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The Other Side of the Canvas
By A. Model
Part 1: "Baring it all for art"

It was my first life drawing class.  I was a little nervous as to how I would act when the model removed her clothing.  Would I be nervous?  Would I be able to concentrate?  Would I be able to look at the model?  Hell, would I LAUGH?

The model for our first day in class was a nice lady by the name of Sarah.  I, being a basically social person,  had a little chat to her before class, asking how long she had been a model (10 years), if she enjoyed it (yes), that sort of thing.  Then the teacher arrived, Sarah went to the platform in the middle of the room and we got started.  After a short introduction on how to hold a pencil the teacher asked Sarah to take position and we really DID start.

Sarah dropped her robe and took a stance. "Ah," I thought "So this is what it's all about" and I got busy with my drawing.  Total embarrassment = one second. After all, Sarah wasn't embarrassed, so why should I be?  As I drew I realised just how grateful I was to have a real live person standing there for me, completely naked, totally happy to have me staring at all their bits and pieces.

During one of the breaks I went and had another chat to Sarah.  I told her how grateful I was to have a live model and asked her how difficult it was to do. Sarah explained that it was an easy  job - embarrassment ended very quickly because you concentrated on maintaining the pose.  Before I knew it I had the phone number of the agent in my pocket and a bundle of nerves in my heart.

But I knew that I had it in me to be a good model.  I was an artist, after all. I knew what artists wanted, and I knew that I could stand naked in front of artists - after all, they aren't really just people staring, they are ARTISTS, that important sub-group of humanity that has only pure and lofty ideals.  Right?

That night I rang the agent who shall henceforth be called "Charlie" due to the fact that we never met  (as in  Charlies Angels).  He asked a lot of questions, about experience, about body size and shape, about what he expected from his models, what the art teachers expect, what different groups there were in the area that hired models and so on.  I expressed my nervousness and was again told that it wouldn't be difficult. It was nice to hear, but I didn't believe a word of it!

Little did I know what I was letting myself in for....

To be continued ...

is an Elfwoodian who works both sides of the canvas. She enjoys horse riding, reading, playing music and, of course, painting. If you have any questions about modelling or anything else in this column, you can email her at .