Life drawing classes are offered Saturdays at Aldergrove’s Art in the Country studio.

Country life inspires artists

Michael Kluckner hosts a workshop at Art in the Country’s studio in August, life drawing sessions on Saturdays

A lifelong passion for art keeps opening new doors for Aldergrove artist Susan Gorris.

After 43 years of working, including 35 years of teaching art to high school students in Langley and Aldergrove, Gorris retired this past June.

However, she’s still active, perhaps more than ever, as she is dedicating her time to her country studio.

A rustic but cosy outbuilding on her hobby farm is the setting for a wide range of life drawing sessions, artists’ workshops and special events.

Her farm, with its collection of horses, chickens, peafowl, dogs and cats, is an idyllic and inspirational setting for the art participants of all ages.

Her Art in the Country studio’s focus has shifted in the last few years. Initially it was launched in 1993 as a summer art camp for youths, then it grew into a variety of offerings for high school students and later, for adults.

“With class sizes ranging from six to 19, the artwork produced was startling in its creative and technical abundance,” said Gorris.

Many of Gorris’s young artists from both Art in the Country and Langley Fine Arts School contributed to the 10 Year Anniversary Celebration of artworks at the 2003 Langley Centennial Museum exhibition.

New sessions were added for adults as the studio entered its second decade, ranging from animal sculpture to pottery wheel throwing and pit-firing.

Now in its 23rd year, Art in the Country offers seasonal sessions of life drawing. There are a spring, fall and winter series of six sessions each on Saturdays, on the subject of life drawing, in the studio. Open to avid amateurs and experienced professionals, the fee of $20 covers coffee, the use of drawing boards and the model fee.

These sessions run for three hours on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and while they are intensive, Gorris says they have a nice social touch as well.

“Summer is vacation time but I’m thinking of having a special one-day blitz this summer, with a six hour session of the same pose along with a picnic lunch in the garden.”

Art in the Country has also been the site for other artist’s workshops this spring, including Kathleen Menges on the subject of “Cold Wax and Oil Painting” and Tony O’Regan on “Toward the Portrait”. More workshops will be offered on a variety of subjects in the coming year.

Next up, in late August, Michael Kluckner, an esteemed author, artist and heritage advocate, will offer a workshop on the graphic novel — how to build, design factors, getting it published, etc. The workshop, titled “From Sketchbook to Graphic Novel,” will be led by Kluckner on Saturday, August 27, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the studio.

For more information on the Kluckner workshop or the Saturday life drawing sessions, call Susan Gorris at 604-856-0634.

A website for Art in the Country is currently under construction but a Facebook page is available for viewing upcoming events at the farm studio.