I’ve just been for my second sitting with Catherine, bicycling all the way from Stepney to Flood Street in the early morning sun. I’ve realised that it’s different sitting to a woman than to a man: more companionable; more about psychology than pure observation. She switches between conversational mode and painting and I learn a bit about what it was like to be at the Royal Academy Schools in the early 1980s when Peter Greenham was Keeper and it was all about figurative painting, no abstraction allowed, and the staff included Anthony Eyton and Olwen Bowey, both long – standing RAs. There’s an invisible community amongst those of us being painted for Catherine’s exhibition at the NPG, as we exchange places in her studio, talk about one another, but never meet. I can’t help wondering if it was like this for Reynolds’ s sitters as they went in and out of his studio on Leicester Fields, very punctually on the hour. We had Delius today, rather than Bach.