About Me

"Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"

Monday, 31 December 2012

The hands and the knees

My career as a life model never really happened, did it?

The failure to become a naked corpse on a mortuary slab, my failure to audition for RAM, my failure to respond to the invitations of artists in Barnes and Vauxhall, all point to one - that I do not have the bottle.

True, you did strip for Belarus, on one of the coldest January days of 2012. But who, who would really want to look at and draw a naked, skeletal 60-year-old stringbean for hours on end? It would be too distressing, too odd. I think they prefer a nice cheerful middle aged chap with a bit of a beer gut and a head of curly hair.

My one paid job does not in fact require nudity. Quite the reverse, in fact, for I am being the hands and knees double for an eminent academic whose portrait is to be painted for a national collection.

For this work - I cannot reveal the subject or artists' name yet - I have to dress up rather than undress, wearing a selection of lovely tweedy suits and ties - and for one, later rejected pose, a beautiful corduroy overcoat.

It's not terribly exciting and surprisingly difficult to model someone else's hands - even though they look the same my knuckle-joints are not as flexible as his. The amount of time spent arranging my extremities, trying to hold them still, changing the light, moving the toes an inch back, tucking in the shirtcuffs, is an eye-opener. He endlessly photographs, and then seems to do it all over again , and then again.

But the artist is a charmer, young but steeped in the traditions of portraiture. His studio easy to reach and the pay very fair. How can I complain?