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UCL Student Union, London, 11 November 2021

16 Nov 2021

Such is my confidence – or maybe complacency – about rocking-up somewhere new to pose nude in front of strangers that I hadn’t even considered what to expect at this UCL Student Union life drawing session. All I knew was that its tutor would be artist, fellow life model and friend, Lily Holder. In extraordinary circumstances, however, at the eleventh hour and three-quarters, fate obliged Lily to drop out. So what now?

Leadership responsibilities passed to one of the half-dozen students who arrived first. She accepted the burden with admirable grace, taking us into the Chadwick Building, guiding us along corridors to a far room, and promptly reorganising tables and chairs. It seemed a vast space for such a small group; but then more arrived, and more, and yet more, until at 6pm I was naked on one leg in front of over 30 young artists.

Our leader made the astute call that, as they would not be getting the benefit of Lily’s expert tuition during each study, they should instead enjoy an evening of short poses. We opened with five of 2 minutes, continued with three of 5 minutes, and finished the first half with two of 10-minutes. In a starkly-lit room, my trusty white sheet upon grey carpet tiles within an oval of white desks, I tilted and turned and twisted till the break.

The more persons there are in a group, the more impersonal the group can be. Thus, while sub-groups of friends talked merrily among themselves, I detachedly sent a few messages on my phone and took photos of drawings. I tried not to interrupt anyone’s conversations but at least one artist was happy to pause and share her artworks with great enthusiasm. Happiness is an infection requiring no antibodies.

It was agreed that we would complete the session with two poses of 15 minutes and one pose of 20 minutes. I stood: right hand on right shoulder, left arm outstretched. I sat: legs folded beneath me, both hands on the floor. I lay down: right hand on chest, left arm raised. At the end, after a little cajoling from our leader, a few of the students put their drawings on the floor. Very good they were too. It’s good to share. 🙂

And, Lily – I hope destiny permits our paths to cross for longer some time soon!

From → Art

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