Charles Bargue Drawing Course; Classical / Atelier Training at Home for FREE! / by Michele

I have always been fascinated with the old masters -> how they achieved color; their form and shapes with seemly simple brushstrokes. Their techniques have been hidden from me, until recently.

Anyone who has painted knows the frustration of creating the right perspective and shapes turning out completely off balance, along with muddy palettes. One can spend hours creating the ‘perfect’ composition sketch only to discover when applying color that the scheme is totally off. Sometimes, the ending result being a canvas flung across the room. 

I find that art mimics life -> there is always room for improvement. In looking back, I feel that most of my training was very basic and consisted more of a free-form approach than serious classical training.

I’ve found that I enjoy the impressionistic and alla prima techniques, but felt this need to ‘lift’ my style into something more.

Struggling with monetary issues needed for further training, I began to look for other means to further my education.  Books upon books, videos and all sorts of educational tools are available -> most costing a small fortune. Thanks to our technological age and Public Domain, I stumbled across a FREE copy of the Charles Bargue drawing course: with the collaboration of Jean-Léon Gérôme by Gerald M Ackerman; Graydon Parrish ACR Edition 2003 {*link to FREE PDF Download at pagend}. Lo and behold the mystery of the Classical technique has finally been unveiled. {Historical FYI: Vincent van Gogh copied the entire set during the year of 1880 - 1881}. The Bargue-Gerome Drawing Course is a complete reprint of a famous, late nineteenth century drawing course. It contains a set of almost two hundred masterful lithographs of subjects for copying to be done by drawing students before they attempt drawing from life or nature.

With renewed excitement, I am in the process of learning one of the most important Classical methods lost to most artists today. Sight-seeing is where I begin and let me tell you, it is not easy. Personally, I find it to be an OCD’erz nightmare {it pushes you into a paradox of perfection}. If you can survive M.C. Escher, you can survive this course. 

500 years ago Atelier training began when an individual was very young (about age twelve) as an Apprentice for Masters working on simple tasks; and after some years they became Journeymen, eventually becoming Masters themselves. The Atelier Academy was considered a superior method of training.

I am starting late in life, and most likely, I expect it will consume the rest of my years in hoping to achieve the combination of le grand goût (elevated taste) based on the classical form and the study of nature to result in le beau idéal 
 the rendering of nature in its most perfect manifestation.

Therein lies my challenge and purpose {at least for today}.

For those of you interested in learning more about the Charles Bargue Drawing Course (hard copies are difficult to find and a bit pricey) you can *download the course with the lithographic plates for FREE as PDF file from the link listed here: Charles Bargue Drawing Course PDF

Happy Drawing!