Thursday, September 3, 2015

Gurney Museum Exhibition in Philadelphia

A new exhibition of my original art has just opened at the museum of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. The Art of James Gurney includes more than 25 oil paintings from the Dinotopia books, as well as natural science science illustrations, preliminary sketches, and maquettes. 

One of the featured images is "Waterfall City: Afternoon Light" from Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara. This is the only image that overlaps from the Delaware Art Museum exhibition a few years ago; the rest are all different.

The Art of James Gurney will be on view at the The Richard C. von Hess Gallery of Illustration is at 333 S Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA through November 16.

In connection with the exhibition, I'll be doing a public presentation on Thursday, October 29: 1 - 2:30 pm at Levitt Auditorium with a reception following.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Outdoor Market Results

In last month's Outdoor Market Challenge I asked you to paint a market on location using just three colors of gouache plus white. 

We had many inspiring responses from artists around the world, ranging from seasoned professionals to people just starting out on the adventure of painting. In this post I want to spotlight a few of the results that I thought made the most of the opportunity, but I was impressed with everyone's effort, and grateful to all who participated. 

It was really hard to select the winners, but I would like to give the Grand Prize to Jesse Winchester Schmidt, who painted "Sunrise Market." He says, "Sunrise is a well known market in downtown Vancouver. Always vibrant, buzzing with diversity." The striking color scheme came from using Indigo blue, Cadmium yellow, Permanent Alizarin Crimson and White.

Jesse painted the main piece in over four sessions, but he also produced more than a dozen preliminary sketches and paintings to help him warm up to the challenge.

Jesse is a senior instructor from the Vancouver Film School. I hope his students see what an impressive example he is setting. 
Next up is Finalist Jared Cullum of Richmond, Virginia, who painted Virginia's Historic 17th Street Farmer's Market. He used Cadmium Red, Yellow Ochre, Cobalt Blue & White. The perspective is very carefully drawn, the colors are muted, and the values are well grouped, making the piece look like it was done by a 19th century master. 

He said his rig blew over four times because of that big wind-catching umbrella. Jared also said, "This is posted with a little bit of melancholy. As I was painting someone working the market came and sat with me and asked, "Trying to get it down before they tear it down?" Then he proceeded to tell me about how tomorrow they will be tearing this down to build a "shopping square" in it's place. No idea what that means for the farmers working but it's sad to see a historic thing go." (Link to new story about demolition.)

The next Finalist is Clay Brooks of Denver, Colorado. He used Venetian Red, Oxide of Chromium, and Cadmium Yellow Pale, plus white. Those colors led to a harmonious and unified color statement, with the darks related to the tints. 

I also like the way he handled the figures with just a few color planes stated very directly, since the figures must not have stood there long.

Clay said, "I was a little upset with my color choices in the beginning because it was impossible to get darker than 2 or 3 on the value scale. Also, subbing green for blue was interesting."

Architectural illustrator Jeff Simutis is another Finalist. He painted the Marin Farmers Market in San Rafael, California using Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Yellow, and white. I love the way he echoes the colors and shapes throughout the picture and captures the bustle and energy of the whole scene.

This photo captures the busy scene that Jeff was facing on his standing tripod easel. You just know he must have had a million people coming up to him and offering comments, or saying "Paint me in! Har har!" 

First up in the Honorable Mention category is Christian Schlierkamp of Berlin, Germany. He used Cyan, Magenta and White on a yellow priming and watersoluble pencils in a Moleskine Watercolour book. I like the light and airy feeling that he achieved, letting the yellow color come through here and there, and allowing the line work to show.  

Here's the view back toward Christian from the stand. Christian says, "The market stand shown is of my friend Horst Siegeris where I buy all of our fruits and veggies."

The next Honorable Mention is Michael Mrak, painting the Ort Family Farmstead Near Chester, New Jersey. He chose an interesting view looking in the corner doorway and up under the eaves.

The palette was Yellow Ochre, Ultramarine Blue and Venetian Red. Mike says, "It has been maybe 20 years since I limited my palette like that."

David Auden Nash painted this study using Vermilion, Sepia, and Ultramarine with an acrylic underpainting. The color statement is very exciting indeed.

Here's David Auden Nash in front of De Streekmarkt at Mariaplaats in Utrecht, Netherlands.

Charley Parker painted the Swarthmore Farmer's Market in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

The painting is 5"x7" and is painted in W&N gouache (Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Perylene Maroon, Permanent White) on a Stillman & Birn Zeta Series sketchbook.

Charley says, "I frequently use a limited palette, but one that includes at least four colors — usually Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Alazarin Crimson and a "helper color" like Burnt Sienna or Viridian. I didn't realize how much I depend on that helper color, which for a subject like this would have been Burnt Sienna. I would use it primarily to combine with Ultramarine to make grays and browns and to dull the bright yellow into ochre-like tones."

He continues, "I usually paint more natural landscape forms as opposed to cityscapes and artificial structures, and I'm not a particularly fast painter. I soon realized I'd taken on more than I could paint in a single session. Fortunately the weather cooperated and I was able to return to the same location under similar light conditions."

Sherry Schmidt painted the South Pasadena farmer's market in California with W&N Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson, Lemon Yellow, and white, on cold press watercolor paper.

She says, "I taped over the other colors in my gouache palette so I wouldn't make a mistake! I enjoyed trying this and finally felt more comfortable as I got used to mixing with the three colors."

Finally, I'd like to spotlight the work of Matt Sterbenz of Arizona.  I like the way he focused on a smaller detail of the scene, and did a nice job capturing the flickering light and shadows. He used lemon yellow, burnt sienna, ivory black, and white.

Matt says, "A couple friends and I went to a Scottsdale nursery this morning. They have lots of benches and tables set up throughout the garden. The shelving there was made from old pallets and cinder blocks. Hiding from the sun in the shade, I painted this display of small bushes with Holbein gouache."

Finally, check out Dietmar Stiller's video of his painting experience. Link to YouTube

Have a look at the Facebook Event page where all the entries are posted. My compliments to everyone who joined in, and hats off to those of you who bravely painted outside for the first time, or painted in gouache for the first time. 

Jesse, Jared, Jeff, and Clay, please contact me to let me know where to send your official "Department of Art" patch as your prize. 
Original blog post about the Outdoor Market Challenge.
Facebook page for the Outdoor Market Challenge 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Painting Draft Horses

Sketches of the draft horses at the county fair. Gouache, watercolor, and fountain pen, 5 x 8 inches.

These horses didn't pose, even though they always had handlers, because they were getting ready for their events. That's why I kept the sketches small and started several of them in different poses.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Jervis McEntee Exhibitions

Jervis McEntee, The Woods of Asshockan, Catskills (1871), St. Johnsbury Athenaeum
Jervis McEntee (1828-1891), was a painter of the Hudson River School who has been largely overlooked until now. His work is being featured in two different museum exhibitions this fall, one in Kingston, and the other in New Paltz, New York.

The first exhibition is called "Jervis McEntee: Kingston’s Artist of the Hudson River School" and it's at the Friends of Historic Kingston gallery.

The Kingston exhibit is a small show, but it has a variety of attractions, including easel paintings, location studies in oil, pencil sketches, photographs, letters, and other documentary material, all of which puts McEntee in a historical context.

McEntee began studying with Frederic Church in 1850, and learned from him a love of painting faithful small studies of forest scenes, sunsets, and trees. They traveled together on painting junkets to Mexico and other locations throughout their lives. 

The son of an engineer who helped develop the bustling D&H barge canal that terminated in Kingston, McEntee himself avoided industrial subjects, and gravitated instead to the bucolic scenes that were fast receding in 19th century America. 

His circle of friends included notable writers, actors, architects. Among his artist friends were not only Frederic Church, but also Sanford Gifford, John F. Weir, and Worthington Whittredge. 

McEntee and his wife occupied one of the legendary Tenth Street Studios in New York, a fertile meeting ground for artists and illustrators in late 19th century America. 

In addition to his paintings, McEntee contributed a detailed daily journal of his observations about nature, art, and daily life. His journal was recently digitized by the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian, and is available free online. 

He was frequently depressed as his fortunes ebbed. The journal makes for fascinating reading, because he had the same problems with galleries that contemporary painters do. On January 4, 1883, he wrote: "Beginning to be worried with money anxieties. They don't send my money for my picture sold in Brooklyn nor reply to my inquiries. I can't stand being asked for money when I have none."
Jervis McEntee, View Facing the Catskills, 1863, oil, Private Collection
The second exhibition just opened at the Samuel Dorsky Museum on the campus of the State University in New Paltz.

Jervis McEntee, Autumn Reverie, 1880, oil on canvas, David and Laura Grey Collection
It's a larger exhibition with more finished paintings, borrowed from the Metropolitan Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and many other public and private collections.

Kingston Exhibition: "Jervis McEntee: Kingston’s Artist of the Hudson River School" is at the Friends of Historic Kingston gallery at 63 Main St. in Kingston and will run through October. The museum is only open Fridays and Saturdays from 11 am to 4 pm through Oct. 31, 2015. There will be "Noontime Conversations" by noted artists and art historians held on Fridays during the month of September.
The catalog of the Kingston show is called Jervis McEntee: Kingston's Artist of the Hudson River School. It's 62 pages, softcover, with contributions by Lowell Thing and William B. Rhoads. The exhibit was coordinated by the Friends' executive director Jane Kellar.

New Paltz Exhibition: The New Paltz exhibition is called "Jervis McEntee: Painter-Poet of the Hudson River School" It will be on view at the Samuel Dorsky Museum in New Paltz through December 13.
The New Paltz show catalog is titled Jervis Mcentee: Painter-Poet of the Hudson River School. This 130-page monograph presents new scholarship by exhibition curator Lee A. Vedder along with contributions by Kerry Dean Carso, a scholar of the historic Hudson Valley and professor at SUNY New Paltz; and American studies professor David Schuyler, the leading historian on McEntee.
Jervis McEntee on Wikipedia

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Corriedale Sheep

(Link to SoundCloud file) At the Dutchess County Fair in Rhinebeck, New York, I painted a portrait of a Corriedale ewe named Iris as her owner described the qualities of this breed of sheep.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Pixar's Free Online Tutorials

Pixar has released a free online course to explain the science and technology behind its approach to making computer-generated animated films. The interactive course covers most of the math-based aspects of the production pipeline, such as character modeling, environment modeling, combinatorics, animation physics, and surface rendering.

Here's the intro video (link to YouTube), which amusingly shows a lot of handmade skills (such as sculpting clay and drawing with markers—and relatively primitive technology, such as an Ektagraphic slide projector.

This video, for example, takes a look at the lighting factors and surface qualities that contribute to the color of an object. (Link to YouTube) The presentation seems intended for school-age learners rather than fellow professionals or mega-geeks. Each segment is presented by someone from the department in question.
Missing from the presentation is the softer science of Pixar's process, such as how they approach story development, character design, and acting for animation. I hope they include those topics in future teaching modules.

Pixar in a Box
Via Design Taxi