(Featured image: a charcoal drawing on tone paper by Colleen Barry.)
I should have long ago stated that my living peer hero is the artist Colleen Barry. She’s not truly my peer though: she’s been studying art for 10 years and is a highly respected emerging artist and teacher, but she’s a couple years older than me and isn’t quite in the “Living Master” territory like my teacher Juliette or her teacher Jacob Collins (who was also Juliette’s teacher). When I look at her art I am inspired to push myself, create more and take creative risks. I see what contemporary classical art can be through another lens.
Her drawing above, and some more of her work below:
This last image is in Juliette’s book Lessons on Classical Drawing, where I first saw Colleen’s work. She lives in New York and came to Gage to teach a workshop on structural figure drawing. “Structural” because she teaches both anatomy and how the individual anatomical structures work together as the model holds a pose. It’s a great way to think about the figure as a whole even if you’re focusing on a specific part as you draw.
The workshop was a week long and it was excellent. Typically life room (the studio with the live model) is a time crunch because of the three hour time limit and the five minute breaks every twenty. But instead of 3 hours a day, we had six. It was luxurious. I was drawing in graphite instead of charcoal because I typically draw in graphite if I’m making a drawing to transfer for a painting. I was surprised that in a week I got past the initial block-in phase. I started rendering, which if I’m going to do I typically want to do in charcoal because you can get darker darks and charcoal drawings often have a more atmospheric quality.
Everyone in the class experienced a major leap forward in their drawing skills which was exhilarating to witness. Sometimes hearing something you’ve learned before in a different way makes the light go on. Here’s my drawing, which I am sheepish to post after a slew of Colleen Barry images, but nonetheless: graphite on white paper, a one week drawing.