Saturday, June 23, 2018

Frank Millet at Sea

Frank Millet was a painter, muralist, illustrator, and sculptor. He was a friend of Howard Pyle, John Singer Sargent, and Mark Twain. 


He's seen here with some nautical murals. Unfortunately he lost his life on the Titanic, and was last seen helping women and children get onto the lifeboats.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Challenge: Paint a Parking Lot

Painting by Scott Lloyd Anderson
There's beauty everywhere, right? Well, how about in a parking lot?

That's the subject for the next GurneyJourney on-location painting challenge. We've done this before with gas stationsgraveyards, weeds, and outdoor markets, and you've created stunning artwork.

Art in a parking lot
I invite you to paint some interesting aspect of a parking lot. You might paint a view across a lot, with or without cars. You could emphasize a light effect, an interesting sign, or a cluster of shopping carts, or a little bit of nature alongside the lot. It can be a New York vestpocket parking lot, an underground parking structure, or a suburban big-box lot.


How does the challenge work?
Everyone can upload their examples to this special Facebook event page. I will choose a Grand Prize winner and five Finalists. Each receive a coveted "Department of Art" embroidered patch, and the Grand Prize winner will also receive a free tutorial download.

I hesitate to call it a "contest" because there's no entry fee and the spirit is more about cooperation, community, and camaraderie than competition. We're all at different levels of skill and experience, but we're all out there braving the elements and trying out new painting ideas.

Painting by William Wray
Guidelines
• Must be painted outdoors, or at least mostly outdoors.
• The composition can include the scene beyond the parking lot, but the parking lot itself itself must be a part of the scene.
• You can focus on the ordinary aspects, the sublime aspects, the ugliness, or the beauty. Just make it  interesting. 
• All physical painting media accepted, such as oil, watercolor, acrylic, gouache, acryla-gouache, alkyd, casein, or water-soluble colored pencils.
• No limits on palette of colors.

Deadline
• You can enter as soon as you finish the piece, but no later than the deadline: Friday, July 27, 2018 at midnight New York time. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, August.

Bird's Foot Trefoil, donut wrapper, and plastic bottle
alongside supermarket parking lot
Submission Guidelines
• Free to enter
• It must be a new painting done for this challenge. In addition to a scan of the final painting, your entry must include a photo (or video) of your painting in progress in front of the motif.
• Upload the images to this Facebook Event Page. If you don't have a Facebook account, please ask a friend with an account to help you. Please include in the FB post a mention of what medium you used, and if you want, a word about your inspiration or design strategy, or an anecdote about your painting experience.
• In addition to the Facebook event page, you can use the hashtag #parkinglotchallenge on Instagram or Twitter to see what other people are doing.
• If you end up doing more than one entry, please delete your weaker entry so that we end up with just one entry per person.

Prizes
I'll pick one Grand Prize and five Finalists. All six entries will be published on GurneyJourney, and all six will receive an exclusive "Department of Art" embroidered patch. In addition, the Grand Prize winner receives a video (DVD or download) of their choice. Everybody who participates will have their work on the Facebook page, too.
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Check out the previous results for gas stations, graveyards, and outdoor markets.

Own the 72-minute feature "Gouache in the Wild"
• HD MP4 Download at Gumroad $14.95
• or HD MP4 Download at Sellfy (for Paypal customers) $14.95
• DVD at Purchase at Kunaki.com (NTSC video) $24.50
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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Church's Parthenon Sketches


An exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut features the on-location paintings that Frederic Church (1826-1900) did while traveling.


When Church ventured to the Old World in the late 1860s, he decided to visit Athens to paint the Parthenon, "the finest edifice on the finest site in the world."


His studies are on paperboard, with thin, deftly applied semi-transparent layers of oil over a careful pencil drawing, resulting in an almost photographic level of capture.


Church was experimenting with night painting in 1869, and his view of the Parthenon at night captures the contrasts between the reddish light outside the structure and the cooler light inside.


The main focus of his study was this view of the Parthenon, which presents the ancient monument as a noble ruin, surrounded by wild rubble. In fact, he would have had to screen out the bustling city of Athens that crowded many views of the site. 


The structure itself had been almost perfectly intact until 1687, when a Venetian mortar shell hit the building and touched off gunpowder that was being stored there by the Ottoman Turks.

Most of the original paintings in this post are currently on exhibit in the Wadsworth Atheneum show, along with Church's paintings (both sketches and big studio works) portraying Jerusalem, Petra, and other exotic places. The exhibit will be up through August 26.

There's a handsome oversize catalog "Frederic Church: A Painter's Pilgrimage" if you can't make it to the exhibition.


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Book Review: Homer and the Camera


A new exhibition called ‘Winslow Homer and the Camera: Photography and the Art of Painting’ opens this Saturday at Bowdoin College in Maine.


The show and the associated catalog examine the longstanding engagement of Winslow Homer (1836-1910) with various aspects of photography: its purely visual effects, its usefulness as a picture-making tool, and its role in shaping the artist’s public image.

"Winslow Homer, Charles S. Homer, Sr., and Sam at Prout’s Neck,"
ca. 1884, albumen silver print, by Simon Towle. Bowdoin College Museum of Art.
I had always assumed that Homer was camera shy and there are few photos of him, but recent scholarship has turned up new discoveries, many of which are included in the exhibition.

Homer’s interest in photographs gained momentum during his time as a sketch artist covering the Civil War. He collected photographs that were taken by others, which helped him visualize the scenes he portrayed for the popular magazines.

By the 1880s, he sought fresh inspiration for his artwork, so he traveled to Europe, and he bought the first of three cameras.

Though he never wrote about his use of photographs as reference, the authors explore the various ways his art was shaped by the camera, a tool that could simultaneously capture accurate information and deceive the viewer.


His painting of a fish in mid-leap was his painterly response to the ability of the camera to freeze action. Though probably not based directly on a photo, the very idea of painting a moment from fast action was unusual in the nineteenth century, when most other artists would have painted a fish as a still life object.


The exhibition and book contain other insights into Homer's process, including doll-size mannikins with simple costumes, which he used for reference when drawing and painting working-class women.



The exhibit ‘Winslow Homer and the Camera: Photography and the Art of Painting’ is the product of years of study by Bowdoin art historian Dana E. Byrd and museum co-director Frank H. Goodyear III. Bowdoin College hosts the first showing of the exhibition, which travels in November 2018 to the Brandywine River Museum.


The catalog is 208 pages with 138 color illustrations, hardbound, and published by the Yale University Press. The exhibition will be up from June 23 - October 28, 2018.
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Other books that explore the relationship between painting and photography:

Art and Photography by Aaron Scharf, 1968. Covers the influence of photography on portraiture, landscape, realism, and impressionism.

Shared Intelligence: American Painting and the Photograph, Edited by Barbara Buhler Lynes, 2011. Chapters on Eakins, Remington, Steiglitz, O'Keeffe, and Bechtle. In this book the main emphasis is on modern painters.

Painting and Photography, 1839-1914by Dominique de Font-Réaulx, 2012. Textbook-style coverage of the intersection between realist painters and the photographic image, with chapters on genre photography, photographing the nude, portraiture, and painters who were also photographers.

The Artist and the Camera: Degas to Picasso. Oversize book with features on key artists who used photography.

Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera. Shows Rockwell's reference photos compared to his finished illustrations, as well as information about how he took photos and how he changed them to suit his purposes.

Previously on GurneyJourney
Using Photo Reference

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Waterfall City demo

Here's the demo painting of Waterfall City, painted while looking at a rough maquette. 

I did the painting for a workshop audience at IMC (Illustration Master Class) in Amherst last week. (Link to video on Facebook)

Photo: Irene Gallo
Total time: 1.5 hours.
Camera: Canon M6 camera positioned on second tripod.
Medium: Casein over a green-gray casein underpainting in a Pentalic sketchbook.
Colors: White, light red, yellow ochre, ultramarine blue.
Final glaze: Payne's gray watercolor with acrylic medium.
Varnish: Acrylic spray Crystal clear.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Art Talk Podcast: Studio Ramble to Ron

The Golden Palm Tape Network was a 1980s precursor of podcasting, where a small group of far-flung artists kept in touch by recording circulating ideas and readings via tape cassettes. (Video link


This one is addressed to my friend Ron Harris of southern California, a comic artist, collector, and art historian who still comments on this blog.

Sandor Bihari -- Before the Judge
Listening to the tape is a reminder to me of how it was in the 1980s. Discovering obscure information required sleuth work at libraries and used bookstores, plus the cooperation of friends with similar interests. 


The primary members of Golden Palm Tape Network were: 

Here are links to some of the books and artists referenced.

Books (links mostly go to Amazon)
The History of Modern Painting by Richard Müther 

Artists Mentioned (links mostly go to Wikipedia)