She was there. Sketching Degas and his dancers, Paris, 1870s-1890s. (In process).

Sketch of me dressed as a dancer sketching Degas’s dancers. Graphite, India ink, watercolour, and chalk on paper. 11″ x 15″ ©2017 Mary Khan
Edgar Degas, Dancer with a Fan (study), c.1895 – c.1900


At age fourteen, after seeing the drawings of young dancers (who were around the same age as me) by Edgar Degas, I immediately made the decision to become a draughtswoman. I was struck by the artist’s strong lines, movement, light, angles, and distinct use of colour. I identified with the girls both through my own physical embodiment – my light frame, my thin arms and legs – and as a burgeoning artist. I intrinsically felt my marks on paper were interconnected to his. Years later, when studying 19th century art history, I learnt of the harsh reality of survival for the dancers and the complicated role the artist played in depicting them. I am currently working on a group of drawings within my series “She was there.,” related to my lifelong admiration for and struggle with these beautiful works.

The Jazz Sessions. Take her and teach her (In process). 

Drawing while listening to Alianca by Paul Desmond, 1964.
Drawing while listening to Corcovado by Elis Regina and Antonio Carlos Jobim, 1974.
Drawing while listening to Time after Time by Miles Davis, 1985.

Invest in everything you do. There’s fun in being serious. -John Coltrane

©2017 Mary Khan