Friday, December 30, 2016

Old House by the Tracks


The old house perches above the tracks, battered by the thunder of the night trains. The porch collapsed. The leaves fell off the trees and lie sleeping beneath the snow.

In its youth the house watched over sailing sloops and the busy river landing. Its heart burned with coal fire before the nervous energy of electricity. It clings on into the fury and frenzy of the modern age, shaken but resolute.

15 comments:

Tom Hart said...

Very, very nice. An excellent reminder of how effective the "simple", handy pencil can be. (At least I'm assuming it's pencil :^)...)

James Gurney said...

Yes, Tom. It's graphite pencil on an 11 x 14 sketchbook page.

Fabio Porta said...

Very nice, I like the descriptive thick strokes in the woods!

Faisal Tariq said...

Beautiful sketch. What hardness of pencil do you use? Thanks.

Lynn Patten said...

Graphite pencil ... In the Wild?

Aleta Karstad said...

Exquisite! It has the romance of a black and white photo (with the expressive intimacy of a drawing of course). Colour is beautiful and challenging, but there's still something about graphite that reaches the soul....

Curious Sam said...

I'd love to see a video concentrating on your pencil sketching technique - most of the videos seem focused on painting, and sketching is confined to a few quick orienting lines. Do you use a chisel shaped lead so you can get both the sharp and thick lines from the same pencil?

As your notes in the above show, you also have quite a way with words, as I've also noted from the two books of yours that I'm glad to own!

James Gurney said...

Thanks, Sam and Lynn, it would be fun to do a Pencil in the Wild video. That's something I have planned for a ways off. I love pencil, and have quite a few samples of it recently posted on my Instagram feed.

Aleta, yes, pencil takes us to the bones of things.

Faisal, I usually use two hardnesses, 2B or 4B and HB.

Fabio, doing overlapping details like a forest is a huge challenge with just a pencil. Really enjoy it. Thanks for the kind words.

Faisal Tariq said...

James, I am willing to bet, "Pencils in the Wild" will be a much bigger hit than any of your other videos For the simple reason that a pencil is so accessible and everyone is inherently comfortable with writing with it, so drawing with it is a simple extension of what they are already doing. (I have all your other videos and LOVE watching them).

Shane said...

Lovely drawing. Love the way the train tracks at the bottom are sort of like a part of a missing frame or border, strengthening that feeling of brokenness/missing something of the composition.

J. R. Stremikis said...

JIm, to me this is very mindful of Eric Sloane’s pencil sketches/illustrations of winter snow… his "Weather Book" and others. as in those slip covers used on the Amer. Meteor. Soc. historical monographs.

just look at the tin roof - responsible for the extraordinarily long life… unlike a tar paper
underlayment with shingles of wood or tar and stones. rather like along old Hiway 12, up north of Madison thru Baraboo,
then on to Tomah and Eau Claire… it’s those roofs... or "rooves" as back then. built to last.

Gavin said...

Really like this little pencil study. Pencil in the wild sounds like a great idea.

Renee Volkmann said...

Funny I also wonder when I see old houses just falling down little by little and think about the history that's contained in it, the family's who lived there, the dreams they had, now forgotten to the rest of the world passing by......

Paul said...

This is a great inspiration for me. I tried to recreate it as a 3D Model in Blender and must admit that this is not a easy task, because of the huge amount of Details in your sketch.

James Gurney said...

Hi, Paul, That's amazing how you made that 3D model. You captured it perfectly!