Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Impressionism in the Garden

Each summer the New York Botanical Garden chooses a theme to inspire its plantings and to guide its museum exhibition. Last year the Frida Kahlo theme attracted record crowds. This year, the topic is "Impressionism: American Gardens on Canvas."

John Singer Sargent, Terrace, Vizcaya, watercolor, via Architects + Artisans
The museum will be presenting more than 20 garden paintings and sculptures by John Singer Sargent, Childe Hassam, William Merritt Chase, and their contemporaries. Parts of the garden will be transformed with an American Impressionism theme, interpreted by Francisca Coelho—NYBG’s renowned curator and designer.

And I'm excited to announce that I've been asked to be the artist in residence.

On the Opening Weekend of May 14, I'll be oil painting in the Seasonal Border and Peony Collection. It won't be a workshop or teaching gig, rather more of a "paint in public" event, and you're welcome to come by and say hello. There will be costumed models, dancers, brass bands, silent movie screenings, and a general air of Belle Epoque festivity.

On June 4th and 5th, I'll be painting in gouache and casein in the Rose Garden, emphasizing portable sketching set-ups.

I also worked with the organizers to set aside June 19 for an invitational plein-air event. From 11 a.m.–5 p.m. I'll be joined by a unique gathering of established plein-air artists spread out across the Garden's grounds.

Here's the list of Invitational Artists
James Gurney
Garin Baker
Ricky Mujica
Armand Cabrera
Shari Blaukopf
Stewart White
Brad Marshall
James Coe
Eleinne Basa
Denise Dumont
Lisa Egeli
Zufar Bikbov
Chris Magadini
Mike Budden
Valerie Craig
Stapleton Kearns
Hongnian Zhang
Lois Woolley
Hiu Lai Chong a few others who still haven't confirmed.

You can watch us in action throughout the day using various media and techniques. Finished art will be made available for purchase by the individual artists on their websites. View a list of participating artists.

Denver Botanic Gardens by James Gurney, casein, 5 x 8 inches
The NYBG also wants to encourage all artists and art students to take part. There will be Plein Air Painting Drop-ins every weekend day from 12–3 p.m. in the vicinity of the Conservatory.

The official site says: "Drop in, grab a stool and some materials (watercolor paints, pencils, charcoal, or pastels, varying by weekend), and create an image of the Garden to take home! Instructors offer guided tips every half hour. Learn how to observe, draw, and paint people in gardens, much like the Impressionists did in their day. Lessons with an artist instructor will vary each weekend."

IMPRESSIONISM: American Gardens on Canvas


David Webb said...

Nice gig, James. I do hope that you'll be sporting a boater?

James Gurney said...

I have a straw boater, but it's too small, so I'll have to settle for a pith helmet.

Tom Hart said...

From top to bottom, beginning to end, this is sure to be a wonderful event. Congratulations!

About that photo on the announcement "flyer". When did that painting take place?

James Gurney said...

Tom, that was a few years ago at a paint out in Millbrook. The model was Augusta Ogden. We were hoping for a sunny day but got clouds and rain all day.

David Webb said...

Ah, the pith helmet will suffice, I'm sure.

Ruth Squitieri said...

This is too cool! I like that painting from years ago, too. How wonderful!

Unknown said...

That's great news!, hope it goes well for you James. Also, thanks for picking the Sargent watercolour - It's a beautiful work - that I have never seen before.

Meredith Feniak said...

This looks like a blast! I have a related question for you: In two months I've attended lectures hosted by two different museums, one contemporary and one not, and both claimed that "realistic impressionism" is the newest trend. There are a lot of things you and I do that would fit that bill, but it still seems so ambiguous... How would you define "realistic impressionism", James?

James Gurney said...

Meredith, I've never heard of that term before, but it seems like a reasonably good term to describe what's going on—a group of painters who revere nature, but also revel in paint.

Meredith Feniak said...

Thanks, James! I love how you described it!

Unknown said...

Loved these garden paintings! Thanks a lot for sharing these pictures. I am going to take part in an arts event at a local event space in LA. Have been waiting for it since a long time. Very excited to participate in it.