Sunday, March 15, 2015

A House on Main Street

Houses that have survived northern winters are like old sailing ships that have crossed the ocean. They're leaky and battered, with the paint barely holding on.

Saugerties Main Street, gouache, 5 x 8 inches
I painted this Victorian house while sitting in my car in a parking lot behind a diner. It was too cold and windy to set up my gouache easel outside. 

The eye level is just beneath the picture so that I could focus on the roofline. The palette is limited to white, black, burnt sienna, cadmium yellow deep, and ultramarine in order to emphasize contrasts in color temperature. I used the warmest colors for the down-facing planes, such as the corbel brackets and the arched window tops.

When I arrived, the sunlight was still illuminating the front planes of the structure, but I knew the light effect would change as the front surface fell entirely into shadow within 15 minutes. So I had to hurry to capture the lighting, especially that sliver of light on the arched gable.
Art Supplies
Watercolor sketchbook
Travel brush set


HNK said...

Mr. Gurney, this is fantastic! Can i write some questions to you by email?

Gary said...

Thanks for yet another interesting post. I do wonder about something. Burnt sienna and ultramarine blue make a black. Is there an advantage to using a tube black?

James Gurney said...

Gary, good question. I often leave off the black and use BS and UB, but I had it there for sparing dark accents. Even pure black often appears a dark gray when the gouache dries because the matte surface of the paint scatters a certain amount of the light.

HNK, I have a hard time getting to all the questions, and I prefer to answer them if they're in the comments tied to a specific blog post. But if you have one or two specific questions, I'll try to get you a brief answer.

Unknown said...

I like this painting. The plein air style makes for a very pleasing image to view, not too much minutia. This one sticks out to me for its mood...the house almost looks haunted, it has a lot of character. Thanks for sharing Mr. Gurney.

Rich said...

I haven't come across any cold winter time Edward Hopper painting yet.

Perhaps it would look somehow like this.

Kayla Gaudet said...

Hello Mr. James Gurney,
I recently came across one of your videos on YouTube on how to paint dinosaurs. I was so interested I went along and purchased the download and warched it countless times. I was wondering if you could possibly make a video making a dinosaur sculpture step by step? I was so inspired I went to the art store here down in Louisiana and bought a few boxes of Sculpty. I attempted to sculpt a Allosaurus, one of my favorites from when I was little. His head was coming along, but I just couldn't get the body to stand up correctly without toppling over and breaking. I also bought the wire you were using and watched how you built them, but in the video it goes by so quickly I can't really see how you make the skeleton for them. Thank you again for your videos! :)

krystal said...

Love it!