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The Birds, Leytonstone, 20 July 2021

25 Jul 2021

Such joy to be back for Life Drawing at The Birds! My last booking here was 7 April 2020; except… it wasn’t. Just 15 days before, the first UK-wide coronavirus lockdown had been declared. Overnight, diaries were wiped clean and futures left unclear. That booking and all others between mid-March and mid-August 2020 were cancelled. Yet here we are again, summer of 2021, returning at last to this wonderful space.

It was a warm evening with intermittent drops of rain during my journey to The Birds. My climate shock came, however, when I entered the upstairs event room and found its air conditioning cranked up to maximum chill. Group organiser, Jenny had needed to cool down after the heavy work of preparing the space. We soon got temperatures back to a bearable level for a naked person though, and began with quickfire poses.

By “quickfire”, I do indeed mean quickfire: four poses of 30 seconds, four of 1 minute, three of 2 minutes. I rattled through a varied sequence, making up each new position as I went along. For the final 2-minutes, Jenny suggested the artists draw a rectangle and try to fit me within it. Rectangle first, model second. A tough ask but it went down well enough for them to try again for the first of two 5-minute poses that followed.

Before our half-time break the artists were given another choice: a 25-minute pose or two of 10 and 15 minutes. With a unanimous show of hands, they opted for the latter. Whether evolution or revolution there’s been a distinct shift in preference from long to short poses at Leytonstone Life Drawing. And that suits me down to the ground. Give me vigour and variety any day.

Having got their short pose fix in the first half, normal service resumed in the second. When the artists were given a choice of one or two poses after the interval, the clear preference was for one long pose to take us the distance. I sat upright upon the floor, shaping my limbs into angles that wouldn’t become hideously painful, and there I did remain in static serenity for the next 45 minutes.

Thus ended a very nice evening. I’d thoroughly enjoyed my life modelling, each artist had – without exception – created good works, and Jenny had been on buoyant form throughout. She asked if I would be happy to model for the group more often, and, of course, I said ‘yes’. Now we just hope future lockdowns can be averted, the business stays afloat and we all stay healthy. These are uncertain times, but we look forward.

From → Art

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