Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Before & After: Inspired by Degas


Sadly, because I was moving my laboratory last week, I had to miss last week's Llama Nails' 'Inspired By Artists' challenge. So for this week, I thought I go for gold and try to do another recreation-type manicure for this week's artist: Degas.

I love the Impressionists. Back in the day, I didn't understand anything other than representational art, and was frankly confused by modern art in most of its forms. I don't like not understanding things--it's a personal quirk of mine (which probably explains why I'm a research psychologist, lol). I'm sort of stubborn and don't like to be out of the know--I may like it or not, but I darn well want to understand why other people like it.

Impressionism was the first foothold I got into understanding that after photography made representational art technically unnecessary (not unworthy; it's just that cameras could now make an exact representation of something, so artists didn't have to so much), artists were freed to a new degree to use their art to explore other goals. Not just freed, but challenged, really. Impressionism was one of the ways artists looked to make something other than the exact representational content the subject of their work--in the case of impressionism, the play of light and other atmospheric effects became the 'subject', and the artist explored how these factors impacted the emotion of their content. In other words, the same building can be very different when painted in afternoon sun vs. setting sun, and can have a very different emotional impact; Impressionists explored these phenomena.

I fell in love with this idea, completely head over heels, and have sought out every Impressionist art piece in ever museum I've ever had a chance to see.

So trying to recreate a Degas on my nails to any degree is...well...both very fun, and...incredibly daunting.

But that's what challenges are for, right?

One of the things Degas is known for is his love of painting ballerinas, not at their most glorious moments, but behind the scenes, when they're human and vulnerable. I chose this work to recreate:

I started out with Zoya Flynn, a neutral latte-brown creme, shown here with two coats:

Zoya Flynn, artificial light

Then I pulled out my acrylics and hoped for the best...>.<

I changed the orange-yellow bow to a red on to give it more visual interest against my much-plainer background...To say this is far from being a beautiful mini Degas is an understatement of epic proportions. However, they are recognizable ballerinas, and they're not too shabby! I do love that I managed to make their dresses feel like airy, gauzy tutus. :)

Thanks for stopping by! Massive hugs. :)


  1. This is just amazing. Really.

    P.S. Please do something inspired by John William Waterhouse?? :D

    1. Thank you so much! Well, since you asked, I'll see what I can do...:)

  2. Great inspiration! Looks fantastic! :)

  3. Wow, this is amazing!

  4. Oh my gosh, it's so pretty, the detail is amazing! You're an incredibly talented lady x

    1. Wow, you made me blush...that's such a sweet thing to say! <3

  5. This is too awesome! Your interpretation captures the spirit of this piece. Awesome!

    1. That is such an awesome compliment! Thank you so much. :)

    2. That is such an awesome compliment! Thank you so much. :)


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