Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Painting a Hearse in a Limited Palette

When a hearse pulls up in front of your house, paint it! Because you can't paint it once you're inside it.



1967 Oldsmobile hearse, gouache, 5 x 8 inches, by James Gurney
This is the classic dead man's limo.

The limited palette is brilliant purple, cadmium yellow deep, raw sienna, and white. This is really a complementary palette, using two values of yellow against purple. The short new video on YouTube shows the sequence of steps.

This wraps up our visit to Colorado. On Thursday we'll be at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia for a lecture and book signing in connection with "The Art of James Gurney" exhibition.

Today is the deadline for the Graveyard Painting Challenge, and I want to thank everyone who joined in. The results (and stories) are amazing, and they're from all over the world. It's going to be really hard to choose the finalists.

11 comments:

Steve said...

Can you say something about the penciled grid? Did you look through a viewer with a corresponding grid?

I spent a fair amount of time in a hearse in high school. My best friend bought an old, used one as -- in his mind -- the ultimate cruising vehicle. Despite its guaranteed cargo space for romantic pursuits it proved surprisingly -- to him -- unappealing to the girls in our town.

Tobias Gembalski said...

I´m speachless. It´s just beautiful!

Robert F said...

Very interesting. Using an alternative color scheme technique like this will definitely change the hues and chromas from what is actually seen and will create a unique and interesting color impression like your painting here, but do you still try and match the tonal values of what you see when you paint using this technique?

James Gurney said...

Robert, yes, exactly. I tried to match the tonal values and the relative warm and cool notes with the colors in my gamut. The goal is for it to look like a photo that's gone through a filter.

Steve, Yes, I attached a sheet of acrylic to the gripper on my sketch easel. The acrylic sheet has a grid drawn on it that corresponds to a grid that I draw on my paper. That gives me a starting foundation that I know wil be precisely accurate, which I feel is especially important in the case of a car portrait. I could have used the method of slope and segment measurements and alignments, but the grid method is faster and more effective.

Robert F said...

Does your book "Color and Light" explain this technique in depth?

James Gurney said...

Robert F, Color and Light discusses limited palettes, but not about the grid system, which I'll cover in a future video. My videos are best for painting techniques -- the books are more about theory, science, and the thinking behind the process.

James Gurney said...

Steve, that's a great story about your friend's hearse. I wonder if a contemporary goth chick would dig a hearse. Jeanette says no way. I was thinking of the movie "Harold and Maude," which made driving decommissioned hearses look cool. There's a 1960s ambulance I've got my eye on to paint soon.

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Carlos said...

James, do you 'seal' your paintings in any way be it watercolors or gouache, to protect them and store them? I've been practicing a lot lately and I wonder how this materials are affected by time and dust. Thanks.

Aras said...

Hi dear James, how did u tackle the scale of the foreground rails in front of the Hearse relative to the old car and the background landscape. And how did you mark it down on the paper fitting it in away that is true to your visual observation without altering your measurements to different scale.. Because I have a hard time fitting the foreground objects measurement in my own work.

James Gurney said...

Aras, I measured everything as carefully as I could because I wanted to get the scene to match exactly with my painting, shape for shape, or as close as I could get.