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The Conservatoire, Blackheath, 30 October 2017

2 Nov 2017

On the morning of this booking I had a winter flu vaccination. No pain nor side effects, I’m happy to report. Unfortunately, illness had already taken its toll on me, as a nasty cold last week meant I couldn’t attend The Night Horse and the Holy Baboon – an exhibition of artwork by this evening’s tutor, Victoria Rance. When Victoria arrived at The Conservatoire she was already exhausted from spending the afternoon packing everything away, but it had been a success so spirits were high. We began with short poses: three of 1-minute, one of 5-minutes and one of 10-minutes.

Having warmed-up our twelve artists, we moved on to the session’s long pose – set to occupy the 2-hours from 8pm to 10pm. Let us review the dynamics… First comes the selection of a suitable pose in the round. We considered perching on a piano seat but this felt too folded and uninspiring, so next we tried a high chair. As I randomly leaned against it with one arm resting on its back, Victoria suggested this could be my poise for the rest of the evening. Very well. I removed my robe and made myself comfortable while artists made their first marks. I remained thus for 30-minutes before a time-out.

I’d been offered a break after 20-minutes, but felt settled so was happy to continue for another ten. Before I was permitted to move, Victoria navigated around me marking all the points where my limbs or body touched a surface. After relaxing and stretching for about fifteen minutes, the next challenge was to rediscover the original pose. Only my left hand needed tweaking a few times before we carried on for a further 25-minutes. It is curious that resumed positions are never quite as comfy as new positions. I believe this is because we relax into new positions but must use muscles to recreate them.

A second stretch-break also lasted a generous 15-minutes as one of the artists kindly shared a bottle of wine to celebrate Victoria’s recent show – a very nice gesture. After this we had time for a final 20-minutes in pose. It had taken around ten minutes to get started, and we ended five minutes early so everybody would have a chance to look at the completed drawings – I reckon I was posing for nearly an hour and a quarter of the maximum possible two hours. Thus, there is more to life drawing than merely drawing; allow for preparation, scrutiny, rest, adjustment, interaction… the life in life drawing.

From → Art

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