“When I was first asked if I would care to model the thought that perhaps naturally, perhaps perversely, went through my head was, “Are we talking nude modelling?”. Fortunately this idea was quickly swept away as I was asked to model in full motorcycling regalia; quite the opposite in fact. I had never modeled before in any conscious way. I think my daughter may have used me once or twice as a subject but only if I happened to have been still at the time. This time I was told that I would need to attend for several sittings. As I am now retired, the time restraint was not an issue and it sounded quite interesting.
“Paulina made the sittings very easy as she maintained an easy flow of conversation which made the time pass quickly and also made it easier to concentrate. She also played some music in the background which was helpful to relax. I learnt a little of the problems of working in oils as she explained the drying properties of various substances. After three or four sessions, the bike was required on its own and it was interesting to see how the light conditions changed each time and created some problems for Paulina.
“My first sitting, I call it sitting although standing is what it came to be, was when the crucial decisions had to be made. As the painting was to be of a motorcycle and myself, there were two elements to consider. The idea was to capture the pose from a classical work but in a modern context and so the stance that I was to adopt was more or less dictated by the painting that inspired the new picture. Nevertheless there seemed to be quite a choice as to how this was to be interpreted and that was an interesting aspect to the enterprise. Not only did the bike and myself have to be positioned but the artist had to have a viewpoint so there were now three things to be set. Also, in order to maintain the stance over several days, I was given a fixed point to look at. I was intrigued at how all these things were decided and fixed by the simple technique of chalking on the floor. It reminded me of fixing locations for sets in plays that I had been involved with over the years.
“Having chosen a stance which I thought would be easy to hold I soon discovered that just standing still in one position for any length of time is not so easy. I was used to standing for long periods from my previous work as a teacher but this time it needed to be quite still. I had agreed to sit for an hour and that was beginning to sound like an awfully long time. I needn’t have worried as Pauline had thought of all this. She broke the sitting up into roughly ten minute slots. Even so, after probably only a minute I became acutely aware of a tension in my calf. It was not a bad pain and I was easily able to endure it but it was always there. I thought that as the hour wore on, it would ease but in fact after starting each period of posing, the same pain would return. It went away as quickly as it had come fortunately. I now appreciated the thought that had gone into getting the first pose a comfortable one that I would be able to sustain.
PLEASING END RESULT
“The end result was very pleasing and had certainly captured me as a motorcyclist. Pauline is intending to make a series of similar paintings, themed around classical paintings. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing and would recommend it to anyone.”
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