Friday, September 24, 2010


This study is taken from one of Degas’ late pastels. He did a series of them at the end of his life when he was too ill to go to the ballet and his eyesight was failing. They are some of the best things he ever did.

I love these late pastels of Degas and I’ve made two or three studies of different ones using conventional pastels on Tiziano paper. Although this digital study doesn’t really capture the true feel of pastel it is a good way of studying the technique of a great artist – you’re not using up paper and chalk.

I suppose applying the computer in this way is a bit like using a flight simulator when learning to fly a plane.

For comparison I’ve posted another study this time in pastel. The source image is in 'Degas Pastels' by Alfred Werner and I've taked the foreground figure from the composition.

This time Degas used a more painterly approach which is reflected in the study. I can’t be sure what Degas underpainting was like but for the purpose of this exercise I used an acrylic ground on a heavy cartridge paper.

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