Sunday, May 15, 2016

Dancing and Painting in the Gardens


The opening of "Impressionism: American Gardens on Canvas" was a big success yesterday at the New York Botanical Gardens. Members of the Michael Arenella Dreamland Orchestra played Jazz Age favorites and demonstrated some hot dance licks in vintage costumes. (Link to YouTube video)

We spent about an hour studying the exhibition of American Impressionism curated by Dr. Linda S. Ferber, including inspiring pieces by Sargent, Chase, Twachtman, Hassam, and Dewing.
Garden Walk by James Gurney, oil on canvas mounted to board, 12 x 16 in.
You can see the original on display in the gift shop.
I painted a view toward the Conservatory. The walkers strolling along a peony border were based on five models who were kind enough to pose for me.


One of my models was Michael W. Haar. He practices the old-school art of barbering, and he's one of a bunch of people in New York City who wear vintage clothes and live a retro lifestyle 365 days a year.

That square white panel above me is a new windproof diffuser design that I've been perfecting, and I'll share how to build it on a future video.


As I painted, I had fun meeting the many members and guests of the Gardens who passed through.

The exhibition, Impressionism: American Gardens on Canvas, which brings together the two living traditions of flower gardening and outdoor painting, will be up through September 11. They encourage artists, beginning and experienced, to come and make art. If you forget your art supplies, they'll even provide some for you.

14 comments:

Glenn Tait said...

James, a beautiful painting worthy of the past and the present! One of my favourites now.

Tom Hart said...

Gorgeous, amazing painting, James. The video is wonderful too, but the painting is outstanding - even for you. :)

Ruben said...

You are truly a national treasure James!

Fabio Porta said...

Beautiful painting, impressive!
Did you tone the board with burnt sienna and some pre-texturing or was it the gamblin ground you mentioned already a few months ago?

Shari Blaukopf said...

Truly beautiful James. I look forward to painting with you in June!

Rick Majors said...

Great painting and I look forward to info on your light reflector as I was asked to do some outside photo portraits.

Eelis Kyttanen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eelis Kyttanen said...

Welp, that turned out amazing! We are really glad to have had a chance to meet you & see you paint yesterday. Thanks for the opportunity!

Gavin said...

Lovely work James, it has a similar vibe to Childe Hassam's, Horticulture Building at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago (http://www.terraamericanart.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/1999.67-1024x716.jpg)

James Gurney said...

Good eye, Gavin. I was looking at that original Hassam painting in the painting part of the exhibition just a few minutes before starting mine, and was definitely thinking of it.

Eelis, thanks for making the trip over in your precious time in New York City. Hope you had a good trip back to Vancouver.

Rick, one of the cool things about the new diffuser system is that it can also be used for holding a reflector for portraits.

Shari, so glad you can make the trip down and be part of the fun -- and that you've got Bronx connections!

That's very kind of you, Glenn, Ruben and Tom. I could have done another video on the hardships involved instead of the fun. We had a downpour of rain, huge gusts of wind, and i forgot my medium and turps, so had to do an emergency run to resupply (thanks, Art Students League for opening your store early on Saturday.)

Gavin said...

I've always loved that particular Hassam painting (no real idea as to why), and felt certain there must have been an influence there! How cool that you got to see the original and take a little influence from it.

Having seen the video; between the music, period dress, the setting and painting, I feel I've stepped back nearly 100 years in time. Really enjoyed it.

DA Best said...

Beautiful site, beautiful painting, and great video! I especially loved the photo of the two children, one with tiara, watching you intently. Maybe they will keep making art past the age of 7 or 8 because of their encounter with you?!

James Gurney said...

Fabio, Yes, I used Gamblin oil ground over the canvas (which was mounted to a plywood board) and then when that was dry I toned it in advance with a rag with a little burnt sienna.

Braelyn Snow said...

A dream day!