Conversations: Edgar Degas

“The Oh’s and Ah’s of Edgar Degas”

It’s that time of year, time for the Nutcracker!  Time to enjoy the dancers, the music, the performance.
Edgar Degas’ favorite subject were ballet dancers. He enjoyed painting the dancers practicing in rehearsals, backstage before a show, or as in this case, on the stage, live! He captured their energy and grace, their diligence, their daily life as well as their performances. During his career he created more than a thousand pictures of dancers!
One of my favorite Degas paintings, though not his most popular, is this one, featured, “Musicians in the Orchestra,” 1872, oil on canvas, showing the orchestra in the foreground, the dancers on stage.   It makes me feel like I am there, as if it is a live event!  I am in the audience, in the pit with the musicians.  It draws me into the scene and gives me a sense of excitement.  I can almost hear the music!  Could it be Tchaikovsky?
  • Did you know the last name he was born with was “de Gas?”  (Yes! He changed it to Degas when he was an adult.)
  • Where do you think Degas was sitting while painting the painting?  (In the orchestra pit.)
  • Why do you think he painted some of the orchestra in with his dancers?  (For variety, because that is what he saw and found it intriguing.)
  • Did you know Degas did sculpture as well?  (Yes, his most famous sculpture is called The Little Fourteen Year Old Dancer. It is the only sculpture that he exhibited during his lifetime.)
  • Why are the men with the instruments so much bigger than the ballerinas?  (Because they are closer and the ballerinas are further away.)

 “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” Edgar Degas

Come join us for our Fireflies Art and Literature Nutcracker workshops at Coffee and Canvas art studio and gallery!
  • Wednesday December 3, from 10:00am to 12:00pm – we will be painting a nutcracker on canvas!
  • Friday December 5, from 3:30-5:00pm – we will be doing a clay activity, hand-building a nutcracker/santa belt box and painting it with colorful underglazes.  We fire for you and you pick up within 2 weeks.
  • Friday December 5, from 5:15-6:00pm – If you missed the first opportunity or if this time works better for you and you want to bring siblings of all ages, join us as a family to paint a nutcracker on canvas.


Cost $19.99 per child, $25 per adult, includes all supplies, instruction and a  beverage.  Sign up for both classes on December 5 and cheese pizza will be offered for $5.  Cost of both workshops combined, only $40/adult, $35 per child.


Can’t wait to see you to share the joy of creating and the excitement of the Nutcracker with you!

Laura Bird Miller | Owner, Artist

Websites-  studio:   (407)682-1128 studio
fine art:       (407)416-2594 cell