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The Prince Regent, Herne Hill, 16 February 2022

22 Feb 2022

When Esther and I modelled for SketchPad Drawing at The Prince Regent, Herne Hill in January 2020, nobody suspected a prolonged pandemic hibernation was only six weeks away. Life drawing easels went in a cupboard on 11 March 2020 and didn’t re-emerge until 10 November 2021. How hungry for art the regulars must have been! Certainly I was delighted to return, and happy to see so many familiar faces.

There were compromises, of course. Easels were now set further apart, meaning the two function rooms could accommodate just 14 artists instead of 20. In turn, this duly meant they could afford only one model instead of two, albeit with increased pay. But how can one model be present for 14 artists socially-distanced through two adjoining rooms? By posing in the doorway, of course. It’s limiting, but I’m up for a challenge.

We started with four standing poses of 5-minutes each. For the first I leaned forward, forming my own arch within the door frame. Nice pose, but an unforeseen side-effect was latecomers and group organiser, Lisa, walking to and fro beneath me. I reckon it lasted more like 7 or 8 minutes, so it couldn’t have been too terribly inconvenient. My third pose also stretched to 8 minutes, prolonged on request with my willing consent.

Pose four, with arms up and tensed from side-to-side, became rather painful so there was no chance of me extending it. With hindsight I should have asked for a reduction to offset my earlier generosity! No worries, though. Next there would be two poses of 15 minutes each, taking us to the interval. I stood for the first, right hand on neck, left hand on hip, then followed it by sitting side-saddle on a low table.

The second half was intended to provide a single pose of 40-45 minutes. So bereft of socialising had the artists been, however, that our break time over-ran and eventually there was only a half-hour left for life drawing. Just as well for me as I’d decided to sit with my feet higher up on the opposite door jamb. By the time we finished, my left leg was completely numb and I was unable to stand for a couple of minutes.

The end of a session is no time to be legless as I like to see and ideally get photos of as many artworks as possible. I fumbled into my dressing gown, hauled myself up on one leg, and gradually worked sensation back into the other so I could hobble around the easels. Restored feeling within my hitherto dead limb was not the only sensation I appreciated. So many great drawings and paintings tonight! So good to be back.

From → Art

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