Finally I have permission to share an orange story with you on a subject that got me very excited a few days ago. Edgar Degas and ballet paintings always remind me of my youth. In the story I read, and present for you here today, he used orange and blue as his main palette. The article is about the restoration to bring up those colors from beneath years of dust and yellowing varnish. The process and the colorful painting all thrilled me when I read it so I hope you will enjoy it too. Discovering Degas Thanks to the Washingtonian Magazine for giving me permission to link.
I studied to be a ballet dancer from age seven. I also studied some other forms of dance after I left the ballet classes at age sixteen and learned a lot about movement and performance. One thing that spoke to me when I began studying visual art at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY was how well Degas captured the movement and shape of ballet dancers. I wanted to be able to draw and paint like him. One of my foundation class projects was to divide a picture by a master painter into it's visual planes showing what was the front of the picture plane and the receding, middle and background planes of the space in the painting. Another famous Degas was the one I chose to work from on this project. My project Degas was of a dancer adjusting her shoe in the foreground of a ballet class studio which I got from the Metropolitan Museum of art in NYC.
At Pratt I also studied modern and avante garde dance for PE credit. The most interesting class was with a choreographer named Laura Dean who taught us how to spin like sufi whirling dervishes. I practiced and achieved an advanced level where I could spin without stopping for 45 minutes in my home studio. It was a great way to meditate and get your heart pumping. The only draw back was shin splints which comes from doing the same movement repeatedly. In another school project for a film class I used an orange plastic rain suit and a blue sky on the roof of my Brooklyn apartment as the subject. In this film I was spinning in the orange suit against the shockingly bright blue sky. My tribute to dancers in orange and blue circa 1977. I still have the original 8mm film but I have no idea how to make it digital. One day if I find a way to do it I will add it to the blog.