May 152013


First time ‘kit off ’

This is all very formal. I am keeping to his emailed instructions. I change in another room. Jeremy has already arranged the lighting, the stool, the drapery. He has an exact precise pose in his head. Verbally he sets me up in it – I am not a bowl of fruit he can poke about with. He puts the Vivaldi on, I pull my frock off.

It’s not sexy at all.

As per the many hours we have already spent together in this room, we remain silent. I mean completely wordless. Hence, as I did for the portrait, I lose myself in my head. For once, a tear does not eventually, slowly, climb out and roll down (I have had to pass these off as a reaction to turps).

There’s the usual piece of cake at half time (how come he’s so slim and fit?). I make conversation about my new exercise regime now that my novel’s with an agent. I tell him I’ve got out of shape through sitting at my desk writing for the last four years. I boast that this agent’s really up there; she’s got an Orange Prize winner on her list and I’ve just had to post her my complete manuscript as she ‘loved’ the first three chapters.

Blah blah blah. He is picking up his palette with a distracted look. I feel a fool.

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This week’s topic

2. Life-drawing: spiritual, not sexy?
Click on the above link to add further to this discussion (which is already well underway). Please comment too about my serial. Have you ever sketched someone crying? I had forgotten about those tears…
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1. See Bel’s blog for a rare drawing of me clothed (please note, by the way, that Bel’s commentary on our jaunt to Swindon Literature Festival 2013 to perform UNDER THE GAZE is from the perspective of an abstemious woman sitting apart from the jesting throng with a camera to her eye…). The clothed drawing is by poet Hilda Sheehan who sketched me at this – though I say so myself – excellent avant-garde boho event (please book us!). Later, Hilda’s five year-old, Flo, reprovingly crayoned a skirt and jumper over my body-parts.
2. Have you ever done life-drawing? Check out this list of groups and classes. Yes they’re all in Yorkshire. For my international readers: that’s a nice, quiet, post-industrial little corner of England. Why haven’t you moved here yet?
3. Canine readers may put up their portraits when they subscribe. Puppy (below), who is a life-model, shares a house with ever-so-English artist Bridget Tempest. See portraits of some other dog subscribers, Harry and Hamish to name but two, in the thread of Post 10. Please, if you are an arty dog, add your own portrait to that thread. Too technically challenging? Email it to, he’ll do it for you.
Puppy, Bridget's

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Artist of the week

I’d just like to say that SAM DALBY bears no resemblance to the character of Conservative Jeremy. Whatsoever. I have just used some of Sam’s work to represent CJ. After graduating from Cleveland (UK) College of Art and Design, Sam Dalby RP (= member, Royal Society of Portrait Painters) began taking commissions in 2002 and has established a firm reputation as a portrait artist. In 2009 Sam was shortlisted for the Bulldog Bursary. Exhibitions include the BP Portrait Award (2003) and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters (2010, 2011, 2012). Sam Dalby lives in Settle in Yorkshire, England, and tutors in portraiture and life-drawing.
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