Friday, March 30, 2012

Part 1: Shanghai Diary -- Getting There

Jeanette and I returned late last night from ten days in Shanghai, China. For the next week or two, I'll share some of the sketches and photos that we brought home. 

We took United flight 87 out of Newark, New Jersey. The flight took nearly 15 hours, never leaving daylight as it went nearly over the north pole.


When it arrived in Shanghai, we didn't need to change our wristwatches, because the time is exactly 12 hours opposite.
Visitors can't rent a car in Shanghai, so everyone uses a driver or a taxi. Here's a sketch from the back seat of our shuttle. Tomorrow I'll tell you what brought us to Shanghai. 
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Shanghai Diary Series:

13 comments:

Tom Hart said...

So THAT'S where you were :^). Welcome home, both of you. Can't wait to read and see more.

uglymuffin said...

I'm excited for this new series of blog posts! I'm going to Beijing in June and this might give me some idea what I'll be able to experience. Glad you made it home safe.

Jeff said...

Fantastic...and I'm going to go out on a limb and guess it has something to do with Dinosaurs?

crewchief227 said...

Wow I am impressed with how fast you can capture a sketch and also that you still managed to keep up with your daily posting.

James Gurney said...

Jeff: good guess, but not dinosaurs directly.
Crew Chief: Actually I wrote posts in advance and set them up to launch automatically while I was gone because I wasn't sure I'd have access to the internet. I was glad I did, because Blogger is blocked in most places, as is Facebook and YouTube.

Gina Florio said...

If you don't mind me asking, what did you use to make these sketches? This is exactly the sort of thing I'm constantly striving to do - just "snapshot" sketches of everyday life. Did you really break out your watercolors in the middle of the airport? From the backseat of a car?

Thank you so much for this blog - it is a constant inspiration to me!

James Gurney said...

Gina, yes, I have a small watercolor set that I can pull out just about anywhere, such as in an airport waiting area. Same with the other sketch, which I drew in watercolor pencils from the back seat. These are both about 5x7 inches.

Peace Artist said...

The watercolor of the plane is...mind-blowingly good. I looked at it last night for a long while and was dumbfounded.

I don't know if anyone else picked up on all the slight nuances, but as someone who paints (like you) everyday sights that mean something to me, I found your sketch fantastic in its execution.

It is just the simple things that are so impressive. The way the United is written in perspective and subtle. The way the turbine reflects off the tarmac with one bold stroke of glare, the way the you made the jet appear to have a glossy surface by adding the blue reflection near the tail that has a hard edge on top and dissolves as it goes under the plane. The way you used the window frames to give us a false proscenium, and ground us the viewer into your reality and vision.

The way you made us feel by surrounding and bathing the mostly blue plane with yellow light. I get a sense of the time of day, the light level, the angle of the sun, the amount of dust in the air, and the relative warmth outside.

Really, this is absolutely masterful. Thank you for challenging me to take my own work to the next degree by showing me some of yours. Peace

James Gurney said...

Peace, thanks for articulating all those observations about the picture. I guess they were all conscious choices at some level as I worked away, but my mind was also filled with worries about the boarding call and needing to use the bathroom and grab a cup of coffee.

For you and Gina, I have added a photo to the blog post of the actual scene.

Peace Artist said...

I like it the way you saw it. The way you saw it was romantic. You are getting on a plane with your wife to go over seas. To do what? Share you awesome art with people. What a great life you are getting to live. Thank you for sharing some of it with us. Thank you for allowing us to see your life's beauties.

james said...

This is always good to get the update about the new stories of the different different locations on the planet.



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Ljubica Todorovic said...

If you don't mind me asking, which brand of paint and paper do you prefer for these sort of sketches? Thanks in advance :)

James Gurney said...

Ljubica, I use a Moleskine watercolor journal and Schmincke watercolors with Caran d, Ache pencils, but I'm always experimenting with other brands (and I don't get paid for endorsements).