1. ## Another Classical Atelier Thread

Yes! So it begins, my time at Atelier Stockholm! A week has now passed, and my first Bargue study is finished. I've also done a three hour figure drawing, which we were told to do "so that you can look back and laugh at it later". Also in this post: Bargue 2, work in progress.

Bargue 1 - Idealized Profile

3 hour figure drawing

Bargue 2 - WIP

Last edited by Serpian; January 11th, 2010 at 07:28 AM.

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3. nice!

4. The stuff looks really nice!

You are making alot of process. I think you approach the right way to the countours/shapes with simple straight lines.

6. Registered User Level 1 Gladiator: Andabatae
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Hi Serpian

Did I read right that Atelier Stockholm has abandoned the use of sight size? how are you measuring instead?

7. vilppu wannabe Level 3 Gladiator: Catervarii
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Hi Serpian,

nice start !

8. Apparently, yes - Hans, one of the teachers has come to the conclusion that sight-size is a limiting method. When he was a student he was taught sight-size, and he used it for many years, I believe, but then realized he didn't like it.

We are being taught what he calls the comparative method, where, instead of always having the size of the picture and model to line up, one can draw any size in any position, as long as the proportions are correct. Hence, the comparative method. He argues that the sight-size method, contrary to popular belief, is not historical and wasn't invented until the 20th century. He also argues that using the comparative method, one can draw a model that isn't at eye-level, from any angle, distance and position.
But the Bargues are still done pretty much sight-size, as they are 2D pictures that are put directly next to the paper. And I haven't done anything other than bargues yet, so I've not been taught the comparative method, and can't form an opinion myself. We're having a lecture on the different methods later in the semester.

9. Looks like your off to a great start, one of Hans former pupils is now my teacher, and I'm learning a ton. And you are studying in Stockholm, which is to me one of the most amazing cities in the world.

I think sight-size is a solid tool for learning, but I'm not sure I'd want to use it as a working method later on, comparative measurement is a lot more flexible, especially for subject matter, like people, that have a tendency to move and fidget.

I'm just a student myself, so I can't really comment on Hans feelings about sight-size as a teaching tool, but with regards to the origins of sight-size:

He argues that the sight-size method, contrary to popular belief, is not historical and wasn't invented until the 20th century.
I know Hans argues that simply placing the canvas next to the model is not sight-size, and it makes sense to make that argument if you intend to infer that sight-size was invented by Paxton, as a very notable 19th century artist is known to have painted many portraits in this manner.

From John Collier's "The Art of Portrait Painting" (1905), speaking about Sargent's methods:

For one thing he often moved his easel next to the sitter so that when he walked back
from it he saw the canvas and the original in the same light, at the same distance, at the same angle of
vision.
I'd think that Sargent would have also taken advantage of the situation and transferred measurements & angles, but using a brush handle instead of thread. Darren Rousar's website has more historical information on sight-size, including additional discussion of the essay Hans mentions in his writings, and the notion that sight-size is not just mechanical reproduction: http://www.sightsize.com/misconceptions.html

Last edited by thinairart; September 7th, 2008 at 12:30 AM.

10. vilppu wannabe Level 3 Gladiator: Catervarii
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regarding sight-size I took part in a short course with Florence academy of Art and used that technique for a week. I saw drawings they have done with the method and it was impressive results. If you want to paint or draw portraits of people you can have standing in front of you for days or weeks the method is all you need but in other careers I think you need to mix it up . When you do character design for games the use of photoreference is very common and the strict sight-size is out of the window. That is just one example but the list goes on.

I am always sceptical when they mention one technique and say that is the way the old masters painted. The explosion in the field of realistic painting is largely due to the advances in photo technology.

11. Originally Posted by reidaj
I'd think that Sargent would have also taken advantage of the situation and transferred measurements & angles, but using a brush handle instead of thread. Darren Rousar's website has more historical information on sight-size, including additional discussion of the essay Hans mentions in his writings, and the notion that sight-size is not just mechanical reproduction: http://www.sightsize.com/misconceptions.html
I highly doubt Sargent used sight-size. Many of his portrait exhibit exaggerated proportions and are larger then life, which would be impossible using the sight-size method.

12. Originally Posted by johanflod
The explosion in the field of realistic painting is largely due to the advances in photo technology.
What? So no one painted realistically before photos were invented?

13. Originally Posted by sweetoblivion314
...larger then life, which would be impossible using the sight-size method.
Not true - you simply put the easel further away than the subject.

I Look forward to you posting more of your work as you progress through the program. Do you get to choose which Bargue plates you will work from, or are they selected for you?

I highly doubt Sargent used sight-size. Many of his portrait exhibit exaggerated proportions and are larger then life, which would be impossible using the sight-size method.
The quote about Sargent's methods stated that Sargent "often" placed his easel beside his subject, not exclusively.

Last edited by thinairart; September 7th, 2008 at 01:09 PM.

15. Well, the discussion is very interesting.. But I hope this thread won't be just about the pros and cons about sight-size. That would belong in the Art Discussion forum...

We choose the Bargue plates ourselves, although they are separated into the different levels, so I can't continue with a level one Bargue after I've already finished one!

I'll update as soon as I have something to show, although it may take a while before my next bargue is finished. By the way, in a couple of weeks we're having a lecture by Max Patte of Weta Workshop! Awesome? Yes.

16. Originally Posted by dcorc
Not true - you simply put the easel further away than the subject.
yes, if you put the easel behind the subject a few feet I suppose, but the exaggerated proportions would not be possible.

The quote about Sargent's methods stated that Sargent "often" placed his easel beside his subject, not exclusively.
I know, I do not doubt he did this, it is very practical for comparison purposes, I too like to have my easel as close to my subject as possible. I was just saying he most likes didn't use the measuring aspect of sight size to generate an image exactly the same size with the same proportions as the subject.

Sorry Serpian.

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The bargues are looking good. For the leg i think the lower fat pad on the knee may be a smidge to long and a tiny bit to thin. I would be able to tell better in the two value stage though.
Keep at it, everything looks really good so far

17. Originally Posted by reidaj
Originally Posted by sweetoblivion314
Sorry Serpian.
Haha, maybe we should have a 'sorry' button beside the thank button!
No it's all good.

I redid a lot of the leg today, because I had rushed with the details far too much on Friday. It's harder than it looks. We also did a two hour portrait today that went straight to hell, to put it mildly.. Pictures later!

18. Hey Serpian, this is nice stuff you're posting here.

I don't have any critiques to offer you, but I do have some questions.

What kind of paper is it that you're using for the bargue study? And what size are you working in?

19. Sepulverture, I'm think it's 160 gsm, A4 size fine grain paper. The instructors recommend toned Canson mi-teintes paper, though. I haven't tried it out yet, but it's supposedly really tough so no ghosts are left when you erase. The profile is about 12 cm high.

20. We had an interesting lecture the other day on memory drawing. Today we are constantly surrounded by pictures and movies. If we go on vacation, we 'remember' it by taking pictures. Therefore, our visual memory needs practice if we are going to get better at drawing. The first exercise was to look at a painting projected on the wall for a couple of minutes, then draw a thumbnail of that painting with as much information from the original as possible, without looking at it. It was interesting to see which things I forgot!

Can you figure out which paintings we looked at? On number four, I even got the orientation of the canvas wrong, it should be standing, not landscape! And in number six, the large cupboard to the left was actually two different ones behind each other, but I had seen it as one mass!

The other exercise was to look at a simple shape and then copy it from memory. We first put our piece of paper on top of the one wit the shape, and traced one of the lines. We then stared at the shape for three minutes, then had to put it away and, from our one traced line draw the shape as correctly as possible. I was quite a bit off! Hans told us that one of these per day, and we would be surprised as how fast we improved! Try one, you can make your own shape and practice...

And a figure drawing.. Pretty sloppy.

And some progress on my second Bargue. I had to take a huge step back from the version I posted earlier, I had got caught up in the details far too early. This is how it looked a couple of days ago, and today afternoon:

ps. Sorry for the crappy photos, I don't have a good setup right now..

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22. Originally Posted by Serpian
The instructors recommend toned Canson mi-teintes paper, though.
I love that paper. Great for slow, classical studies--I did a couple cast drawings using it.

Nice work on your Bargues. I only see a couple very minor variations (Inner thigh, at the very upper right of drawing, the indentation is exaggerated in your piece). But good work!

That sounds like a fascinating lecture on memory-drawing. I might just have to try out those memory drawing exercises. Thanks.

Can't wait to see how your work progresses!

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Amazing Serpian !!

24. My second bargue is finished! For my third one I've chosen one of the most difficult Bargues, so it'll take a while...

On Thursday Max Patté of Weta Workshop visited us to tell us about his career as a sculptor. He's a really nice guy, and had some interesting and amusing stories to tell. He's sculpted a life size whale for a movie that never got made. In fact, he said, a majority of the films he's worked on never got made. Also, he's held Brad Pitt's thigh. That's right. In Troy, where Achilles gets shot in the heel, they used a prosthetic leg that went up his thigh so there wouldn't be a seam, and Max had to hold that so it wouldn't fall down. And of course, he worked on the Bat Suit for Batman Begins. And anyone who's worked on that film is fine by me. He can also attest that the Tumbler from that film is, in fact, awesome.

So, to the pictures! Apart from the Bargues, we've also been doing figure studies, Portrait Drawing Group, and started with Bargue figure drawing copies. We're not supposed to copy these as exactly as the other Bargues, where every little dot needs to be perfect. Rather we're trying to capture the basic proportions, body type and pose of the original. This is to prepare us for the longer figure drawings we're going to do later on.

Sorry for the ultra-crappy photos, guys, I really need to find a better light setup here...

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26. Awesome drawings !
Really like the finished bargue drawing.
How many years is the curriculum ?

27. Nice drawings! The frontal standing figure is wonderfully done. The only thing I would say is that you can continue to push your darks in the bargue drawing. Other than that it all looks reallllly good. Give us more! Good luck with your studies!

28. After doing 15 Bargue Figure Drawing copies in about two weeks, we now start working from the model regularly. The Figure copies were a fun break from the tedious nature of the Bargue Copies, and I really felt that i learned a lot from them. They are, of course, still only copies, and you will notice the difference between them and my real figure drawings..

Sky_Eagle,thanks, the full education is three years, but it's a system where each student progresses at his or her own speed, so I guess it really depends. They also have half-time students.

Oruhito, thanks! Yeah that's what my instructors say as well! But the leg Bargue is a very bad photo, the values are a bit deeper and more refined in real life.. I really need to find me a cheap tripod so I can start taking better photos again!

Here are some of the Bargue Figure Copies. I also posted a quick step by step in this thread, is someone is interested.

And some life drawings, these are one to two hours each.

EDIT: Oh, I forgot! Here's a progress pic of my third Bargue. This is now more than two weeks in. It's moving sloooowly..

Last edited by Serpian; October 5th, 2008 at 08:17 AM.

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30. Nice drawings! that last bargue drawing looks really hard to draw.
Another little question, how many hours a day you draw at the atelier and how many days a week ? (instructed)

31. The first round of crits if at 9am, and I usually get to the school a little while before that. Second round of crits is 1pm. But you can get the teachers' help anytime you need it, until 4pm. Then you can stay and keep drawing until 8pm. Sometimes there is some extra activities, like figure drawing night on Thursdays, and the occasional film evening. We work Monday-Friday.

32. The Belvedere torso is a REALLY hard Bargue plate to copy. It seems to be going well. I will give you one suggestion though - if your teachers will allow it, try putting in mid tones really lightly. Don't worry about the different levels of value or all the curves- just lay in one midtone value where you see major shadows in simplified blocky ways - and it will make shapes to reference off of and thus improve the accuracy of everything. Beautiful work once again - keep it coming!

33. Yeah, when I was finishing my second Bargue, the leg, my teacher told me to get a more challenging one as my next. And I did. The Belvedere is crazy. But I'm going to make to PERFECT. I'm just going to make some more corrections, and then transfer the lines to another piece of paper, because I've roughed this one up pretty badly, then it'll be time for those sweet greytones...

34. Damn Serpian, sick progress already! I will look into Stockholm Atelier for next or next-next year.. apparently they want you to be over 18..

keep it up...i'm very impressed by how far you've got in just a few weeks of time. gooo!

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