Developing in the Workshop

Having a smaller, more intimate group with whom to practise life modelling and instruction therein is a most gratifying bonus. It can be a safer place to start a journey towards more intense life modelling. There is even the possibility to practise posing without having removed clothes. There is not the usual atmosphere of focused concentration, since several participants are not primarily concerned with drawing even though they are giving it a go. Also Lucy and I are apt to cut in and mention during a pose something pertaining to it or ask the models how they are finding it. Between poses as well we bring up different matters relating to posing, and each new pose is introduced with an idea, for example, energetic connection between models rather than physical (models rarely pose alone) as well as a theme. We may try for a naturalistic pose or a more abstract one that is centred on form rather than gesture. Models sometimes come with their own ideas too, especially those with some experience. Indeed last time Richard Moon took part who has modelled for many years and he was most excited as this is his first time in 15 years of modelling that he has had an opportunity to pose with others. Like Lucy he shares a passion for recreating ‘The Raft of the Medusa’, amongst other classical images. He even brings several sheafs of laminated images of poses to present to artists he may work with to help them pick out ideas they are keen to try. Like a catalogue one artist observed!

Four of the models from the recent event in Battersea attended this last workshop and together with Richard, they outnumbered the entirely new models. This created an atmosphere of enhanced confidence. There was not the usual energy of nerves and anxiety present because the right kind of warm and excited (because it is mostly newly found) confidence is contagious. The new models looked less nervous than usual, but this may also have been down to their personalities. One is an artist I met when modelling at a group in Holborn, so he is quite familiar with the set up of a life drawing class. He wrote his own blog piece about the experience;

Another development was the presence of a few experienced artists who were not there to model but to appreciate a variety of short poses by a number of models as well as provide some generally better quality art work. I think they also appreciate the unusual insight into the model’s experience as we talk through the nature of poses and demands of modelling.

Lucy took some fabulous pictures of the art work and posted them on Facebook; One particular picture of 4 models pretending to wait for a bus has become an instant favourite and I think it has been sold! Lily LeMaire the artist insisted it was just a sketch, but sometimes that is all it takes.

The next workshop will be on Wednesday 28th November at Battersea Library again, 7 – 9pm. We look forward to seeing a range of models and some artists hopefully.

Hello, I am the model, now let’s put you on a Pedestal

Tomorrow is our 1st workshop of the season and Steve who modelled with us in Mortlake is kindly stepping into the breach; as the new models arrive he will be in pose, greeting them with a cracker to get their teeth into. Whether they are familiar with drawing or not, all will be introduced to charcoal and paper so that they can analyse poses from an artist’s perspective. Seeing the model like that shows one how hard drawing is and how technical before expression is really unleashed.

Each new model will have a chance to pose and be drawn, and we will build up the number of models so that we can have a look at tableaux. New models don’t have to be nude as we will be, but if they want to be that’s fine. Just getting used to being still and watched intently is enough for some; there’ll be plenty of time for birthday suits on October 20th which is in fact Spirited Bodies 2nd Birthday! In October 2010 Morimda called me up to get Lucy’s number – she’d heard what a great organiser Lucy is. I was intrigued and Morimda said she’d send me the brief. ‘Find 20 women to pose nude for artists in one month’s time at the Mall Galleries‘. Wow – there were extra bits about selling the paintings at an auction to raise money for charity, something which has not yet manifested but hasn’t been forgotten. We are just waiting for the right collaboration. With London Drawing the emphasis is more on theatrical life drawing; when we team up with the bang on feminists at Southbank there will be a stronger impetus to push the fundraising element. Time darlings is on our side and everything happens in the right time.

We only found 9 women in the end, but it did not feel too few. They were various ages and shapes, sizes… with different reasons, and they were all new to it. We didn’t coach them beyond encouraging emails and on the day it was a massive rush as the format at the Mall is intense with very little time either side, but my Goodness it worked and it was magic! After that Morimda got busy elsewhere, Lucy was baffled by the craziness of it all – why should it work I mean rationally how is that project going to have a future?! And I couldn’t let it go. It wanted to happen and my main other project was writing a play about my family which was far too close to the bone. I needed a damn good distraction which is exactly what Spirited Bodies was.

I’m getting excited about this big event coming up and beyond as well. Some of the people who model with us are professionals – including some actors – and some have come back to us once or more and with these models amongst the totally new ones it really will be possible to create a variety of striking tableaux all at once. Think I’ll count down the days to 20/10/12 as we prepare the icing for a very special cake.