Thursday, September 16, 2021

Nikolai Astrup at the Clark

There are three days left for the exhibition Nikolai Astrup: Visions of Norway at the Clark Art Institute in Massachusetts.


Nikolai Astrup (Norwegian, 1880-1928), Rainy Atmosphere beneath the Trees at JĂžlster Parsonage, 
before 1908. Oil on canvas, 35 1/16 x 43 5/16 in. (89 x 110 cm). 
Savings Bank Foundation DNB / KODE Art Museums and Composer Homes, Bergen

The Clark's website says: "Astrup’s oeuvre is notable for its intense, colorful palette, and the magical realism of his remarkable landscapes. Paintings and woodcuts from all periods of his career are presented in the exhibition, including multiple impressions of print compositions that reveal how Astrup modified the mood and meaning of these works through changes in color and the addition or deletion of motifs, often using multiple blocks to create his complex prints.
 
"Astrup’s work responded to, and helped shape, Norway’s emerging national identity. He created a distinctive visual language that expands on the intentions and achievements of composer Edvard Grieg (1843–1907) and playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906) in Norwegian music and literature, respectively."
--
The show Nikolai Astrup: Visions of Norway is up through September 19.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Statue of Ogthar

 

'Then they saw it: dazzling and glowing, the fruit of a thousand royal workshops, a small sea of riches adorning the feet of a gigantic statue of Ogthar.'
-
From Dinotopia: The World Beneath.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Ferns in Overcast Light

These densely crowded fern fronds on an overcast day are a good motif for studying soft gradients of light and shadow in nature. 


The local color was fairly uniform on the frond surface. As a result, the changes in value were the result of:

1. Variations in the angle of the surface in relation to the sky
2. The degree to which they were overshadowed or occluded by fronds above them.

If you want to try this exercise, head outside on an overcast day and look for a similar grouping of leaves, ferns, or something else, such as laundry on the line. Analyze what causes the changes in tone, and paint the gradients with whatever technique you want to explore—such as in-brush, stipple, or transparent watercolor gradients.

I used watercolor and gouache (Lemon yellow, Sap green, Titanium white, Cobalt blue, Light red, Quinacridone violet, Permanent green pale over a variegated priming in casein), but you could do this exercise in acrylic, Acryla Gouache, casein, or oil.
--

Monday, September 13, 2021

Using Depth of Field in Painting

What attracted me about this view of the marina at Cold Spring, NY was the “keyhole view” down the ramp to the water.


I also liked the opportunity to suggest depth on the Z-axis by selecting where to put detail. The fine details of railings and wires are only in the middle ground. The front of the vehicle on the right is painted a little out of focus.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Square A and Square B are the Same Paint Color

The square marked "A" is painted with the same gray paint as the square marked "B."


On the YouTube video below, I show you how to paint this optical illusion 

The demonstration shows how our visual systems unconsciously and automatically interpret the raw data that our eyes receive. 

We can't interpret raw information. Instead, our estimation of tones and colors are relative, based on context cues. 

 

Looking at an illusion is one thing, but painting one is another. As Charley Parker said in his review of my new Gradients video: "The concepts behind making gradations of color in visual art can seem as though they should be simple, until you find yourself trying to paint something like different bands of color on a coffee mug as they round the form into shadow, and you suddenly realize you’re in uncharted territory."

You can watch this study being painted in the new Gradients video. You can download or stream the entire Gradients video at Gumroad. It's also available as a DVD

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Painting an Alleyway in Gouache

This YouTube video is a sample of my new Gumroad tutorial "Gradients." 


Angela Sung, VisDev & Art Direction, says: “I never knew gradients could be accomplished simply and never thought that you could use so many methods to accomplish them. I cannot wait to try out these techniques and experiment with my future landscapes! But first, let's paint a checked cylinder.”

Friday, September 10, 2021

Gradients Video Released Today

 Today is the release of Gradients: Color, Form, Illusion. Here's a sample YouTube Premiere.



You can download or stream the video at Gumroad. It's also available as a DVD

Here's what people are saying:  

“In Gradients: Color, Form and Illusion, Gurney has once again demonstrated his ability to take complex or confusing concepts, reduce them to their essential components and lay out a path to understanding with clarity and ease.”  Charley Parker, Lines and Colors blog 


“The thing about painting is that everything gradates. Recognizing this, James Gurney devotes an hour to this essential and too often overlooked skill, outlining several approaches to creating seamless transitions in water-based media with some helpful hacks from his illustrator’s bag of tricks. An absolutely great and informative video on a hugely important subject for all painters.” —Edward Minoff, Artist and Professor, Grand Central Academy


“In this video, artist James Gurney takes the mystery out of painting gradients, a necessary skill in the painters and illustrators toolbox. Mr. Gurney simplifies the process of painted color gradients by breaking things down into a series of short studio exercises that you can do at home, using a variety of paint mediums and suggested tools.” —Veronica Lawlor, Artist and Teacher


“Each demo is chock full of tips on how to think about light, color and human perception. This is a must have video for anyone interested in color, form, and the illusion of depth in a painting.” —Todd Casey, Author of The Art of Still Life


“Like a magician stepping through how a magic trick is performed, James steps through his demos of gradients and their practical application in his paintings, unveiling the secrets behind the magic of the effect.” Chuck Grieb, Illustrator and Professor of Animation, Art School at Cal State Fullerton


This new video from Jim gives an easy-to-watch and very conversational approach with eye-opening ways to approach painting.” Roger Bansemer, Painting and Travel with Roger and Sarah Bansemer


“James Gurney's video workshop about gradients was the most concise, comprehensive, engaging and informative video I have ever seen about different ways of blending with a variety of techniques and mediums, from watercolor, gouache, casein and acrylic!” —Tiffanie Mang, Artist and designer 


“I never knew gradients could be accomplished simply and never thought that you could use so many methods to accomplish them. I cannot wait to try out these techniques and experiment with my future landscapes! But first, let's paint a checked cylinder.” —Angela Sung, VisDev & Art Direction


“No matter your skill level as a painter, you’ll always learn something new in every James Gurney video. “Gradients” does not disappoint. Gurney follows each up-close studio study with a more complex on-location sketch that illustrates how he puts each gradient into practice. And as always, every tidbit of information is delivered with intelligence, warmth, and a sprinkling of humour.” —Shari Blaukopf


“As James Gurney says in his new video Gradients: Color, Form, Illusion, "flat is easy to paint, but gradients are everywhere. As artists we need every way we can to create them.” And the best way to learn all about those options is through this excellent video. —Darren R. Rousar, Sightsize.com


“James Gurney is a one-person art school. I can honestly say that I learned more from Gurney than I did in art school. His practical tips and tricks about methods and materials, and about color and light, are perfect nuggets of wisdom. The wealth of information he provides has helped me immensely over the years in my art practice and in my teaching. With this new video Gurney provides useful real-world information to help anyone improve their artistic skills and their powers of observation.” Patrick O’Brien, Professor of Art, MICA


“Jim talks you through the wisdom of gradations, shows you everything he talks about, offers generous demos, and creates a pleasant meditation on how light and color change through a painting. You’ll enjoy it!” Marshall Vandruff

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Brothers Klimt

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), known for his semi-abstract paintings, began in a realist mode, painting theatrical curtains and murals. 

He formed a company with his younger brother Ernst, who worked diligently on this complex painting of street theater. 

Hanswurst on the fair stage by Ernst and Gustav Klimt,
1884-92, 450 x 100 cm Burgtheater, Vienna

It features a stock comic character called Hanswurst on the stage pointing to his forehead as the crowd looks on.

Ernst and Gustav Klimt, 1884-92.

Ernst died in 1892 of an inflammation of the pericardium, leaving the painting unfinished, so Gustav finished it, adding a few more figures. 
---

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Brushed Gradient in a Dinotopia Painting


The sky in this Dinotopia painting has a brushed gradient shifting from cool colors at the top to warm colors at the bottom. The brightness of light on the dinosaur also diminishes toward the base.

Edward Minoff, Artist and Professor at Grand Central Academy, says: “The thing about painting is that everything gradates. Recognizing this, James Gurney devotes an hour to this essential and too often overlooked skill, outlining several approaches to creating seamless transitions in water-based media with some helpful hacks from his illustrator’s bag of tricks. As always, he develops from simple studio exercises into complex field studies, answering questions along the way which give his video the feel of attending a workshop. The video has something for all levels from novice to expert. A brief art history tour though light as a compositional device in landscape paintings is so insightful that I actually whispered “wow, this is amazing” to myself while watching. An absolutely great and informative video on a hugely important subject for all painters.
--
My upcoming video tutorial "GRADIENTS," comes out on Gumroad this Friday, and there will be a free YouTube preview on Friday at 11am Pacific Time.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Layers in an animation background painting


There's a big gradient in the sky and small gradients in the far ruins, all accomplished with an airbrush. 


Those color changes are barely visible behind the upper layers of this traditional animation background painting. 


Top layers include tissue paper (or frosted acetate), characters on acetate cels, and a foreground wall with hanging branches and flowers.

Gradients are a key ingredient in any painting, adding dimension, depth and atmosphere. I'll share recipes and strategies in my upcoming video GRADIENTS, which materializes on Friday, 10 September. 


Shari Blaukopf continues: "'Gradients' does not disappoint. Gurney follows each up-close studio study with a more complex on-location sketch that illustrates how he puts each gradient into practice. And as always, every tidbit of information is delivered with intelligence, warmth, and a sprinkling of humour.”

Angela Sung says: "I never knew gradients could be accomplished simply and never thought that you could use so many methods to accomplish them! My favorite method is definitely the 'in-brush gradient.' I cannot wait to try out these techniques and experiment with my future landscapes! But first, let's paint a checked cylinder."