It began with a prickly feeling in my foot.
I had been hired by a serious artist for a ‘critical piece’ (his words).
He’d placed me carefully in a classical pose with one arm behind my head and on my side, very Matisse. He had high aspirations!
He’d taken twenty minutes to get the pose right and a further twenty to make a grid on his page.
Being a seasoned model, I had experienced long sittings in various positions, some quite twisted, a reflection of the artist’s mind, without a doubt!
But never had I sat SO long without a break, throw in a lumpy couch, the artist’s self-important stare and I was going numb fast.
Not just a little bit numb, but the prickle had turned and my feet were throbbing a sick sort of cold.
The sensation travelled like the tide up my shins, over my thighs and into my pelvis.
‘Please, sir,’ choosing to speak before my mouth muscles ceased to function, ‘excuse me but I really need to move my body.’
‘WHAT!!! NO stay right there! Not an inch not an inch..’
‘But I can’t…pain….’ I moved my foot and he, brush poised, beret perched, actually, LITERALLY screamed!
A grown man wailing like a baby being dragged off the breast.
I am usually accommodating to the extreme when modelling but this time there was no choice, I had to look after myself despite the overturning of easels and middle aged screeching!
I offered to return to the pose but the switch had been flipped, never before had I witnessed an artist’s tantrum like this one!
His painting was ‘RUINED’ he would ‘never never never get it NOW’ like Don Music from Sesame street!
I had to make a choice, should I stay or should I go? Staying and riding his tantrum out MIGHT mean I’d get paid BUT leaving now would definitely free me from emotional torment and who knew how long it was going to last.
I slunk away, taking my robe and my water bottle, slipping out to the sound of glass crashing across the tiles.
Maybe, just maybe, if he’d put as much passion into his painting as he does his melodrama………