Saturday, September 22, 2012

Maquette Magic

(Video link) Here's a new video which features some of the original reference maquettes that I've built for Dinotopia. I shot them so that they line up with the final paintings.

Many of these maquettes—and the resulting paintings—can be seen in the Lyman Allyn Art Museum exhibition, which opens today in New London, Connecticut.

Photos of the maquettes also appear in the behind-the-scenes supplement that's part of the new edition of Dinotopia: The World Beneath, published this month by Dover/Calla.

The long pull-back shot was done with the motorized Lego dolly on an 8-foot run of PVC pipes.

I'll be at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum on October 13. The exhibition will continue through February 2, 2013. Preview more art from the show at the blogs Lines and Colors or Underpaintings.

You can order a signed copy of The World Beneath at
Previous book trailer about writing with dip pens.


Unknown said...

I saw your book at Barnes and Nobles yesterday, it's very good! There seems to be a lot of helpful information and inspiration in it. I like the format, and the way the reader can find certain topics easily. (It's on my Christmas list...)

evensketchier said...

That was really awesome to see. wish I was going to able to see the actual exhibit. What material do you use for most of the maquettes?

Jo-Ann Sanborn said...

Awesome! The word is often overused, but fits this video and your work perfectly.

Janet Oliver said...

Dinotopia, what a wonderful world. Speaking of motorized LEGO dollies, how about this one?

Allen Garns said...

Wonderful! Especially the pullback shot. Never heard of a LEGO Dollie before but now I have. Your work is magical.

Ernest Friedman-Hill said...

Love it! I think you officially have the best production values of any art blog in existence! :)

One question comes to mind -- how do you store, catalog, and maintain all these maquettes? It seems like they'd take up quite a bit of space, and need dusting and perhaps repair from time to time. Some of them have been around for a long time now -- how do you keep them all organized and looking good?

Felice said...

Amazing!.. these marvelous Maquette are really a sight to behold! I really appreciate this peak behind the curtains of your process. Richard Corben is another artist who pushed even further this approach to illustration by intermixing photographs of maquette and sculptures with his hand painted illustrations and comics. Are you familiar with his work?

James Gurney said...

Felice, yes, I was aware that Corben uses maquettes, and he achieves a great sense of realism that way.

Ernest, they're pretty dusty and scattered around the studio. My shelves are filling up. I only keep the ones I can use again.

Janet, thanks, that's an amazing Lego machine.

Evensketcher, most are either Sculpey or cardboard and hot glue.

Thanks, Katherine, glad you found it useful.

Thanks for the kind words, Jo-Ann!

Aaron said...

i can suggest to any other artists with limited space, one suggestion. I have found as I have begun to incorporate digital art into my "arsenal" of art methods, that one great tool I often use in place of physical maquettes is Google SketchUp. It can't help with organic people/creatures (for which I still use sculpting clay mostly) but it is great for getting building and objects. You can also set the shadowing or lighting however you want.

Robin Cave said...

Hi James,

I have just discovered an original copy "The World Beneath" at the library. I was wondering if the background in the painting on page 68-69 (A Camersaurus leads a picnic excursion into Slumberland Valley) is based at all on Arthur Streetons painting "still glides the stream and shall forever glide"?

It just reminded me of something when I first saw it so I looked into it and you know you liked Streetons "Purple noon" Anyway beautiful work from you, as always, with such great light and clear form.

James Gurney said...

Robin, I looked at Streeton's paintings, but also paintings by Albert Bierstadt and Asher Durand.

Robin Cave said...

Yeah, thanks James, I can see the influence of atmosphere and lighting from those guys, It was just the composition and placement of fg hill and river in that particular Streeton that made me wonder.

I don't want to waste your time but I would love to hear what you think of a few other Australian landscape painters of the era... Tom Roberts, Charles Conder, Fredrick McCubbin, Sydney Long, Hans Heysen and a little more recently, Lloyd Rees. If you don't know of any of those then google em up as I think you might get something out of their painting.

Thanks again for your time James and keep up the great work.

James Gurney said...

Hey, Robin, I'm familiar with the first four of the ones you mentioned, but not with the last two. Also admire Jane Sutherland and Norman Lindsay.

Johan said...

The benefits of using maquettes must be immense when it comes to simulating lighting of a certain scene. You show that clearly in your video.

However, where to keep them once they had their use, that could be a problem. Keeping them dustfree is also not that easy I think?
I have a studio the size of a nutshell so I wouldn't know where to put any maquettes.