Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Utopiales Poster, Part 7: The Painting

During the last week, I've been posting a blow-by-blow account of the progress on a single painting, the poster for the Utopiales Festival, which will take place later this year in Nantes, France.


Here's a video showing how the painting developed from the line drawing to the final image. I put the last strokes on the painting today.



The painting took twelve days in all: two days for thumbnails, two days for the maquette, two more days for the line drawing, and six days for the final oil painting. In cast you missed the previous stages of the artwork, check out the earlier posts in the series, listed in the blogroll at left.

Here's the full composition, called Décollage nocturne (Nighttime Liftoff) showing the Lepidopter taking off during moonlight from the Place Royale.

On the cockpit of the Lepidopter, I added the coat of arms of the city of Nantes. The passenger cabin says "Nantes - Dinotopia Express."

Was there a transport between Nantes and Dinotopia? Did Jules Verne have something to do with this? Was he more than just a witness to the liftoff of the Lepidopter? The gentlemen behind him are interviewing a farmer about strange sightings of giant reptiles on a farm in Clisson. Perhaps one day the mystery will be solved....
------
More information about the Utopiales International Festival of Science Fiction on its official website.

More about the music of the Hay Brigade and Dan Gurney's current travel adventures in France.

Tomorrow Jeanette and I head for Newcastle for the Dinotopia exhibit there.


Part 1: Initial Sketches
Part 2: Researching Insect Flight
Part 3: Maquette
Part 7: The Painting

43 comments:

Scott Daly said...

Thanks so much for doing all of these. They have been very inspiration and I'm sure I'll be coming back to watch/read them again.

Also I'm bummed that I can't make it out to NY for your workshop. I intended to but I was offered a job working with high school art kids! If it turns out to be a success, I hope you consider doing another one. Take care Jim!

Scott

Moai said...

It's something I've wanted to do for a while, but seeing a video of you in action decided it: I need to learn how to use oil paints. I loved the way you created the paper that that gentlemen is holding with just one careful brushstroke. So simple and tasteful.
Thank you for posting your progress for this image.

Gregory Becker said...

This was great to watch unfold.
I will revisit this from time to time.
Thank you

FATİH KARAKAŞ said...

SUPER :)

Daroo said...

Well Done!

Thanks for bringing us a long for the ride - this was great.

2 questions:

Do you photograph your own artwork for reproduction? (might make a good future post)

While painting do you set daily goals for yourself?

(It looks like you went area by area, finishing as you went along)

The Art of Kim Kincaid said...

Oh Mr. Gurney....You are one of my art heroes. I have followed this particular string of posts very closely, saving them in my own JG Art instruction file. I also love your dear, little birdie pal and your son's band in the background of the video. You even have Abe to keep you company and consult with. Thank you for sharing.

(just curious, as I'm always looking for good reference books, what costume book are you using in the top photo?)

kev ferrara said...

A little magic? That Jules Verne used up about 600,000 Houdini-Watts! (Wish I had gotten to see the presto digitation.)

I'll just assume you got so caught up in legerdemain that you forgot to make the camera go :)

Great piece and amazing to watch it happen sequentially. Thanks for another great post.

Steve said...

Bravo! Thanks for sharing this. I'm sure your transportation to Newcastle will be in a less interesting machine -- though we all hope it posts adequate Reynolds numbers.

So, how does a person get a poster from this year's Utopiales?

Daniel.Z said...

Thank you for the excellent process, and the finish is exquisite.

I love how you painted the newspaper with a single stroke.
I also like how you paint with your budgie, haha.

Sandi Van Winkle said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to show us your process. I have enjoyed your work for a long time and bought all the Dinotopia books for my sons (secretly for myself). I have you as one of my favorites in my Reader and on my blog. I've also used some of your posts in my lessons for my high school graphic design students. Again, thanks. Your talent is amazing.

GooGoo Supreme said...

first off, the videos are an amazing addition to your blog, super helpful and tons a great info.

second the painting is awsome! but i cant belive you block in each section one at a time, we were always told that the entire canvas should be covered in paint by the first hour, but with detail like yours i think your meathod works best.

also glad you could find a way to plug your sons band there, haha. keep up the awsome blog and videos!

Ledanator said...

I know this is way off topic of your painting but...
GOSH! That little parakeet is great! I loved seeing him in both of your recent videos. So cute!

Giovanni Pasini said...

so helpful!
Thanks!

Pat said...

Wonderful illustration! Did you use models for this?

Erik Bongers said...

It has been an honor and a privilege to be able to watch this wonderfull painting grow in almost real-time.

Thank you!

Erik Bongers said...

Sidenote.
Yesterday Antwerp introduced a...(help me out here, mill? carrousel?) that they had ordered from...the creators of The Elephant of Nantes.

Watch the dutch news item and improve your dutch. Listen for the word "molen" (=mill) and "olifant" (no translation needed, right?).

James Gurney said...

Erik, it's you that should be thanked. In the maquette photos, you noticed the dramatic potential of the cast shadow on the building on the right, and I used that in the final painting.

Also, thanks for letting us know about De Vierkante Molen (did I get that right?) Those Royal De Luxe people really know how to make a cool merry-go-round.

Pat and Kim, most of the figures in the painting are adapted from period photos and costume books. The books on the table are "Victorian Life in Photographs" by William Sansom and "20,000 Years of Fashion" by Francois Boucher. It's hard to find period photos of people from behind; there is one Dover book with photos of circus parades that has some good ones.

FATİH KARAKAŞ, your work is magnificent. I'm honored to have a blog reader from Istanbul (where my son Dan will be traveling this summer). Are there many other realist painters in your city?

Steve, I'll try to get extra copies of the poster. I think they're making about four different sizes, the largest being about five by seven feet. Yikes!

Sandi, that's wonderful that you're using fantasy art with your high school students. I wish I had had a teacher like you.

GooGoo, I guess my approach here is sort of a combination of the "all over" and the "area by area" school. I try to cover the whole canvas with light semitransparent color and then work area by area back to front.

I'm glad you liked my parakeet. But now that he's seen himself on video he's becoming a prima donna and is demanding union wages.

Allan Cavanagh said...

James, I loved this series of posts. Can I use one of your images for a blog post about it on www.culch.ie?

James Gurney said...

Allan, yes, thanks for asking. As a general thing I welcome anyone to use the images non-commercially, with credit and links, on their blogs or Facebook pages.

Shawn said...

James, you are the man!! I love how you put the newspaper in with one stroke.

Steve said...

Just one other question before he exits off-stage...what's the budgie's name?

Jesus Estevez said...

Excellent work James, I admire your analytical, structure and technical mind combine with the ability of creating these so interesting fantastic worlds. it is almost like you got the soul of a writer and the mind of a painter, or the other way around. thanks for the sharing your creativity.

TheMetal said...

Great !
thanks for the video

Andrés Carrandi said...

Well, the paintings are amazing (obviously!) But what I really liked was the Jules Verne, Nantes-Dinotopia bit. I really do hope someday we get some information on the matter. ;)

Best regards!
Andrés Carrandi

John Hannafin said...

Amazing...Inspiring... Thank you so much James!!

Joe Sutphin said...

Jim, this is sooo cool.
Do you think that every time the wings went up, that it would draw the bystanders’ clothing toward it and their hats be sucked off into the air?
Such a fun painting, I can hear the HUGE WHOOSHING sounds and the people ooh-ing and ah-ing with each gust.

Bookish said...

So perhaps Arthur invented a flying machine after all...

Thank you for taking us along for a ride in your process of painting a lepidopter! The final product is amazing.

Cheryl said...

I so enjoyed this series, thank you for sharing this!

Eric Braddock said...

Wow.. so amazing. Thanks for posting this awesome little video, I literally said "wow" as Jules Verne came to life in that corner.. such a beautiful painting!

jeff f said...

This is great stuff, thanks for documenting the process.
Wonderful painting!

Dag said...

Hi James!!
it's a very cool idea to do a work in progress about the poster of the Utopiales!!!

and i'm happy to see that you'll come back in France for it!!!
Will you sign dinotopia's book???
I hope i'll be able to come, to see the "master"!!!hehe

Keep it on!!!
DAG

Chris said...

Seeing you in action is very impressive....

After the Newspaper -done with one stroke!- you paint the man with the top-hat and beard. Then in the last scene his physiognomy is such detailed, that Jules Verne easily can be recognized. What time is betwenn these scenes. I really would like to see how you paint the details.

One thing I missed: The inscription on the Lepidopter in footprint language :-)

David said...

O! JIM THANKS FOR ALL THE INFORMATION AND ART LESSONS THIS IS FANTASTIC STUFF AND SO HELPFUL FOR ARTISTS. DAVE.

twilightcat said...

Is it just me, or does the guy in the bottom right look like Jamie Hyneman from Mythbusters? :D

David said...

All though I looked very hard in the whole Illustration I can not find one GP! Dan's band sounds great and the lay in of the Verne head is so helpful for people starting painting. Love your Blog. Dave

OMWO said...

This series of posts is so great. Thank you!

jeff jordan said...

Jim, your generosity in sharing your process has been most inspirational! Glad I could see such a beautiful image come together, Thanks SO much!

Have fun in the UK!

Mike Bear said...

Thank you very much for sharing, James. Amazing to see this come together.

-Mike

Rayford said...

Thank you so much for sharing your process with us. Truly inspirational work James.

Daniel Ljunggren said...

Wow, great to see the progress. I really love the end result! The maquette thing was an idea I haven't thought of, very interesting.

Again, lovely work!

Frank P. Ordaz said...

Jim,

Wonderful video. The work as usual is just inspired.

Haitian-American Family of Three said...

This is purely amazing! I am would like to show your youtube video on my blog if that is okay.
The final painting of the man had me right up to the screen impressed at the ease you created such detail.

Victoryperfect said...

Looks like these are amazing.
oil painting on canvas