Sometimes all it takes is a naked bodybuilder to get you to brush up on your art skills.
Correction: nearly naked. “In most life drawing classes, the model is nude,” says Reenie Marx. “Ours will not be, but of course he will be scantily dressed, because you can’t do life drawings of somebody with all their clothes on – it’s not the same thing!”
Why all this talk of nudity? The Arbor Gallery Cultural Centre will soon be presenting “An Evening of Scandalous Sketching,” a life drawing course with Vankleek Hill-based artist Susan Jephcott and champion bodybuilder Wil White (pictured here) that will be taking place on Saturday, September 16.
Marx, who is fundraiser for the Arbor Gallery, explained how the one-evening class is inspired by classic life drawing sessions.
“Each person one of those large sketch pads, and on each table there’ll be a selection of charcoal or pencils. So you’ll say to the model, Okay, take a pose–” To demonstrate, she strikes a pose herself , hands poised artistically in the air. “– And they’ll hold that pose for about three minutes while you sketch. Or they’ll give you time to make something more elaborate.”
As for organizing the event, Marx enthused that it came together “magically.” The first step, she explained, was to secure an artist and a model.
“Susan is always very busy with her own projects, but I knew I needed somebody who had both, you could say, ‘street creds’ as being a bona fide artist, as well as the right kind of personality – and she said sure, she’d do it! And Wil is, believe it or not, a very, very old friend. Well, he’s not very old!” She laughs easily. “Wil’s life took him lots of adventures, and along the way he became very interested in bodybuilding. He didn’t become an ordinary bodybuilder, either, he got into it big time. Serious.” She pulls up a black-and-white art photograph on her phone, showing a heavily muscled man in a pose that evokes Atlas. “So, you see, he’ll be wearing a kind of bodybuilder getup that’s basically a Speedo.”
“The third piece came along by accident,” she continues. “I met the son of one of my clients, James Tottle. James has a hobby of photography, and [when I told him about the fundraiser], he offered to help with the lighting – we need something called ‘edge lighting’ to make all the muscles show, and a certain kind of top lighting.”
“And then came the next big piece. That gallery’s small, and we have to have room [for tables and] for Wil to have a stage. So we thought, what about Zudio! And Lou, you know, she is nothing if not a fabulous team player for the community, she donates her services and her talents everywhere. She offered to give us Zudio for the evening, which will be awesome. Suddenly, now, I could have as many as 36 people there. So everything is coming out perfectly.”
“It just seemed to come together. All the people involved are very easygoing, so the point is just to have a lot of fun and raise some money for the gallery.”
The class will begin at 7:30 pm, and continue for approximately two hours. Tickets will be available at the Arbor Gallery and the offices of The Review for $45, which includes one glass of wine and all materials.
“This community wants to see a cultural centre – not just an art gallery, but a true cultural centre,” says Marx. “And, well, we’re a non-profit. It’s these fundraisers that keep us going. We need the support that people give us.”