Tag Archives: bargue

Day 1: A Foot in the door

I must admit, I felt a surge of energy in me when I woke up, knowing today was to be my first day at the atelier. I got ready, and walked confidently to the bus stop, and waited.

Getting to the atelier, I met the instructors(who I had already met), and other students. There are two of us who are just starting.

From 9 to 12 am, we drew from a live nude female model. I think there were four sessions, and five minute breaks between. Everybody drew her. This is a routine exercise at this atelier. One aim of this is to work on the sight-size method.

There were several new ideas I learned: sight-size method, bloocking-in, using a plumb line, as well as using straight lines to get a really accurate outline and basic form, rather than drawing curves and details early…which makes later corrections and adjustments hard and messy.

After our long break between 12pm and 1pm, Jenna introduced us to Charles Bargue drawings. I knew some things about Charles Bargue drawings, and told us about this history (it was commissioned by Jean Leon-Gerome, a giant amongst painters, as part of the routine for training painters in the French academic tradition). All of Bargues drawings are absolutely excellent. The precision, shading, tones, even his long curved lines are perfect, without glitches.


We were asked to pick relatively simple drawings of Charles Bargue, which we are going to copy. I am now copying this one:


What’s interesting is how long it might take to get a perfect copy!

However, I am trying to learn that life is a journey…and so is making art. I am learning that it’s important to be fully in the moment and enjoy it as you draw or paint. Nobody ever ‘gets there’. OR, when you ‘get there’, you find that there’s a whole world ahead of you!

I’ll try to make this blog a comprehensive record of my experiences at the atelier, as well as a good record of the steps involved in being trained in the classical academic tradition.

Till then!