View Full Version : Master of the Month #20 August 2005 (Degas)

07-23-2005, 01:55 PM
The Master of the Figure in Motion
Edgar Hilaire-Germain Degas
French Realist/Impressionist painter/Sculptor
July 19, 1834 – September 27, 1917, Paris


Degas (pronounced De-Gah) was born into a wealthy family of bankers. When his mother passed away in 1847 the most influential people in his life were his father and grandparents. Degas actually began a career in law regardless of his desires to create art, but departed from this career path with the support and understanding from his father in 1853. Furthermore, being from a family of such wealth, he was never short of money and support. He often visited Felix Joseph Barria’s studio studying the old masters. He eventually studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under the arm of the famous French classicist J.A.D. Ingres, where Degas expanded into a new realm of great drawing ability - a pre-requisite of his beautiful work that led to his modern compositions that encompassed a very perceptive analysis of movement.

Ingres helped Degas in many ways stressing classical draftsmanship, balance and clarity of outline. He advised Degas to “draw lines, many lines, from memory or from nature; it is this way that you will become a good painter.” And from this, Degas is known to be a master of line.

He was painting classical works when he met Manet and the impressionists. After 1865, he abandoned the more academic subject and moved more toward contemporary themes under the realms of the growing impressionistic movement. Conversely to the impressionistic movement, he preferred working in his studio and was not interested in the study of working with natural light or painting en plein air. He was more interested in figure and movement like Renoir. He dismissed the classical rules of composition using an oblique perspective (influenced by Japanese prints), lighted from below to achieve a conjectural focused space, in which space was not constructed with linear perspective. He made quick sketches from life, and was known to take these back to his studio to work from. In 1874 he helped prepare and organize the 1st Impressionist Exhibit and participated in 7 or the 8 exhibits between 1874 and 1886. He never cared to be tied down to one method of painting, and it appears that he strategized his entries in the exhibitions to parade his diversity – all entries varied thematically and technically. He stood apart from the impressionists in different ways and has often been referred to as the “impressionist not so easily read”. Viewers of his works would complain that the visual perception was not framed properly. “There was no use of chiaroscuro to show depth and the cropping at edges caused the space to recede on a slant.” His work was not in the characterization of minute details, but in the suggestion of a location or scene. Being such a well known “superb” master of line, this is what actually identifies him being in the same group of impressionists, along with Monet, Pissaro and Renoir but of these, Degas was the most eclectic. Yet on the contrary, Degas’s work was rich in depth and spatial properties that take the viewer well behind the picture plane – pulling one into the painting, juxtaposed compositions and intentional vanishing points. Another facet apart from the impressionist was the sense of immediacy in his work that most impressionists ignored. The impressionists related more towards the depiction of reality, not through the exact rendering of the form, but through capturing the effects of light – believing that light diffuses the outlines of form and colors of surrounding objects reflect in the shadows. In more academic painting the form is more defined with line and shapes modeled by graduated tones. These differences are a part of what sets Degas apart from the other impressionists.

Degas was captivated by the human figure and motion – arrested movements – in such a way that the subject is unaware of the intruder (the artist) in private moments. The spontaneity and informal nature of his compositions mirror a snapshot. It is known that he studied photography and the photography of others – however, photographic materials at the time, including motion pictures were incapable of capturing the light and verification of motion that Degas sought to portray in his work. That to him was most important above everything else – capturing movement – and most often in his paintings, with abbreviated figures – or moreover truncated, and that is caught in a momentary glance, as if or in a brief memory or recollection, as with a “snapshot”. He was known for recycling poses, patching them in, even though the image seems to be a fresh product of observation it may have been used before.

Critics accused Degas as having a hatred of women. He never married, yet was not homosexual. There are theories that he was most likely impotent. It has been said that “If so, all the luckier for art: his libido and curiosity were channeled through his eyes.” He was always a shy, yet eccentric and bizarre character. He maintained an ill-tempered youth and was temperamental, restless and insecure. Even he himself once said that “It was a vicious impulse arising from skepticism and bad temper which caused to be unpleasant towards everyone. I thought about myself as inferior, so fragile and artistic calculations being, on the other hand, so precise. I was ill tempered to everybody, including myself.” As to his relationship with women, he said he “tolerated” women, which is strange for he studied women’s movements his entire life which appears to point more along the lines of a fetish. He wrote that “I would have been in mortal misery all my life for fear my wife might say ‘That’s a pretty little thing,’ after I had finished a picture.” At one time he reflected back that “perhaps I have thought about women as animals too much.” Yet conversely, ballerinas touched Degas in many ways. He wrote sonnets around the late 1880’s. This excerpt tells us a lot about his dedication to his ballerinas:

“Go forth, without the help of useless beauty My little darlings, with your common face. Leap shamelessly, you priestesses of grace.
The dance instills in you something that sets you apart, Something heroic and remote. One knows that in your world Queens are made of distance and greasepaint.”

Degas began developing eye problems around the year 1870, and as his eyesight diminished he reverted to two other media that did not require intense visual activity – pastel and sculpture around 1874. Upon the death of Manet in 1883, Degas almost completely isolated himself, only taking short trips here and there. By 1898 he had almost completely lost his vision, painted only a little, but worked almost exclusively on sculptures.

Degas was a lonely man, and not known very well in public. His true artistic importance did not surface until after his death in 1917.

A couple of other important facts about Degas are that:
1. He was the only Impressionist painter who ever visited America.
2. He was the teacher of Mary Cassatt.

In his paintings, Degas used spectral color (fresh divided hues of the Impressionists). He used an impressionist’s palette. Although I could not find his exact palette, the impressionist’s palettes were fairly standard primary colors of:

Red, yellow and blue, and complementary colors green, purple and orange, and of course, a white and black.

Given the theory that light, broken up in a prism gives off seven colors, these are the adopted colors the impressionists used. But most excluded black. True impressionists Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, and Edouard Manet did not exclude black, but used it richly.

I do want to leave you with a very important quote from Degas that mirror’s our purpose in these exercises before moving on to a palette recommendation:

“An artist should not be allowed to draw so much as a radish from life without the constant habit of drawing from the old masters.”

My suggestions are the following impressionistic palette:

Cad Yellow Lt. – cool (toward green) opaque light yellow
Cad Yellow Med – warm opaque yellow
Cad red lt. – warm (toward orange) opaque light red.
Alizarin Crimson - cool (toward blue) transparent red
Ultramarine Blue – warm (toward red) transparent blue
Cerulean Blue – cool (toward green) semi-transparent blue
Viridian – medium transparent green
Ivory Black – mixing black with moderate tinting strength
Flake white

Painting choices are:

"Dancers in Pink"
ca. 1876
Oil on Canvas 23 1/4 x 29 inches

Hi res image :Here (http://www.artrenewal.org/asp/database/image.asp?id=6074)


"The Rehearsal"
Oil on canvas, 41 x 61.7 cm (18 1/2 x 24 3/8 inches)

Hi res image: Here (http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/degas/ballet/degas.rehearsal.jpg)

08-01-2005, 05:08 AM
Thanks, Tina! Very clear introduction. Hoping we get lots joining in again!


08-01-2005, 05:31 PM
Hello! :)

I want to join in, please!

I first discovered these forums by reading the archives on Monet as MOM. He's my favorite, and I hope he'll come around again.

So I'll try Degas, but I want to make one thing clear from the beginning: I am no artist :(

I like painting as a hobby and relaxing activity, but I lack any education in art(does 7th grade count?) and it shows. One of my worst problems is not being able to see shadows. I really have to look for them!

Well, enough of me... I'll start painting "The Rehearsal".


08-01-2005, 09:08 PM
Hi Elisa

Welcome! We look forward to seeing your work here.

With regard to the MOMs in general - you're very welcome to have a go at any of the earlier MOMs at any time, they are all open permanently, and the regulars will see that there's activity on that thread, and comment - but the best learning experience is to be had doing it during the month along with others (and I'd also encourage people to have a go at several, I think half the value of them is in the compare and contrast of the different techniques)

The rehearsal's got pretty diffuse illumination, so shadows aren't much of an issue in it really :D


A Few Pigments
08-03-2005, 02:16 AM
I think I’ll have a go at The Rehearsal. I’ll do it the same size as the original.

08-03-2005, 10:35 AM
Hey everybody... just spoke with Tina via personal email and she wants me to let you all know that she is experiencing server problems and hasn't been able to log on to Wet Canvas for the past two days. She is doing what she can and hopes to be able to join in asap.

08-03-2005, 10:41 AM
Hey everybody! I was a ballet dancer as a youngster, since pink's my fave color, you know which one I'll be doing! I have 2 weeks of family gathering here but that's not going to stop me! :)

Welcome Elsia!! :) Glad you'll be joining us!! It's such a fun, encouraging group tppaint these with!

08-03-2005, 11:57 AM
Hi Cathleen,

thanks for the welcome! I am so glad I've found these forums.

Dave, thanks for the tip, but I should learn these shadows things anyways ;)

Bruce, I've loved you in Monet's MOM.

Yesterday I started drawing on the canvas and hopefully tonight I can finish and post it.


irish artist
08-03-2005, 07:53 PM
I'm joining in to do the 'Rehearsal'.

08-03-2005, 10:09 PM
I haven't decided which one. I'm going to be sooooo busy the next three weeks but I need to start one of these. Probably dancers in pink. This is going to be fun!


08-06-2005, 10:54 PM
Hello everyone!!! :wave: wave: Just visiting relatives this weekend, and have access to a computer for at least maybe an hour :)

BERNIE - Thank you SOO much for the rescue there !!

Haven't been able to log on from my class. Their "allowable websites" are very controlled. I couldn't even log on to Victorias Secret to pay my bill :p said "banned for sexual content" :p :p :p I thought that was quite funny. :rolleyes: But Anyway ... I had a chance to log on real quick to say hello, and I'm happy to see everyone joining in. I'll be back in full force next Sunday. :)

I can't decide which one to do :) - but I'm axious to get started. I hope everyone else is too !! Will be GREAT to get back home, believe me :D

Take care, :wave:

irish artist
08-07-2005, 08:26 AM
The Rehearsal's only 18x24!!! It didn't sink in until I bought the canvas. Awfully small for all Degas's detail. Does anyone know about his technique? I'm just blocking in the walls and the floor and leaving the dancers area bare for now.

08-07-2005, 11:55 AM
Hi Irish Artist! Glad to see you joining in. I believe you're headed in the right path - block in main colors and continue on! Being held among the group of impressionist painters, eventhough he did not prefer working en plein air but in his studio, the same methods still apply. Direct painting, leaving details and highlights for last should do the trick ;) (I know that's how I will proceed once I get back home to my studio next week !! Can't wait to get HOME!!)

Painted a mural for one of my friends here in Memphis last night - an underwater ocean scene above her aquarium. Had a blast doing it!! Have another commissioned painting to do too when I get home.

Can't wait to see what everyone's doing, and how they are proceeding with their paintings!! Will not be able (most likely since I haven't been able to connect all week at training) to sign in here, or even visit to view, until next weekend when I get home. I'm so excited about this month's MOM (and next month's too!!!!) I did not expect to not be able to get to you guys to cheer you on and stuff. My apologies for that. :( But I'll be in full force next Sunday when I get back home.


A Few Pigments
08-07-2005, 04:22 PM
Originally posted by elisa
Bruce, I've loved you in Monet's MOM.
Thank you elisa.

Does anyone know if Degas used glazing or scumbling on the floor and walls in The Rehearsal?

08-08-2005, 08:00 AM
Hi Tina, and all :)

Looking at unfinished paintings (providing you can find them) is often the quickest way of finding out about an artist's technique.

If we have a look at Degas' "Combing the Hair":


- if we look at the tabletop area, we can see that he starts on what was probably originally a white/off-white canvas, and draws in outlines in a dark - I'd guess probably an umber - reinforcing his edge lines in strong darks, he scrubs in areas of strong colour directly, sometimes covering his edge-lines and sometimes leaving them. Some drawing in line is restated on top on the scrubbed in colour - see the blouse of the woman on the right.

If we compared with the hi-res image of "The Rehearsal" we can see similar things happening, albeit more delicately, with dark brown/black outlines around the limbs of the central dancer, and the hands of the violinist.

I suspect that the technique, while certainly direct in approach and probably mostly painted at one sitting is not strictly "alla prima", as the walls and floor of "The Rehearsal" (as Bruce suggested) do look, to me, as if there's a certain amount of dry-brush type scumbling/scrubbing going on (possibly as a second layer?) to break up the colour somewhat.


08-08-2005, 11:30 AM
Terrific Dave! I appreciate your post on this, very helpful! :)

I'm going to post a photo I took at the Louvre in 2001. This gentleman was painting one of Degas` ballet series & you can see how well he he done with brighter colors than the faded over time ones of Degas.

A Few Pigments
08-08-2005, 04:27 PM
Ta Dave. It’s true Degas lived half way between the past and the future, so he did use it all. Everything from glazing to thick layers, but never as thick as Rembrandts thick layers. Degas could never let go of the past as Monet did so easily to let his own vision of the world guide his brush.

I was surprised at how much Degas’s oil paintings, in his later years, were influenced by his pastels. Art historians say Degas turned more and more to pastels because of his failing eyesight, because pastels are not mixed on a palette. It’s also known that Degas always wanted to be on the cutting edge of art and envied the modern style of the impressionists and spent a great deal of time with them and often painted with them. Still Degas’s pastel paintings changed the way he painted with oil, giving his oil later oil paintings a looser, more intuitive look. I think a much greater understanding of his later oil paintings can be had by studying his pastel paintings. Masters of Pastels – December 2004 - Edgar Germain Hilaire Degas http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=233729

08-08-2005, 04:31 PM
Hi, All!
I've never participated in this but hope to give it a go. I've seen several of Degas paintings and what I saw was very loose brushwork, lots of scumbling, great use of line, often done very darkly. Quite often, he would leave the edges unfinished. It always appeared to me that he said so much with an economy of paint or pastel.

I have the DVD from the Musee d'Orsay, perhaps there are some examples of this that I can upload.

Thanks for these threads. I really hope I can participate!

A Few Pigments
08-08-2005, 05:41 PM
This area of The Rehearsal has vertical and horizontal lines in it. It looks like Degas drew the lines over the paint. I wonder why.


I started on my copy, but I don’t have enough done to justify posting it yet. I’ll post in two or three days.

irish artist
08-09-2005, 05:32 AM
I researched Degas and the books are all claiming that he used the grid system to transfer his drawings (no camera available ) to the canvas and its possible that what ever he used (graphite?) has 'bled' through with time.

08-09-2005, 11:21 AM
Welcome Gigi to this month's MOM! Glad you can participate!
HI Irish artist.....that would certainly make sense that the grid sytem bled through.

Hi ya Bruce! I'm helping my daughter move presently but will get at this one very soon! :)

A Few Pigments
08-09-2005, 08:57 PM
Hi irish artist, thank you for that information, it’s very helpful and surprising. I’m surprised because I know Degas was so devoted to drawing I though he would have done everything free hand. I know many of the old masters used various devices to help them with their drawings though, so in a way it makes sense Degas would have used a grid.

Hi Cathleen, it seems your whole family is on the move now. I hope you all get settled soon.

This is my start. I’m using two lines to divide the canvas in half vertically and horizontally. I didn’t do a sketch or drawing. I just started painting. I decided not to make a canvas 18 ½ x 24 3/8 inches. This is an 18 x 24 inch canvas panel.


08-09-2005, 11:05 PM
Ah.....good you can paint directly Bruce.....I sure can't. I need a drawing or I get things SO out of wack! Look forward to your progress! :)

A Few Pigments
08-10-2005, 05:11 AM
Cathleen I always paint directly...directly on the canvas...haha :)

08-12-2005, 05:07 PM
I am still drawing it (believe it or not!). I have been busy, so I've only worked on it twice, but I wanted to show my face :wave:


08-12-2005, 05:16 PM
Hi Elisa! Welcome to WC and the oils forum project! I'm still in the drawing stage myself! Good you're joining us on this MOM! :)

irish artist
08-13-2005, 12:29 PM
I'm posting my first stage of underpainting, I expect to scumble paint over this and build up the details this weekend. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2005/33516-Degas.jpg

08-13-2005, 01:32 PM
Impressive start irish! You're leading the pack here...:) I'll work as much as I can & if I go over into next month I'll still post it...:)

A Few Pigments
08-13-2005, 05:22 PM
When I started working on my copy of The Rehearsal I had every intention of trying to do as faithful a copy as I could. Wednesday night I was getting bored to death just trying to copy, copy, copy, so I decided to make a small change. I added Prussian blue to my palette. I’m thinking of doing a lot of dry brush instead of glazing. Did I make a mistake or could this be a good idea?


irish artist
08-14-2005, 06:16 AM
Bruce, your start is unusual. I began with a warm burnt umber underpainting and I have no idea if the cooler hue is better. I'm scumbling the cool colors on the top of my warm underpainting and it seems to be working..........but we're supposed to be trying to copy Degas's style. I wouldn't know if he would do it with a burnt umber or a blue.

In his later life Degas drew more pastel works and he really seemed to be more of a 'drawing' artist and I think that he approached his paintings in a 'pastel' way, meaning that I think he liked to start with a base color and scumble other colors on top of the base. His paintings look 'sketchy' to me and at the same time he achieved a very realistic look, his figures could turn around at any minute!

Please continue to show us the results that you achieve with the blue. :cool:

A Few Pigments
08-14-2005, 01:43 PM
Hi irish artist, this isn’t a blue underpainting, this is the colour I changed the background and foreground to. I’ve been doing copies for months now and I think I’m getting burned out on copies. I might add some things to this painting too. But, I’ve decided to leave out the VW Beetle and the Millennium Dome. I might come a cropper on this but, it will be fun to do.

You’re right about Degas and pastels. Some nice person put this thread together last year for the members of the pastel forum and I learned quite a bit from it. It must have taken a long time to find all this info about Degas pastel paintings. I’m glad I didn’t have to do it. http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=233729

irish artist
08-14-2005, 07:36 PM
I read the site-what an impressive volume of work for someone who was too rich to bother! He had his own ideas and his own style, I read that he was Mary Cassatt's teacher!

The result of all weekend working on Degas 'The Rehearsal':


08-14-2005, 08:21 PM
Wow, hi everyone. :wave: First let me say there are some great starts going on here!! And thanks Dave for the information you have shared as well.

Secondly - let me apologize for being absent. In the past few years that I've taken these mandatory classes (for my PAYING job :) ) we've had unfetered access to the world wide web. In the past year or so, they have implemented restrictive access to websites that they feel violate government standards, so, ha, for some reason I was not allowed to gain access to WetCanvas except for the times shown here (once from there and once from a friends computer). From that point on - I was given an "access denied" on the class computer. Why they would fit "erotic art" into Pornography, is of course, beyond me, as we all know rules are fairly laid out here at Wetcanvas. :rolleyes: so anyway - that was totally unexpected!!! So after two weeks of stringent hell, I've made it home safe and sound. Drove 21 hours yesterday to get home!! Got in around 3:30 this morning. Dave - sorry for not e-mailing you - for some reason your address has disappeared from my address book in my e-mail account. I've made sure to put it back in there just a moment ago. I found Bernie's though - so thanks Bernie for helping me out.

I'm excited to get started on my painting. I'm going to do the girls in pink. I noticed the "grid" marks on the rehearsal as well and wondered. BUT - Degas was an avid drawer and quite capable of drawing without any tools. Don't know! But good question !!

It's so GREAT to be back home and it's wonderful to see the progress already for this month's MOM.

Welcome to the newcomer(s) too :)


08-15-2005, 12:23 AM
He had his own ideas and his own style, I read that he was Mary Cassatt's teacher!

Also Mary Cassatt's LOVER! They were a couple. :)

Really coming along nicely Irish!! Soft serene! :)

TINA!! Don't worry I was covering for you! Glad you are back safely & know you always had access before. So we'll BOTH be doing those gals in PINK! :)

08-15-2005, 09:37 AM
Hi Cath !! Thanks for helping me too. Well, I complained to them about it :evil: I couldn't even pay my Victoria's Secret bill (I love their dress pants!! :o ) I had to get Josh to pay that for me, LOL. I argued with them too that this site does NOT contain pornography. :) They disagreed. I went to visit my MOM between weeks and was at least able to use a friends computer to say something about the problem. I just really didn't expect that to happen - so thanks (everyone) for helping me out. I did get to paint though - finished the landscape I posted before I left, and painted an oceanic mural for a friend above her acquarium.

Now - I'm so glad that you are doing the pink girls too :clap: I knew that Degas was Mary Cassat's teacher (and I was sure I posted that in the write up 1st thread) but I did not know that they were lovers :) I know that he was a very lonely man, and most historians believe that he was impotent due to his lack of dating and/or marrying. I'm off work today, and I'm really going to try to pull for another day of leave tomorrow (wish me LOTS of luck - I know I'm dreaming) and I'm hoping that I'll get a good start underway!! What palette are you going to use Cath? Or have you not decided. I think I'm just going to start off with a red (cad maybe), blue (ultramarine) and yellow (maybe lemmon - haven't decided), a white and black and try mixing my way through it first and then try to work it from there. Thinking about toning the canvas first too.

Irish Artist, your painting is looking just wonderful!!! You had a very productive weekend with great results!!!

Bruce - I think dry brushing is the way to go most definitely. I do not believe he glazed He was a direct painter from my understanding. I'll be interested in your results and I think you have a great start going on there.

Well, can you tell I missed everyone? I'm babbling D:

Thanks everyone and looking forward to what we can learn together from this month's MOM !!!!


irish artist
08-17-2005, 05:50 AM
I came across a drawing Degas did of Mary C. and he drew her with her back turned to him. She was looking at a museum display and there was a friend beside her reading from the directory. I was disappointed because she's one of my favs and here he drew her back!

No, Degas wasn't a glazer but his scumbling is SO difficult, its blended in some places and left rough in others-talk about the Master's touch. I wonder what Degas taught Mary C.--drawing or how to paint impressionistic!

Thanks for the comments about my painting, I'm working on the sunlight effect now. The idea (I think) is to scumble light yellow in the places touched by the sunlight streaming in through the windows.


08-17-2005, 09:22 AM
Here's my finished drawing...


Hopefully I can start painting it soon. :)


A Few Pigments
08-17-2005, 06:00 PM
Hi Elisa, you have an excellent start. It was worth all the work you put in to it. :)

Hi Diann, you might be interested in the 4 part program the A&E cable network did about the lives of the impressionists. In the program they talk about how Degas, as a young artist trying to teach himself about art spent years in self imposed isolation in his studio. He did one painting and drawing after another from morning till night seldom leaving his studio except for food and art supplies. During this time all the work he did was in a classical style. He felt none of his work during this time was any good and he destroyed many of his paintings and drawings. It was only after he discovered horse racing and met Monet that his life and his art changed and became the art he’s best known for. The gee gees have changed many men in many ways. Degas is the only artist I know of who came out of his shell after he discovered horse racing. One never knows where inspiration might come from next. :)

Hi Tina, thank you for the comment about my start. One thing I’ve learned in the last year is that many of the pre impressionist, impressionist and post impressionist used oil techniques in their pastel paintings and pastel techniques in their oil paintings. And most of the techniques used in oil and pastels can be used in all other wet and dry mediums. They can even be used in finger painting and colouring books. That renews my artistic hopes. :)

irish artist
08-18-2005, 05:48 AM
They can even be used in finger painting and colouring books. That renews my artistic hopes. :)

Just color inside the lines.......... :D :D

irish artist
08-18-2005, 05:56 AM
I found a book about woman artists and there he was- larger than life-Edgar Degas!! There was quite a bit about him and Mary C., yes, they were a couple--in a way. He is said to have seen one of her paintings in Paris and have said,"She thinks as I do". He just had to meet her after that. He was her biggest and most harsh critic, they fought because they were tempermental and six months would go by where they were not speaking and he would see one of her paintings and go rushing to talk to her. She bought some of his paintings and encouraged others to do so and thus, Degas ended up in American museums. The book summed it up: "She was his disciple".

08-18-2005, 11:27 PM
Hi Elisa,
You have a wonderful beginning going on there. I haven't taken a picture of mine yet, but will be posting my results so far this weekend. So glad that you are joining in with us this month !!

I can't believe how slow this thread is going. I believe everyone's still working some on last months :) Hope it gets to picking up some speed soon!

Just came from my class at the gallery and have a new project to do. It's for a chair auction and the proceeds go the the Breast Cancer Assoc. Seems like a fun project to do, if it sells - I've earned my entry fee back. If not - that's OK too. So I have a busy weekend ahead of me. Bouncing a few ideas off my head.

So far everyone's doing great - hopefully I get a pick loaded tomorrow evening and get it posted here. I'm too tired to go out there right now and take a picture.


08-23-2005, 05:12 PM
First stage of painting. Oh gosh, this is when I realize I am not that good at this. I can work with "impressionism" and fuzzy pictures, but when it comes to details and precise lines I get frustrated. Plus I think I am becoming color blind: only at the end of the day I looked back and realized that the picture has brown tones while my copy has green ones. Ok. Enough whining. By the way, I am still having fun. Here's my suffered one:


You are all doing great.
Irish Artist your copy is looking beautiful!
Bruce blue is good too, see I am going with green! ;)


A Few Pigments
08-23-2005, 06:58 PM
Elisa your painting is coming along really well. All of the figures are drawn very well and your palette will work with this painting. just keep painting and you’ll have a great painting. :)

irish artist
08-24-2005, 05:37 AM
Yes, Elise, ditch the brown-go back and you'll see that I used the brown for the underpainting--its yucky! isn't it. But it makes a great start, so just keep going, you're doing fine. Forget the details until last.

08-29-2005, 11:41 PM
Hope it isn't too late to join in! I've really been wanting to do one of these. Degas seems like the perfect place to start. I used to sew ballet costumes for a semi-professional troupe and this one really takes me back to those days! Now I'm a full time nursing student (I went back to school at the ripe age of 46!), so I don't always get to paint when I want to so I'm going to crop and edit a bit, just do one figure with an adapted background. Did a thumbnail sketch and then a raw umber wash for the underpainting. Will let it dry a bit before tackling anything else. Really love seeing what everyone else is doing!

08-30-2005, 12:45 AM
WElcome Elannie to WC and the MOM project!! So glad you have joined us. Never too late....we can post to the thread anytime we finish! :) I am close to where you are with mine, my company is still here! I thought I'd get further but it hasn't happened yet!

I really like your sketch and start! Look forward to seeing more!

irish artist
08-30-2005, 05:04 AM
Welcome Elannie, that's a good idea for a busy person-just do a portion of the painting. We're glad you stepped in to join us.

09-01-2005, 11:09 PM
The choices were just too dry-brush fuzzy once I really looked at them. And I don't understand the colors and textures in the pink one. Why are the faces so dark when the dresses are so light, frinstance? But I wanted to do a Degas and, hey, we need posts here.
Got a slow start with this one. Gessoed my own cotton canvas with what was supposed to be premium stuff and it was badly absorbant. Took about four pictures to realize its not me its just lousy stuff. The darks in the horses would sink in a half hour and I had no idea where the values were. Got some other stuff from Utrecht which is just the ticket.

09-02-2005, 12:37 PM
wonderful painting steve.looks original!
yes utrecht is the best gesso.

A Few Pigments
09-19-2005, 12:49 AM
I’m still working on this. It’s a bit different, but I like the colours.


irish artist
09-20-2005, 07:30 PM
Still hanging in there with yah Sir Bruce....


A Few Pigments
09-21-2005, 01:09 AM
Hi irish, your painting looks extremely good.

irish artist
09-23-2005, 07:38 PM
I'm fairly happy with it but wishing that I'd captured the 'golden glow' that is in Degas' work. I throughly understand the comment you made previously about the faces in shadow. The girl in front wasn't too hard but the ones further off are the ones I'm laboring over now.

09-24-2005, 06:57 PM
I'm still working on this one. The first shows what I did on the floor and walls.

The second one shows some work on the figure. The actual color is somewhat between the two photos. Obviously, I need to take the picture in better light and reset the white balance on the camera! Will try to post a better one later. Not quite sure what else I should do on this. Any suggestions?

Irish Artist ~ your painting is looking great! Lovely job. I'm struggling with the face too.

Bruce ~ Am enjoying your color scheme! Looking good.

09-24-2005, 09:59 PM
Better pic this time. Did a little more with the face and with some contrast around and in the skirt.

A Few Pigments
09-25-2005, 05:35 PM
Hi Lisa, I think you did a great job with this painting. :clap: You captured the glow in the room and the rendering of the dancer is very accurate. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your work in the MOMs. :)

10-05-2005, 03:29 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2005/56212-Degas_copy.jpg i just found this masters of the month place. very exciting as i just did a Degas copy last june. i know i am late but...

i built the canvas myself to the actual size (forgot the actual size but it's in the 34" x 30" range). i transfered the image to canvas from paper via the grid method. i mixed all the colors from cad red, thalo blue, cad yellow, aliz crmson and titanium white. i had a really fun time with it but stopped short of being done cause i was messing with it too much. i learned so much about composition from doing this. so many shapes in degas' work are flipped around and mirrored. my own compositions have realy progressed from seeing Degas' compostional technique. Now when i look through his works i can see his shapes and how he flips them pretty clearly. all in all i learned a lot and had tons of fun.

10-12-2005, 07:41 PM
Hello.......hello.........ello.......Is there anybody in here......in here...in here.......

Where did all the Dancers in Pink people go????? I need to see some one elses photos.....I've been working on this, and now I see why Degas went blind!!!!! What is it with the cryptic figures in the background?????? Sheesh...I think I'm going blind too.....Plus, for some reason, my reference pic is not very clear making it extremely difficult!

Any suggestions with painting this one? I still have a ways to go, but here it is thus far...

irish artist
10-13-2005, 05:37 AM
Lisa, you have to darken the girl's face a tad to shade the side away from the light but yes, you did a great job of capturing the golden glow of the room.

Deanna, way to go with the 'pink girls' you just need to put on the finish layer of paint and sharpen up the details-but not too much, Degas wasn't into super realism.