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Beckenham Place Mansion, London, 15 August 2018

22 Aug 2018

An extraordinary day ended at an extraordinary venue for life drawing. A planned jaunt to the Arctic Circle had fallen through when my flight out was delayed for eleven hours at Gatwick airport; thus, instead of beginning the day in north Norway, I woke in south London. Not quite so rare, but the following hours would be special nonetheless. After a panel discussion at Mall Galleries and lunch in St James’s Park, I headed here…

…to Beckenham Place Mansion set in vast grounds between Dulwich and Bromley. This Georgian pile is home to Beckenham life-drawing, led by Jon Long. I’d worked for his other life drawing group at Mycenae House back in March and knew to expect a well-instructed insightful session. I found Jon in the central space of the ground floor, preparing for the arrival of his artists.

The group is relatively new, yet steadily growing in numbers with two more first-timers joining us this evening. There’s still room for all to spread out in this large unfurnished room. We began with three poses of 10-minutes, then added another of 20-minutes to complete the first half. During the first pose, our classical soundtrack was abandoned in favour of Sister Nancy and other summer tunes lilting in from the bar outside.

A single long pose of 50-minutes rounded off the evening. In spite of losing my Nordic adventure, it had been a grand day. The earlier panel discussion, in which Esther had taken part, was especially inspiring – the excerpt below covers how life modelling can be both empowering and liberating, then goes on to examine ways in which the male gaze continues to hinder body equality in the art room. Recommended viewing…

The surface has been scratched and there are many more diverse voices to be heard!

From → Art

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