Friday, August 30, 2013

Video Contest: Plein-Air Persistence

When you leave the comfort of your studio to draw or paint outdoors, disaster waits at every turn. Out in the weather and in public places, all sorts of obstacles rise up to block you. 

Overcoming those challenges requires a hero's heart and plenty of persistence. Sometimes a good sketch is snatched from the jaws of failure, sometimes not. As Winston Churchill, a great champion of plein-air painting once said, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It's the courage to continue that counts."

"Plein Air Persistence" is the theme of the next GurneyJourney contest. The format is a YouTube video, one minute or less in length. The deadline is midnight, October 22th. There is no fee to enter, and everyone is eligible.

Rettakat suggested creating categories, so here's how I'd like to break it up so that young people and animators have their own fair chance:
1. Youth (17 years old or younger)
2. Animation (digital CGI, hand-drawn 2D, stop motion, claymation, FX heavy, etc)
3. Live Action (normal video mostly filmed in camera, including time lapse and cosplay).

The videos can be any genre: comedy, instructional, documentary, superhero, biographical, or fictional. A video can be created by one person or by a team, such as a school classroom.

Entry Information
• I will select up to five finalists in each category.
• A popular vote via blog poll starting October 24 will choose each category's winner.
• Enter by sending me an email to gurneyjourney (at)
• Please put in the subject line of your email: "Plein-Air Persistence"
• In the body of the email, please include your full name, your email, a link to your website, and the link to your YouTube video.
• Your video must be new and original, and uploaded between now and the deadline.
• Please make sure you have the rights to the music and images you use.
• By submitting, you agree to allow your video to be used promotionally.
• If the video is in a language other than English, please include subtitles.

• Each #1 winner will receive one copy of their choice of my in-print books, signed and remarqued, sent anywhere in the world, plus the laurels of being featured on GurneyJourney (over 178,000 page views in the last 30 days).

EDIT after posting: Eric Rhoads, publisher of Plein Air Magazine has stepped forward to say: "Great idea! To take this to the next level we will put a story about it in PleinAir Magazine, circulate it in our weekly newsletter Plein Air Today, put it on and show it at the Plein air convention in front of an audience of 800+ Plein air artists from around the world next April in Monterey. This is going to be fun. You have our support!" To which I say, Thanks, Eric!

EDIT later: Jack Richeson and; Company has generously donated gift certificates for Richeson products worth $250 and $150 as prizes for the first and second highest overall vote getters. That's so generous--thanks, Darren! 

EDIT: Liliedahl video productions is donating three gift certificates worth $250 each so the winner in each category can pick from any of their 100+ art instruction videos.

Good luck and remember Churchill's words: "Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."
Check out my YouTube channel
Previously on GurneyJourney:
Winner of the Color and Light video contest
Imaginative Realism video contest finalists
Gamestoppers  (with 44 amazing comments)
Plein Air Painting Disasters (Interviews at Plein Air convention)
Subaru Ad


Eric Rhoads said...

Great idea! To take this to the next level we will put a story about it in PleinAir Magazine, circulate it in our weekly newsletter Plein Air Today, put it on and show it at the Plein air convention in front of an audience of 800+ Plein air artists from around the world next April in Monterey. This is going to be fun. You have our support!

James Gurney said...

Thank you, Eric! Nothing could be better.

For those who don't know, PleinAir magazine is THE print and electronic journal of the outdoor painting field. The 2014 convention in Monterey will be an amazing gathering, and a showing of the winning entries would be like the Academy Awards for plein air videographers.

Keith Parker said...

Hmm...I guess I'll have to try to figure out how you-tube works. Never done video before...

James Gurney said...

Keith, it's super easy. Here's a video explaining how to upload:

Almost any computer has good video editing software. And you could shoot a good video with a cellphone camera. So hopefully everyone has all the free tools they need to create an entry.

But how to use those tools--that's the challenge.

Edward Foster said...

Wait, this is painting outdoors still, right? Like making a CGI animation about painting outdoors, or is it making a CGI animation outdoors? If it's the latter, do you have to film yourself making an animation out doors since the final film might be take place entirely within the computer.

Color me confused.

James Gurney said...

Edward, sorry for the confusion. The subject is the persistence it takes to paint en plein air—that is, to paint outside the studio. The video could be shot outdoors showing you or someone else painting— or the video could be created entirely in the animation studio or the computer. But the theme of the video should about the experience of sketching on location.

Five Fives said...

Don’t be disappointed James, if you get fewer entries this time. Video contests are tough because it's an intimidating and often time consuming format to work with. :~) That said I do look forward to seeing this play out.

James Gurney said...

Industrial, A little suggestion for painting and illustration students would be to talk to a film major and work together. This stuff is a piece of cake for them, and they're probably looking for a subject for their assignment.

And I'll bet every painter has a friend who does videography for a serious hobby. They who might want to work together to make a prizewinning film.

Retta said...

Drats, now I wish I was a plein air painter.

But I totally look forward to the entries. And if an Ancient Artist like me (62 yrs young) can learn to make a little art-doodle demo video, and load onto Youtube, surely anyone can.

Tip: you can use for free background music.

I expect lots of entries. :-)

James Gurney said...

Rettakat, yes, thanks. And also Kevin MacLeod of the website has lots of free music that anyone can use just for the price of giving him a credit at the end.

Annie said...

Can't wait to see these -- past posts have been so funny and encouraging! May I tell an Opposite story? I was sketching horses recently at a busy outdoor celebration in 90 degree heat. A young girl approached and I dreaded having to field a lot of questions. She only had one. "Are you thirsty?" she asked and held out a cup of cool water.