Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rhinebeck Paint Out

Yesterday was the Seventh Annual Great Rhinebeck Paint Out. It was a crisp sunny day, a little past peak fall color, with a temperature around 40 degrees F. I'm a wimp, so I had full long underwear. I'm using an Open Box M pochade box.

One of you asked for a step-by-step, so on this post you can follow along.

First, here's a photo of the motif: a view to the east of the village of Rhinebeck. It's a very busy subject, but I like the strong leading lines of the road and the soft gray mass of trees in the center.

I started on an 11x14 sky panel, oil primed with a blue gradation. The blue color helped in two ways. First I had an approximation of the sky color already established with dry paint, so I could work delicate detail over it. Also, the blue was a nice complementary color to lay beneath the warm autumn-colors.

The first step was to draw in the main lines and shapes with a bristle brush and burnt sienna oil pigment. Note the horizontal eye level line, even though I can't see the actual horizon. The brown dot in the middle of the road at right center is the vanishing point for the sloping street lines of the foreground.

I oiled up the sky with Liquin to make it more receptive to overpainting. I put in some light feathery cirrus clouds, and a pale glow along the horizon. Then I started softly stating the dry branches. and other details against the sky.

At this stage I needed to figure out the overall light statement. At first I planned to put the foreground in shadow, but that left the middle ground too busy with competing interest. So I established an illuminated foreground, shadowed middle ground, and light distance. This gives a feeling of passing clouds and draws interest to the activity of the far intersection.
I carried the lines of the road to that vanishing point you saw earlier. For lines like this I used a mahl stick to balance my hand.
Here's the finished painting "Light at the Crossroads." The 3 o'clock deadline was looming, so I scrambled to resolve the unfinished areas. On the left side, the houses are stated fairly broadly, which in the end probably helps accentuate the confetti of the intersection.

By 4:00 it was hanging at the event space. It's behind the light, next to the painting of Vanderbilt I did with Erik Tiemens last summer, reworked on the spot last week with fall colors. A painting by Keith Gunderson is below mine.
Previous Gurney Journey posts: Sky panels, Sky blue, Illuminated foreground, Mahl stick, Confetti, Vanderbilt Vista, Complementary priming color.


Connie said...

Wonderful! I hope you will do this again. Connie

Michael Pieczonka said...

Amazing painting James, you are a plein air inspiration for sure!

James Gurney said...

Thanks, Michael--I love your streetcorner plein air paintings, and the one of the VW bug.

Connie, on your blog you asked about brushes--I like the Silver brand extra long filberts, which can deliver a variety of strokes.

flynldy and family said...

Nice picture Jim, it's always a pleasure to see an artist at work! The finished painting is awesome.

Patrick Dizon said...

Interesting to see how you omitted some details. I also like the addition of the figures at the intersection. It's a nice way to halt the movement of the road lines.

Thanks! I learned from this. :)

David Still said...

This is a very good step by step, thank you! I've been meaning to try some plein air painting sometime, but I think I'm a bit scared of doing it. Showing your progress like this helps me overcome that fear. So maybe I'll do it tomorrow.. But, uh, wasn't that what I said yesterday?

Erik Bongers said...

"This painting not good.
You forgot telephone wires.
Please fix."

Sorry ! I'm writing a story with police officers in eastern Europe that don't speak english well and are rather blunt in their remarks.

No, thank you for yet another inspiring making-of.

Good choice of light. Adds drama.
Must have been difficult with the sun turning during the day.

The subject I would have picked? That white fence on the first picture, with the autumn leaves and their shadow and the vertical fence lines competing with the horizontal truncs.
In other words : the 90 degree rule!

Super Villain said...

hope you dont mind me asking, but i see a price tag there with the painting, did you sell it? how much?
i would love to have an original gurney painting,

man, i bet some of the people who buy your work dont even know who you are! that they have an original "tron goggle-man" painting, DANG! LUCKY!

arecol said...

Très interessant ce blog ;
je ne m'en lasse pas
Cette approche de la peinture est pour moi une découverte.
je ne suis que spectateur et voudrait savoir si mes commentaires sont ennuyeux pour tous ces artistes.

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Joseph Sapulich said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to have this blog. I really appreciate the information and your experience. As always, your work continues to inspire.

Takeyce said...

Beautiful painting! I LOVE the idea of a sky panel! Brilliant!

James Gurney said...

Cher Collette, c'est toujours un plaisir pour lire vos commentaires. Je suis content que vous les écrivez en français, donc j'ai un hasard pour apprendre plus de votre belle langue. Vous ne devez pas êtes artiste pour commenter sur ce blog! (Please forgive machine translation).

Joseph, Takeyce, and everyone else, thanks for your encouragement. And Erik, you're right: I left off the wires. My hand got too cold to do reliable thin lines.

And it's funny you should mention you liked the fence. Our friend Steve Petruccio set up right behind us and painted the fence with a tree trunk, and it came out great.

Jen Z said...

It is a lovely picture, and I was reminded in your step-by-step that you have to make a lot of decisions and fixes on the fly when painting over a longer period (light changing and sky, moving people/cars)
I also find it interesting that the red building and the intersection from Friday's post made an appearance here too.
This is making me want to consider taking my paints along to the 20th International Sketch crawl on Saturday...

Unknown said...'re art makes me feel like I don't deserve the term 'professional'
you're a true artist
inspiring! thanks for sharing!