About a year ago, I began drawing classes with Craig Berry of Atelier 2302. You can see the blog where I first wrote about doing the Barge drawings here. The class follows the classical training progression of drawing first from the Bargue plates, with a 1:1 copy, then progressing to proportionate measure of a plate to a drawing, and then moving on to learning to draw a three-dimensional cast.
Over the winter, I completed a second Bargue, and am now working on my proportionate measure drawing.
Here is the second one completed - Plate 1, 54, Jeune femme
Now I am working on the proportionate drawing, starting on the rendering, at the big form modeling stage. It is a drawing of the statue Milo of Crotone by Pierre Puget, Plate 1, 58. You can see the various drawings in progress here.
This proportionate measuring stuff was a real challenge. The object is to enlarge the drawing of the plate, using your pencil, a knitting needle, or in my case, a bamboo skewer, because I couldn't get a proper grip on the needle, an eraser, and a lot of observation. No grid, no axes, just mark top and bottom and away you go. Talk about a major feeling of accomplishment to get the drawing more or less right! Tons of coaching by the ever patient Craig. Now I am working on the rendering, or shading, stage, working from large areas to small ones. I only seem to work at it in class, so I am not speeding along, but with this kind of drawing it really is the journey. The three hours every Thursday morning have been a life saver, letting me quiet my mind and focus on just the end of the pencil.
Once this one is done, or maybe a bit before, I and another student will start on the drawing of the three-dimensional cast. Once we have done a couple of those, we will be ready to do drawing from life. I also plan to go to the university during the summer where they have quite a number of casts and statuary in a small museum and do more practicing.
The drawing class has already helped me with my painting, better understanding shapes, light and dark, shadow shapes and turning forms. We are so fortunate to have such a great resource here in town. If you can hold a pencil, you can learn to do this. Really. And in this crazy busy non-stop life most of us have, slowing down and truly understanding and appreciating this kind of work has all kinds of benefits. Really.