Life & Death in Mortlake

It has been an intensely busy period, lots going on and no time to write about it.

My Uncle who lived in Mortlake for the last few decades died at home there the other week somewhat suddenly. On a gloriously bright Winter day the family gathered on Thursday at Mortlake Crematorium. I can’t say I knew my Uncle well; he was mostly very reserved. I do remember however, on announcing to my non-plussed wider family that I intended to study drama, he remarked that being able to act is a very valuable skill, and we all need that in life. He worked on the stock exchange all his career, in a role which involved writing regular analyses of the market.

It’s funny how life sometimes lines things up so neatly. On my way to the wake, walking through Mortlake I was able to pass by Vernon Hall where our forthcoming event will be held on Saturday December 15th. The door to the building was open and as if demonstrating exactly what I needed to witness, all the heating was on in the hall, full blast. We last used the space in July, so naturally there was concern that the ample heating would be as powerful in the middle of a cold Winter. I also wanted to check the kitchen where we will make mulled wine to see what kind of stove is in operation. All was looking good.

As all the family were leaving my Aunt’s house, it happened that I had been booked to model that evening not far away in Richmond Adult Community College. What a pleasant experience; in stark contrast to a recent gig where artists made me feel uncomfortable with their constant fussing and disagreements over my pose which lasted a few sessions, these folk, led by a very calm and confident tutor made no fuss at all. Though a long pose over several days, no tape was placed around me, no chalk or charcoal marks outlining my form, no photos to ensure an exact reconfiguration. They were simply relaxed, and with some highly proficient artists among the friendly group. All styles are embraced there and it is understood they are working from life, a live model who will move a little, but if you trust her and work with her, she will find the pose happily again and again. I noticed that I felt able to give a little more of myself because the atmosphere is so positive. Everyone is there including me because we enjoy what we do, so there is no need for petty gripes.

I have never come across a group so at ease with what they do and it was empowering to know it can be done like this. I will take that knowledge elsewhere with me. I think it has something to do with the group running for about 20 years and some of the artists having seen each others’ children grow up together. There are strong bonds there which far surpass pointless fuss. There is a loving and learning environment and each week a different class member brings in a book about a favourite artist and the group discuss the work and look at the pictures.

Workshop-wise we had another fine evening last Wednesday of new models and some with experience creating original poses in 2s, 3s and a bigger group one. Here are some images by artists who were present:

A model from the October event starts the session with a 10 minute pose. Picture by Francis Wardale in felt tip I believe

A model from the October event starts the session with a 10 minute pose. Picture by Francis Wardale in felt tip I believe

3

A female duo pose sitting back to back, they had not met before

A female duo pose sitting back to back, they had not met before

The same pose in charcoal and pencil by Rade

The same pose in charcoal, chalk and pencil by Rade

15An angry king with his serf, 10 minute pose

IMAG0939-1

Part of a sequence of combat poses based on the Elgin marbles!

Part of a sequence of combat poses based on the Elgin marbles!

12

Women having a tussle

Women having a tussle

a tricky 10 minute bending pose

a tricky 10 minute bending pose, coming to the aid of a floor bound figure

another viewpoint

another viewpoint

a group pose finale, 10 minutes frozen drunk at a party

a group pose finale, 10 minutes frozen drunk at a party

We are looking forward to celebrating life on Saturday 15th December, in the afternoon in Vernon Hall, Mortlake. Do get in touch if you would like to come and draw, paint or sculpt.

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