Learning from Bargue

For the past few months, I have continued work to retrain and improve my drawing skills. Specifically, I copied master drawings from various artists, including several from the Charles Bargue Drawing Course. Shortly after I bought the book, I saw an exhibition at The Denver Art Museum called Becoming Van Gogh. I was pleasantly surprised to find the Bargue Book on display as an integral part of Van Gogh’s training. Its appearance gave me a sense of connection with art history and provided encouragement at a time when I needed it. With newfound inspiration, I began studying hands and feet.

The two drawings pictured here demonstrate my first efforts:

The hand was done on a small scale with graphite pencil in my sketchbook. Though I was encouraged by some parts of the drawing, I realized to make the most out of this effort, I needed to work larger and in a charcoal medium.

In the second image, a foot, I worked on a larger format (on a roughly 12” x 18” surface) and used vine charcoal which I avoided working with until that point. Thoughts like -

It's too messy.
You haven't worked with charcoal enough to produce good results.

- kept me from even trying it for some time.

Immediately, I was surprised by the subtle tonal differences that charcoal offered. I continued to produce copies over several months and will post highlights with pics and comments on my process over the course of the next few weeks.