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East Croydon United Reform Church, 8 January 2022

11 Jan 2022

My return to life model for Croydon Life Drawing Group (first time back since 2018) was also my first modelling work of 2022 – happy new year! – and my first booking of any kind since the last week of November. I felt anticipation coupled with trepidation as I walked the wet wintry weekend streets of Croydon; still semi-deserted at 9am on a Saturday. Might the church hall also be wintry and semi-deserted, I wondered?

Wintry, it most certainly was not. With two electric bar heaters in front of me, and four more heater units raging away on the wall behind me, I felt warmer than I’ve been on many a summer evening. Neither was it semi-deserted. With fifteen or sixteen artists present – mostly-masked throughout – plus group organiser Francis and me, we had what I reckoned to be a full house, by current standards.

We began at 9:30am with quick-fire poses: two of 5 minutes each, then 4 minutes, 3, 2 and 1 minute, followed by two of 18 minutes, taking us to 10:30am. I made tangles of angles; standing, seated, draped, kneeling. We then took a break for teas, coffees and cookies, during which an artist declared to me: “you’re very difficult to draw!” I’ve heard this before but am still never quite sure whether I’m expected to apologise!

Overwhelmingly feedback was unambiguously complimentary and it was lovely to be able to talk face-to-face with people – albeit still masked – after such a long absence. We completed the session with one long pose lasting an hour and a half. I got myself into seated position of sufficient comfort that I was able to decline all offers of a break until the 60-minute mark, and then needed only to give my arms a brief stretch.

Forty-five days had passed quickly since I last modelled. At the outset of that period I suspect I caught, ceased being infectious with, briefly endured, but at last shook off a mediocre version of COVID-19. Lateral flow tests and a PCR test all yielded negative results so I’ll probably never know for certain, but a lingering uncoughable cough was suspicious. Whatever the case, it was gone before Christmas. Life goes on. (Phew!)

From → Art

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