Saturday, August 19, 2017

Ruskin and Wild Roses

John Ruskin gave challenging advice to young artists.

Wild roses, gouache over casein, 5 x 8 inches
He said: "They should go to Nature in all singleness of heart, and walk with her laboriously and trustingly, having no other thought but how best to penetrate her meaning; rejecting nothing, selecting nothing, and scorning nothing." 



I take that advice to mean willfully discarding the idea of improving on nature, and translating what I see into paint as faithfully as possible.

I soon discover that painting every detail is impossible. As Ruskin points out, individual leaves can rarely be seen apart from the others, given all the overlapping and cast shadows. Plus, there are tens of thousands of tiny forms, and those forms morph from moment to moment, and from day to day. (I spend four consecutive mornings on the painting).

Instead, the character of the masses of leaves has to be reinvented in terms of paint.

The making of this painting is the main segment of my new video, "Flower Painting in the Wild."

“I think this is the best 'in the wild' video yet. Great demonstration of lost and found edges, painting negative space, keeping your place through a complex scene, dealing with plein-air distractions, excellent close-up views of superb brush work, emphasis when depicting reflections, glazing with gouache (and casein) and even how to make friends with green. Great Stuff!!” —Biff (Customer)

Flower Painting in the Wild
1080p HD download from Sellfy
1080p HD download from Gumroad
1080p HD download from Cubebrush
DVD available direct from the manufacturer
DVD from Amazon
Trailer on YouTube

The Ruskin quote is from Modern Painters, Vol. 1

Related Previous Posts:
Chernyshevsky's Philosophy of Art
W.T. Richards "Into the Woods"
Leighton's Lemon Tree
Month Long Field Study
W.T. Richards Field Study

8 comments:

msp said...

Thank you, James, for the kunoki link a couple posts back. It worked and ordered yesterday. Am looking forward to the DVD's arrival. Will then have all your DVDs. A package of all the "In The Wild" videos would make a nice gift set. Thank you so much for sharing so thoroughly all your vast skills and knowledge. We all look forward to your posts being part of our everyday.

Tom Hart said...

Downloading the video from Selfy now...Can't wait!

Steve Whitney said...

Love the flower video and all your others, for that matter. I think I understand the appeal of gouache--the ability to work with an opaque water-based medium that remains workable even after drying and doesn't require the precious fidgeting of transparent watercolor. But I don't see the point of using casein or acrylic-based gouache, both of which are insoluble when dry. Why not just use acrylics, which can be modified to create a matte finish, glossy finish, or something in between? Thanks!

Steve Whitney said...

Love the flower video and all your others, for that matter. I think I understand the appeal of gouache--the ability to work with an opaque water-based medium that remains workable even after drying and doesn't require the precious fidgeting of transparent watercolor. But I don't see the point of using casein or acrylic-based gouache, both of which are insoluble when dry. Why not just use acrylics, which can be modified to create a matte finish, glossy finish, or something in between? Thanks!

James Gurney said...

Steve, I think of acryla gouache as a form of acrylic, and I like its opacity, matte finish, and sealed surface — handy for underpainting especially. I like casein for its weaker emulsion strength, which makes it less sticky as it starts to dry and it washes out of the brush easier. It has a "juicy," substantial feel to it that I like.

Matthieu Kiriyama said...

Didn't you forget to put the name of the author of that quotation/blurb at the end?

Oscar Karlsson said...

Your new video might be just what I've been looking for! Outside of oil painting it is very rare to find artists who tackle complex foliage. Usually, artists either paint bare tree stems, lone trees and bushes against differently colored backgrounds, or backlit silhouettes. I've been trying to figure out ways to paint complex foliage such as overgrown forest edges for quite a while without any major breakthroughs. I'm really looking forward to watching your process and hearing your thoughts about the subject!

James Gurney said...

Matthieu, that quote is from Biff, a customer. Thanks, Biff, whoever you are.