Thursday, June 11, 2015

Irving at Illustration Master Class

This is Irving M. Caldwell, one of the students trying to blend in at Illustration Master Class in Amherst, Massachusetts. 

Irving M. Caldwell, gouache, 5 x 8 inches, by James Gurney
I painted this as an hour-long demo yesterday, trying out the idea of combining observation with imagination in an on-the-spot painting. 

Right before the demo, I borrowed some Super Sculpey (thanks, Alex!) and made a tiny maquette. 

I held the maquette on the easel clamp in front of me and rigged a light on him. I then used the studio clutter behind him as raw reference to construct the scenario.

I constructed most of the easels and people in the background with big brushes, using semi-abstract strokes, but keeping the strokes carefully in perspective.

Meanwhile, Brad Kunkle (kneeling, lower left) was demonstrating how he does gold leaf. Photo by Irene Gallo.

There are about 100 students from all around the world here, representing both digital and hand-painted techniques. In between long hours of working on their week-long fantasy paintings, they attend lectures and demos. One student told me she learned more in this week than she did in years of art school. The workshop sells out every year.

To celebrate after my demo, I challenged Chris Kalin to a tournament of unicycle jousting, which ended—not surprisingly for an art event—in a draw.
Illustration Master Class faculty this year includes: Brad Kunkle, Greg Manchess, Rebecca Leveille-Guay, Donato Giancola, Mike Mignola, Iain McCaig, Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Dan DosSantos, Scott Fischer, Mark Chiarello, Greg Ruth, Matthew Kalamidas, Irene Gallo, Jon Schindehette and Jeremy Levine.


HNK said...

Great! I wish I was there... But this is too expensive and I am not that age.... Very good demo, James. It surprises me how you can combine imagination and real-time events in one picture. You are so inspiring.

gyrusdentus said...

The small scale of Irving and your fine motor skills are awe-inspiring.
Just shows how sculpting and painting or drawing are connected.

Did you lower the intensity of Irving´s shadow side with violet as the complement to yellow? I guess the contrast is necessary to make the streak of light pop out?


Daroo said...

Like the old foreground miniature as a practical special effect in a movie. I've been meaning to try that for awhile but with a painted maquette, so the local color is there to be affected by the same light as the scene.

What do you call this technique -- a plein air practical?