Models Drawing Models

This is what happens in the workshop: people try modelling. Before that they try drawing. They get addicted to both. Sometimes. That’s what happened to one couple who keep coming back for more. And more. Last event they came to draw (see results below). I wanted them to pose as a couple for our next gig at The Mall, but 5:30 on a Friday in Central London was unacceptable to them. We will get them on a long pose at some point this year!

The Last Supper from the other side, when Jesus is a woman
The Last Supper from the other side, when Jesus is a woman

Spirited Bodies 2Spirited Bodies 3

The masterpiece that is The Raft of the Medusa
The masterpiece that is The Raft of the Medusa

Spirited Bodies 5Possibly Jesus again

More rafting
More rafting
Dancers holding a bar
Dancers holding a bar

Arts For All; & all about the Man!

Returning from a workshop of ours I mused that we are teaching people how to be naked! It ought to be natural. It is!
Today I took a Spirited Body to work and I don’t just mean my own. James couldn’t make any of our workshops but through emailing I could tell he was pretty nervous. He wanted a chance to try out on a smaller scale and talk about the experience face to face which can make all the difference. I checked my schedule and thought my session with ‘Arts For All’ in Shoreditch might be just the ticket. I asked fellow life model Lydia Julien who volunteers at the charity, running the session what she thought, and after checking with boss Caroline Barlow she said they welcomed the chance to have 2 models for the price of one! They also fully supported my initiative which matches their own to make art available to people who might not otherwise get to it.

“We believe strongly in inclusion and, at Arts For All, people from many different social and cultural backgrounds unite in friendship and creative exploration.”

The class really enjoyed the opportunity to draw from 2 models and were a lovely supportive environment for James’ first time. Lydia let me plan the pose schedule according to my requirement to best instruct in life modelling.

James was incredibly nervous at first and it took a bit of prodding from me to get him to remove his clothes! He didn’t want to draw and just looked awkward at the side so I did push him, knowing that once he got past the first hurdle, it would start to get easier.

James’ first pose: shy, covering his body in a closed stance (5 minutes) by Lydia Julien
Seeing Paulette Lewis’ picture shows me how my own choice of closed pose which I took first, was then mirrored by James

After the 1st pose he quickly got his shorts back on again, probably worried I would lure him into some further trickiness should he remain unguarded… so he stood out while I rocked on alone for 10 minutes. For the 15 minuter I had an idea to make him more comfortable, offering him a seat while I again stood.

by Paulette Lewis

James’ strong 2nd pose by Candy Hilton
by Miessen

From 15 minutes we went straight into half an hour, so that by midday (tea break time) James had experienced a variety of poses. I asked him to lie down however he wanted for this while I took a seat.

Lydia sticks her pieces of paper together for a nice charcoal impression
by Hilton
by Kamye Miessen

In the break we caught up with the artists who were very encouraging, pointing out which parts of James they liked to draw.

The main event after tea was a long pose where I lay and James sat.

by Candy Hilton
by Lewis

Lydia was ecstatic by the end – she is always very happy but I could tell she loved the ambience as much as I had of initiating a newbie in the art of the pose. She’d been showing him her work as we went along so he could understand how well he was doing and see what was coming out well. Caroline too was really enthused by the experience and James was invited to model on his own some time! He couldn’t quite believe it, it felt like such a big leap.

We went for coffee after to pick up the bigger picture of the event and James’ background. He is depressed in a full time ‘proper’ job which drains him and leaves him feeling a mug. There have been major body issues of a particular kind in his past which I have asked him to write about separately, as I think this will resonate with many men. It was great to get to know another of the new cast of Spirited Bodies for Saturday’s exciting event. What a brilliant morning and I feel positive that James is so much closer to feeling confident about the 20th.

Caroline Barlow said that Spirited Bodies are welcome to try out at Arts For All life drawing sessions in future, with or without me. If they approach her alone she will want to meet them first. She has given many new models their first opportunity, already aware that her group is the perfect environment for welcoming and putting at ease a nervous model.

To attend the group to draw; it is on Mondays 10:30am – 1:30pm, at The Tab Centre, 18-20 Hackney Road, E2 7NT at a very reasonable rate – Unwaged/Student £2.50, Part time employed £3.50, Employed £5 and they provide materials

On Holy Ground a Space for Transformation

I visited the hall where Saturday’s event will take place

Lots of floor space and more light from above too bright for my pesky phone camera to capture the awesome high ceiling

The building is only sometimes still a church, mostly it is used as a community space for a choir, a dance school, a creche, amateur dramatics etc. Not a pretty church but a good space. There is an organ and a piano if anyone would like to accompany the service!

a very plain church which will point up the awesomeness of the models

Spirited Bodies team is reunited once more! It is a bit like an ethereal organisation; sometimes we needs must disappear. We are now very much on the Earth plane and busy connecting with our excellent group of models to be and also the artists.

This will be our first event entirely run by us. The last one in Telegraph Hill was almost such, but being part of a festival, it was promoted and the space given by the festival. It has been tricky to have time etc to invite as many artists as we possibly could to do the event justice. As you can see the space is large, so there is room. Do get in touch if you would like to come and draw, or just turn up. Last time we fitted into a much smaller space, so it will be beautiful to enjoy extra leg room and more possibilities for moving about to get a different view.

As well we may divide the models into smaller groups some of the time, and space them out around the hall.
Lucy unearthed some gorgeous pictures of artwork created at the Drawing Theatre event at Battersea Arts Centre earlier this year.

The bodies look very connected




collage figures


beautiful pose by 2 models who met on the day and joined up!


Looking forward to the magic!




Enter Jaki Loudon, my Motivational Guru & Fellow Actress

Jaki cheered me up today as we waded into the backlog of promotional activities I have let build up…

Here’s what she helped me come up with for Why You Should Come And See ‘Girl In Suitcase’!

“This comedy-drama is inspirational, mind-blowingly honest and touches on poignant, contemporary issues. It approaches the human form in a new light making it unmissable – providing a wake up call to do something while the opportunity is still there.

Enjoy this new play by a new writing talent.

Spirited Bodies (the presenting company) is all about encouraging women (and now men) to step outside their comfort zone, and bare all. This is about shedding our fears, inhibitions and hang-ups relating to body image. This is about tuning into who we really are. Very few of us are actually comfortable with our bodies. This show may unlock a hidden desire to be seen as a work of art.

‘Girl In Suitcase’ is an autobiographical account of the relationship between a Mother – played by Jaki Loudon – and her daughter Rebecca – played by Esther Bunting – on their journey through life. Sara is now in the advanced stages of MS (multiple sclerosis) and has been estranged from her daughter for many years. The approach of death throws a bold new light on their lives.

Controversial issues about life and death are addressed in the play while an undercurrent of dark humour is ever present.

Allow yourself to be entertained by the antics of the cantankerous Sara and her libertarian daughter Rebecca.

Enjoy the inbuilt life drawing class. Come along and we’ll give you some paper and a pencil; give it a try.

Our characters highlight the need to grab opportunities while they still exist – before time runs out.

Time is of the essence.”



Trained at Academy Drama School & The Bridge Theatre Training Company. Theatre credits include : Gail in Gail Can Sing, Rat King & Captain in Dick Whittington, Sheena in Aurora, Queen Margaret in Richard III, Anfisa in Three Sisters, Violet and others in Find Me, Marion in How Love is Spelt, Flora in A Slight Ache, Time & Paulina in The Winter’s Tale, Witch in Story of the Amulet and Mother Miriam Ruth in Agnes of God, and many more

Film and TV credits include: Vodaphone Codes TV commercial, Charlotte Pope in CryBaby, Journalist in Patient 17, Penny the Bric a Brac stall holder in Coldplay’s Music DVD Life in Technicolour 2.

My lovely friend Jaki


Trained at Rose Bruford. Theatre credits include Sara in Assisting Sara, Protagonist in An Ordered Kaosz, Young Syrian in Salome, Rose in Remembering Rose.

Esther wrote Girl In Suitcase, Assisting Sara and An Ordered Kaosz.

She currently works as a life model and started the Spirited Bodies events.