Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Degas: Art Activity Pack

Degas: Art Activity Pack

Mila Boutan
Novelty Kit
For ages 6 to 10
Chronicle Books, 1996   ISBN: 978-0811813129

Unlike many of the other impressionist painters, Degas enjoyed working in artificial light. Once he decided what he was going to paint, draw or sculpt, he studied his subject matter carefully and with great intensity. So, when Degas decided that he was going to try to capture the magic of the new Paris ballet, he watched performance after performance, sketched the ballet dancers as they practiced and during their warm up sessions backstage. Then he would work on drawing what he saw during the performance with emphasis on capturing the movement of the dancers as they glided and twirled across the stage.

In the book in this wonderful kit the author shows her readers how Degas achieved the effect he was trying to produce in his pictures. She explains what excited and inspired the artist and why he preferred to use pastels instead of paint when he was painting the ballerinas in the Paris ballet. Mila Boutan explains the concept of "composition" and why it is important to place items on a canvas in a certain way when one wants to create a specific effect. At the back of the book there is a concise and very interesting biography of Degas’ life.

Included in the kit is an "Artists Notebook" which the reader can use to help them create all sorts of beautiful pictures in the style of Degas and to understand Degas’ techniques.

Finally there is a large poster to color or paint. It is a rough image of one of Degas’ famous paintings of a ballerina.