Wiltshire Publications

Nude but not rude at Westbury & District U3A!

There was a busy start to the April U3A meeting as many members renewed annual subscriptions on arrival. 

Once everyone was settled, the chairman Carolyn Los reminded people that the AGM will take place on Tuesday 10th May and she asked that as many people as possible attend.

Next, details of the excursion to ss Great Britain on 16th May were again given and members asked to ensure that they had booked a place should they wish to go.

Anne Thompson then introduced the speaker Jane Arnold, who gave a very entertaining and instructive talk entitled ‘Nude but not Rude’.  Sitting quietly in a dressing gown her first point was most emphatically made as she stood up removing it and revealing herself to be fully clothed.

Yes, she said as a Life Model her job was to pose naked, she was used to and comfortable with that situation, and that was the only time she was. She then proceeded to show us, fully clothed of course, some of the poses that she has to adopt. These have to be interesting for the class to draw from all angles. Some poses are very difficult to maintain for more than five minutes and place stresses on the body.

Until fairly recently a career as a Life Model was not respectable and it was difficult even for famous artists to draw from live female models. Some renaissance artists used young men and added breasts whilst others drew from corpses!

Life classes have a structured format. The session starts with a series of short poses of five minutes or less, then some longer poses with the longest being 90 minutes. Jane confessed to thinking about the next pose during the short poses, usually one that would counteract any stiffness resulting from the first pose.

Food was on her mind during medium length poses, the time being used to plan the week’s menus. Lengthy poses provided time for pleasant virtual visits to homes and gardens.

Jane stated a Life Model usually elects her own poses and she ensured that she was always comfortable, taking cushions and ensuring that the room is warm enough for her to be comfortable.

Needless to say there have been some funny and embarrassing moments. It was only after poses in front of a window in a disused chapel that Jane realised that she would have been visible from the road. There were many questions for Jane to answer after which she was thanked for a most entertaining and instructive talk.