Monday, August 24, 2015

Painting an Excavator in Gouache


John Deere Nortrax 80C Excavator, gouache, 5 x 8 inches
I painted this track excavator yesterday at a construction site. It's a study for a concept painting of a giant robot which will be part of an upcoming video tutorial called "Fantasy in the Wild." (By the way, Casein in the Wild is coming, too, but I'll probably release it after.)


Here's what the painting looked like at an early stage. I measured everything out pretty carefully, but then blocked in the colors loosely.


The new video is going to be a lot of fun. I'll be doing two different imaginative-realism paintings entirely on location. Each one is based on details drawn from the scene around me. In this case I've been going to this construction site on weekends when the machines aren't working, so I can really study all their workings up close. 

11 comments:

Fabio Porta said...

Great to hear about the new video!
I'll be getting it for sure.
I'm curious, how long do studies like these usually take? I've been challanging myself with outdoors sketching lately, and I can barely come up with a decent drawing (pencil only, ugh) in 2 hours!
Greets from Italy!

Glenn Tait said...

What was your colour palette for this one? I'm curious because of the colour of the background trees; on screen it looks like Viridian or Phthalo Green. I have been comparing both greens for my palette and am favouring the latter for its overall versitility. Would be interested in any feedback you have on these two colours.

James Gurney said...

Glenn, the palette was viridian, yellow ochre, cad yellow, burnt sienna, ultra blue, white, and black. Phthalo is a wonderful color, but I tend to like weaker greens most of the time because Phthalo tends to overpower mixtures. Viridian is a wonderful green, especially for foliage and skin tones.

Fabio, this study took about 2.5 hours.I like to spend about that long on a sketch. Sometimes they happen faster, sometimes slower, but the speed doesn't matter. If it takes you longer, that's OK. It's not a race.

Tobias Gembalski said...

I was also going to ask about the time. My recent attemps took me 2-3 hours per painting. Even though I really enjoyed the process, I thougth it should be quicker done.
I am looking forward to your "Fantasy in the Wild"! I quite liked your TYRANNOSAURS video, I watched it several times. I think after some time these videos must be like diary entries for you, bringing back memories.

David J Teter said...

Hail to the excavator!

HNK said...

I am looking forward to your new download. I like such things. Where will the pieces with constructions be? In a magazine or as a concept for a video game/rpg strategy/other stuff. I have a question about traditional art - will people get a person who works in traditional art to the job as concept artist for a game/ movie or any sort of that kinds of jobs? Did you worked for concept artist for a game? I know that Blizzard commissioned you once to do a pencil drawing for Diablo book. What about games? And did you work in digital art once? If not, will you? I really, really want to see your opinion about digital drawing.

Cedar Bylard said...

Hi James,

I sometimes have a hard time finding enthusiasm for the subject I am painting no matter what it is. Do you ever have this problem? I usually just paint anyway and hope for the best.

James Gurney said...

Cedar, it's a good question. I try to honestly evaluate my feelings about a subject before I start painting. If I have some strong emotional connection, chances are better for a successful picture. Sometimes a subject hangs in the back of my mind for a while before I settle down to painting it. If I have no feeling when I start out, it's pretty much impossible for me to make a memorable picture out of it.

HNK, One of the paintings in the video "Fantasy in the Wild" was commissioned by ImagineFX, and will be in an upcoming issue in that magazine. I've done animation background painting, concept art for feature films, and advertising illustration for games, going all the way back to Atari days in the early 1980s.

Thanks, Tobias and David.

jeff jordan said...


Really a beauty, Jim! My favorite this week.........

Karen Batista said...

I need suggestions for an amazing painter that does central park art.

Luke said...

I recently started painting in gouache, because of the video you did and because of your beautiful previous paintings. I am mostly a watercolor painter but i quite like the look of gouache. the only problem I have are the skies, I can not find a good balance in opacity and my cluds look dull and monotone. So do you have some tips or could you do a (video)blogpost on that subject.

Luke,
P.S. I can not get enough of your paintings, they are amazing.