Work in progress. I’ve been working on this piece for five Tuesdays, approximately 22 hours. Lots of defining and details left to complete. I’m trying to imagine how the painting looked when Degas finished it. My feeling is that the colors he used were much brighter than the original looks today. The impressionist loved to paint the light so I can’t imagine he painted Four Dancers in such a dull, dark form.
Degas loved to paint ballerinas and also loved to work with pastels, preferring the chalky look in his work. When painting in oils, he often would lay out his colors on a cardboard instead of a wooden palette so the oil could be absorbed out of the paint. This would give the thin wash a pastel look. Did you know that in Four Dancers, he used only one model posed in four different positions?
The National Gallery of Art currently has a wonderful Degas/Cassatt exhibit, running through October 5, 2014. A MUST SEE! The affinity between the two artists is undeniable. Both were realists who drew their inspiration from the human figure and the depiction of modern life.
If you happen to come by on a Tuesday, stop by and visit me. I’m in the Impressionist Gallery #83 for at least another two Tuesdays.