Bargue-ing up the right tree…

So here is Bargue drawing number two. I measured this one out properly (or at least a bit more accurately than the last). The reproduction of the lithograph is laminated so I could draw on it with a wet erase marker to plot out some points. If they didn’t work I could erase and redraw them with no harm to the image. If you go this direction take care when using measuring devices on the lines. I picked up some of the ink on my proportional divider and a little got on the drawing. I don’t think it shows in the final drawing. Plotting the lines on the image as horizontals, verticals, and diagonals (“x marks the spot”…the spot being the center of the picture plane…) Helped immensely when taking other measurements. I’m not sure if this is the true Bargue way. I’ve seen examples where the artists drops a vertical line down the middle of the image or through two or three milestones on the image that relate in a particular way to the vertical. I may have used more divisions than is necessary but it works for me. No doubt some of that comes from my experience with Betty Edward’s “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”. Some will look down on the whole idea of gridding and drawing upside down but it works and brain research seems to validate some of those ideas. I drew this right side up by the way.

The last Bargue drawing was in charcoal on American Master’s paper. I did not like how those materials felt or worked together (or didn’t work together). I’ll save that paper for printing. The profile drawing was in graphite, 2h for blocking in and 2b and 6b for value. It was done on white Somerset paper. I thought the Somerset would hold up better than it did. It did not seem to like too much erasing. It also wasn’t holding as much graphite as I expected but I soldiered on. It may have had something to do with the drawing material. I like to draw with drafting pencils that are very sharp. I may need to experiment with other forms of graphite and paper to get a good pair that works and plays well with each other.

The biggest difference between the two drawings is the accuracy of angles and proportions. In the torso drawing things are way out of whack. The angle of the spine is like a punch in the eye. It is glaringly wrong. The profile turned out better, I think, because I started from a better foundation. The initial measurements are key to following through to a successful drawing. There are still some errors that are pretty noticeable, like the lips, but they are not so pronounced as the issues with the torso. The hair was tricky and I’m not super excited about how it turned out but I can live with it. Any more revisions and I would have made it worse instead of better. Caution is the better part of valor, as they say. One has to know when to say when.

What jumped out at me was coolness of the graphite. I hadn’t been doing any serious drawing for a while and when I did it was in charcoal. After I built up some of the initial values and stepped back from the drawing the cool, almost greenness of the graphite really surprised me. This type of drawing appeals to the intellect. It is measured and exact. It is rational and logical in its execution. The coolness of the graphite harmonized with the coolness of the concept. Up close one can really see how the drawing was constructed but a few feet away things begin to blend and pull together as a whole. I’d like the drawing to appear more polished up close. I like the idea of the intimacy of getting physically close to the drawing. I’d like to maintain the controlled coolness the graphite provides so the intimacy, a Romantic idea, has an overtone of detachment from emotion. That is probably too much to ask of this little drawing and I’m not sure what that is all supposed to mean anyway. Sometimes my ramblings about art sounds like a poorly written artist statement from a fine art grad student trying desperately to prove his work has substance (Hey, brother, some times a drawin’ is just a drawin’ and that’s all it needs to be).

It’s odd the projections artists put on their work. I wonder how much of what we think (or feel) is in our art really is there and how much is us seeing those qualities in it because we want to…or need to. Making art is a desperate thing, I think. If I never drew, or painted, or made those puppets….how much would it really matter? I don’t think most artists make a lasting contribution to anything except their own egos. I’m certainly one of those people (though I will state again that I am not an artist). Very few people create works that transcend time and culture, language, and custom to become a connection to the universal…the eternal. I think that is what eternal is. It’s not some supernatural thing, a spirit type thing that keep living or existing after the body dies. I think eternity relates to those questions and wonderings that all people, regardless of beliefs, customs, religions, laws, ethnicity, nationality, whatever, pursue. The pursuit and exploration of those things…that’s eternal. That’s what forever looks like. As an artist, or maybe just a painter or draftsperson or puppet maker…. much of that journey is alone. Alone but not lonely. Those are very different ideas. When you are drawing or painting it is about you and the ideas that make you you (“Become who you are .” as uncle Fritz would say). It is introspective, sometimes bombastic, frequently quiet. It’s exasperating and leaves you empty. It’s warm and filling and its brightness is blinding. Its dark and cool and a vacuum so deep it’s deafening. It’s funny what thoughts these drawings put in your head. I hadn’t thought those things while drawing. I guess they crept in while I was drawing……or made their way out.

I searched for Bargue drawings on the interweb with my googlemachine. Some really cool things turned up. I like looking at other peoples dance with these images. I like to compare their drawings to the Bargue images. I like to see their drawings and compare them to mine. Not as a competition. More like eavesdropping on a conversation. The images are a universal language. Working on these drawings we are all pursuing something similar. I feel like I know you… and you know me. I think we might be friends…


~ by Kelson Barber on March 12, 2012.

One Response to “Bargue-ing up the right tree…”

  1. I enjoy your art. I also enjoy how you explain what you are doing. I think I might be learning some things I’ve never thought about. Thanks.

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