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The Conservatoire, Blackheath, 14 March 2022

18 Mar 2022

Whilst life modelling sessions have kept me nicely busy of late, the rest of my life has felt overloaded. No one thing is an overwhelming problem; there’s just a bit too much of everything. On this day, I’d started my full-time job at 7:30am, finished it at 4:30pm, made a freshly-topped pizza, then got the train to Blackheath for The Conservatoire. And I couldn’t stop yawning exhaustedly all the way there. I needed to energise.

The only way energising would be likely to happen was through poses that prioritised effort over comfort. After a few quick poses – three of 1-minute, one of 5 minutes and one of 10 minutes – I offered to stand for the long pose of up to two hours. The week before, model Peter had semi-reclined here in the style of work by Michelangelo. If I was going stand, I reckoned it had to be in the style of Michelangelo’s David

The artists would have to imagine me as a version of David at least 35 years past his prime, having shed all of his muscle bulk and most of his vitality but still dining-out on the pose responsible for his best-known artistic interpretation. I assumed the position on my bare platform at 8:05pm. If I’d been granted just one wish for embellishment, it would have been to encircle myself with the magical mini clay henges drying nearby.

OK, so mini clay henges would have been incongruous in context, but they appealed to my current passion for posing at ancient megalithic sites. I remained in David pose till 8:40pm before accepting the offer of a break. We resumed at 8:50pm after various suggestions for adjustments that might return me to my exact former stance. Another half-hour passed before I took a shorter break. We then continued to our 10pm finish.

It remains unknown whether a cosy reclining pose would have lulled me to sleep, but the standing pose certainly kept me alert. It calls for motionlessness without passivity. As aches begin to set in, constant muscle management is required at a micro level to keep them tolerable. It worked. I left feeling in better shape than I’d arrived. I think life drawing does that for human beings. Physically and mentally, we reset.

From → Art

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