Girl Scouts in the Galleries

It’s that time again–temptation by thin mint. And this year, with the 100th birthday of Girl Scouts of the USA, even more incentive to support their cause (not to mention a new Cookie Finder app that takes your craving mobile).

Recently, Girl Scout Troop 4903 from Silver Spring, MD, selected our Degas exhibition as the perfect place to work on their “Drawing Merit Badge” requirements. They tried out Degas’s ideas of practice and process, stopping to draw each other at the ballet barre.

A member of Troup 4903 rapidly sketches Degas's sculpture. Photo: Ben Tollefson

Some of the girl scouts take time out from drawing to dance and be drawn. Photo: Ben Tollefson

After they stretched their imaginations in the galleries, the troop joined local artist Frank Wright for drawing lesson in the Phillips art workshop.

Local artist Frank Wright demonstrates drawing techniques for the scouts. Photo: Ben Tollefson

Troop 4903. Photo: Ben Tollefson

Suzanne Wright, Director of Education

Degas and Pastels: Part II

Read part one in my series on Degas and pastels.

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas Dancer Adjusting Her Shoe, 1885. Pastel on paper, 19 x 24 in. Collection of The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Tennessee; Bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Hugo N. Dixon, 1975.6.

Degas’s use of fixative was the key to the appearance of his many-layered pastel works. Fixative makes it possible for pastel to adhere to paper without smearing or smudging and enables the artist to continue to work over pastel that has already been applied. Degas searched for a fixative that would not alter the matte, velvety quality of his pastels. Degas used a secret formula for fixative given to him by artist Luigi Chialiva that has not been duplicated today. By using fixative to prevent blending and smudging, Degas created a roughened surface to which each layer of pastel adhered easily. The fixative applied at different layers of the composition enabled Degas to create a work using multiple layers of pastel, which achieved an astonishing complexity of superimposed color. Continue reading “Degas and Pastels: Part II” »