‘Nothing Better than the First Attempt’: Cabaret Life Drawing

(Cabaret Life Drawing, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, 11 June 2022)

A very pleasant hour passed in the Cabaret Festival’s Spiegeltent on the Festival Centre Plaza. This was a life drawing session (not really a lesson, more like a brief taste with a light touch). The assembled throng, their creative impulses enlivened by a glass of wine and some piano and bass versions of songs such as Puttin’ on the Ritz, Tea for Two and All of Me, attempted to depict model Letitia, striking various classy poses in an elegant gown (see below).

It was conducted by Adelaide Central School of Art graduate Ruby Chew (below) [BA Visual Arts Hons. at Adelaide Central School of Art (2010), along with further study at Central Saint Martins, London and the Florence Academy of Art, Florence]. Ruby’s work has been accepted into the prestigious Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition, where she was awarded the SALA Prize, part funding her first solo exhibition, and the Hill Smith Gallery/Helpmann Academy Travel Prize, funding a 3-month artistic development trip around the UK and Europe.

Ruby Chew (photo by Claudio Raschella)

Ruby has exhibited, taught and held residency positions interstate and overseas. She has had numerous solo exhibitions, notably Portraits at Magazine Gallery (2011), Spitting Image at Hill Smith Gallery (2012) and The Difference Between Things at Floating Goose Studios (2021).  Her website is: http://www.rubychew.com/

Ruby ran us through a number of exercises designed to afford amateurs an entrée into the creation of charcoal drawings of the model and her surrounding artefacts. It mattered not that the overall feel was more salon than cabaret club: using charcoal, tissue for shading and a portable board standing-in for an easel, we attempted continuous line drawing, drawing “blind” and using the non-dominant hand (we suppose a property lawyer would call it the ‘servient hand’) to draw, or try to draw, in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

Letitia models fans

Near the end of the session, Rosie Russell joined Letitia as an additional model, while she belted out an impressive version of “At Last” with the support of the two excellent musicians.

Rosie Russell

We can’t say our efforts will be hung in any gallery walls, but this no-pressure workshop was a playful gift and for us, a gentle opener to the Cabaret Festival.

Your reporter’s modest effort:
“Lady on chaise lounge with nearby cello”

As that talented rogue, Picasso, said, “In drawing, nothing is better than the first attempt.”

1 Comment

  1. Reply


    June 15, 2022

    I think you missed your calling oh modest reporter.

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