Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Ninety Degree Rule



Sometimes I start a plein air painting and it just doesn’t click. Either the drawing doesn’t work out, or the light changes, or a big truck parks smack in front of me. That’s when I apply the Ninety Degree Rule.

Rather than wasting time searching around for another motif, I just turn 90 degrees to the side and paint whatever is there. In the case of this painting, Jeanette was standing at my side, so I just painted her.

5 comments:

Meredith D. said...

Mr. Gurney, I just discovered your blog and I find the advice very helpful! I was wondering, how do you deal with staring people when you are painting in public like this? I find my work suffers from my intense self-consciousness when I am being watched. I wish people weren't so nosy.

James Gurney said...

It sometimes rattles my concentration, too. I have a friend who smokes a smelly cigar——says it keeps away mosquitoes and onlookers. Another who plays King Crimson loud on headphones.

I just try to make the best of it. People are understandably curious, because it's so fascinating to watch someone paint. I try to say a friendly hello, then just apologize and explain that I can't really converse because that would require both hemispheres of my brain to work at once. Most people then are pretty considerate, and the encounter is positive on both sides.

Jean At Home said...

It was very considerate of Jeanette to stand still in just that position long enough for you to paint her:-)

Most of your posts state what medium you used. I'm guessing watercolour, but the hues are quite vivid. Is it something else?

James Gurney said...

Jean, this one's oil. It's funny, Jeanette wasn't really holding still. As I recall she was moving around quite a bit.

Jean At Home said...

Oil, yeah. That makes a lot more sense.

Yep. I figured she was moving around a lot. I don't think she's one to stand still for very long. But you captured her as if she was standing still.

I know. Practice. Practice. And then practice some more. It's fun trying to get there, even when it seems I'll never make it. Improvement it the name of the game for me:-)