Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Watercolor: Wet and Dry

Here's a 4-minute video showing how I paint the snow pile behind the supermarket where I demonstrate more of the wet wash vs. dry brush techniques. (Link to YouTube)

The basic strategy is to combine both wet and dry passages in a single painting. I place the big wet washes first with a flat brush, and then add the drybrushed branches and small details second.

To prepare the brush tip for drybrush, I load the tip with plenty of pigment, pinch it to splay out the hairs, and test it to make sure most of the moisture is out of the brush.

Detail (about 1" wide and 3" tall in the final painting)
In the detailed slice above, you can see the variety of kinds of strokes, including some dragging of a brown colored pencil. A certain amount of randomness is more convincing than being overly methodical with each branch or twig.

You can also see that I use a little gouache at the top and the bottom of the snow pile.

Paint is M. Graham gouache: Ultramarine, terra rosa, cadmium yellow lemon, and white.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Betty Ballantine, 1919-2019

Legendary publisher Betty Ballantine died last Tuesday at age 99. She also served as my editor for Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time, and my model for the character Norah. (Her middle name and her mother's name was Norah.)

She and Ian have been hailed for their contribution to popularizing paperbacks and for nurturing science fiction. But they were also champions of visual books for adults. They were responsible for the Peacock Press series of art books in the 1970s, featuring the work of Frank Frazetta, Froud/Lee's FaeriesCarl Evers, Frank McCarthy and James Bama.
New York Times obituary of Betty Ballantine
Wikipedia on Betty B.
Entrepreneur article about the Ballantines contribution to publishing
Previous posts
Ian Ballantine
Origins of Dinotopia: The Illustrated Book and the Ballantines
Deleted Scene from Dinotopia

Monday, February 18, 2019

When is a Painting Finished?

Ruji asks: "I was wondering do you have any advice for someone who can't seem to make their art look finished? Seemingly no matter how much time, effort, or detail I put into an image I can never seem to make my art, from gesture to final, look done. I'm unfortunately self-trained and this is a huge problem that has vexed me for the past 11 years that I can't seem to find an answer for by myself, no matter how much I study the fundamentals."

Left: Mary Cassatt, detail (link to full image)
Right: Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, detail (link to full image)
It's impossible to give you a personal answer, since I don't know anything about you, your art, or what your goals are. So let me address the broader question of finish.

Finish is a very subjective quality in a painting. One artist may want to make the painting appear like an illusion of reality. To that artist, a painting is finished when the illusion betrays no visible brushstrokes. Another artist, wishing to preserve the energy and dynamics of the surface, may regard a work as finished with a lot of loose brushstrokes preserved.

But both of those qualities are superficial. Finish is more than facture. What really matters in making a work finished is whether your inner conception is fully realized. Does it communicate the feeling you wanted? Is it convincing, disturbing, exciting, restful, or compelling?

If not—if it's sort of ordinary looking—it may be that your problem is not how the painting was finished, but how it was started. Maybe you need to spend more time in the early stages sketching and planning the work, getting the reference lined up, and knowing exactly where you're headed. The resulting painting may still take some struggle to be born, but hopefully with that preliminary work accomplished, the final painting will come together and it will tell you when it's done.

Charcoal study by Sargent for "Heaven" mural
in the Boston Public Library.
Efficient, concise, and a means to an end.
You also mentioned that you can never seem to make your gesture sketches look finished, either. That seems like a contradiction in terms. Isn't a sketch unfinished by definition? We owe this predicament to our contemporary art culture, which makes a fetish of the sketch, and elevates preliminary studies as completed works worthy of exhibition. We've all seen those drawings from contemporary ateliers that are very laborious, but deliberately leave a foot or an arm in the linear construct stage, which strikes me the same as a carpenter leaving the clapboards off one side of the house.

If you're doing a preliminary study, move fast, capture the essentials, and leave it. Like the study by Sargent above, a study should be a means to an end, not an end in itself.

There's nothing wrong with exhibiting your sketches, but I would caution against being overly conscious of making "sketchy" gestures, and instead focus on capturing as much truth of nature as you can in the time available and let the strokes land where they may.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

John Banvard's Mississippi Panorama

In 1840, John Banvard was obsessed with the idea of painting the largest picture in the world, so he got to work on it.

"He acquired an open skiff and began making sketches of the entire Mississippi River, shooting game for food, and painting and showing pictures en route. Finally when he had finished his sketches he retired to Louisville where he transferred them to canvas, making a panorama. The picture required three miles of canvas Surely this was the largest picture in the world!"

Banvard's panorama was made up of paintings stitched together into a long scroll that could be advanced by a set of cranks and gears on the side. He took his work to London, where it inspired other artists to create panoramas.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

A Snow Pile Behind the Supermarket

There's a big snow pile behind the supermarket, with a view down John M. Clark Road in Kingston. The sun is rim-lighting the white snow, and the shadows are blue.

I like this view because it includes the deep perspective of the road going back to the vanishing point.

(Link to video on Facebook)

Here are some questions on Instagram and Facebook:

Noa Katzir asks: "How do you keep the water and colors from crystallizing and freezing?"
Luckily it was nearly 50 degrees Fahrenheit, well above freezing.

M. Hopper asks: "How do you choose what you're going to paint?
All my supermarket parking lot sketches are done under a strict time constraint of about 50 minutes. That's the time it takes my wife to do the food run. I look for a subject that I can paint in that time, and one suited to the visual ideas I want to explore. For the previous painting, I was interested in conveying a smoggy atmosphere. This time I was interested in the light on the snow. 

SpaceLion asks: "What kind of sketchbook did you use?"
Gurney: It's a Pentalic Aqua Journal, which has good paper for water media.

ValeoftheRose asks: "In Color and Light you say it's better to mix grays using only opposite colors rather than black and white, but that just makes brown. By grays did you just mean browns or is it because I'm using only CMYK and white of low quality gouache? I think you mentioned in the book CMYK is not great for painting?"
There are a lot of different issues raised by your questions. The colors packaged as CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) in paints are usually convenience mixtures, which means they're made up of a couple different pigments. They can be helpful for painting color wheels, but for actual paintings I think you're better off just using the pigments individually and getting to know their properties, because in painting we're not limited by four printer's inks or by the graphics displays on our computers. Instead we're limited by the actual chemical pigments we're using. In this case I used ultramarine blue, lemon yellow, and terra rosa, plus titanium white.

Grays and browns are both fairly neutral in chroma, but browns are usually warmer. The reason for mixing grays out of complements instead of black and white is that you end up with interesting variations and partial mixtures. If you mix your colors with two or three tube colors, you can get exactly the color you want, as long as it's within the gamut. I would suggest that you use a small number of tube colors on a given painting excursion, and that you experiment with new combinations.

Charley Parker says:  "One thought: speeding through the drawing and wash phases with time lapse doesn't leave that much out, but It might be helpful if you would slow down to normal speed for things like the split-bristle brushwork — a less common technique — to give a better idea of how it's done."
Good point, Charley. I'm limited here by the 1-minute constraint of the video for Instagram. But I'll be doing a somewhat longer version for YouTube, and I can slow some of the clips down a bit to show more of that split brush technique.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Bouguereau Exhibition Opens Today

A major exhibition of William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) opens today at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
"Bouguereau and America showcases more than forty masterful paintings by the French academic painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825–1905). The exhibition explores the artist’s remarkable popularity throughout America’s Gilded Age, from the late 1860s to the early 1900s. During this period, owning a painting by the artist was de rigueur for any American who wanted to be seen as a serious collector: the artist’s grand canvases brought a sense of classic sophistication to newly formed collections. Their chastely sensual maidens, Raphaelesque Madonnas, and impossibly pristine peasant children mirror the religious beliefs, sexual mores, social problems, and desires of that period. Moreover, the exhibition offers an opportunity to examine how society’s perspectives can shift over time."

Catalog: Bouguereau and America
192 pages, Yale University Press, 10 x 12 inches----

Exhibition: "Bouguereau and America" at Milwaukee Art Museum: February 15–May 12, 2019
The exhibit continues in Memphis (June 22—Sept. 22, 2019), and San Diego (November 9—March 15, 2020.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Creating People Who Don't Exist

Have you ever seen this person before?

There's no chance of it because she was just created by a computer.

A new website called "This Person Does Not Exist" uses generative adversarial networks (GANs) to make a new face from scratch, a face that no one has ever seen before. 

Each time you refresh the page on the website, an entirely new face appears. The software outputs a variety of ages, ethnic backgrounds, settings, and lighting scenarios, and the faces are specific, not "average" or generic looking. 

And each one seems relatively consistent and logical, but if you search long enough you'll find problems with ears, jewelry, hair, or glasses.

The creator of the page is Phillip Wang, a software engineer for Uber, who wanted to demonstrate the potential of GANs.

This technology will transform many aspects of computer graphics, such as video games, visual effects, and 3D modeling, and it has more unsettling implications for generating convincing false news, sham celebrities, and fake art.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

James Sharples, Traveling Portrait Artist

James Sharples was born in England and trained in France. He came to America in 1798 and built a portrait business by traveling from town to town.

"His mediums were crayon and pastel. Seeing that the market for his wares was scattered, he devised a special cart that would comfortably hold his wife, two boys and a girl and their clothes and food and his painting gear. It was drawn by one large sturdy horse." (Source)

"In this menage ambulant he travelled all over the country, going from town to town, and city to city. In each city he would obtain letters of introduction to people in the next city—military, civil or literary worthies. Sharples would present the letter, beg the honour of doing a portrait for his 'collection,' and, if this was granted, he would set to work."

"And he was a good artist. He could manage to make a faithful likeness in about two hours. Having seen himself so faithfully portrayed, the sitter, of course, was easily induced to buy the picture. The charges were $15 for a profile and $20 full face."
Quotes from Hawkers and Walkers in Early America: Strolling Peddlers, Preachers, Lawyers, Doctors, Players, and Others, From the Beginning to the Civil War, 1927.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Jonah Asks about Process

 Jonah asks:
"I was just curious about your personal approach as a creative towards developing an abstract idea and constructing an outline into a complex, detailed, finished product. I'm not a visual artist, but I'm currently a college student who enjoys producing electronic music as a hobby."

Hi, Jonah,
My approach varies depending on whether the final product is an illustrated book, a video, a magazine article, or a single painting.

For example, my step-by-step process for painting a realistic image of an imaginary scene is outlined in my book Imaginative Realism, and it involves research, sketches, maquettes, models, and photo references, all completed before I attempt the final painting.

I've found that following these planning steps leads to the best results and saves time. More importantly, taking all those steps helps me through moments of doubt that inevitably accompany the middle stages of creating something. Almost every project goes through a phase where it looks ugly or trite or uninspired. Having a process, and trusting it, keeps me on track and gives me the best chance to deliver on the potential of the original idea.

I'm not sure what the process is for creating electronic music, but if you haven't already done so, I'm sure you'll figure it out. Study the process of the electronic musicians you admire, and follow it until you have developed your own methods.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Painting Smog — Six Secrets for Creating Atmosphere

(Link to YouTube)

It's time to paint that parking lot in Kingston, New York. It was a nice clear day, but I added warm, smoky air to add more atmosphere and depth.

Six tips for creating depth
1. Face the view into the sun.
2. Limit values to: a) light areas (sky and highlights), and b) dark areas (everything else).
3. Save darkest dark to a few small areas in the foreground. 
4. Raise the value of the darks. 
5. Gradate the color of the darks from warm colors near sun to relatively cool colors at edges.
6. Eliminate detail in the dark silhouettes. 

The paint is casein in a Pentalic watercolor sketchbook
Richeson Travel brush set:  
Canon M6 (time lapse, video, and stills)

Video tutorials and books:

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Anna Airy's Industrial Art

Anna Airy (1882-1962) painted plenty of genteel portraits and delicate flowers, but she also portrayed gritty industrial scenes, and that's what I want to feature in this post.

Anna Airy, Shop for Machining 15 inch Shells
She was born in Greenwich, London in 1882. Unfortunately her mother died soon after she was born. Her father, an engineer, supported her interest in art.

At age 17 she enrolled in the Slade School of Fine Art. Slade offered art classes to men and women working in the same classroom, unusual at the time. Teachers such as Henry Tonks and Philip Wilson Steer encouraged a form of Impressionism founded on good drawing and accurate perspective.

Anna Airy, An Aircraft Assembly Shop, Hendon
In 1914 she was one of only four women artists commissioned by the British Government to work as a war artist. She focused on portraying the activity inside the munitions factories, where female workers were crucial to the war effort.

She often labored under dangerous conditions. In painting a shell forge, she faced the extreme heat of red-hot shells. "No matter where I stood," she said, "I'd have some rolled to within a few feet of me. I never felt such heat." The ground became so hot that her shoes were burnt off her feet.

Anna Airy, A Shell Forge at a National Projectile Factory,
Hackney Marshes, London, 
The men of the factory floor rigged a shield of corrugated metal to protect her from the heat, "but the red hot shells would be rolled right against my screen —which acted like an oven, with me inside! Often, too, the shelter would fall over and send me and my easel flying."

Anna Airy 
She wrote two books: The Art of Pastel in 1930 and Making a Start in Art in 1951, and she exhibited in the Royal Academy Exhibitions and the Paris Salon for many years.
Anna Airy  on Wikipedia
Online article: The First World War Art of Anna Airy, Imperial War Museum
Online article: War art: Shop for machining 15-inch shells
Thanks, Blair Updike for your article in the Portrait Society Journal

Related post: Heinrich Kley's Demons of Krupp

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Hitler Watercolors at Auction

Vienna State Opera House, Adolf Hitler, 1912
Before Adolph Hitler's rise as the Nazi dictator, he was a struggling art student. During his stay in Vienna between 1908 and 1913, he painted up to three watercolors a day.

Some of those paintings will be auctioned today in Nuremberg, though experts warn that the authorship may be in doubt in some of them, since there are so many forgeries.
"It is difficult not to read Hitler’s crimes back into his artwork, though its mundane and mimetic quality resists such interpretation. The prosaic pieces suggest that his ambitions were once starkly different from what he ultimately carried out, observed Deborah Rothschild, who curated a 2002 exhibit on Hitler’s early years at the Williams College Museum of Art in Massachusetts.
“I want to take him down a notch,” she said that summer in an interview about the exhibition. “He’s not an evil genius. He wasn’t born evil. If things had gone his way I think he would have been quite happy to be an academic art professor.”
Read the rest in the Washington Post. 
Wikipedia: Paintings by Adolph Hitler 

Friday, February 8, 2019

Teaser for "The Real T. Rex"

Here's a teaser for “The Real T. Rex” coming up in the April issue of Ranger Rick Magazine. (Link to video on Facebook)
Karin Spijker asks: Is that varnish over a handmade gouache painting?
James Gurney I'm varnishing an oil painting, though I did some gouache studies before starting the oil.

Edison Coronado Vallejo asks: Will there be a making-of video of this painting??? Please
James Gurney Yes, I've got extensive coverage of behind-the-scenes, and will release a free YouTube version and a longer Gumroad tutorial about unconventional painting techniques.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Dinotopia Paintings in Denmark

Here are some Dinotopia paintings at the entrance to the science fiction exhibition "Into the Unknown" in Odense, Denmark, through February 17th. The show includes original art by Ray Harryhausen, Willis O'Brien, and H.R.Giger, plus concept art for Alien and Blade Runner.

"This exhibition is the ultimate genre-defining exploration of science fiction, delving into its storytelling beginnings to discover how visionary creators have captured imaginations around the world. Visitors will encounter rare pieces, such as vintage comics and advertisements promoting Soviet visions of space, alongside well-loved classics, including miniature sculptures from Jurassic Park and the original Darth Vader and Stormtrooper helmets from Star Wars." (Image and quote: Visit Odense)
Into the Unknown at the Brandts Museum
Thanks, Christian Schlierkamp

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Eyvind Earle Video Bio

This short video (Link to YouTube) tells the story of Eyvind Earle, who overcame a troubled childhood to be one of the most productive and style-setting Disney background artists. 

His gouache method for the Sleeping Beauty backgrounds involved placing a blob for a bush or tree and elaborating it with smaller and smaller leaves.

(Link to YouTube) When Disney was still alive, the studio produced a video called "Four Artists Paint One Tree" about how each artist brings a unique approach to observational painting. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Painting with the Split Brush Technique

There's snow on the ground, but it's about 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10C), so I can bring the casein paint outdoors.

I paint this field study with a limited palette of casein. I use a split brush technique to suggest the texture of dry weeds. (Link to YouTube)

Split brush painting is a way to hint at a lot of detail without meticulously painting every twig. 
Basic set of caseins: Jack Richeson Casein (6 Pack)

Monday, February 4, 2019

Would You Choose Nature without Art or Art without Nature?

On Facebook, I shared a little thought experiment: Suppose you had to choose one of the following two alternatives: #1) the rest of your life spent inside a palace / art museum with a changing show of whatever art masterpieces and movies you wanted to see, OR #2) the rest of your life in the ordinary or quotidian world with no access to the art, music, or literature of the ages. What would you choose?

Since content gets buried on Facebook, I'd like to share and preserve the comments here. 

Chris Waller #2. It is the source for #1 after all. Art is about experience, and although great art is indeed intrinsically great, it is already once filtered. Prefer the unfiltered source myself.

Sadie Jernigan Valeri Art museum. But I might change my answer if I get to live in Italy. With a dream art studio.

Linda Crank As much as I would love such a museum, I would choose to live in the outside world - to see and enjoy the living beauty there, to choose those subjects that my heart responds to, and to struggle with the challenge of expressing it to others in some way.

Michael Thom Nature and life is my primary inspiration to create art so although I love art museums, the outdoors would inspire more emoting of art from me.

Jennifer Chaparro #2, and I learned a new word today! Quotidian - of or occuring every day 🙂

Thomas Charles art museum

Carol Allen If 2) can I have unlimited art supplies?

Jason Daniel Jackson Number 2 if I understand the question correctly. With number one you’ll never get to experience nature again.

Zoungy Kligge probably choose the outside world-- most of my life is not spent in a museum right now, so to lock myself away would be a bigger change compared to never seeing classic art again. Also, art follows life. So, to be given the chance to live life and generate new art is better IMO than to never get to live again and only see art of the past. I don't know. Hard question.

Paloma Hill Outside. Somewhere warm. As much as I love admiring art, I love the real thing more!

Scott Elyard So, like living in Alaska with no money? I think I'm pretty well done with that. I'll take the museum.

Jeff Allen Outside world...

Harvey McDowell outside with my motorcycle.......

Tori Wheeler Two, even if I literally can't ever come inside again. As long as it's a reasonably temperate climate...haha.

Josip Aničić 2 because I get to see the real deal and make my own versions of it. As fun as looking at art is, making it is way better

David Nakamura #2. It'd be like being in the Truman Show. Eventually, you're going to want to experience the things being represented in the artwork and you'll go crazy being denied that.

Armand Cabrera Hmm, chances of most people surviving in the natural world for more than a season are slim to none. I'll take the museum.

James Gurney I'm assuming #2 comes with some kind of shelter from the elements, albeit with empty bookshelves and no pictures on the wall, other than the ones you paint yourself. Presumably both options would allow you to make your art and make a living.

Armand Cabrera So no predators? Inclement weather? Disease? Do you have to grow and hunt your own food? In nature, you would not have access to modern medicine? All of those things would be part of living in nature. Easier for a 19-century man than a 20 or 21st-century person.
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Johan Wing OUTSIDE. Making my own art.

Ellen Kirk Two.

Zane Reichert #2, otherwise you live a life vicariously without substance.

Jeffrey Remmer Well I have seen a a lot of museums and shows so at this point of my life outdoors so I can paint.

Matt Bowe Quotidian.

Morgan Weistling It depends on who my captors are and a number of other factors. Would I still be risking being kidnapped at some point in this post-apocalyptic world. Is the food in the outside world contaminated by radiation at all? How long will the food reserves [last?]

James Gurney Good questions, which we'd have to answer if we were writing a science fiction novel version of the question. For this simpler thought experiment, I was assuming all other conditions were constant, so that the choice is between Art and Nature.

Cortney Skinner By their nature, hypotheticals can never be as complete, nuanced, or complex as the real world. So, I’d have to ask a few thousand questions to get a better idea of those two choices.

James Gurney I suppose the choice also depends at what point in life one was deprived of either art or nature. If you had to choose mid-life, you'd carry the memories with you. Wordsworth explores the feelings of an older artist dwelling in the memories of a childhood spent in nature.

Fernando H Ramirez Outside

Stevie Moore Sounds like the thesis of the question is past/future, old/new reflection/creation. I’m going to go with 2. The past and it’s great accomplishments is important, but they are after all history, and we must move forward, we MUST move forward.

Josh Eckert You'd surely be reinventing the wheel if you lived your life without knowledge of the arts of the ages. But you'd be happier reinventing the wheel (and making pre-Giotto-style art) than being locked away from nature.

Stevie Moore You’d definitely be happier if you didn’t realize you were inventing the wheel, or didn’t notice it. i think we actually have a mix of both now that I think about it. We’ve lost virtually everything about the cave art epochs, we know so very little abo…See More

Michael Syrigos Which the one where I can listen to Iron Maiden?

Jeff Fennel I must admit to being on the outside. Life is outside, therefor art is outside.

Mike Bolger Definitely outside. All the stuff in the museums was inspired by the stuff outside. If you had never seen anything, ever, your work would be as original as the guy who blew pigment on a wall to get his hand outline. Kind of originality by default! :)

Phaeton Holland If I am allowed to *make* art in the quotidian world, and appreciate the new works of others, that option might edge out being limited to the "art of the ages" — but still no easy choice.

Leslie Hawes #1, but I'd sneak out at night...or #2, and I'd break into the museum at night.

Greg Ruth Inside.

Susan Fox Easy choice. Outside. Nothing quotidian about the natural world.

Alex Uhan Outside is the art of the ages by itself.

Theresa M Quirk 1 if I will see people

James Gurney For the sake of this thought experiment, let's assume people are freely available in both circumstances.

Theresa M Quirk James Gurney I’ll still take 1. I find internal space self reflecting and it allows me to do things I enjoy. If people are plentiful we can discuss the art and focus in an internal space. Than there is food, drink, and absolutely great music.
Delete or hide this

Kate Barsotti Outside!

David Vosburgh Would the gift shop in the museum be selling art supplies in addition to postcards and stuffed unicorns? If not that'd pretty much be a deal-breaker for me...

James Gurney Yes, you could make art in the museum.

Ricky Mujica There is no such thing as a quotidian world if you have the right frame of mind. I'll take that.

James Gurney You're right. It would be quotidian only in the sense that with #2 you wouldn't get to watch movies or operas or see museum shows or read novels. And presumably we're talking about an intact ecosystem and not a ravaged post-apocalyptic state.

Ricky Mujica I would still make my own movies and operas if I were alive and healthy. Punk Rock, Rap, Blues, Jazz, Graffiti, Break Dancing, etcc. all come from DIY culture where dispossessed have no access to arts and culture and would be living in a quotidian world because they can't afford otherwise. So they create their own art. That's why it's nearly impossible to be in a completely quotidian society if you have the right frame of mind. The only way I can think of for that to happen is if you grow up in a very strict puritan household where music, dance, and graven images are totally not allowed. Or if you are a prisoner in a concentration camp or something like that where the only thing you have time for is trying to survive. In that case I would prefer the museum! Lol!

Cathy Fenner outside always

VI Herron outside.......always

Vicky Shoupe Outside for sure. God's masterpieces all around us!

Katie Hofgard Option two, I can't possibly live my whole life indoors. Nature is art, AND I can still make my own!

Anh Khoa I think both of them are good. We have to learn from the masters in the past and their masterpieces. But we also have to study from another master - the nature. So I still want to choose both if I can :D

John Perry Baumlin Tough choice, but I'd pick the second option.

Joe Kulka Am I going to the only to admit that they had to look up "quotidian"? (which, by the way, would be the choice that I would make)

Ruth Ann Greenberg Museum, no brainer!

Jesper Myrfors Whichever I chose, I would regret it eventually.

Brian Jones The cafeteria would have to be absolutely epic.

Carolyn Smith This idea makes me miserable, but I would absolutely have to choose 2

Barry Van Clief Outside, making art

Jc Amberlyn Second choice, because as much as I am inspired by others' art and enriched by such exposure, my key joy in life is experiencing life and then translating it through my own art.

Pamela Vossler Have to be with nature. Man can’t compete with what you see in Nature.

Tony Brown Outside. I love art but we can never achieve the full beauty of nature.

Marcy Muncie Stevens Hmmmmmmmm

Matt Dicke Outside

LaRinda Chapin That's a tough one. As much as it pains me, I would probably have to chose 2. Luckily it hasn't come to that!

Harrison Chua B

Harrison Chua As wonderful art is - it is essentially looking at the world through other people's eyes. Seeing the world for yourself is priceless. But... Art is amazing!!! Hope all is great!

Joshua Been I'd stay outside and create the art of the ages 😉😎🔥

Cathleen Richards-Green Definitely outside....creating my own art 🖼...and watching others creating theirs!

Cindy Riddle Blachly If I HAD to choose, I would choose 2, but I’m happy I don’t have to!

Thomas Olson The world.

Shay Eyas Christine Outside. Nature is art :)

Greg Somers I think it was Pierre Bonnard who said: "The best thing in the Louvre are the windows."

Calvin Messinger That is a tough question. I wouldnt have started painting and drawing without the masters, tho, so I would probably pick option #1. Eve if the pieces I did were copies, or derivatives, I would rather have that kind of art than not having the idea to draw at all.

Patricia Ridge Bradley I could never enjoy a two-dimensional, gilded prison that worships the past. I’d choose the world of humanity, the freedom of creativity (armed with my education) and hope for the future.

Eugene Arenhaus Outside. I can make the art.

Ivo De Wispelaere If 2 includes art supplies in thé outside quotidian world, I'd choose that option. It's about creating things mainly for me...

Eugene Arenhaus Ivo De Wispelaere Even if there are none, and no other people, there still will be clay, charcoal, birch bark...

Miłek Ja Outside has so much to offer, infinite value compared to just art. Yes, I did combine the words "just" and "art" :) There is more to life and the world than art, and first hand experience is more valuable than consuming a regurgitation of said experience, no matter how profound or skilled the regurgitator in question happens to be. I pick 2, no brainer. Both choices have a lot of "monkey's paw" potential, though.

AbiChan Senju I would choose 2 without hesitation

Vitaly Umansky Well, can we adjust the conditions? Can ANYBODY be there, too? Can there be an art store inside? Nature might seep in anyway.
Remember Camus? It’s enough to spend a day in freedom, to have enough to think about for a lifetime in prison (or something)

Vitaly Umansky I wonder if you choose one, would you eventually feel you are a permanent exhibit in the museum? Some revered Pygmalion - transforming from the natural to the artistic.

Yogesh Sambahangphe Outside. And then make art.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Vermeer Device

Wolfgang Beltracchi created and tested this optical device to explore whether it might have worked for Vermeer.  (Link to YouTube)

Image courtesy Mundus, photo A. Lukas, ZOTT Artspace
Beltracchi's system appears to use glass and mirrors to superimpose a virtual image of the room over the drawing. It seems to work well as long as you hold your head still and in the right position. These systems can help in the drawing stage, but they're not much use when you get to the paint.

There are much simpler methods that work even better. And there's no evidence Vermeer used any such system. The blobby highlights and lens-like focal artifacts in some of Vermeer's paintings could merely be an lens effect he observed and then wanted to replicate in his paintings.
See also a video clip from Tim's Vermeer and the book Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters
Thanks, Max Rebo