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Mall Galleries, London, 21 September 2018

22 Sep 2018

It’s a strange psychology that has one inwardly celebrating the end of a working week while jaunting towards a portrait art session that will require one to stare motionlessly at some vague middle-distant locus for two hours. Compared with the challenging and dynamic requirements of life modelling, this may seem to be a lazy option or an easy option, but I assure you not. Both effort and focus are very much needed.

This was my fourth time portrait modelling for Hesketh Hubbard Art Society at Mall Galleries. As before, shirt selection was a key consideration – I opted for purple with no collar. At the venue itself my only concern was to ensure sufficient soft padding on the wooden seat that I would occupy for two hour-long sittings with a 15-minute break. Come 7pm, having safeguarded my comfort as best I could, the job commenced.

As I stared beyond short-sighted blurriness at some unidentified dark smudge upon a far balcony – my gaze point for the evening – so a dozen pairs of eyes began to gaze back at me, each of them scrutinising my every line, shadow, glint and tone. I’m past finding this disconcerting and have instead learned how to appreciate those long hard stares with almost detached amusement.

Discomforts endured at various stages included: facial itches that would come and go, possibly abetted by my long hair; aching ankles where my legs were crossed beneath the chair; and of course a gentle numbing of the posterior. Artists remained diligent till they could improve me no further, at which point they softly packed and quit their post. Many thanks to those that stayed the course, creating such fine facsimiles.

From → Art

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