Sunday, September 20, 2015

October Graveyard Challenge

We had such an enthusiastic response to our last Outdoor Market Challenge that many of you asked for another opportunity.

Leverington Cemetery by William Trost Richards

I hesitate to call it a "contest" because there's no entry fee and the spirit is more about cooperation, community, and camaraderie than competition. We're all at different levels of skill and experience, but we're all out there braving the elements and trying out new painting ideas.

The October Challenge
The challenge is to paint a graveyard on location with a limited palette.

West Clare Graveyard, Kilnaboy, Ireland, by James Gurney oil 8x10 inches
What kinds of subjects are OK?
Any cemetery, graveyard, churchyard, burial vault, crypt, tomb, columbarium, or other place for the repose of human remains. In keeping with the spirit of autumn and Halloween, I'm hoping your painting can somehow (through composition, color, lighting, or time of day) convey feelings about mortality, loss, transformation, horror, or abiding love.

Highgate Cemetery by Gleb Goloubetski
On Location
It must be painted on location and it must be a new painting done for this challenge. In addition to a scan of the final painting, your entry must include a photo of your painting in progress in front of the motif.

All traditional painting media are acceptable, such as: oil, watercolor, casein, gouache, Acryla-gouache, acrylic, and/or water-soluble colored pencils. No dry media or digital.

Burial Vault by James Gurney, 5 x 8 inches, watercolor and colored pencil
The Limited Palette
The palette must include just three colors of your choice plus white. The reason for the limited palette is to keep your painting harmonious. You can also use even fewer colors or just work in monochrome.

Here are some suggestions, giving equal time to different companies: 
Holbein gouache: ViridianCadmium red deep, and Yellow ochre plus white
M. Graham gouache: Ultramarine blueCadmium yellow deep, and Burnt umber plus white
Winsor and Newton gouache: Perylene maroonCadmium yellowCobalt blue plus white
Richeson casein: Cobalt blueLight redGolden ochre, and white
Feel free to come up with your own, you don't have to follow these suggestions.

Stone Church Graveyard by James Gurney, watercolor
It's free to enter. You can enter as soon as you finish the piece, but no later than the deadline: Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at midnight New York time. Winners will be announced on Halloween, Saturday, October 31. 

What and How to Enter
Just shoot two image files: 1. Your finished painting and 2. A photo of the painting in progress on the easel in front of the subject. Your face doesn't have to be in the photo unless you want to.

Upload the images to this Facebook Event page (This way I don't have to deal with email, and you get to present your images your way). If you don't have a Facebook account, please ask a friend with an account to help you. Please include in the FB post the list of the three colors you chose (plus white), and if you want, a word about your inspiration or design strategy, or an anecdote about your painting experience.

In addition to the Facebook event page, you can use the hashtag #graveyardpaintingchallenge on Instagram or Twitter to see what other people are doing. 

I'll pick one Grand Prize and five Finalists. All six entries will be published on GurneyJourney, and all six will receive an exclusive "Department of Art" embroidered patch. In addition, the Grand Prize winner receives a video (DVD or download) of their choice. Everybody who participates will have their work on the Facebook page, too.

EDIT: Here are the results of the Graveyard Challenge.
Own the 72-minute feature "Gouache in the Wild"
• HD MP4 Download at Gumroad $14.95
• or HD MP4 Download at Sellfy (for Paypal customers) $14.95
• DVD at Purchase at (Region 1 encoded NTSC video) $24.50


Fabio Porta said...

Sounds challengin, I'm in! :) Good luck everyone!

Carolyn Allison said...

I am thrilled that you are including water color pencils in this challenge. I do not paint so water color pencils are my weapon of choice. However I am leaving in a few days to go to the Middle East until Oct 26, so I will not be able to participate. I would almost cancel my trip to be able to participate in this challenge (she said with tongue planted firmly in cheek). However I do plan on being in the country for the next challenge....

Steve said...

The links for M. Graham paints take me to a Daler Rowney page.

There's a small, old cemetery at the end of our road. Hope to pay it a visit...

Truepinkas said...

Hello James,

I have an off topic question. I recently noticed you have an Instagram account. I was curious as to your opinion of their very broad licensing and sub licensing powers granted in the terms of service. As a smalltime artist it concerns me a bit, so I wanted to hear your thoughts on it.

Kind regards,

Joshua Pinkas

Sketching Artist said...

Nothing shortens a plein aire excursion faster than a tick crawling up the side up your pen.
What do you do to protect yourself from insects?

I'm truly looking forward to this challenge. I ran out of month for the last challenge. And I knew immediately which cemetery I will be visiting. There is a tiny, tiny cemetery between Seville Street and Monterey road in Stuart, FL that has no name or sign that I can see. There is no label on Google maps either. I'm going to "discover" it at least through painting some of the grave sites and markers. I'm looking forward to reporting back to all of you.

Brennen Chua said...

Hello, can we use black to darken?
And is it alright to blend colors?


James Gurney said...

Thanks, everybody.

Brennan, yes, you can use black, but it counts as one of your colors. And yes, of course you can blend colors.

Luca said...

That's not fair, black is not a color! :D ah ah,just kidding!thanks a lot for the new contest!i'm too shy and inexperienced to paint in public,but this time i'll join too!i love sketching at the cimitery,they are so peaceful (well,here in Italy they are full of people going around,at the end of october,actually.LIVING people i mean,ah ah) ,i meet squirrels and the residents are usually quiet people that don't pay attention to me... :D

Kehl said...

So why does black count as a color anyway? I've never been very clear on that.

James Gurney said...

Kehl and Luca, It's a good question. There's definitely an argument for not counting it as a color because it has near zero chroma and no discernible hue identity—unless you start comparing it to other blacks that might be warmer or cooler.

The reason I like to think of black as a color is that it combines in such interesting ways with other colors. Black and yellow make an interesting green, for example. You can also use it as the warmest color in a scheme dominated by blues and greens—or the coolest color in a scheme dominated by reds and yellows.

Also, thinking of it as a color rather than a darkening agent encourages you to think of other ways of darkening colors without using black. That way of thinking, and that way of working, usually leads painters to better color schemes.

Luca, you're lucky to have such excellent graveyards in Italy. Don't worry, the ghosts are friendly and encouraging to artists.

Gloria Callahan said...

Dear James,

As a colored pencil artist who has followed you for years and who works plein air in Colored Pencil (dry media with an under wash of WC pencils) - I have to admit I was about to try for your challenge here but I’m very disappointed you say NO DRY MEDIA!

I use CP in a painter style with up to 20 layers and blend with a brush, and enjoy being one of a few who work in CP plein air and of course in sketch books when traveling. Can I ask why no dry media?

Feel free to check out my website and blog to see if my work would be appropriate.

James Gurney said...

Gloria, Yeah, sorry. I love colored pencil too, and for that matter I love graphite pencil and pen and ink. For this challenge I've expanded to include oil and watercolor, but I hope you understand if I limit it to wet painting media (water-soluble colored pencils are OK), mainly so we could stay focused on limited palettes. Maybe I'll do a future post that includes dry drawing media.

Natasha Laracuente said...

I have a question, What is the recommended size for the challenge?

Thank You

David Thompson said...

Excellent! I'll be there with my watercolors on.

P.S. You might want to check the call outs on the first four limited palette charts. The Flame Red and Carmine notations are pointing to their tints instead of the tube colors...

Shelly Solomon Art said...

I'd love to try this! Especially since there's a grave yard practically in my back yard!

Luca said...

I've always liked the fact you have a personal answer for are a great artist and a great person too! :) it's very interesting what you say about black being cold or warm according to the other colors...i see it close to the subjective neutral concept you described in Color and Light. But in that case what would be white role?a complementary or the highest value of black?
ps:did you have problems with ghosts too,besides monkeys and other creatures? :D

James Gurney said...

Luca, you're welcome. White is a little different from black, even though they're both zero chroma and no hue. White is necessary for opaque painting, but black is not.

I like graveyards, and have slept in them a few times when traveling. Very peaceful place to sleep.

carol edan said...

Are wax-oil crayons Kosher? Used with turps/linseed oil? I have a set of Caran d'ache neocolor I

James Gurney said...

Carol, I think so! It's pigment applied with a liquid after all, so it sounds like painting to me.

Nancy Kennedy said...

Our Plein Air Buds weekly group year round will be painting at a cemetery on deadline morning in Matthews/Weddington, NC USA. I hope some of us can get in timing wise on your deadline. Anyone around is welcome to join us! See our posts on along with other group posts in NC. From the mountains to the sea North Carolina artists love to paint Plein Air! Nancy Kennedy