Degas

For this page I will scan pages from “Art in the Making: Degas”.  I need to look at his pastel drawings of people and talk about techniques, composition, tone, line, contrast and such like. There are pictures of quick studies in different media as well as “finished” drawings in pastel.

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After the Bath, Woman drying herself, 1890-95.  This is a pastel drawing on “wove paper laid onto stout millboard”.  (103.5 x 98.5 cm)  This drawing has a lot of texture lines, there are layers of hatching in different tones on her back, arms, and legs.  As well as on the chairs and walls.  You can see the light and shade on the crinkled cloth.img223

Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando, 1879.  These studies are much more colourful and interesting than the finished painting.  They show the life and movement of the scene. img219

This library book is really good because it shows the studies Degas made for paintings and drawings.  The studies above are quick, interesting drawings, with heavy charcoal outlines and pastel colours for fabric.  He uses hatching (above right) the colours help to add depth and a sense of form.

In the finished drawing below has more solid areas of colour and fewer dark outlines.

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For “Helene Rouart in her Father’s Study” Degas has made a range of drawings of different poses, presumably to find the best position.  I like to see them all gathered together as they are below, because they make and interesting series.  One with sketchy quick lines, one with blended tone, one with colour, one with broad lines and one with a combination of tone and line.

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Here are some enlarged images from the selection above, to better see details.  Degas uses hatching and other lines to build up layers of tone.

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Below are an interesting pair of drawings one of which has the erratic lines, hatching and scribbles while the other has smooth lines, blended tones and dark shadows.

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All the images on this page are scanned from a book called “Art in the Making – Degas” by David Bomford, Sarah Herring, Jo Kirby, Christopher Riopelle and Ashok Roy.

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