Australian Fine Artist

Drawing Degas

Drawing at the NGV

The Winter Exhibition at the NGV this year brought us a huge collection of works by Edgar Degas (1834-1917). This is the most works in one place by this artist that I have seen in Melbourne. So big in fact that it warrants several visits to take it all in.

As an artist and art student, who loves pastel and paint, I love his work, particularly as he depicts the human form so beautifully. Degas’ observational skills, from his years of sitting and drawing show us a glimpse of the every-day, the less than elegant, or the more than serene, going from ballet dancers to brothels, the races to the living room.

Rather than trying to look at everything, I visited today to just concentrate on his drawings. This was my second trip to the exhibition, and my first was to see the whole thing just as an art lover. Today, however, I wanted to get into his head a bit, to discover his processes. To do that, my small visual diary and pastel and charcoal pencils and I went on a journey.

I sat or stood in front of drawings that I was drawn to, and emersed myself in the process of observing and drawing. It must have been totally distracting, as the time flew by, and I barely noticed the people around me. Before I knew it I had completed about four drawings of nudes and my time had run out. This sort of exercise, I have found, deserves a full day and not just an afternoon!

What was so great was how I saw my drawings change from the first one to the last, as I gradually started to ‘get’ his lines and tones. It was very exciting, and although tired after several hours of drawing and studying at two exhibitions in one day, I felt exhilarated at the same time. I can’t wait to do another day of drawing in the gallery again!

Below are my drawings from today’s trip.






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