Saturday, August 2, 2008

Vanderbilt Vista

Monday was a perfect day for painting along the Hudson River.

As an added pleasure, we were joined by two artists I greatly admire: Erik Tiemens (on bench to the left), one of the main conceptual designers for Lucasfilm, and Bill Mather, concept artist, matte painter, and author of Drawn to Beauty.

The park ranger of the Vanderbilt Estate appeared from nowhere and started telling us about the place.

He told us that the view we were painting was immortalized by Currier and Ives (above) and “painted by a lot of amateurs, like yourselves,” he said, gazing at my painting. He kindly overlooked the fact that Trusty Rusty spent three hours in the 15 minute parking lot.

After we finished, it was fun to see how all four of us brought out different aspects of the scene.

Jeanette did the small watercolor in the Moleskine book at lower left. Erik did a vertical composition in gouache, after sketching a couple of exploratory thumbnails. Bill worked patiently in pencil to describe the foliage textures. “I’m approaching it as if it was an etching,” he said.

Mine is the one in oil, 8x16 inches. The air was so misty that you could barely see the Catskill Mountain range, just a faint hint behind the white dots of the convent on the far shore.
Erik has a blog called Virtual Gouache Land, and a website, Water Sketch.
Bill has a blog and a web gallery.
The great art blog Lines and Colors has covered Erik, link, and Bill, link,
We were painting at the Vanderbilt Mansion site, link.
Currier and Ives image courtesy The Old Print Shop, link.


Erik Bongers said...

At the risk of being banned from this blog, my vote goes to the Erik Tiemens. I just love the Constable feeling in the gouache.
Probably not very realistic as James states it was a hazy day. The central tree is rendered quite differently too - wilder. [correction : I just noticed from the thumbs it's a different tree !]

Looking at Tiemens' site I immediately noticed a much colder palette that James'. So even in direct observation a personal palette clearly surfaces.

I love etchings too. My favorite printing technique!
(o dear erik, press the cancel button now!)

Bowlin said...

“painted by a lot of amateurs, like yourselves,” he said, gazing at my painting.

That speaks volumes about painting!

dragonladych said...

I hope he meant amateurs, as in the original meaning of the French word. It would translate as "lover of" or a person who enjoys something. That would be about right.

Christine Walker said...

He was being encouraging, which was very kind of him.

Dan Gurney said...

I am impressed that you make an effort to create a community of artists who work together not only online, but also in the field. The efforts to connect with others, must make your life that much more fulfilling.

Connie said...

I love to hear stories about what people say when they see you working! My two favorites are "I can't draw a straight line" and "My aunt (sister, grandfather, friend) draws." This last one is said as if that person is certainly unusual and possibly in possession of a character flaw!
I love your work and your blog. I have copies of Dinatopia in my studio.

Chris Bellinger said...

Looked a very nice spot and it is always interesting when a group of people paint from abot the same place. you always get differwnt views, each to thiere own I guess!

Super Villain said...

i agree with dan gurney, not only are you amazingly talented, you are amazingly lucky to have such a wide range of friends and coworkers in the art feild.

you have the best life EVER!!!!!

Dan Gurney said...

Hey, Connie, I don't say I cannot draw (I can), but I often say that my brother draws (and paints and blogs) well. In my case, it just happens to be true.

I admit to being somewhat unusual; I hope that being proud of my brother isn't seen as having a character flaw!

jeff said...

Nice work!

It's great to see the different approaches and composition ideas.