Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mud Puddle

Yesterday I took my car to the shop because it needed an inspection. The rain was pouring down. There wasn't much space in the waiting room. So I sat under the awning out back between an old rusty engine and a forklift.

While I waited, I sketched the mud puddle beside me. The rain streamed off the corrugated roof  and splashed the water, making big bubbles. The puddle was a sea of overlapping ripples.

I used watercolor and water-soluble colored pencils, scratching through the white vertical lines when I got home.

23 comments:

Steve said...

This is seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary; a reminder to welcome small-scale wonders into our lives. Thanks.

Tom Hart said...

Masterful! A subject like this could easily have been unrecognizable, without a verbal explanation, but you really pulled it off. Somehow, I think that the corner piece of masonry helps to identify the subject, though I'm not exactly sure why.

Tounkara said...

ad

Tounkara said...

Sorry for ^

i love your blog!

Torbjörn Källström said...

Very cool :) I went out to paint today but gave up and went home when it started raining because I couldn't find a good shelter with a nice view. Maybe I shouldn't have been so picky though...

David Apatoff said...

Absolutely beautiful.

James, I will never go to Jiffy Lube again without at least a pencil and paper. I always wondered how the heck you can be so darn prolific. I guess now I know.

Mary Byrom said...

Awesome! I love it!

Moish said...

very inspirational, both to art and to life in general.

Godo said...

Steve said it: you saw the extraordinary in the ordinary. Reminds me the watercolor I’ve done when I was waiting for a repair at “garage Jose”. His stuff was considered as “visual pollution” by the locals, but I liked the “plein air ballet” of cars on lifting platforms:

http://www.watercolor.fr/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/garage_jose.jpg

Maia Sanders said...

I love this. I live in California where it is normal to go to a carwash every two weeks and have a gang of people swarming over the car for 20 minutes, doin all sorts of jobs. I have a large book containing six years of carwash guy sketches. best life drawing gesture poses ever! nice to see I am not alone in the waiting room art school.

Chris Dunn said...

Lovely!

Richard said...

"Search for the small things, giving joy in life."
Confucius

Hey, I have this on my calendar, depicting a dew drop apple tree blossom this week.

cegebe said...

The headline made me think of that old blog post of yours about "the mud debate". I guess this one is a strong argument for the position that mud in a painting doesn't have to be a bad thing ...!

Richard said...

"Mud debate"
reminds me of Delacroix, the painter and master of color, who once exclaimed: "give me a piece of excrement on the street - I'll take it up and paint the flesh of Venus out of it!"

Joe Sutphin said...

fantastic Jim!

Cindyinsd said...

I had just read the bit in your book about how mud is the sauce of a painting, so that was the first thing that came to mind, seeing this. You've turned a scene most folks would hurry past into a work of art worthy of hanging. Lovely

lumographia said...

I'd love to actually see you paint something like this. Ever thought of having someone film you while working?

MrCachet said...

James,

Found these little tidbits (starting @ $2M) this AM. Thought of you. http://fineart.ha.com/common/view_item.php?Sale_No=6061&LotIdNo=1001&type=around-comicnews-tem051911

ibisbill said...

You've changed forever the way I look at mud puddles.

Love the bubbles. And I especially love that murky yellow color in the upper right-hand corner -- which seems to capture perfectly what mud puddles really look like.

I'm sure the folks over in the MUDDY COLORS blog will appreciate this.

Lucy said...

You are an amazing artist. You can do anything.

James Gurney said...

Wow. Thanks so much for all your encouraging words. I wish I were as enlightened and connected as you give me credit for.

Actually, I had just erased a couple of lame attempts to draw the forklift (visible at extreme right), and turned to the puddle because I thought it would be easier. The more I got into the puddle (so to speak) the more I thought about how I admire the work of the unsung heroes of effects animation——in films like Fantasia's Nutcracker Suite.

It's funny how I end up having the best time sketching while stuck somewhere: laundromats and airports and such. With no pressure to match my picture to a preconceived image, I'm much freer to really look at the stuff I usually overlook, or as Cindy says, the scenes we hurry past.

Mr Cachet, that's an amazing fossil for sale. I hope it goes to a museum.

Christopher Thornock said...

Great little sketch!

ScottE said...

Beautiful! I love watercolor. Never used the pencils though. Just the cakes and the tube paints.