Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Guinea Pig

Recently we had the opportunity to babysit our neighbor's guinea pig named Shadow.

He was a little shy at first, but once he got used to us, he let us hold him and pat him behind his ears.

It's hard to believe he's related to the extinct 1500-pound giant rodent that I painted called Josephoartigasia, a rodent the size of a rhinoceros.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

CGI Film: Hallucination of a Lost 16th Century Mariner

Here's a short 3D CGI film called "Navigation in Dreamtime."

The camera drifts through trippy dreamscapes, as ornate golden orbs and tendrils gently morph in shape, pattern, and color.

(Direct link to video) The animation is by Julius Horsthuis, who imagines that "It's 1596 AD and a ship is frozen in the deep arctic. No help is coming. The Navigators and Cartographers aboard, suffering from hypothermia and frostbite are starting to hallucinate."

Fractal-powered software is Mandelbulb 3D. Music is "Soul Medicine" by Mari Boine.
If you liked this, check out his "Phenotypic Sarcophagi."
Via CGBros.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Final day at the Portrait Conference

On the final day of the annual portrait conference, I sketched Robert Liberace and Rose Frantzen as they painted a two-hour head study of a bearded model. 

Scott Burdick shot this quick video of the action. (Direct link to video)

Rose worked with incredible energy, beginning the painting with a phthalo green oil crayon. The strong color kept flooding into mixtures as she went along. 

She's impetuous, dynamic, and experimental, very exciting to watch. She and Robert Liberace got great results, but I failed to take a photo of their paintings. Can someone send me scans of the finals?
Rose Frantzen
Video footage provided by Scott Burdick
Portrait Society

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mary Whyte Demo

Watercolor painter Mary Whyte gave a spellbinding live demonstration at the Portrait Society of America conference yesterday here in Washington, DC.

Whyte is beloved for her sympathetic portrayals of the working South, and her images of the African-American Gullah women of Johns Island, South Carolina.

She captures her subjects in everyday actions, sweeping the floor, sewing on buttons, or putting on shoes. "All my life I've been interested in the in-between moments," she said. As she laid on wet washes of color before an audience with most of the 700 attendees, she described how she tries to "hold onto the biggest brush you can for as long as you can." 

Taking a break from painting her longtime model Tesha Marshland, she described her process for creating her compositions, and she showed sketches done from her imagination in advance of shooting reference.  She said she uses photos "for information, not for direction."

"After I have an idea for a painting," she explained, "it's important to think how can I say more? Sometimes that means taking things out of a painting."

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Day Two at the Portrait Conference

I sketched Jeffrey Hein from the side of the main stage as he painted a two hour demo yesterday morning at the Portrait Society conference here in Washington, DC.

The day was filled with lots of demos and programs. In the afternoon, I gave a presentation about practical tips for location sketching using all sorts of media from colored pencils to watercolor, gouache, casein, and oil.

Day 1 at the 2014 PSoA conference
Portrait Society of America

Friday, April 25, 2014

Portrait Society Conference

I arrived at the Portrait Society of America annual conference in Washington, DC last evening as the Face-off began. 

The Face-off is a competition between 15 artists who paint five models in groups of three as attendees watch. Here's Tony Pro, one of the contestants. The winner will be determined by popular vote.

One of the reasons the convention organizers invited me back was to sketch from the sidelines like a courtroom reporter. I'm using the little Schmincke watercolor kit, some gouache, and watercolor pencils in a watercolor notebook.

Instructors this year include: Sam Adoquei, Juliette Aristides, Ryan Brown, Scott Burdick, Wende Caporale, Ellen Cooper, Virgil Elliott, Rose Frantzen, Max Ginsburg, Daniel Greene, James Gurney, Jeffrey Hein, Quang Ho, Edward Jonas, David Kassan, Everett Raymond Kinstler, Robert Liberace, Susan Lyon, Michael Shane Neal, Paul Newton, Alicia Ponzio, Tony Pro, Mardie Rees, Anthony Ryder, Rhoda Sherbell, Burton Silverman, Daniel Sprick, Sharon Sprung, Alexey Steele, Jennifer Welty, Dawn Whitelaw, and Mary Whyte.

Portrait Society of America Website

Thursday, April 24, 2014

First Flight Edition Released

Hohepa, astride his tyrannosaur, wades across the shallows of Buckthorn Creek to parley with an invading force of shield strutters. His action prevents the destruction of the hatchery at Moss Valley, but leads to the Armakians breaking off their alliance. Hohepa later becomes the mentor of Blake Terrapin. Watercolor on board by James Gurney, 2012.
An emissary riding a T. rex faces off against a phalanx of robotic strutters. This is one of the new paintings featured in the expanded edition of Dinotopia: First Flight, which releases today.

The book tells the story of Dinotopia's origins, with dramatic stories and artwork from its Age of Heroes. It begins with an unabridged republication of my 1999 book.

The second half of the book includes a bonus of over 45 new images, including never-before-published storyboards, concept sketches, and production paintings, plus new characters, backstory notes, and a cinematic treatment all downloaded from my creative archives.

You can preorder a copy on Amazon if you like. But if you live in the USA and would like to order directly from me, you can cancel the Amazon order (as long as it hasn't shipped yet) and I'll send you a personally signed copy. I'll also be doing a quick sketch in every copy. 

As an additional incentive, the 25th, 50th, 75th, and 100th copy ordered from me will receive a tipped-in original storyboard, such as the one above, which I drew in 1997 when I was planning the book.

Preorder a copy on Amazon or order Dinotopia: First Flight Anniversary Edition now from or (USA orders only, because it costs too much to ship overseas. International customers: what most people do is to order a book to be sent to a friend at a US address.)

Illustration #44: Walter Baumhofer

The newest edition of Illustration magazine has the entire 80-page special issue devoted to Walter Baumhofer, who painted dashing heroes and damsels in distress for the pulps and the slick magazines. Pick up a copy at your local bookstore or at the Illustration website.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Painter's Sampler

Nowadays we might show a prospective client a folder of images on an iPhone. But in 1860, William Trost Richards (1833-1905) created this "Painter’s Sampler," to show what he could do.

Thirteen miniature canvases are mounted up together. They show a range of conventional landscape compositions. I can just image him saying... "I can paint you a Hudson River sunset, or a summer meadow, a nautical, or a cabin in the woods, or a forest interior...."
This comes from a private collection and was exhibited at a Hudson River School exhibition called "American Scenery" at the Dorsky Museum of Art

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Grinnell Light

I painted a mysterious light on Grinnell Street yesterday.

I drew in the lines on a page primed with blue and orange.

With a big flat brush and gouache I started establishing the houses.

I painted out the truck and put in the trees.

I added the street pole and the porch.

Detail of the effect area.

The light and color were all in my head. 
It was really a sunny afternoon in Rhinecliff, New York.

Here's what I was looking at. I was using the forms I saw to paint an imaginary light.

Scroll back up to see the finish, or you can click through the sequence on my Facebook page.
Art Supplies
Winsor and Newton gouache
Moleskine watercolor notebook
Caran D'Ache watercolor pencils
Schmincke Watercolor Pocket Set,

Monday, April 21, 2014

Eugène Burnand's World War I Portraits

Ben Cassam

Between 1917 and 1920, Swiss artist Eugène Burnand (1850-1921) drew over a hundred portraits of the various allies in World War I.
Serraghi Cherrif
He drew them with Wolff pencils. The color was added with Hardtmuth hard pastels. Burnand's keen observation was shaped during his training at the École des Beaux-Arts with Jean-Léon Gérôme.
Jean Bellac
Many of his subjects posed for him while they were recuperating between deployments,.

Tirailleur Famory
Burnand was interested in the various ethnicities and facial types of the military men.

Mohamed Ben Binhouan
He drew them all with sympathy but also objectivity.

Lé Naplong
Most are shown with indirect light, and with an upshot angle, increasing the sense of dignity.

Lé Tiep
He often subordinated the edges around the neck and shoulders, and concentrated the attention on the eyes and mouth.

Private Roshan Dean
It's a genuine accomplishment in portraiture to capture the uniqueness of the individual's physiognomy but also their universal emotion.

Auxiliary Chan Mohamed
He got to know each of them first and developed a relationship of trust. Sometimes the sitting became more like a confessional.

Rev. Père Rouillon
He offered to pay them for sitting, but many of them refused to accept the money, as they felt honored to pose.

Serbian infantry private
Resources to learn more:
See the rest of Burnand's WWI portraits online 
Drawings on display Museum of the Legion of Honor (Légion d'honneur) in Paris.
The drawings were published in 1922 a book called Les alliés dans la guerre des nations.
Here's a modern book that includes the work from Les Alliés Dans La Guerre Des Nations.
Review by Gabriel Weisberg of a catalog of a 2004 exhibition of Burnand's work.
Eugène Burnand on Wikipedia

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Images of the Resurrection

William-Adolphe Bouguereau The Three Marys at the Tomb, 1876
Eugenè Burnand, The Disciples Running to the Sepulchre, 1898.

Happy Easter, everyone.
Thanks, Unknown for the link to the large file of John and Peter.
Images from Herman Toit, BYU

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Snakes in the Art Class

Patrick O'Brien invited live snakes, iguanas, and hissing cockroaches into his classroom at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art). 

His digital students sketched them from life, gathering inspiration for an assignment to create a poster for the reptile house at the zoo.

The animals came from The Drawing Zoo, a company in the Baltimore area that specializes in bringing exotic animals into schools for drawing. The animals move, but not too much, and they don't mind the attention. They're experienced with people and completely non-aggressive. 

The team from the Drawing Zoo has experience in both art and animal handling, and their subjects are well cared for. They say that "snakes, spiders, lizards, frogs etc. make great models because they are easy to transport, handle and care for, both inside and outside of the classroom." 
All the photos are by Patrick O'Brien

Friday, April 18, 2014

Focus on Nature XIII Exhibition

Yesterday we attended the preview opening of Focus on Nature XIII, the exhibition of natural science artwork at the New York State Museum in Albany.
The show presents 91 illustrations by 71 illustrators, hailing from 15 different countries. Many of the artists attended the event, some traveling all the way from Australia and Spain.

The art is juried in on the basis of both artistic and scientific merit, and the show includes both digital and hand-painted images.

Artists were invited to share some stories about their work. Dorie Petrochko brought an actual horsehoe crab exoskeleton as she explained the creature's unique biology and how its blood is drawn for the medical industry. "This creature sacrifices a lot for science," she said. It's the oldest living fossil, and has survived twelve mass extinctions.

I was surprised and thrilled that my painting of Kosmoceratops for Scientific American won a jury award. I described how I made a maquette of the dinosaur to study the cast shadows and the dappled light in the forest interior. 

The show also includes my original gouache preliminary study for the Australian dinosaur stamps.

All the attending artists had a wonderful opportunity to visit behind the scenes at the museum, and we had a look at the Native American artifacts in the archaeology collection. 

The New York State Museum also has a very large insect collection well arranged in glass-topped boxes. Any artist or art student who would like to draw a study of a particular insect, plant form, or other biological specimen can make arrangements to visit behind the scenes in the collection. It's good to know in advance exactly what you're looking for because they have so much.
Focus on Nature XIII officially opens to the public tomorrow and will be up through January 4, 2015 at the New York State Museum in Albany, NY. Admission is free.
Download the PDF of the full catalog of the show.
Dorie Petrochko is launching a natural science illustration program at the Yale Peabody Museum in New Haven, CT. 
There's a detailed making-of video of my painting Kosmoceratops, that you can order on DVD from (shipped internationally) or from, or you can get the digital download of the video from Gumroad.