LIFE CLASS FOR AMATEURS

Posted by Admin on Thursday, 27th July 2006, 00:00

The urge to move, to scratch, becomes
a torment – making her think her six
and forty years begin to say, “Enough’s
enough. Quit this posing in the nude.”

The maestro, too, is past his prime:
quite often now the handle of his brush,
demonstrative, will probe her nostrils,
navel, or her ears.

Supine there on the model’s throne
she ruminates on students and their
work – Annette with technique based
on paint-by-numbers kits, and skill
that barely justifies the sum expended
on the course – on Christopher who
cannot draw her hands or feet, but
airs his knowledge of anatomy in terms
of levators, depressors, and the
superciliary arch, restricting his
portrayal to her shoulders and her head.

Around his canvas Mervyn peers.
Embarrassed by the sight of female flesh
(his introduction to a nude) a trembling
brush betrays a young unsteady hand.

Androgynous, uncompromising, Jane
applies her palette-knife, excludes
no wrinkle, firms no sagging breast:
with harsh and bold impasto tells the
truth of beauty run to seed.

In vapid water-colours Clive contrives
a wood nymph caught at rest – a plan
defeated by his lack of skill – the tender
idyll in his mind unaccomplished by his hand.

Directly in her line of sight a
surrealistic work’s in hand. Eccentric,
Rex dismembers her, exploiting incongruity
to make it seem obscene – a ploy the Maestro
will commend; his creed a synthesis of
Art and Sigmund Freud.

Eight feet away a Captain Blake, R.N.
retired, less happy with the human form
than with his barques and brigantines,
has problems with foreshortened limbs,
and mutters imprecations in his beard –
with nostalgia mingled with regret
recalls the ‘wives’ he left in foreign
ports.

Paul, a pointillist, sprinkles
his dots like carnival confetti,
infects her epidermis with a multi-
coloured rash.

And she, whose grandma sat for John
(Augustus) stifles yawns and yearns
for break-time’s cup of tea, the while
deploring her and Art’s decline.

T. C. Hudson

© T. C. Hudson.
This work may not be reproduced without prior permission of the author.

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