Friday, June 26, 2015

Painting Dan Gurney's "Pepsi Challenger"

When I was in southern California last fall, I painted the "Pepsi Challenger," a Formula 1 race car designed and built by my cousin Dan Gurney and his team back in 1981 (link to YouTube video).

Dan let me set up my sketch easel in his museum, and I interviewed him about the car. The edit mixes my voiceover about the making of the painting with clips of him talking about the design of the car.

Note that the car doesn't have rear view mirrors. They were taken off for some reason, but we joked that when you're way out in first place, you don't need rear view mirrors.

I've been intrigued by this kind of edit, which juxtaposes two different ways of looking at the object being painted. My viewpoint is that of the naïve observer, trying to translate my outward impression into paint, and his is the expert who knows the object inside out.

The expert's perspective is a reminder to me not only of the importance of accuracy, but it also helps to push me beyond the limitations of the moment and the surface, where so many plein-air paintings become stuck.

For this video, we also have the third element of my great-uncle John Gurney's operatic aria playing in the soundtrack, which connects the art of painting with the unusual heritage of my family. I hope it also expresses the kinship between the arts of painting, engineering, and music.

What I tried to accomplish with "Gouache in the Wild" as a whole is to explore the magic of seeing the world firsthand through paint, and to let each painting hinge open like a doorway into new worlds.
Own the 72-minute feature "Gouache in the Wild"
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HNK said...

James, gouache video is fascinating! A lot of hard work were needed to make the video. I have really stupid question which will annoy you, but in brownies video you used grid. Which one? Thank you.

James Gurney said...

Hi, HNK, Oh, I see, you mean grid. You're referring to the Renaissance grid-scope that I used in the Brownies segment of WITW. That's a pattern that I made up, and I made a corresponding stencil template for the drawing. I've since redone it to be a regular square grid. The grid doesn't matter as long as it matches what you do in the drawing.

HNK said...

You made it yourself (plastic sheet), yes? With what you drew squares on it? Squares are one inch I guess? And if no, could you say where can I buy one?

James Gurney said...

HNI, I'll talk about all that on a future video.

HNK said...

I will wait for it! It will be on YouTube? (Last question)

HNK said...

Thank you! You are amazing, James! Keep up - I am waiting to your Casein, Pencil and Oil in the wild videos - I am sure I will buy them!

HNK said...

It is such a great opportunity to learn from and with you!

Alejandro Martinez said...

Hi James, I've found this eye rest card in an Old Books website, take a look and rest your eyes:


GinaAgrav said...

Painting, race cars, opera....who knows what else- just like the Wyeths.... everyone is talented!