Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Coming Monday the 13th: Portraits in the Wild

On Monday the 13th I'll be releasing a new video about painting portraits in the wild. This isn't your usual studio portrait demo. It's about people who are not posing.

Painting portraits from life takes on a new intensity when your subjects are talking and moving around in their natural environment.

In this unique video workshop, I'll bring you along as I paint people in four dynamic situations: fairgoers in a lunch line, a historical interpreter at an outdoor museum, a farmer in a barn, and a gathering of Sacred Harp singers.

Scott Corey, historical interpreter at Sturbridge Village
Gouache, 5 x 5 inches.
I'll use a variety of media: colored pencils, watercolor, gouache, casein, and oil. Each image develops from the first sketch to the final painting, with closeups of palette and brushstrokes juxtaposed with shots of the moving model.

Sacred Harp Convention, casein
You’ll hear and see the subjects talking and singing, alternating with my voiceover explaining what I'm thinking at each stage. I paint this group portrait from the sidelines of a singing convention, as the subjects move around and change seats.

At various points in the video, people get up and move, or I screw up, and I show how I fix it.

Advance Praise for Portraits in the Wild
“With words and paint Jim Gurney demonstrates the joy of sketching and painting people from life. A must view for all artists!”—Everett Raymond Kinstler, N.A., AWS

“Portraits in The Wild is a supremely inspiring video to watch and an invitation to all aspiring artists to venture out and give it a go no matter where you are in your creative journey.”—Garin Baker, Carriage House Art Studios

"The thing that truly impresses is that the viewer can apply these techniques to any medium. Clearly, James has his own style, but these videos help to impart basics on HOW to approach these subjects. This is especially important with painting people in public, since painting people is difficult even for the best of us." —Michael Mrak, Design Director, Scientific American

"Aside from his step by step demonstrations, Jim teaches as much by his calmness and humor in the face of artistic challenges as he does with technical information. His special emphasis is to return again and again to clear artistic thinking amid the chaos of the passing parade; the timeless fundamentals of gesture, value, drawing and suggestion."—Kev Ferrara, artist of Dead Rider

Review by Urban Sketcher Marc Holmes
Download (66 minutes, 1080p HD widescreen MP4 video) Available at Gumroad
DVD (NTSC widescreen with slideshow) Available from 

Tune into Facebook Live on Monday the 13th at noon EST for a live demo with prizes and discounts.


Tom Hart said...

Can't wait!! Christmas comes early this year :^)

Rich said...

James; after accomplishing paintings like these: How is your reaction after you made the final brushstroke?
Since everything is diligently planned out, are you looking at the result, saying: "Well, everything went according to plan". Or are there elements where you will say: "Hey, what's that...didn't expect it." (I don't mean the occasional mistake, which anyway must be a rare event in your case.;o)

James Gurney said...

Thanks, Tom!

Rich, I WISH it went according to plan. On the video I record the moments when my subjects unexpectedly depart, or I decide to change poses. With multi-figure group scenes, I usually try to finish one person at a time, but I never know who will be in the scene together at the beginning. That makes the experience (and hopefully the video) kind of dramatic and unexpected.

Jared Cullum said...

I'm so excited about this! I've been thinking about it since that preview at the portrait conference. I will be waiting with my mouse hovering on the "buy" button.
I really appreciate the amount of material you put out there and your generosity with knowledge at such an affordable rate. Thank you, sincerely.

Jim Douglas said...

Jim, in addition to making your video "kind of dramatic and unexpected," I would say including your reactions to "mistakes" or surprises makes your video infinitely more unique and useful to the developing painter. I've heard it said that painting is a bold initial action followed by a series of corrections. Developing the ability to roll with the punches is critical. Thanks for offering something different and valuable to our creative community!

Tom Hart said...

I second Jim's comment. I'm so happy that (as you say): "I screw up, and I show how I fix it." That's something missing from many instructional videos which, sadly, robs the viewer of one of picture-makings most important lessons.

Unknown said...

I'm really excited for this... but a little sad to see that something will be left out of the digital download. I pretty much don't have a DVD player anymore, so download is the only way to go, but I'm sad that I'll be missing out on the slide show.

Also, kinda bummed that the discounts will be on Facebook live, which stymies me, but not too bummed because I'm sure it'll be worth paying full price for. Hopefully you might post the demo to the blog later, like you did with the last facebook live thing?

James Gurney said...

A Main, sorry the slide show can't be included in the download, but the DVD allows me to do a collection of images that people can scroll through at their own speed, and I wanted to put something special in that edition since it costs more. As far as Facebook, goes, don't worry, there will still be similar discounts for regular blog visitors. And I'll embed the FB stream in the blog after it archives.

Diane Mannion said...

James Gurney, you ARE my hero! Everything you do is an inspiration and great learning experience. Can't wait for this one!

Clara Lieu said...

I'm really looking forward to this video, and I love that you include all of the odd, unpredictable hurdles that arise when you work on site. You can't make these types of things up! The honesty and integrity with which you present your creative process is truly unique in this world.

rock995 said...

I'm ready. Hope they take Pay Pal.

Shelly Solomon said...

This is just what I need! Thank you so much for continuing to make videos! Will this be on amazon?

Connie Nobbe said...

I'm so excited for this video! I also do not have a working DVD drive so I will have to do the download. I'm really looking forward to learning your approach, and I love that it's "in the wild"!