View Full Version : Art Heritage- may/june 08

05-04-2008, 12:42 PM
Edgar Degas

:clap: Welcome to the classical art heritage project.

In this project, the idea is to find out about the artist’s life and work, and to have fun along the way.

We will pick an individual artist to look at over a 2 month period. Hopefully, that will give us plenty of time to make a leisurely study and try some practical art.

For the first heritage project, I have picked Edgar Degas. He is probably most famous for his pastels of dancers, but he also worked in oils, did etchings and monotypes.
The reason I thought it would be fun to look at Degas is that we can get out the soft pastels, a medium we don’t often use in the classical forum. Also we could try our hand at monotypes.

(note:This project is not limited to soft pastels. You can do your copies/compositions in any medium):p

Things to try

:) Here are a few ways you could get involved in this project thread:)

1. Add some links to the artist’s work or life
2. Add images of the artist's works for us to view(make sure they are in the public domain)
3. Copy a part of a work by this artist and post it in this thread for us to see
4. Copy a complete work if you have time (let us know what you learned along the way)
4. Do a work of your own original composition on a subject matter associated with this artist, e.g. For Degas, you could do a ballet dancer in soft pastels from a photo in the RIL


05-04-2008, 12:44 PM
Here are some art works by Degas

05-04-2008, 12:46 PM
Here is some information from wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Degas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Degas)

Degas himself explained, "no art was ever less spontaneous than mine. What I do is the result of reflection and of the study of the great masters; of inspiration, spontaneity, temperament, I know nothing."
Nonetheless, he is described more accurately as an Impressionist than as a member of any other movement. His scenes of Parisian life, his off-center compositions, his experiments with color and form, and his friendship with several key Impressionist artists, most notably Mary Cassatt (http://www.wetcanvas.com/wiki/Mary_Cassatt) and Edouard Manet (http://www.wetcanvas.com/wiki/Edouard_Manet), all relate him intimately to the Impressionist movement.
Degas has his own distinct style, one reflecting his deep respect for the old masters and his great admiration for Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (http://www.wetcanvas.com/wiki/Jean_Auguste_Dominique_Ingres) and Eugène Delacroix (http://www.wetcanvas.com/wiki/Eug%C3%A8ne_Delacroix). He was also a collector of Japanese prints (http://www.wetcanvas.com/wiki/Ukiyo-e), whose compositional principles influenced his work, as did the vigorous realism of popular illustrators such as Daumier (http://www.wetcanvas.com/wiki/Honor%C3%A9_Daumier) and Gavarni (http://www.wetcanvas.com/wiki/Paul_Gavarni).
In many of his paintings, dancers were shown backstage or in rehearsal, emphasizing their status as professionals doing a job. Degas painted café life (http://www.wetcanvas.com/wiki/L%E2%80%99Absinthe) as well.

By the later 1870s Degas had mastered not only the traditional medium of oil (http://www.wetcanvas.com/wiki/Oil_paint) on canvas (http://www.wetcanvas.com/wiki/Canvas), but pastel as well. The dry medium, which he applied in complex layers and textures, enabled him more easily to reconcile his facility for line with a growing interest in expressive color.
In the mid-1870s he also returned to the medium of etching (http://www.wetcanvas.com/wiki/Etching), which he had neglected for ten years, and began experimenting with less traditional printmaking media—lithographs (http://www.wetcanvas.com/wiki/Lithograph) and experimental monotypes (http://www.wetcanvas.com/wiki/Monotype). He was especially fascinated by the effects produced by monotype, and frequently reworked the printed images with pastel

Degas began to draw and paint women drying themselves with towels, combing their hair, and bathing. The strokes that model the form are scribbled more freely than before; backgrounds are simplified.

Degas stated that pastels were more suitable for his delicate studies, however they also had several other advantages for him - they were much quicker to work with than paint and so were of major assistance in his experimental works. They could also be used with other techniques such as monotype or the quick drying media of gouache or tempera and, being opaque, he could apply several layers of colour and re-work his subjects as often as needed. Besides traditional pastel crayons he also used powdered pastel which, when mixed with water, could be applied with a brush.

Degas himself gave an explanation for the mysterious power of his later works: "It's one thing to copy what one sees, but it's much better to draw what can only be seen in one's memory. It's a transformation during which the imagination collaborates with the memory ... there your recollections and fantasies are freed from the tyranny exerted by nature."

More info here
http://www.artchive.com/artchive/D/degas.html (http://www.artchive.com/artchive/D/degas.html)


05-04-2008, 02:39 PM
June, I am so in love!

I love ballet~:heart:
I love Degas~:heart:

This is going to be so much fun!

Maybe I will get out the pastels.........

I love we can do an original & a study/ies too !!!!:clap: :clap: :clap:

Thank YOU! :heart: Nickel

05-05-2008, 04:16 AM
Hi Nickel, glad you like Degas. I love his pastels. So I think I'll try some pastel work.

But you can work IN ANY MEDIUM for this project. Not limited to softies. You can do an acrylic, OP, oils, monotype, print, ANY THING. Your interpretation.

05-05-2008, 03:21 PM
Degas online museum at:


05-08-2008, 01:24 PM
I just bought my first pastels(cheapies) and stumbled accross anold article on Degas in my artist magizine clippings!

05-08-2008, 01:43 PM
:cool: Good for you azul. The cheapie soft pastels are great to get started with. I have some cheap mungyo pastels (as well as other brands) and the mungyo's are good to work with.

I think I'll try and combine the Degas with the be bold and insertive somehow. Maybe I fancy myself as a ballerina!!!:lol: :lol: :thumbsup:

05-10-2008, 11:51 PM

05-18-2008, 07:41 AM
If you are thinking of doing some ballet dancers for this project...Jolanta has posted some fine photos of dancers in the RIL.

Here are a few to get you started.:D

05-18-2008, 07:45 AM
Here's a link to a site about making monotypes


05-18-2008, 07:47 AM
Oh yes, these will do perfectly.

05-18-2008, 07:52 AM
This is a wonderful project! Degas, pastels, and dancers...perfect. Is it OK if a put a plug in for the first Street Painting Festival in my area. If you are a pastel painter and feel like coming to the western New York area,(which is not far from Niagara Falls and Buffalo,NY) we would love to have you participate. Here is the website www.springvillestreetpaintingfestival.com

05-18-2008, 07:58 AM
Those photos of the ballet dancers by Jolanta are really good...i am feeling enthusiastic about trying a dancer in soft pastels too!

05-18-2008, 12:42 PM
:D I got so enthusiastic, I thought I'd try a ballet dancer picture this afternoon. About 15 ins square.

This is a rough-quickie-study to see
1. if I can draw ballet dancers
2. if I like using softies over watercolours

So its an experiment. Its very very rough IRL, so I don't know whether to leave it as a quickie-study or whether to continue with this one and add more pastels. I'll leave it here for now and think about it.

Oh yes, I found I do rather like dancers so I may do a more finished painting later in the week...maybe a different composition with better colour combinations.:wink2:

05-19-2008, 12:19 AM
Oh June how pretty! :D

I love them all and I know how enthusiastic you got !

You can see it! Bravo! :clap: :clap: :clap:

What do you think of softies over watercolour?

Let me show you the study I did this afternoon of

Lady with a Dog
This one is of course by Degas.

I will most likely do this again as I fell in love with the little doggie :heart: He reminded me of your little doggie. I did an ink sketch to get a feel for the work.


and then on to oils. I had a few problems so I will work on that later.


I might could get this closer to Degas if I scrape the paint down.

05-19-2008, 12:29 AM
Hi Nickel, I got caught up in the degas. I like softies over watercolour...but I would use a smoother paper in the future. This one was all bumps and to fill it in would take a lot of pastels. I'm leaving it there for now. The ballet dancers were inspiring to do. I'd like to do a finished work ...maybe later.

I haven't seen this degas painting that you posted. I really like it... maybe because the dog looks like my Toby!!

I like your prelminary drawing. Your oil painting is beautiful. Your lady looks as if she really loves her little dog!! And the lively doggy looks so happy with that.

05-23-2008, 12:07 PM
hi everyone:wave: ...one of my favorite artists...i think i will try 'a glass of absinthe'...my very favorite painting...when i went to the louvre..it was out :( i was extremely disappointed....i have tried painting this quite a few times...i may just try with a pencil study...thanks june...great thread!!!!! i love the ballerinas study by june, and nickel has captured that painting perfect!!! good start....i have a week off from work, so hopefully will get some artwork done:D :smug: tyree

05-23-2008, 02:20 PM
Hi Tyree. I love the absinthe drinker painting too. I was shopping yesterday and found a book on the Impressionists on sale so I bought it. Lots of paintings by Degas in it. Including the glass of absynthe. What is that? Is it still a drink you can buy?

05-23-2008, 02:34 PM
oooh, June you got some nice effects with the pastels on watercolor. I hope to get some dancers begun tonight.........seeing everyone's work is motivating

Nickel - I too think your rendition of Lady with a Dog is affectionate and delightful

Tyree - wow, I hope you get lots and lots of time for art and end up perfectly rested!

I hope to get some dancers begun tonight.....seeing everyone's work is always a great pick- me- up.

05-23-2008, 05:51 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-May-2008/65063-absinthe.jpg :wave: hi gang~~i did this sketch this afternoon with mech pencil, i took it thru saturation so it would appear aged....absinthe was a brandy with wormwood, might have also had some kind of opiate in it in those days....when i was in spain i saw bottles of it for sale, but, have never seen it on the shelves in the states....tyree:wink2:

05-24-2008, 12:38 AM
Your drawing is beautiful!! Spot on! She really has that 'lost' look.:thumbsup:

Wormwood...never heard of it but it sounds terrible!! Like it would give you 'worms'. I think I read somewhere that absinthe had adverse psychological effects. Maybe I will go look it up.

Hi azul, looking forward to your art work.:)

We have another month on this project so I hope to squeeze in another sometime. See you later.

05-25-2008, 06:12 PM
:wave: thanks june....i think i will try one of his ballerinas next....!!! tyree:wink2:

05-25-2008, 09:07 PM
Hi, June, Azul, Susan, you guys are so sweet :heart: Susan love your drawing of the 'a glass of absinthe' their expressions are just wonderful and so real I seem to read their mind. I can't wait to see what you all post next. :)
Let me share two links I think you will enjoy to learn more about Degas.

Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
Four Studies of a Jockey, 1866
Brush with black ink, oil paint, and white gouache, on tan wove paper discolored with brown essence, laid down on cream laid board, 453 x 316 mm (sheet)
Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection, 1933.469
Currently not on displayArt Institute of Chicago


Degas at the Getty

Drawing Study of Miss Lala at the Fernando Circus
Self-portrait, about 23 years old
Women in hat shops
Paintings & photographs
X-rays photo of a painting
The female nude


05-29-2008, 12:10 PM
Tyree - that looks alot like the Degas. Their expressions certainly are depressing.

Yeeah - I'm glad this will continue thru June......I'm gonna study up on Degas and do some copying. Here's a ballerina. My first time with oil pastels. I messed up on the knee in the foreground- it is not same color or method as the other skin parts. Don't quite recall what I did though:eek:

05-29-2008, 06:01 PM
azul....i like the contrasting colours and movement of your ballerina, i have cheap ops, and the only way i can seem to control the colour is with coloured pencils:p ....i think ive done this same ballerina is the all media thread....tyree:wink2:

06-10-2008, 01:46 AM
Hi azul. Neat ballerina. The pink suits her. Looks like you blended the knee area a bit more than the other parts. I started using OPs a few years ago when I found the soft pastels a bit messy and dusty. I love the soft ones but rarely use them as it takes about a day for my nose and throat to recover! Did you like using the OPs??

06-11-2008, 08:05 AM
Just discovered this project (thanks June!)

OK here's the link of the Degas' in the National gallery of Scotland

http://www.nationalgalleries.org/collection/online_az/4:322/?initial=D&artistId=3051&artistName=Edgar%20Degas& submit=1/

If you click on the link 'drawn to paint' on the Diego Martelli portrait there is a fascinating Etour that looks into his technique using his original sketches to finished piece!


06-17-2008, 07:51 AM
Had a bit of time before work and read the wikipedia link, and looked at the museum links...all very good. I learned alot about Degas. Awesome artist though too bad about the antisemite part.
Did at sketch copy of lady in bath last night. Hope to get some pastel on it tonight.
oh, time to go.....later

06-18-2008, 07:25 AM
Here's the sketch of the lady bathing. Was too late to get anything more done last night.
Yesterday as I thought about what I read about Degas I was impressed by his dedication to art and his solid background in drawing and classical painting. His dedication to art was so thorough that he believed he had to make a choice between it and his having a wife and family. In that way I think he was a supreme artist. not to mention that his stuff is awesome:)

06-18-2008, 07:38 AM
Azul, I like your drawing just like it is now. Pretty!
About Degas, I find, too, just like you it is pretty amazing his dedication. Lol, that's maybe where the term "strange old bird" came from :lol: :evil: But I just sit and am amazed reading about his life. I'm planning to keep my study of him ongoing through the summer, I've run into a busy time right now, lol, but I keep thinking about wanting to know more about his line work. It's just amazing to me. Have a great day. :)

07-01-2008, 04:10 PM
Here's mine after Degas - not sure about his title of this

07-01-2008, 07:36 PM
A lovely drawing Azul, very much in the spririt of Degas.

07-02-2008, 02:09 AM
I love this one. The skin tones are beautiful!