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South London Gallery, London, 26 June 2019

3 Jul 2019

A short-notice message from Lily Holder – group organiser, tutor, artist and fellow life model – lured me over to Peckham to pose for a class at the South London Gallery. We would be working in a light, white room on the second floor of a former fire station that now serves as an annexe to the main gallery, just across Peckham Road.

This was to be session number four of six in a structured course that Lily was leading. The main theme of the session would be hands and feet – had I realised in advance I would have tidied my nails! Lily set the scene with an inspirational message writ large across papers taped to the wall: HANDS + FEET ARE A BLOODY NIGHTMARE!!!

I had undressed but, as we were only focusing on hands and feet to begin with, there was no need to remove my robe; no distractions! We started with three 1-minute, two 2-minute and two 5-minute poses as a warm-up. Lily encouraged techniques such as blind drawing, single-line drawing, looking long before mark-making, and so on.

Given that hands and feet are a ‘bloody nightmare’ to draw at the best of times, there were some outstanding efforts from this quick work – the feet in the image above, for example, were drawn without looking at the paper. The next pose would be full-figure so my robe came off and I sat on the floor for 20-minutes, hands and feet to the fore.

After a break for refreshments, one long pose of 40-minutes brought the session to its close. I sat upon a chair, comfortably wrapped in my own arms, enjoying Lily’s playlist and listening keenly while she offered advice. The group was receptive and the whole evening had a friendly, upbeat vibe. Time passed quickly; no need for a stretch.

In addition to hands and feet, there was a bit of emphasis on portrait study during this last pose – another notoriously tricky skill to master, so the novice artists were getting a solid workout here, but always in an engaging and instructive way. Their theme next week would be ‘simplification’ – I’m betting that’s more complicated than it sounds…

From → Art

One Comment
  1. boykog permalink

    Love the warning sketch! A nude female figure is alway a stronger detergent for curious voyeurist, but can also have some repercussion…;-)

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