Saturday, July 5, 2008

Scraper Sketch

A while ago I noticed this piece of heavy equipment sleeping on a job site and decided to sketch a picture of it. It’s a Caterpillar 637 elevating scraper.

For an oil study like this where I’m only interested in the object and not the surroundings, sometimes I start with a piece of masonite primed with white oil paint. A brush works as well as a pencil for laying in the shapes, and you can get to detailed rendering right away.

Here’s a video of one in action, link.


craigstephens said...

So the white background is the gesso? That's a nice one. There is a lot of construction going on around here and I think the equipment is pretty fascinating.

Carol H. said...

This is fantastic! I love the white background. Did it take you a long time to sketch it? It's so accurate! Did you take photos of it for reference or just paint from your sketch?

mike(dad) said...

Little piece in yesterday(july 4) ENJOY section of Pok Journal about your Dalleo's Deli.

Your therapist gave you good advice-stick to that painting gig and you might go places!
Mike Kristofik

James Gurney said...

Thanks, you guys. Yeah, I just have a few panels primed with white oil for these vignetted sketches. It's funny how we always vignette drawings, but not paintings as often. I think it took about two hours.

Tom Scholes said...

Wow that's nice!
I just reread The World Beneath for the first time since it came out. It's taken on even more meaning for me now as an artist, soooo goood.

John P. Baumlin said...

Every time I see something like this it reminds me once again that subject matter has nothing to do with artistic merit.
It is nice to see these vignetted oil studies and this one is a beauty. I did one once of my brother-in-law's Harley, but it took me a lot longer than two hours!

CCG Coordinator said...

Again I am curios about the rendering of mechanical shapes with brush and oil paints...are these lines all freehand without guides?

When I do life drawing I find that I can hide my line drawing inadequacies with application of tone. What is "king" in your mind when documenting an image from life? The the line drawing, the tonal form, the accurate depiction of color, the emotional impression...? Yes more art school questions...sorry :-)

This painting definitely shows that you are using powers of observation and not just relying on familiarity with the subject to transcribe what you see in front of you.
You must have great efficiency in your process to complete this earthmover image in two hours - what size is the original?

I would love to see a video of you at work on an image like this one. Even one of those ubiquitous and horribly accelerated clips on youtube.

Thanks for the all the inspiration and sharing of your knowledge!

Jonathan G

James Gurney said...

Jonathan, the painting was done without any mechanical aids, and it's not as finished as it looks; and probably an expert on these rigs would spot the mistakes right away. But I was just trying to document the details as accurately as I could. I was fascinated by the niggly details on the engine at left in contrast to the big shapes of the "belly" of the beast in the center.

Unknown said...

Amazing! I love these paintings of objects not usually considered "art worthy".