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The Dellow Centre, London, 6 October 2019

7 Oct 2019

11:30am at The Dellow Centre for Life drawing Aldgate and Shoreditch: I began with a warm-up pose of 15-20 minutes, continued with a 3-to-3 sequence followed by two poses of 20-minutes up to a break, then saw off the session with a single pose of 45-minutes. That was the basic mechanics of it, and everything proceeded nicely, but really I shouldn’t have been there for 11:30am at all.

There are three sessions here at weekends: 11:30am Saturday, 11:30am Sunday and 2:30pm Sunday. Back on 30 July I’d been booked into the second Sunday slot for this weekend, but then on 30 September I was asked if I could shift over to the earlier one. My instinctive paranoid suspicion was that I’d been bumped to accommodate another model deemed sexier and more lucrative. The truth, however, was more curious…

Apparently several young women who attend as artists have said they are only willing to draw female models. Evidently their economic influence is enough to have resulted in male models being purged from the Sunday afternoon roster. I was resentful at first because the late change did rather screw up my intentions for the weekend, but I also feel for Tim, the group’s organiser – his would have been an awkward predicament.

With new life drawing groups continually springing up around London, unintentionally creating increased competition for artists, it’s harder than ever for established groups to remain untouched and idealistically faithful to pure life drawing practice. There has been a ‘sexing-up’ across the scene in recent years, and now tough financial realities are clearly bringing other influences to bear.

I hope we never lose the essential honest wonder of life drawing: where an artist can attend a class that does not have to rely on the promise of glamour or novelty; where the unique human being they are invited to draw could be of any demographic and is guaranteed only to have a professional attitude; and where that artist can be inspired simply by the natural physicality and momentary expressiveness of each pose.

This group has been a positive presence for life drawing in east London for years and hopefully it will continue to flourish as such. I’ll be back here for the second Sunday in December… morning, of course. Oh, and the 3-to-3 sequence? 3-minutes, 2-minutes, 1-minute, 50-seconds, 40, 30, 15, 7 and 3-seconds. I opened by standing upright with arms outstretched, then gradually lowered and curled into a ball. My fall.

Footnote, 13 October 2019: this Sunday afternoon, Adrian Gillian – arguably London’s top male life model – will be posing for the Sunday afternoon slot at The Dellow Centre. Read into that what you will!

From → Art

One Comment
  1. Do you know why they were only willing to draw female models? Some branch of art theory I’m not familiar with?

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