Dance Rehearsal


32" x 30", pigment, acrylic and pastel on canvas

The featured case study in my newest educational DVD-ROM Post-Print Painting The Sutton Way.

This painting is inspired by Degas's wonderful paintings and drawings of dancers. The dancers depicted are from The Ballet Studio and the Chamberdance (Academy of Ballet), both in San Francisco. I collaborated with these dance schools at the de Young Museum (the Ballet School) and the Legion of Honor Museum (Chamberdance) in celebration of the Birth of Impressionism and Impressionist Paris exhibits. I played the role of French Impressionist painter Edgar Degas. The painting you see featured here is based on photos I took, and skecthes I made, at the two local ballet schools. I am fascinated by Degas' use of dramatic cropped imagery, his depictions of dancers in off-performance moments and the thoughtful construction of his compositions. I constructed the composition of this painting with the thought in mind of "how would Degas have portrayed these dancers?" That led me to include part of the piano accompanist and the teacher. It is not based on any single Degas work but more his overall approach to depicting his dancers. Degas experimented with different media and new technology, including photography, and would have loved the digital tools of today!

I worked on and developed this painting at all three performance events you see below.

Renee, Peri and Nico, from the Academy of Ballet, being painted at the Legion of Honor Museum


Drawing Peri


Sketches of Peri and Nico


Drawing Nico


Drawing Renee


Sketch of Renee


Nico, Peri and Renee enjoying the artworks I just createdof them


Degas and his traveling art kit!


Sketching from the wings as Chamberdance perform in the Florence Gould Auditorium


Sketches of Chamberdance made from the side of the stage



The view from outside the de Young Museum (photographer Steven Somerstein) as I sketch Amanda and Mia


Sketches of Amanda and Max




Talking with an enthusiastic audience:-)



Sketch of Mia





Painting dancers at the de Young Museum


One of the sketches made at the de Young


Drawing Joey

Thank you to Renee Baldocchi of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco for kindly inviting me to participate in these wonderful artistic collaborations at the de Young and the Legion of Honor Museums. Thank you to Renee's colleagues at the museums, Cynthia and Andrea and the rest of the staff who helped make everything run so smoothly. Thanks to the fabulous dancers Mia, Amanda, Max (de Young, July 30), Peri, Renee, Nico and Chamberdance (Legion of Honor, August 1), Emily, Lisa, Rachel, Andrew, Pemberly and Joey (de Young, August 13), and all their teachers: Henry and Charles from the Ballet Studio and Richard, Zory and MaryEllen from the Academy of Ballet. A big thank you to Peggy who tirelessly helped me carry Degas' not so light traveling art kit and kindly documented the whole creative process, as you can see from her wonderful photos shown here.

All artwork shown is copyright © Jeremy Sutton.
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