Wow, look! I’m working to finish up the Impressionists series!

The next artist we studied was Edgar Degas.

Degas came from a wealthy family. His father loved art.  Edgar and his father often visited art museums together in Paris. Edgar especially enjoyed the old masters, Raphael and Rembrandt.

Even though Edgar’s father loved art, he had higher ambitions for his son. He wanted him to be a lawyer.

While in law school, Degas would take his study breaks at the Louvre with his sketch pad. There he would spend time copying the masters. After one semester of law school, Degas and his father realized an art school was a better fit for him. He took his studies very seriously.

Degas was very different from other Impressionist painters. Unlike his colleagues, he preferred to paint indoors. He said that “those reflections in the water hurt my eyes!” He also  preferred to paint indoor scenes. “He thought that when you worked form memory you painted ‘only what has struck you, what is essential.'”

Degas is most known for his ballerina paintings. He painted ballerinas dancing, resting, stretching, twirling, etc. He even sculpted ballerinas.

His sculpting increased as he got older, and his eyesight declined. “I must take up a blind man’s craft.” The last nine years of his life, he couldn’t see well enough to paint or sculpt.

In 1888, the first hand-held Kodak camera was invented. Since Degas was  a big camera “buff”, our activity stemmed from there.

The kids got these great little cameras for Christmas last year, so it was an ideal activity.

We each grabbed a camera and headed out to the antique shop. ANTIQUE SHOP? What does that have to do with anything? Well, it was about 1000˚ outside. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration. It was hot! Thank goodness Degas was inspired by images indoors. Antique shops have a nice variety of things to photograph. Plus it gave dear old Mom a chance to browse around in the antique shops!

Here are some of the suggested techniques:

•Stand above your subject and shoot down.

•Stand below your subject and shoot up.

•Crop your subject at the edge of the picture.

•Take candid pictures.

•Take a blurry picture.

The girls LOVED the picture taking. They went CRAZY! Megan took 111 pictures. Katie took a whopping 295! They were having fun.

Once we got home, we had to load all the pictures onto the computer. Picking a favorite took a little time. Finally they were able to pick one each.

Katie picked a blue glass bowl filled with candy. She took this picture from above and cropped part of it out of the picture.

Megan picked a purple glass bottle. She cropped he bottle in the picture.

Next, we were on to painting.

Not sure what happened with the flash on these. Sorry, they aren’t the best photos, but you get the idea.

Here are the final paintings:

Candy Bowl by Katie Bayer

Katie felt very frustrated by her piece. There was a lot of candy in that bowl! The transparency of the bowl was a challenge to paint as well. I thought she did a GREAT job. She “skyed” her art.

Purple Jar by Megan Bayer

This was Megan’s favorite piece. She spent a lot of time on trying to get the colors and shading just right. She hung her painting “on the line”.

Oh, yeah, one thing we did with the photos was we blew them up really big on the computer. We blew them up so big you could see all the pixels. It was neat to see all of the different colors in places you wouldn’t have imagined!