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I believe that art enriches and informs our lives everyday in many positive ways. Sharing those experiences, whether as an artist or as an appreciator, is part of the pleasure. I welcome your comments and hope you find something of value: a laugh, an insight, a new idea or just a happy moment. Enjoy art!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pink Dancers after Degas (Day #29)

Thinking about the Bath Series by Degas yesterday prompted me to get out my book of his pastels. Somehow it never mattered if his dancers had legs that were too long or unfinished arms...the viewers knew exactly the feeling and the mood he was trying to capture.  It has been a long time since I copied one of the masters so I decided that for day #29 I'd choose a Degas and see where it took me.  The "Pink Dancers" ( 33" high x 22.75" wide, pastel) looks like this:  (keep in mind that every repro changes the coloration slightly depending on where and how it is printed)

I elected to do it much smaller (5" x 5") and in a square format, not the one shown.  By this stage (1889-1900) Degas was no longer concerned about detail but about blurred forms and texture rich in color.  That huge dark "thing" chopping up a third of the painting bothers me...a lot.  The book I have calls it a "compositional audacity," a vertical dark that chops up the dancers and is presumed to be a tree.  My book also notes that at this age Degas was no longer attending live performances and was painting from memory.

preparation using pastels and pastel pencils

my version of "The Pink Dancers" after Degas
5 x 5 pastel on wallis paper

Copying is an age-old teaching technique (one must acknowledge the original artist) and is not as easy as it sounds.  The beautiful affect of layering cool over warm has to be understood first to be able to be reproduced.  Some of the prep techniques are not even visible but critical to the end result.  And finally, this research assured me that if a huge technical error remains the critics can always refer to it as "compositional audacity." 

To see the work of others participating in the 30 in 30 day challenge click here. 

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