleries, London, 25 August 2017

27 Aug 2017

This was my second sitting for the portrait artists of Hesketh Hubbard Art Society at Mall Galleries. In a separate space on the far side of the building, Esther was sitting for a 2-hour long pose whilst, out of sight between us, a male model would be working through his routine of eight 15-minute poses. A female model had been booked for the four 30-minute poses but, a minute or two after the usual start time, it was announced she wouldn’t coming because “she forgot and is in France…”

I imagined that if I had not already begun posing for the portraitists about five minutes earlier, I might have been plucked from that setting and put on 30-minute nude poses instead; it’s a lot harder to find a volunteer to pose naked from among the artists than it would have been to sit clothed for portraits. But I’d been quite looking forward to the session this evening and was very happy to stay where I was. After early reservations I’m learning to appreciate the art of posing for portrait work.

During the break, Tanja – a reliable model who runs The Jolly Sketcher life drawing in Highgate – arrived to stand-in for the final two 30-minute poses. When I returned to my sitting position for the second half, Tanja undressed and stood facing me with her naked midriff directly in line with my gaze point. Never have I felt so self-conscious to be staring at someone continuously for half an hour. Tanja would not have known that without my glasses on, all I see is a featureless hazy pink blur.

Within the gallery space I was seated in between two large artworks, directly beneath a caption declaring: Visceral Manifestation No.6. At the end of session, I was relieved that the many diverse portraits of me could not be given the same label. In particular, I loved that so many artists embraced colour this evening. I asked at the start if it made a difference to them whether I was wearing patterned, colourful, or plain clothes. There was no strong feeling, just that I should remove my glasses. How right they were.

From → Art

One Comment
  1. A Jenner permalink

    That second pic is excellent

    Mrs J

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