Monday, March 23, 2015

Five Tips from Carl Evers

Carl G. Evers (1907-2000) specialized in painting ships and boats at sea.

He painted some of the most convincing water effects since Montague Dawson and Frederick Waugh. He primarily worked with watercolor and gouache.

Evers was born in Germany. He studied art in London at the Slade School, and worked as an illustrator in Sweden and then in the USA. In two rare articles, he offered some valuable picture-making secrets.

1. "I see the painting complete in my mind before I put pencil to paper. If I couldn't see the picture in my mind, I couldn't draw it!"

2. "If the painting is for a client, I first offer a thumbnail sketch for approval. I then redraw it half the size of the final composition to work out the perspective and all the details to full size."

3. "I make a complete pencil drawing, including the design of the waves and the details of the ship. Even the sky shading is indicated. I finally trace it down on the watercolor board for completion."

4. "The camera is a valuable research tool for me and is by no means a competitor. Painting permits portrayal of the essence of an event or scene without the distracting details invariably caught by the camera."

5. "The water surface cannot be copied from photos since the composition, as always, is my own, and waves and reflections must be designed to fit the pattern."

• Sources for this post: The quotes are from American Artist magazine, July, 1977 and an old Walter Foster book "How to Paint from Your Color Slides and Photographs (#64)" 1965. (There are only two page spreads on Evers in this book)
BooksMarine Paintings of Carl G. Evers, published by Ballantine. (It's cheap and full of great reproductions.)
Marine Painting: Techniques of Modern Masters, (Two Evers paintings, sketches and some discussion of his methods.) Thanks, David.
• Web sources: 
Lines and Colors (good survey and capsule bio)
Past Print (emphasis on his industrial illustrations)
Today's Inspiration (overview)
Leif Peng's Flickr Set (scanned tearsheets)
J. Russell Jinishian Gallery (capsule bio and original art).


David Webb said...

Lovely work, James, and very atmospheric. He could tackle rough seas and 'mill pond' conditions. The pencil roughs (if you can call them 'rough') reveal just how much work is involved before brush and paint gets anywhere near the paper.

Karen Eade said...

Reading this, I feel definitely that I do not do enough prep before I pick up a brush. James, how do you design, draw, paint those rough seas?? It is fabulous but I wouldn't know where to start.

Tom Hart said...

Piggybacking on Karen's comment, I'd love to see a post that focuses on painting water - surface, waves, ripples, etc.

S. Stipick said...

I'm in awe, a modern day maritime Disegno. Beautiful, another great artist to add to an ever expanding list of inspiration. What is so fascinating is how his "thumbnails " and half sized drawings clearly demonstrate that drawing is the foundation for all painting. A true disegno trait if ever there was one. Good stuff, thanks for sharing.

Glenn Tait said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glenn Tait said...

Here are a few posts that James has done in regards to water; there are probably more.

He included links to an informative book by Montagu Pollock "Light and Water : a study of reflexion and colour in river, lake and sea:

Chris Mayger is a British marine artist whose work I recently discovered. One of his influences was Montague Dawson. Maygner worked mostly in gouache.

Tom Hart said...

It's interesting to note the compositional changes between the drawing of the tug (?) "M" and the painting of same - assuming the drawing was for that same piece. I wonder what the reasons were for those changes were.

Tom Hart said...

Thanks Glenn!

Steve said...

These are masterful. Another favorite painter of water surfaces is Frits Thaulow. Worth googling.

James Gurney said...

Glenn, thanks for giving the links to the Pollock book. There's definitely a logic and theory to painting waves that an artist has to understand either consciously or intuitively. Pollock's book is one of the few I've found that breaks down the topic thoroughly.

Steve, I also love Fritz T.'s work, especially for the relatively glassy millpond or stream water.

Karen and Tom, The amount of prep work and the fact he did it in B+W drawing media reminds me of Rockwell. He really knew what he was doing when he got to the final execution.

I would bet the final watercolor would be done in far less time than the preparatory stages.

David McNeill said...

I have a book "Marine Painting - Techniques of Modern Masters" by Susan Rayfield, published in 1991. She covers a fair number of contemporary marine painters, including Carl Evers - there are two of his paintings and some sketches and some discussion of his methods. It is pretty cheap on Amazon and if you like marine painting, I think this book would be interesting and helpful.

James Gurney said...

Thanks, David. I've added the link for that book to the end of the post.