Saturday, May 30, 2015

From Yellow Blob to Barnyard

Barnyard Light, gouache, 5 x 8 inches.
Yesterday afternoon, I painted this scene of the barnyard. I wanted to give it a strange supernatural lighting, as if a shaft of weird golden illumination arrived out of nowhere at dusk.


I started with an underpainting in casein that I did a few days ago, just an abstract shape that intrigued me.


After a basic drawing in watercolor pencils, I added thin layers of gouache with a flat brush. The casein underpainting is a closed surface, meaning it won't dissolve again once it's dry.


The barnyard was actually lit rather evenly. To carry off the selective light effect, I darkened and cooled the tones in all the surrounding areas, and kept the lit areas pale and warm.
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Good news on the upcoming tutorial video "Gouache in the Wild." I locked the edit earlier this week, and am now designing the cover. One of the six painting adventures is an example like this, where I show how to create a theatrical light effect on location. 

13 comments:

Ник said...

Ooh! I can't wait for your new art-instruction video! Could you tell us when will it come out? After I've seen your Watercolour video I learned so much and I guess this video will teach me new things. Your video capturing skill has imrpoved greatly from the 2007 and I can't wait to see another video of such an artist!
Great painting and method, by the way. Really interesting.

Samantha said...

Ah, that's amazing! : ) Beautiful painting

Tom Hart said...

Wonderful effect! I immediately "recognized" that sort of fleeting lighting from a dawn or dusk situation. That's great news on the video too. I can't wait! (But I will :^)

DocT said...

I'm eagerly awaiting your gouache video. "Watercolor in the Wild" was excellent.

Unknown said...

Lovely! Did the abstract underpainting then suggest the lighting, or was it just fortuitous that you'd done it?

Lester Yocum said...

Y'know, all that was done in your head. That reveals a vast library of practical experience and controlled emotional responses to color. No surprise to those who know your books and read your blog, I guess. Something for me to ponder. For me to produce similar effects I would either have to physically light the scene first -- good luck with that! -- or Photoshop it to death and then paint from the screen, hoping I had approximated the shadow colors correctly. Lots I have to learn. Well done.

Joanne Hopper said...

Wonderful painting - as usual!
What kind of illustration board do you use please? Hot or cold press?
Also - would you please be so kind as to explain your plain air set up with your moleskine and palette and tripod? I'm presently doing a balancing act with watercolors etc - usually as inconspicuously as possible. While I realize there's nothing inconspicuous about a tripod, it would still be helpful.
Thanks so very much! I've learned a great deal from your materials over the years -
Joanne Hopper

Jared Cullum said...

So excited for gouache in the wild. I've already started practicing with it to get an idea of the materials before the video comes out. :)
This is beautiful. Also, I really enjoyed your recent article in International Artist about 'Light Spill.' I had never heard that Emerson quote about the sky before but I will always keep it in mind now while I paint.

James Gurney said...

Thanks, Jared. Glad you're getting I.A. I love the magazine, because it lets artists write about their own art.

Joanne, good question. I'm using a Pentalic watercolor sketchbook, which has 150 pound 100% rag paper, with a bit of tooth. You can find out more about materials and tripod setup on the post "Watercolor in the Wild materials." Just google that phrase and you'll get the post.

Lester, thanks. Really I was inventing just the shadow effect, as the lighting in the lit area was a given. So I had to tell myself to darken and cool the other areas, just as you would do in Photoshop. And I'm a dunce at Photoshop compared to you.

Unknown, it's a little of both. I painted the abstract "banana on blue" with the thought that I'd use it as a starting point for this general idea: something selectively lit. I had to wander around the farm a little to find a scene where I thought it would work. So I guess you would say it's semi-fortuitous and semi-preconceived.

HNK, the video should be out in the third week of June.

Thanks, Tom, Samantha, and DocT.

Unknown said...

Thanks! Sorry, I don't know why it's making me be Anonymous. --Jane

suruha said...

How cool! I have very little experience with under-painting, but, this looks so fantastic, I am certainly going to remedy that! Thank you for the inspiration. The barnyard turned out fantastic with the light effect! Good work!

Su

Krystal said...

Very interesting ! I like the way you transformed a very common place into something mysterious and appealing, and yet recognizable...

yvonne said...

I love the way you always have a plan...a destination in mind. It makes for successful pieces. Really looking forward to your next video. Thanks you so much for sharing your considerable knowledge and experience.