Saturday, December 6, 2014

Screenshots from an average day.

These are all watercolor sketches made while waiting. Waiting for my wife to buy vegetables at a farm market, waiting at a Mexican restaurant, and waiting for an oil change.

They're small, about the size of a business card. And the subjects are insignificant, just screenshots taken at random from an average day.


Steve said...

I love these little vignettes; their direct record of being present. Their scale disallows fussiness and overworking. They bear witness to completely showing up for life. Ordinary moments constitute the vast majority of the breaths we take on this planet.

Tom Hart said...

Couldn't say it better than Steve. I also love your frequent reminders that "subjects" are to be found everywhere, everyday. How often have I delayed sketching or painting, to mentally debate what the next subject should be! I have this quote from Eugene Delacroix taped to my pochade: "O, young artist, you search for a subject - everything is a subject. Your subject is yourself, your impressions, your emotions in the presence of nature!"

...If only I could remember that more often :^).

Rich said...

You call that "screenshots"...well..
Really enjoy looking at them : What significance you do endow insignificant things with.

My favorite is the "cold case" with all the colorful perspective and light effects and depth.
What a shiney floor; just beautiful.

Fran Deppen said...


I've often wondered how many of your "in the wild" sketches end up as "formal" painting. Please advise and let us know if you've posted any of them.

Susan Krzywicki said...

And, I'd like to know how long you were waiting, in each case! It seems like a miracle that you could complete so much while waiting - these look so detailed that I would have guessed that each took hours of time, with the requisite stoppages to allow wet areas to dry and to work detail.

drbob said...

Are these done with a brush pen? How about the size of the sketchbook? A mini watercolor moleskine? A 5x8? I really love them and just wonder what parts of your travel kit you actually pull out to do these quick sketches.

James Gurney said...

Steve, thanks for that. The way you put it is so poetic, and really I think you're right -- those insignificant moment do become significant when they're selected and transformed by the attention.

Tom, I love that quote, and when you mention people from long ago like Delacroix, come to think of it, I really love those offhand moments that they capture in sketchbooks. Menzel is probably another hero of this kind of everyday sketching.

Rich, thanks! I was fascinated by the interacting light sources of that cold case.

Fran, I rarely use my sketches directly as studio paintings, but I often quote or refer to a pose, a color scheme, or a form. The sketching makes it much easier for me to paint out of my head in the studio.

Susan and Dr. Bob, these don't take long at all. 20 minutes max on these, mostly less. The watercolor and colored pencil technique is really fast. They are 4 up on a Pentalic watercolor sketchbook page that's 5x8 inches, so two of them would fit on a smart phone. I can get by with the book, the mini watercolor kit, a couple brush pens, and a few pencils.

en_b said...

by far my favorite subject matter.