Colleen Barry Figure Drawing Workshop


(Featured image: a charcoal drawing on tone paper by Colleen Barry.)


I should have long ago stated that my contemporary hero artist is Colleen Barry.

Her drawing above, and some more of her work below:


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Portrait of Jamaal 2014_ColleenBarry

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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.

Jen Workshop Drawing