Saturday, October 6, 2012

Part 3: Pteranodons / Step by Step

(Continuing the Pteranodons series) Now that I have finished the maquette, I'm excited to move ahead to the final oil painting. Here are four stages:

1. Pencil on heavyweight illustration board, sealed with workable fixative and acrylic matte medium.
2. Thin oil color scrubbed over sky with a big bristle brush. To thin the paint I use Liquin alkyd medium  and Gamsol mineral spirits.
3. Transparent lay-in continues. It's like a watercolor, but painted in oil.
4. Replace or redefine transparent areas with opaque mixtures.

I use a palette knife to build up the impasto texture in the foam and rocks. By mixing a drop of cobalt drier into the white, even thick passages will dry overnight.

Here's the final painting. Tomorrow I'll show you how I hatched the hatchling.

The Pteranodon series:
Part 1: Pteranodons / Thumbnails
Part 2: Pteranodons / Maquette
Part 3: Pteranodons / Step by Step


Susan said...

Seeing the steps you take, and watching your artistry unfold is the best. Thanks!

Ernest Friedman-Hill said...

Always wonderful to see you at work, James!

James Gurney said...

Joe said: "Hi James, Watching you do your process of creating extinct animals is really cool. Question: when you created the maquette of the pteranodons, did you have to research the anatomy on the animal to get the maquette look real?"
Joe, yes, I looked at a lot of fossils and skeletal reconstructions (both 2D and 3D), and based my measurements and shapes on those of the original fossils.

Lori Lukasewich said...

I'm just delighted and humbled by your amazing generosity. Seeing your processes is such a gift. Thanks so much!

Tom Hart said...

This is a beautiful painting James. And again, I have to say that not only do I marvel at your artistic experience and skill, but equally - like Lori - at the generosity with which you share your knowledge. They say that teaching is the best way to accumulate and retain knowledge, and I imagine that you reap that benefit - very deservedly so.

James Gurney said...

It's very kind of you to say such nice things. I can assure you the gift goes both ways, because knowing I will be making my process transparent to you all pushes me to be a bit more diligent and accountable, and I often need such a kick in the can.

Zubin Erik said...

Ever thought about making a video showing the process?

Like with the dinosaurs of Laramidia you painted for Scientific American.

Andrew said...

Awesome work as always.

When you did the transparent lay-in, did you wait until it was completely dry before you worked opaquely, or did you just jump right in?

Rosie said...

Hi, this is probably a dumb question, since I'm a beginner at this, but why do you do you first paint transparently, and then paint over it with opaque paint? Wouldn't it look the same if you just started with the opaque?

Anyway, thanks for showing us your process. I learn so much from your blog posts!

Anonymous said...

You were smart to take the time to make the maquette. The lighting on the pteranadon is really great and gives a greater sense of realism than faking it would have. Great job! - Margie Palombi

Jared Shear said...

Wonderful post James. It's always great to get the opportunity to see you process on these. Insightful and inspirational.