Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Terence Cuneo's Railroad Art

(Video linkTerence Cuneo (1907-1996) was a British artist known for his paintings of railroads. In this 1960 video we see him at work sketching a train engine from astride a railroad track, while a vigilant assistant keeps an eye out for oncoming trains.

"Apart from being a top-flight artist," the announcer says, "Cuneo is also a practical man, which is a distinct asset when he wants to get an engine into the position he wants." Cuneo then climbs aboard the engine and drives it down the track.

The clip ends with Cuneo showing his finished canvas to the railroad men themselves and inviting their criticism.

Terence Cuneo on Wikipedia
Addendum: Cuneo was also famous for hiding mice in his paintings. VIDEO


MrCachet said...

I'm with the guy! - the kerchief and rolled-up jeans...

bill said...

Any relation to John Cuneo?

Michael Oxley said...

James, thanks for this! I just finished an oil painting of a train and I have new respect for artists like Cuneo.

Trains are a complex maze of pipes and other greeblies... too much to include in a painting. The toughest part was figuring out what details to leave out and still make it readable.

I encourage all artists out there to paint something like a train that gets them out of their comfort zone. You'll learn a ton.

Rich said...

Love these vintage clips - how high the standards were!
Excellent sketching on the spot. This time it's not wind, weather and rain as in your recent watercolor post, but the forthcoming train endangering the painting (and the painter)...But all went well, as one can witness here, with the man blowing the warning horn;-)
I'm not a professional engine driver, but the final resulting painting must have impressed those chaps depicted here. At least I am as impressed by the final result as I am impressed by those preparatory sketches done with rolled-up jeans.

Jeff Fennel said...

Love Cuneo's Railway paintings! Man could that guy paint metal!

Unknown said...

Terence Cuneo was famous for putting mice into his paintings, especially his military paintings. First thing I do is look for his little mouse, it becomes a game and sometimes you find him with a miniture helmet and rifle. I like his impressionistic style and use of colour.

James Gurney said...

Richard, thanks for mentioning that. There's another video about his hidden mice:

Nathan Fowkes said...

That's great!

As an aside, the announcer voice is so affected it's almost humorous but it really has charm too. I gripe at today's speech affectations in the news and such but in 50 years they may well seem charmingly quaint.

Tim said...

"No flowery criticism!"

David Teter said...

Fun to watch him sketch that train.
'Lines and Colors' did a post on him a while back, has a couple more links to look him up.

Travel Town here in LA at Griffith Park is a good place to see trains up close and you won't have to worry about the 1025 Down train in the small of your back if you plan to sit and sketch.
They have trains outdoors as well as an indoor Museum.

Joseph Miller said...

Great find Mr. Gurney!!

Michael makes an excellent point about detail, and deciding what to leave in and out of the picture.

I also loved the narration! A voice from a simpler time.


SWOPS said...

Terence was also an illustrator. He drew for a number of wartime (and after) comics. I am lucky enough to live in the same village as his daughter and have seen a number of his works, drafts and sketches firsthand. His dexterity blows you away!

His Mother (Nell Tenison) and Father (Cyrus Cuneo) were fine artists in their own right. As they say, the apple never falls far from the tree :-)

There is a Cuneo Society, which is well supported with members around the world.