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Reporter Bill Lynch took things a little too far with his month of figure drawing and posed naked for a group of artists. Some months are longer than others.

Brandy Jefferys was just about to leave me in the storeroom at the Huntington Museum of Art when I stopped her.

“Hey, one thing: a question,” I said.

An empty, black gym bag rested on the floor, next to my feet.

“So … I’ve done this before,” I explained rapidly. “I posed for an art class in Charleston. I’ve been going to figure drawing classes for a couple of weeks, and I modeled for them, about a week ago.”

Brandy, the instructor and facilitator for the class, nodded.

“So… the other models didn’t go fully nude,” I said. “They wore something, not much, but something. It seemed like that was what the room was comfortable with and so, that’s what I did, too.

“So, what do you want here?” I asked.

She waited a moment and then slowly said, “Well, typically, this is full-nude.”

“Then that’s what we’re doing today. No problem,” I said quickly, though I wasn’t entirely sure if that was the case.

My “job” as a nude model for the Huntington Museum of Art’s figure drawing class had come about accidentally. As I’d been talking to Andy White about joining the figure drawing class in Charleston, I’d talked to a lot of people.

One of them had connected me with the Huntington Museum of Art, who offered to let me come pose for their class — and then I mostly forgot all about it.

But the museum hadn’t. A couple of weeks into my figure drawing month, they reached out to see if I was still interested.

I almost declined, but they mentioned paying me — roughly $30.

I’d have to fill out tax forms and everything.

Suddenly, this wasn’t just one of my weird adventures. It was an actual job.

From now on, I could tell people I was a real professional model. I might put that on my next round of business cards, along with trained sushi chef and experienced pilot.

Also, by the time the museum contacted me again, I already knew I wasn’t going to be posing nude in Charleston, which had been a relief.

There was always the possibility that someone I knew, someone I worked with or interacted with routinely, might be in the class, which might make things awkward from then on.

Modeling in Charleston hadn’t been that difficult, really.

Down the hall from the art studio in a bathroom, I’d slipped out of my street clothes, keeping on my snug-fitting underwear and electric blue running socks.

The floor seemed a little dirty. I’d meant to bring flip flops, but my dog Penny, after ignoring the shower shoes through the entire summer, decided the night before I needed them that they might make a good snack.

After I undressed, I put on a borrowed robe and walked back to the classroom, where about six or seven artists were taking their seats and getting ready to work. I recognized most of them from previous classes, but there were some new faces, people I didn’t know.

Andy sent me to the small, raised platform at the back of the room and then asked if I wanted music.

I told him I didn’t particularly care, but sure, music was fine.

He found an instrumental jazz playlist to fill in for missing conversation, but that would distract from drawing.

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Vince Guaraldi, famous for his work on a couple of “Peanuts” television specials, gently played in the background.

“This is the weirdest Charlie Brown Christmas ever,” I thought.

Before we started, I kicked off my blue socks, in case anybody wanted to draw my toes. Then when the class was ready, I dropped my robe and posed in my shorts.

As with the other classes, we began with two-minute fast sketch warm-up exercises. I posed with my arms open wide. I crouched. I flexed. I lounged in a chair like Captain Kirk on the bridge of the starship Enterprise.

As the next couple of hours went, people in the class looked up at me, looked down at their sketch pads, and scribbled away. It felt fine. I was aware that I was the center of their attention, but that the attention was neutral.

To pass the time, I looked at the art on the walls, counted shapes in the carpet and then tried remembering things. For over an hour, I went through my memory, picking out everything I could recall when I was 6-years-old.

I thought about the old house where my family had moved just after my father left the Marine Corps, the elementary school I attended and the boys in the neighborhood who’d been my friends.

I tried to latch onto details, like chasing after a snow cone salesman driving a station wagon and playing inside several construction sites.

After around two-hours and change, including a break, the class ended. While the artists put away their things and chatted, I slipped away from everyone and put on the rest of my clothes.

People thanked me for posing. I went home and made dinner. A day or so later, members of the class began posting pictures of their sketches online.

They’d had a charitable eye, I thought, though I wished they could have found a little more hair on top of my head. I was pleased with the results, at least. I could see myself in their drawings.

A week later in Huntington, I strode out of the storage room and into the classroom as Brandy talked to the three women who’d come to sketch me. I didn’t know any of them, which, again, was a relief.

When they were ready, Brandy started the timer. I took a deep breath, set my jaw, and shrugged off the robe.

I tried very hard not to look down. I figured if I didn’t, maybe they wouldn’t.

Call it typical male insecurity.

Maybe because I was completely naked, I never relaxed. My mind never wandered.

I was very much aware where I was and that I was being looked at. I became hypersensitive. I felt the air on my skin and the heat of the lights. The scratches from the pencils and charcoal roared in my ears and I noticed none of us was making any eye contact.

It was an unsettling feeling.

Everyone was respectful. No one was unkind. To the contrary, the artists complimented me on being able to remain still. They appreciated my more masculine form, which I was told they weren’t used to working with.

Most of the figure models, I believe, are women.

But while I dressed in the next room, the classroom emptied out. Everyone left and the instructor followed me as I exited the building.

I didn’t see what any of them saw and I don’t think I ever will.

Unlike the Charleston figure drawing class, this wasn’t a regular group with a Facebook page to share images. We were all strangers and the artists took their pictures with them.

A little disappointed, I drove home, drained and hungry, but unwilling to stop anywhere. I just wanted to crawl into bed.

The next day I woke up in a bit of a funk, not entirely certain why I felt that way, but glad that it was over.

Bill Lynch covers entertainment. He can be reached at 304-348-5195 or lynch@hdmediallc.com. Follow @lostHwys on Twitter and @billiscap on Instagram.

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