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West Wickham Arts, Hayes, 25 April 2022

29 Apr 2022

The journey from my Essex roost to Hayes in Kent, by train, Docklands Light Railway and train again, is surely the longest I undertake for life modelling. On this occasion it was also one of the more dramatic. The first train was running late it so sped past my interchange without stopping. Luckily at the next station I was able to race across the platform and, with barely half a minute to spare, get a train back.

Even so, at the interchange I missed my first possible connection by just 10 seconds. The next one, four minutes behind it, would have to reach Lewisham bang on time if I was to avoid arriving late for my booking; sprinting across that station, I leapt through the train doors as they started to bleep and close. Fine margins! But now I could chill. And amusingly, when I got to the Hayes Free Church venue, no-one was there…

Within a couple of minutes, the good folk of West Wickham Arts Association joined me, unlocked the doors, and began preparing the room. Ten artists made themselves comfortable at tables spread out in an arc. I was to pose on my feet or seated upon a well-padded wicker sofa. A bright white light was put in front of me to create shadows, and two small heaters did an excellent job of warming such a cavernous space.

We opened with short poses of 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes, 5 minutes and 10 minutes. I first stood cruciform, then squatted on the sofa with left arm raised, then stood with arms forward making a horizontal circle, then stood with arms behind me making a vertical square, then sat with left knee up and head turned down to rest on right knuckles, then stood with both arms fanned outwards at waist level.

For 25 minutes until our break I sat on the sofa again, this time with my right knee up and right forearm bridging between knee and forehead. My left arm twisted such that the elbow was up and the hand rested on the wicker arm. It was comfortable enough but wickerwork certainly leaves its mark. Any palmist worth their salt would have had no difficulty divining my recent past.

After tea and biscuits, time enough remained for a final pose of 40 minutes. I sat with both feet on the floor and my left arm resting in an outward reach across my left knee. My idea was that the arm would block light from the white lamp by my feet and cast a few interesting shadows. Whether it worked, I’m not sure. Perhaps the foreshortening alone was sufficiently vexing for the artists.

It had been a warm-spirited, warmly-heated, comfortable session. Furthermore, great consideration was shown in timing the last post to end at 9:25pm rather than 9:30pm, thereby gifting me an extra five minutes to catch the 9:45pm train; first leg of my long journey home. Happily, all conveyances were on time and connections made without any need to rush. It had been a full evening. Curiously pleasing.

From → Art

One Comment
  1. nastrad permalink

    ..and yet you looked relaxed when I arrived. Not a clue that you had had such a hectic journey. Great poses Steve and a very enjoyable evening.

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