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The Beehive, London, 13 January 2022

16 Jan 2022

At last, an occasion to celebrate. Tottenham Art Classes had invited Esther and me to life model as a duo for their 8-year anniversary special at The Beehive pub. It was the second time we’d been honoured like this, having posed together when the group turned 5 years-old back in – what seems a lifetime ago – January 2018.

Whether it was to join the celebrations, or the promise of half-time cake, or – perhaps most likely – because the event was free to attend, the good folk of Tottenham turned up in droves. I reckon almost 40 people were present. Organiser Taz tried to get them seated in COVID ‘bubbles’, bless her; within the rules, everyone knows their choices.

So, with a fantastic birthday vibe in the room, we started with four poses of 2-minutes each. We posed separately and dynamically, switching to opposite ends of the space at every change. I couldn’t see Esther’s poses, but knew they would be extraordinary, so I got into some strong shapes myself. The aches and pains began here!

Next, a 10-minute pose for which Esther stood whilst I sat on the floor and embraced her hips. It was an intimate joy, but alas our only pose close together. The Beehive is an excellent pub, but cursed with a central supporting column that inevitably blocks a few lines of sight. Of course, it would be more cursed if the column was removed…

We reluctantly separated to make sure everyone in the room could clearly observe at least one of us, as we finished the first half with poses of 15-minutes and 20-minutes. An energetic connection was created when I sat on a stool and Esther reached out to me; a literal connection was restored as Esther sat both on the stool and my hand.

Break time was cake time. And what a superb cake too, courtesy of Sophia at Sugar Team Room. I was twice blessed, as a wholly unsubtle hint saw me rewarded with a second helping. That letter in the photo below? Not the proverbial ‘p, please‘, but the ‘d’ from ‘Celebrating 8 years of drawing‘. Never was an inverted ‘d’ more tasty.

When we restarted after the interval, it was once more with quick-fire poses, only this time even quicker: 30 seconds to begin, then three of 1-minute each. Throughout the next 15 minutes we stood side-by-side at a slight distance but near enough to have a hold of each others’ hands.

For the final 20 minutes of the session we were back-to-back; or rather, bum-to-back. Esther sat upon the stool whilst I stood behind her. My hands settled upon whichever surfaces of Esther’s skin they could reach, and vice-versa. Connections made. In this way we concluded a splendidly enjoyable evening’s work.

During darkest days of the pandemic, opportunities for modelling in person had been scarce, and modelling as a duo even more so. Things are still far from being what we once knew as ‘normal’ but this was a lovely return for us and another great milestone for Tottenham Art Classes. Let’s hope they have many more to come.

From → Art

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