Saturday, August 19, 2017

Ruskin and Wild Roses

John Ruskin gave challenging advice to young artists.

Wild roses, gouache over casein, 5 x 8 inches
He said: "They should go to Nature in all singleness of heart, and walk with her laboriously and trustingly, having no other thought but how best to penetrate her meaning; rejecting nothing, selecting nothing, and scorning nothing." 



I take that advice to mean willfully discarding the idea of improving on nature, and translating what I see into paint as faithfully as possible.

I soon discover that painting every detail is impossible. As Ruskin points out, individual leaves can rarely be seen apart from the others, given all the overlapping and cast shadows. Plus, there are tens of thousands of tiny forms, and those forms morph from moment to moment, and from day to day. (I spend four consecutive mornings on the painting).

Instead, the character of the masses of leaves has to be reinvented in terms of paint.

The making of this painting is the main segment of my new video, "Flower Painting in the Wild." Customer Biff says:
“I think this is the best 'in the wild' video yet. Great demonstration of lost and found edges, painting negative space, keeping your place through a complex scene, dealing with plein-air distractions, excellent close-up views of superb brush work, emphasis when depicting reflections, glazing with gouache (and casein) and even how to make friends with green. Great Stuff!!”

Flower Painting in the Wild
1080p HD download from Sellfy
1080p HD download from Gumroad
1080p HD download from Cubebrush
DVD available direct from the manufacturer
DVD from Amazon
Trailer on YouTube

The Ruskin quote is from Modern Painters, Vol. 1

Related Previous Posts:
Chernyshevsky's Philosophy of Art
W.T. Richards "Into the Woods"
Leighton's Lemon Tree
Month Long Field Study
W.T. Richards Field Study

Friday, August 18, 2017

Release of "Flower Painting in the Wild"



"Flower Painting in the Wild" is now available, and today only it's 10% off Buy now
(scroll down for more links). Here's what the reviewers are saying:

“Who doesn't love to sit in a garden? Translucent and highly chromatic, flowers are the most challenging subjects to render in the studio. Put them in a mass outdoors in flickering light, moving in a gentle breeze...even the most accomplished plein air painter will head for the hills instead. James Gurney takes you with him to observe and paint on a larger panel as well as his iconic sketchbook pages. Practical, erudite and charming, James shows you how he integrates that devilish chartreuse leaf green into his impressionistic paintings of flowers on site. Watch him create a formally satisfying composition while only selecting details that are botanically relevant. He also puts it all in philosophical context, quoting Ruskin no less, that urges you to go outside to smell, see and paint the roses!”
Elissa Gore, Landscape Painting Instructor, New York Botanical Garden

"Set at the New York Botanical Gardens, you get to see how an artist tackles the complexity of nature. With shifting light, wind blowing and pedestrians passing by Gurney does an elegant painting. Taking the time to see the structure of the flower, Gurney develops the painting to a high level of finish. The combination of his ability to understand solid depictions of light and form as well as structure and brush handling, make this video a joy to watch for every level of artist. Whether you are just starting out or have mastered your own technique, to behold a fresh alla prima painting in plein air is a treat for any artist. Gurney filmed the video himself which gives it a raw, personal touch. I highly recommend it and look forward to viewing others in the future.”
Michael Klein, East Oaks Studio

"With this DVD James Gurney provides the viewer an excellent opportunity to learn about flower painting in a natural setting while paying keen attention to different shapes and light, general value and color in nature, and how to bring them all together in a finished painting. He demonstrates not only the painting techniques but gives also information about the surrounding environment and how to engage with the public while painting. Gurney is a master at explaining how to handle clustered masses of plant parts, without absolute delineation of detail so that one’s mind is inspired to build the final picture."
Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski, Ph.D., D.Sc., Manager of School of Botanical Art & Illustration, Denver Botanic Gardens


"Flower Painting in the Wild" is another excellent video from James Gurney, particularly if you're interested in casein paint. Using casein in most segments, he paints several varieties of flowers, demonstrating its opacity and versatility. As in his previous video demonstrations, solid technique, sharp and useful video images, and Gurney's obvious humility and good-humor make this a must for the student of painting. Highly recommended.”
Gary Hoff

“The video is a great way to learn painting flowers outdoors in any medium.”
—Eleinne Basa


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Flower Painting in the Wild
1080p HD download from Sellfy
1080p HD download from Gumroad
1080p HD download from Cubebrush
DVD available direct from the manufacturer
DVD from Amazon
Trailer on YouTube

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Story Time from Space


Jeanette and I had breakfast this morning with MICA painting instructor and maritime history painter Patrick O'Brien. He told me that one of his children's books, "You Are the First Kid on Mars" went up on SpaceX to the Space Station to be read aloud online. Pretty cool!
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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Todd McFarlane Interview


Over the last two decades, Todd McFarlane has made a name for himself as both an artist and a businessman, creating the comic character Spawn, the artist-controlled publisher Image, and a popular line of detailed action figures. In this interview he shares the keys to his success. (Link to YouTube)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How to Make a YouTube End Screen Gizmo

In the last 20 seconds of a YouTube video, you can offer the viewer the chance to click on other videos, playlists, websites, or the Subscribe button, using their "end screen" options.



In this behind-the-scenes video I show how to make a reusable gizmo to make that end screen segment more interesting and to encourage viewers to click those links. (Link to video on YouTube).



The panels flip into position before being superimposed with the link options. The movement of the panels is powered by mousetrap springs. It's cheap and easy to build, and it's completely customizable to the style of your channel.

Materials:
Mousetraps,
1 " X 3 " Pine boards
screw eyes
Magic Sculpt epoxy clay
Gorilla glue

My next Gumroad tutorial, "Flower Painting in the Wild," comes out this Friday, August 18.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Brushes for water media

Betty-Jane Moss asks:
Would you advise using different brushes for the different kinds of water-based paints (casein, gouache and the transparent watercolor)?



Betty-Jane, the quick answer is yes: If you're painting in casein, use only synthetics; don't use natural hair brushes (bristles or sables) because the ammonia in the paint can be hard on the fibers. If you're using gouache or watercolor, you can use any kind of synthetic or natural brush.

I usually carry a mix of flat and round brushes, but the ones I use most are a 3/4" and 1/2" flat and a #10 synthetic watercolor round.

Synthetic options
A good bargain is to get a watercolor brush set with carrying pouch (regular length handles) or a short-handled water media brush set with carrying case. The folding case will fit over the left hand page of the open sketchbook.

There are a lot of other brands available, everything from very expensive Kolinsky brushes to cheap brush sets from big box craft stores.

I don't think you have to spend large amounts of money. I find a good brush, I buy a few extras to have on hand. I've found brushes of acceptable quality at the big box craft stores for very reasonable prices, but you have to check them out. What you want to look for are brushes that have good spring or snap, not floppy. The brush should come to a fine point — or edge in the case of a flat. That way you can use a fairly large brush to paint your picture.

Natural hair brushes
If you're using watercolor or gouache, you can use natural hair brushes. I like sable flat brushes, such as: 1/2-inch  and 3/4-Inch size, and I use them especially for laying down big washes. The sable flats hold more water usually don't hold as sharp an edge as the synthetics.

For laying bigger washes and wetting the paper, a Cat's Tongue Wash Brush is a good tool. It has a flattened ferrule similar to a filbert brush.

If you like watercolor techniques where you wet large areas, a squirrel mop brush

Round Kolinsky sables are wonderful, and will hold a point for a long time if you take good care of them.
Winsor and Newton Series 7 
Richeson Siberian Kolinsky brushes
Escoda Optimo Kolinsky
Da Vinci Maestro Series Kolinsky Red 

If you have a very compact kit and can't carry a box of brushes, you might want to use a Escoda Sable Round Travel Brush, which safely stows the brush tip inside the handle. The Rosemary brush company in England also makes a set of "reversible" "folding" "pocket" "travel" brushes.
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Previous posts on GurneyJourney:
Review: Richeson Travel Brush Set
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