Pastel art techniques became popular during the 19th century, and were used by the French painter Edgar Degas. This pastel artist redefined art pastels with his innovative drawings on differently colored bases, experiments with shapes and textures of pastel strokes and with the element of “unfinished” in his pastel art. Degas’s paintings, a part of Impressionism (art movement), were mostly based on subjects, such as dancers, racecourse subjects, women at work and nudes.
Edgar: Works, Pastel Art Techniques and Style
Edgar’s unique pastel art techniques helped in the creation of dynamic images that looked like they were caught in motion. The pastel work created had blurred edges and had lines representative of a moving figure or form. Degas also imparted new angles and viewpoints to his subjects, which were also cropped abruptly – this demonstrated the influence of photography on his work.
Degas’s pastel art is characterized by his non-adherence to the established Parisian art techniques and styles. He is known to have experimented with new Japanese techniques and subjects. This included his use of Japanese woodprint and new graphic techniques. Degas was particularly influenced by the Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849).
Degas’s artistic style changed as his themes became more contemporary. For instance, his early works that presented people as individuals gave way to a trend of categorizing people, especially women, by their professions. Degas was a realist who preferred painting scenes from everyday life, rather than idealized images. The use of color in his pastel art also became more experimental and bolder with time.
Degas’s obsession with textures, form and color can be understood from his paintings of bathing women. Instead of focusing on the women’s features or expressions, the paintings depicted an abstracted form with focus on the subject’s back and shoulder. Degas was also influenced by modern photography, which is mirrored in his changed brushwork, palette and composition sense. Degas was also known for his excellent individual and group portraits and historical paintings, early in his career.
Edgar’s Art Pastels: Popularity and Relevance Today
The US was introduced to the painter Edgar Degas, his pastel art techniques and to the movement called Impressionism, by Degas’ protege Mary Cassatt. Later, in 1972, the Pastel Society of America was also formed in New York to promote pastel art works as a serious art medium. Since then, several local pastel societies have been established in the US, such as the Northwest Pastel Society and the Pastel Society of the West Coast, to aid the effort.
The best features of art pastels are the unlimited possibilities in terms of texture and color available to the user. Pastel artists can also be spontaneous with their art, given the flexibility of art pastel application. Be it abstract or detailed representative art, the only limitation in pastel art is the artists’ imagination. Pastels are still widely used and a popular choice of medium for artists all over the world – the versatility and soft effects are unrivalled.