‘A Human Orchestration’ with The Drawing Theatre, October 12th

An artist friend Lily, described the power evinced by the model when delivering words, poetry whilst posing. The total stillness (of the model) contrasting with the presence of the words expressing the essence of the model/performer with such intensity. The words, normally danced as enunciated, skipped into the space on stage; now squeezed through the tiny holes of the face, the only part of the body moving except for breathing. Potent words given extra fire by a taut poise extreme in stillness.
She was speaking of our mutual friend Ursula who has appeared on these pages before (a few times), a life model and performance poet who sometimes combines these talents. Lily said that unlike the other artists present at the recital described, she felt unable to draw whilst the words were spoken, so transfixed was she on Ursula’s delivery.
Then we imagined non-linear words which do not require a level of concentration antithetical to the focus necessary for drawing, but instead circular words sung as a mantra, harmoniously and in congruence with a chorus of models humming in accord. Sound that allows you to join in seamlessly so you lose yourself not only in the looking, but the calling, the surrounding of the sound these models make. These are more than bodies, they give you something else of their being for you to respond to. Like an orchestra they have a conductor, and this will be a naked symphony.
Particular models will be featured as singers in this avant garde explosion of sound and harmony; Christine, Tom and Ursula. It happened that Ursula composed this poem late last year and it does resonate with the theme at hand.
Drawing Symphony
like an orchestra
it feels
as the artists
draw their lines
on their canvasses
and in so doing
moving their hands and their arms
as if they play their violins
in an orchestra
like a drawing symphony
this is
with me, model, conductor
as the artists
follow my outlines
until the shape of me
is reproduced
on the other side
of the assembly of easles
with their canvasses
with the artists, the instrumentalists
artistic reproductions appear
out of some sort of nowhere
because the canvasses were blank
before my outlines started to appear
I have been drawn
with pencils and brushes
like a string on a violin
I have been drawn
I have been realized, mirrored
abstracted or elaborated
or improvized like jazz
I have been composed
like a piece of music
I sing, the echoes of my shapes sing
the artists give me voice
we can say something
they in their drawing
me in my posing
we speak
we have a dialogue
I call and they respond
I admire how they respond
so artfully, accurately, abstractfully
they represent me
it’s the drawing symphony of artists
that gives me voice
that translates my stillness
into music, patterns, colours, liveliness
we speak together
for we have something to say
we come to life
in the life drawing
we model, we mirror, we muse
we make
music.                              © Ursula Troche, 12.2012
Turning the tables: Toni, me, Rodger, Ursula and Peter participating in role reversing art installation at Guerilla Galleries last month. Organised by Natanski we posed as artists who undressed before our models who then photographed us. Spectators got drawn by us finally.
Model friends; turning the tables: Toni, me, Rodger, Ursula and Peter participating in role reversing art installation at Guerilla Galleries last month. Organised by Natanski we posed as artists who undressed before our models who then photographed us. Spectators got drawn by us finally.

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Model Alessandra got out into the audience to shoot us drawing them
Model Alessandra got out into the audience to shoot us drawing them

GuerillaART 140813 CH 083 GuerillaART 140813 CH 088Steve’s blog describes this event in greater detail and length, with more pictures. I may write more on this very interesting occasion in future.

Me & Ursula checking out the doodles
Me & Ursula checking out the doodles

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Drawing by Lily from recent event at Holborn
Drawing by Lily from recent event at Holborn
Man with grapes
Man with grapes


Lily said drawing this couple (who have modelled at our events a few times) brings tears to her eyes, so strong is the tenderness between them
Lily said drawing this couple (who have modelled at our events a few times) brings tears to her eyes, so strong is the tenderness between them



You can book for The Drawing Theatre event ‘A Human Orchestration’ here (to come and draw). Get in touch if you are interested to model, though I am sourcing most of the models amongst those who have worked with us before.
Ursula will be celebrating her birthday on Saturday (21st) at ‘Stables in Exile’ (The Bar Gallery), Unit 5, Queens Parade, Willesden Lane, a few minutes walk from Willesden Green station from 6:30pm and this is an occasion to see her perform some poetry as well as draw her and me – clothed. I will do some movement. This is a free event, do bring a bottle/some nibbles.

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!




Warming Up For A New Event

As 2012 opens Lucy and I are preparing for an altogether new event; the next Spirited Bodies will be in a new venue and with different artists. We have been very fortunate to work with artists of the Hesketh Hubbard organisation at The Mall Galleries for our first 3 events, and now an invitation has come from elsewhere. The new people are ‘London Drawing’ and they organise a great number of life drawing classes and events across London and further afield in the UK. They will be hosting Spirited Bodies 4 at Battersea Arts Centre on Saturday 11th February with a morning and an afternoon session; this is part of their ‘Drawing Theatre’ series.

The style of event will be more experimental than before and we will likely occupy various spaces in the expansive BAC. This allows us to try a few new things which we’ve been thinking about for a while. Firstly we can give models a break between each pose, where previously we tried to stick to the expectation of artists at The Mall who are used to professional models who shift from one pose to the next with very little stretching time in between. This should be much more suitable for models trying this for the first time. It gives them a chance to realign their bodies after the achy stillness that may arise.

Secondly we may be able to do a far greater proportion of quick poses, where before we were trying to conform more to a standard requirement. Quick poses range from 30 seconds in length to about 10 minutes – they can even be one long continuous slow motion movement. Again this is appropriate for new models and indeed those who just want to try it the once as staying still is not easy! It does mean the model has to think on her feet more though, and some people prefer to find one pose and stick to it for longer. This faster pace is in keeping with the less conventional practices of the ‘Drawing Theatre’. I have modelled for them many times and it is more fun and performance like than a usual life modelling session. There is often movement involved, sometimes costume and a set, and always a theme.

from the last 'Drawing Theatre' with Marega Palser dance theatre company

With different rooms available to us we can offer a women-only space (as in models, as the artists are mixed), a mens’ space, a couples space and perhaps a mixed space. It will depend on the requirements of our models, and the spaces given to us. Similarly, according to the models we find, a theme may suggest itself, and in this new context we are open to far more possibility.

drawing from 'Drawing Theatre' with Hens Teeth Theatre Company, November 2011
A model at the Hens Teeth 'Drawing Theatre'

If you have an idea to try modelling and February 11th suits you, then please get in touch. While the drawing takes place from 11-1pm and from 2-5pm, we will have time before each of these sessions to prepare models and introduce everyone. In addition I usually meet models in advance of the day if possible so that everything is clear.

We would like models to stay for either or both of the sessions as they prefer, understanding that 2 or 3 hours is plenty for a first time.

from The Wild Bride 'Drawing Theatre' with Kneehigh Theatre

The Drawing Theatre is a tutored life drawing workshop and many materials are provided, so that artists create images in a variety of media, from charcoal and pastel to collage and ink.