Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Why I Love Degas



Do I love Degas because he painted beautiful tutus, gorgeous jockey silks, and frilly silly hats in millinery shops? No, none of the preceding. I love Degas for very different reasons. I love his painted women in all their complexity and humanity, and I love his compositions.

His paintings have designs as daring and fresh as any before or since. He doesn't balance; he crops and cuts people, horses and things as though they were in a snapshot, but one taken by a master photographer.

Symmetry is not his style. He might shove everything to one side and leave the rest of his canvas empty or have the center of his painting depict nothing more than a bare wood floor.

Just Passing Through (above) is my homage to Degas. Slightly off-center, with her adult cropped to one lone hand, my little girl is just passing through the world like us all.

Just Passing Through 18x14 oil on panel.

10 comments:

  1. As a child I had a Degas hanging on my bedroom wall. Guess my mom also loved Degas. Love the strong lights in your Woman Looking at the Bottle!

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  2. Your work is lovely Shirley...count me as a new fan!

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  3. Your paintings always have such a wonderful sense of peace to them. I love your colors. Do you use a lot of Gamblin Radiants? They always sparkle in a soft iridescent way.

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  4. Thank you, Pam.
    Dana, it's a mutual admiration society.
    Thank you, Christine. I use student grade Winston Newton paints. Because they're relatively inexpensive, I don't skimp as much as I would with the more costly stuff.

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  5. Hi Shirley. Really love how luminous the dress is, and you can just feel the silky blond hair. Very nicely done. I agree about Degas. I'm on my way tomorrow to the Clark Museum to see a show about how Picasso was influenced by Degas. Should be interesting. I also went to the Matisse exhibit at MOMA for the 2nd time, today. If you love him, you might be interested in the book from the exhibit. I'll drop a note after Degas/Picasso. Keep writing and painting! You really inspire!!!

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  6. Thank you so much, Tonya. And yes, I also love Matisse.

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  7. Great colors in the dress! I love the feeling in this painting. Nice blog.

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  8. Thank you very much, Susan. I really like your blog and your work.

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  9. Yes! I love all those things about Degas too! Your work is lovely, Shirley. I especially like the softness and light.

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  10. Thank you so much, FCP. Your avatar glows in its little thumbnail size!

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