Friday, August 21, 2009

Lehigh River Video

Here's a short video showing steps in a plein air oil study two days ago.

The early stages show the subject drawn with a brush, large tones scrubbed in, and the details of foam saved for last.

The oil painting is 9 x 12 inches, and took about six hours.

Here's a shot of the final painting.


Daroo said...

Very Nice -- looks like a great spot.

I find painting little sparkly details on water problematic ( actually, I find painting water problematic). When painting shadows I know to look for ways to connect the shadows up ("shape-weld", to use your term) to simplify and unify the design. But with light highlights, once you start combining them into bigger shapes, they seem to lose their character and no longer look like little light accents. If you under do them they don't really describe the movement of the water and look like unpainted areas of canvas showing through.
I suppose it just comes down to good drawing and finding the right balance of light and dark...

Your painting looks great I'd love to see it bigger.

lupus said...

Hi, James, a great oil work, I've enjoyed it very mauch. Congratulations.

Best regards.


Steve said...

Can you tell about your umbrella rig? Setting up on rock is a real challenge. Loved the painting!

James Gurney said...

Steve, the light-diffusing umbrella is held by a Matthews Century stand (or "c-stand.") This is a piece of movie grip equipment that works great in the field, even though it's a bit heavy.

Note the adjustable black leg of the c-stand. It's worth paying a little more for this model, which helps when you need to set up on uneven ground.

Jason Peck said...

Hey James,

Wonderful post, and a beautiful painting.

Best Jason

Shawn Escott said...

You make it look so easy! No bugs, no falling into the river, no rain storm or sun burn... LOL! And at the end of it an amazing painting!

Tim said...

Nice James! Six hours, thats a haul mate. How much did the light change during that time, or did you do most of the end stuff from memory (since its rolling water)

I'm having thoughts of when to stop my own pleine airing. When I do a commission Ill drop the brushes after 2 hours no matter where I am and come back the next day. For myself, I found that after 4 hours there generally is a breaking point where whatever I add too the painting is gonna take something away. I sort of just start to "drone on", mind gone mushy so to speak. Of course, I then have a tendency to pick it up in the studio a few days alter and spend 2-3 more hours on them, when the painting is dry. Of course, there are no rules in pleine airing, but it would still be interesting to hear your thoughts on the subject of time and how you spend your time.

On another note, I cant believe that I'm gonna miss the next Art Out Loud in NYC, some of the best names on that list! It would have been great listening to and seeing you painting. Maybe they will set up a camera on each of you guys, so us poor schmoes in the rest of the world can see you!

James Gurney said...

Thanks, everybody. Tim, I usually knock off after three hours max on sunny days because the light changes so much.

On this one, for the first three hours or so, I was just concentrating on the water, which stayed in open shadow and wasn't affected too much by the changing light. I saved the rocks for last, when the sun came around behind and lit up the forms.

I actually knocked off for an hour and a half in the middle of the session for lunch and a nap because of the brain-frying fatigue you mentioned. Normally I prefer to work two hour shifts on two consecutive days. said...

nice painting , I have doing similar subjects this summer, I love the water crushing with the rocks,Non the less, as Daroo I have some time problems doing the foam of the water,which mix of color are you doing for it and how do you applied?small brush? round or flat any way if you can give me a Tip or two. cheers , nice work

James Gurney said...

Jesus and Daroo, I posted a still picture of the final painting at the end of the post so you could see it better.

The small foam details were done with a worn out #4 watercolor sable round. I needed the floating circles of foam to have an elliptical shape to make them look in proper perspective, and I had to paint them last over the semi-dry greenish water.

Painting white over a wet color as you know can be a problem because it can pick up the under layer. So I kept the dark color of the water fairly thin. My heroes for painting waves and foam on location are William Trost Richards and Frederic Church.

Also, I was very aware that the foam was not really white, but an light warm grayish color. said...


Katherine Kean said...

Beautiful - I could watch this all day. Thanks for sharing your methods.

The sound effects and the music are fun too.