Saturday, 10 January 2009

Back to work

Happy New Year! Mine is...
Yes, dear reader, there's a lovely new man in my life, and all's going well with my family and my life in general - nothing to complain about and a lot of reasons to be happy. So, back to school and college and back to work for me. I had four different jobs last week, and two of them were new groups and new venues.
The first was on Wednesday evening, 8-9.30pm, which was not an ideal time in terms of my twelve-year old, especially as her brother was hardly home all week (he's involved in a local protest/occupation, and a new relationship). It was also very cold. I set off early in case of getting lost, but the directions were clear and I arrived at her studio (a converted shed in the garden) before any of the artists. She's a sculptor mainly, was given my number by another sculptor who I worked for last year, and it's a small group of artists who've met twice before with a male model.
Only three others out of a possible six turned up - I don't know how they managed to fit seven of them plus model into the space available, it felt crowded with four. And cold. I stood or sat over the heater the whole time. They asked if they could book me for their next session, but I had to say no - occasionally would be Ok, but not too often, for my daughter's sake.
Friday I had two jobs, a village hall group with several artists I already knew, then after wandering around the town for the best part of an hour I drove straight over to the catholic school, where they had a new class of lower Sixth to induct into the delights of the naked female form. A mixed group - seemed to be three girls and three boys, but another three boys arrived late and were sent away until the break. The experienced tutor was still working out the lesson plan, and was handing over to a novice tutor after the first fifteen minutes.
The class did not go according to plan, and there was a 'disruptive element' in the form of a gangly lad with a quiff, who objected to lots of short poses to begin (he wanted a long one), lounged around not following what was being taught, and generally had a bit of an attitude. The break went on too long, the three girls left the room and were late back, and two of the planned poses had to be dropped. But for some reason I was paid an extra fiver, so no complaints from me.
I must comment on the sheer beauty of the day on Friday too - a hoar frost round here, bright winter sunshine, loved the sunrise and all the colours of dawn, loved driving to the first job, discovering the riverside at lunchtime, and driving to the second job - except that the fog started when I got up into the hills. Coming home after I emerged from fog to find the orange setting sun bisected by thin cloud - so artistic.
This morning was another new group, in another artist's studio in a village, and the frost was thick and white but not covering the trees so noticeably. I set off early and stuck to the main road as much as possible - the route that took me along a lane bounded by hedges rather than one bounded by ditches, I know what I'd prefer if the car started to slide...
Anyway, arrived safely and early and introduced myself to the hostess artist, who is new to the area and had extensively renovated her house (two of the others came from the same village and spent some time admiring what she'd done to it, and the new spacious studio). There then followed at least fifteen minutes of trying to get easels set up and everyone ready. One artist who I've met before covered the lovely new studio floor in layers of newspaper, as she works with inks. There was a watercolourist, a returnee to life drawing, and two from another class I'd sat for - six in all. I really enjoyed working for them, they really enjoyed me as a model - and again, I was slipped an extra fiver (for staying on to cover the setting up time, and for sitting so still and producing lots of interesting poses, I think). Nice and warm, good views of frosty willows, experienced and appreciative artists, and real coffee - the best sort of job. I'm booked for another five Saturday mornings with them.
Next week I start back at the college, and hope to find out how I can use the gym there - a perk I read about in my 'terms and conditions of employment'. That'll make the short Friday morning sessions worthwhile and fill in the time before the catholic school booking - and save me money on the local gym too.