Thursday, Jun 20, 2019

Starline live model studio inspires

On Monday evenings at the Starline Factory, artists, aspiring artists or people who simply want to unwind can connect with their creative geniuses for a few hours by participating in the factory’s weekly live model open drawing session.

“You don’t have to be an artist to [attend],” said Harvard artist and art teacher Mary Beth Bellon, who started the sessions. “The open studio is like cross-training. It’s getting creative minds going; it is a gym for creativity.”

Bellon, who has her own studio at the factory, comes from a background in animation and has experience with an array of art mediums. She said she can be found at the Starline Factory six or seven days a week, and, when she’s not busy creating her own work, she also teaches several art classes in the building.

The concept for the open drawing studio was born a year ago when Bellon decided she wanted to experiment with drawing and painting from a live model. She said she thought having an open studio would be a great way to offer a service to artists and bring them together. The sessions take place just outside her studio space.

“It’s a lot of fun to have other people [to sketch with],” she said. “We are building an artistic community here. People come from all around. We have even had models from Lake Geneva and Palatine.”

Every week Bellon selects a new model for the sessions. Some she finds on the street. Other models – as well as attendees – hear about the sessions through word of mouth and keep on coming.

“You don’t really have to advertise this,” she said. “People come here to try out new materials, to experiment, to purge.”

Bellon said the models she selects are sometimes in costume – currently she’s looking for people to pose in “Steampunk” garb – and once a month there also is a nude model sketching session. The nude model sessions are open only to people age 18 or older.

Joyce Spitson, a Harvard resident and art student of Bellon’s, said she started attending the open drawing studio in March. She shared a few different reasons she enjoys attending the open sessions.

“They are a great thing because of the people you meet, and it is just a relaxing way to get away from the daily grind,” she said, adding that the weekly sessions have greatly improved her work. “I took art classes throughout high school, but in 35 years I haven’t drawn much. It is now coming back. There’s also an energy here [in the building] that people love.”

“It’s a great place to come, talk and share ideas,” Bellon added. “We are not just here drawing. We are sharing our secrets.”

A $5 model fee is required for all attendees. Dates and times of sessions may vary.

For information, visit or email Bellon at