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Mall Galleries, London, 28 October 2020

6 Nov 2020

It’s a frivolous observation to make amidst the trauma and upheaval of pandemic, but one entirely unanticipated consequence for me was a booking on 15-minute poses at Mall Galleries. All previous sessions for Hesketh Hubbard Art Society had been on portrait, long-pose or 30-minute poses. Now, with strict COVID-19 safety measures in place, artist numbers limited and other models dropping out, my time had come!

These days the gallery has a one-way system, requires artists to wear face coverings and prioritises social distancing. Such restrictions leave room for only three models to work. Long-pose and portrait pose would be as usual, but I was to provide a hybrid of 15-minute poses for the first hour and 30-minute poses for the second. By agreement between the artists, however, we switched to make it 15-minute poses throughout.

Drawing by Liz Elmhirst.

Drawing by Liz Elmhirst.

Drawing by Liz Elmhirst.

Drawing by Liz Elmhirst.

On the busiest evenings of bygone years, there might be a hundred or so artists here. This session had, I reckon, perhaps twenty split between two rooms with six or seven drawing me. Not many to witness my debut 15-minute poses at Mall Galleries but the connection felt stronger with those who were present. The space had become almost serene; the uncannily becalmed eye of a coronavirus storm across the world outside.

I’ve often jokingly referred to short-pose bookings here as the ‘sexy slot’ in recognition of an unspecified quality that, despite a change of model each week, somehow seems to be ever present. I never imagined carrying the responsibility myself, but gave of my best – just my own quirky lines and angles – and felt gratified to get positive feedback. Exceptional circumstances, desperate times, special moments.

From → Art

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