Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wow, I Went Viral!



Yesterday, quite unexpectedly, a little video I put on Facebook went viral, with 2.5 million views. Here's a link to the video on Facebook, and here is the longer version on YouTube that shows more of the making.


The video was a new 1-minute edit of the making of my handmade animated logo "Gurney Studio." The concept was simple: to alternate the motion graphics shots with behind-the-scenes clips. 



I made the video for Instagram, where it got a respectable 10K views. I thought just for fun I'd put it on my public Facebook too. It has been shared especially strongly in the Spanish-speaking world and across Southeast Asia.


Facebook gives you some stats. The majority of watchers were men, age 25-34, and 82% of the audience watched it with the sound off.

Here are some preliminary guesses to why it went so big:
1. Simple intro line: "A different way to do logo animation." 
2. No need to speak English to understand the video.
3. Simple, tight editing: Flurry of 1/2 sec. clips at the beginning, followed by A,B,A,B,A,B.
4. No links out, which probably boosted it in FB's algorithm.
5. "Share-ability" which is an elusive thing. People want to share something that makes them look good.
6. Bottom line is THANK YOU! for watching and sharing. That's what makes it happen.

The comments ranged from people who thought it was a funny stunt to: 
"What if Cinema 4D was done practically?" 
"Let's try this on our project" 
"Bro, this is your kind of stuff," 
"Pretty good, Grandpa!" 
"Hey, let's dump our computers; we can get the same results working in the garden."

A lot of shares were among people who work in the graphics trade. One multimedia company said "Reality, first and foremost."

Perhaps we have arrived at the intersection of two vectors: one being what is possible with cutting-edge digital tools and the other being what can be created by hand and shot in-camera. The former requires expensive software and expertise on how to use it, and the latter takes some workshop skills and some level of commitment.

As an artist, I am mesmerized by watching examples of the latest software and how it can capture complex interactions of particle effects and fluid dynamics. But I know that with my learning curve and my budget, the best I could ever accomplish with those tools is a very second rate effort. For me the fun of the practical build is that all those effects are "for free."

Once you make the device, you can place it into new visual environments and situations. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Painting a Creek in Wyoming



Here's a new casein mini-video. If you're getting this post by email, you may need to follow this link to YouTube.


I choose a view facing toward the sun, which makes sparkling spots of bright light. Note the vertically stretched reflections in the still water near the far shore.


The appearance of the water surface is very sensitive to changes in the wind.

Invest in your art education
Get the full tutorial on Gumroad (Digital download HD 1080p 3.1G MP4).
Buy Now on Gumroad
The digital download is also available on Sellfy for Paypal customers. Digital download (HD 720p 1.5G).

The DVD version is available at Kunaki (ships worldwide) or at Amazon.

You can get the paint in sets. The Casein Explorers Pack is a good introductory palette that gives you a pretty wide gamut.
The Casein 6 Pack (The colors I used for this painting. On its own, it's a rather muted palette. It can be used on its own and it also makes a good supplement to the 12 pack.)
Casein 6-pack with travel brush set (Same set as above with the short-handled brushes).

Monday, November 28, 2016

A guy comes up to me while I'm painting....



One of the things I love about painting outdoors is meeting the locals. While painting in Salida, Colorado, I chatted a bit with artist Ronald E. Paine.


The painting is in casein and gouache. The full account of the technique of the painting is on my new video Casein in the Wild. If you're getting this post by email, you may need to follow this link to watch the video.

Take your paints to the streets
Gumroad (Credit cards)Digital download (HD 1080p 3.1G MP4)

Find out more about Casein
Sellfy (Paypal) Digital download (HD 720p 1.5G)
DVD at Kunaki (ships worldwide) or Amazon
Casein Explorers Pack (12) (A good introductory palette that gives you a pretty wide gamut.)
Casein 6 Pack (The colors I used for this painting. On its own, it's a rather muted palette. It can be used on its own and it also makes a good supplement to the 12 pack.)
Casein 6-pack with travel brush set (Same set as above with the short-handled brushes).

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Portrait Sketch of Dan

Here's a quick portrait sketch of my son Dan. I'm using water-soluble colored pencilswatercolor, and a water brush filled with fountain pen ink. in a watercolor sketchbook.
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Do you visit Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, or Twitter? Check me out there, too.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Casein Palette


A few people asked about setting up a casein palette. I made this palette out of a metal lid from a colored pencil box that I spray-painted white. The steel tray holds onto the magnets embedded in my homemade palette.


Those colors give a pretty wide gamut. I often squeeze them onto a damp paper towel to keep them moist longer. I don't usually use a palette knife for pre-mixing, but sometimes it helps to set up some gradated pools of color. They only stay wet for 10 minutes for so, but having them there can encourage bolder and thicker handling.

This image is from "Portraits in the Wild."

Friday, November 25, 2016

How Mel Birnkrant Saved Classic Mickey


The Disney Company would have gladly dumped the classic Mickey Mouse, after Fred Moore redesigned him in the late 1930s. The original animated shorts were hard to come by if you were a kid growing up in the 1940s and '50s. But toy collector Mel Birnkrant discovered Classic Mickey and made it his life work to rescue him.
"In 1939, Mickey Mouse, as Ub Iwerks and Disney first created him, turned pink, lost his tummy, tail, and pie-cut eyes, and this once exquisite masterpiece of graphic imagery began his descent into oblivion. That was the year in which this once perfect exercise in geometric symmetry was pushed aside, to be replaced by an artlessly updated shadow of the mouse he used to be. Therefore, it was a new more realistic Mickey that appeared in what was intended to be the pinnacle of his career, Fantasia."
Mel tells his story of Saving Classic Mickey.

Painting Without an Underdrawing


Drawing is not just what you do with a pencil. You can draw with a brush too. (Link to YouTube)
CM Ranch, casein, 5 x 8 inches
And with this motif, I decided to draw the horses and fences with my paint brush, working from background to foreground.

Excerpt from my new tutorial, "Casein Painting in the Wild."

Treat yourself to inspiration
Gumroad (Credit cards)Digital download (HD 1080p 3.1G MP4)
Sellfy (Paypal) Digital download (HD 720p 1.5G)
Buy now
DVD at Kunaki (ships worldwide) or Amazon
Casein Explorers Pack (12) (A good introductory palette that gives you a pretty wide gamut.)
Casein 6 Pack (The colors I used for this painting. On its own, it's a rather muted palette. It can be used on its own and it also makes a good supplement to the 12 pack.)
Casein 6-pack with travel brush set (Same set as above with the short-handled brushes).

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Solar Flare Underpainting


Here's a mini video showing how to prep your sketchbook page with a solar flare underpainting. (Link to watch video on YouTube).


Here's what the page looked like as I was preparing it. It's good practice to do those gradations with a big flat brush, wet into wet.


When I painted this, I didn't know what I would choose for the final subject, but I had to find a view facing toward the sun, where a dark object blocks the light. Note that there's a gradation in the sky, too, going from pale yellow to a cooler and darker tone at the edges.

This is an excerpt from my new video tutorial, "Casein in the Wild."
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Treat yourself to inspiration!
Gumroad (Credit cards)Digital download (HD 1080p 3.1G MP4)
Sellfy (Paypal) Digital download (HD 720p 1.5G)
Buy now
DVD at Kunaki (ships worldwide) or Amazon
Casein Explorers Pack (12) (A good introductory palette that gives you pretty wide gamut.)
Casein 6 Pack (The colors I used for this painting. On its own, it's a rather muted palette. It can be used on its own and it also makes a good supplement to the 12 pack.)
Casein 6-pack with travel brush set (Same set as above with the short-handled brushes).

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Painting Amid Chaos

One of the biggest challenges of plein-air painting is maintaining focus while unpredictable things happen around you. A park should be a calm, peaceful place to paint, right?



This excerpt from "Casein Painting in the Wild captures a little of the fun when we painting in Montreal last summer. (Link to watch video on YouTube)

Square Phillips, Montreal, casein, 5x8 inches
Have you faced similar challenges? Tell your tale in the comments.


Links and resources
"Casein Painting in the Wild"
Gumroad (Credit cards)Digital download (HD 1080p 3.1G MP4)
Sellfy (Paypal) Digital download (HD 720p 1.5G) Buy now
DVD at Kunaki (ships worldwide) or Amazon
Casein Explorers Pack (12) (A good introductory palette that gives you pretty wide gamut.)
Casein 6 Pack (The colors I used for this painting. On its own, it's a rather muted palette. It can be used on its own and it also makes a good supplement to the 12 pack.)
Casein 6-pack with travel brush set (Same set as above with the short-handled brushes).

Previous related post
Gamestoppers (46 comments)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Your Casein Questions


When I try out a new kind of paint, I like to use a super-limited palette, as I did on this painting of a historic wooden boatbuilding shop. (Watch on YouTube)

Yesterday I invited you to ask questions about casein, and they were great ones. Here are some answers.

Paint
Elo Wobing: Can I ask why you choose this medium over other water soluble painting mediums? Specifically, why not use acrylic paint which is also water soluble with opaque and transparent qualities?
Elo, Yes, you're right, acrylic is very similar. The stronger emulsion strength of acrylic paint makes is preferable to casein if you want durable impastos. The kind of acrylic I do use from time to time is Holbein Acrya Gouache (which is really acrylic). The thing I like about casein is the weaker emulsion, which keeps the paint from being sticky or gummy as it's drying. Casein flows more readily off the brush than does acrylic.

J. Oates: I am curious too as to why you choose casein over gouache. It is not as readily available as gouache in the UK, and so not easy to try.
Good question. Casein and gouache are very similar, so the lessons in this video apply to both media. I reach for casein when I want a fuller bodied paint, and it's less expensive per cc so I can use it more freely. It also has a more closed surface when it dries, meaning the paint won't be reactivated by a later wet stroke. Gouache is better than casein for fine detail, and gouache offers more color choices, and generally heavier pigment concentration.

Matt Dicke: Do you have a preference of Gouache or Casein as an alternative to oil? There are many times when dealing with solvents is not possible and having a water based medium that has a similar feel and handling to oil is needed?
I would say that casein has more body than gouache, and in that sense, it feels more like oil. Maybe it's also that the paint tubes are the same size as oil, and I use plenty of paint when I'm using casein. Casein doesn't really have the impasto quality of oil, though, and neither does gouache. Also, neither gouache or casein has the transparent deep darks of oil. They both dry light in the darks, and that takes some getting used to.

Gary: Is it advisable to order an additional, larger tube of Titanium white with the casein sets? In some media (acrylic gouache) it is difficult to paint opaquely without it.
Yes, I think it's a good idea to have one of the larger tubes of white. I go through two or three times more white than any other color.

Keita Hopkinson: From your experience, how fast does casein dry... (whether a wash, or opaque passages)? Thanks much!
Since it's an aqueous medium, drying time depends on the heat and humidity, as with watercolor and gouache. It will dry to the touch anywhere from a few seconds to a minute or so. Casein is unusual in that the proteins in the milk emulsion continue to strengthen after the paint has dried to the touch, so after a few days or weeks, it will be tougher than paint that has just dried.

Matthieu Kiriyama: I wish I could put my hands on some casein paint, but it doesn't seem like they're available here in Japan (A set of 6 colors from Richeson sells for a hefty 100 to 180 dollars on Amazon). Is Richeson the only manufacturer you know of that I could look into? I understand that milk paint is a popular medium for painting furniture, but not every brand is suitable for fine arts? (I have the same problem of not being able to buy your new video with Paypal the way I did on Sellfy before.)
Richeson is the only manufacturer of tubed artist grade casein that I'm aware of. They bought the ShivĂ¡ company, and make the same paint under the two different brands. If casein is not available in your area, no worries. I would substitute gouache or Acryla gouache. Here's a previous post about gouache materials. And sorry about the Paypal issue. I've been having difficulties uploading the files to Sellfy and Cubebrush, but I'll keep trying.




Color Palette
Koushik: 1) How do you pick a limited palette a priori? For instance, in the painting at Lowell's, you picked a very low chroma yellow palette (with black literally being the cool color). Do you decide up front which gamut you're going to use, pick suitable primaries, then interpret things within that range? As in, you could just as well do your fall Wyoming painting (Torrey creek) using say, a strong blue, a cool red and a muted yellow (like ochre)? I'm just asking because I'm trying to understand how you fix your color gamut without any pre-mixing by limiting your pigment choices.
Good question. I don't follow any set rule. I'm usually pretty intuitive about palette choice. But as I think about it, there are three common circumstances that determine my decision of a given limited palette.

1. One is simply what I have in my paint kit. I often bring a random choice of white plus a red, a yellow, and a blue, trying to choose a version of those colors I haven't tried in a while. That's how I recently fell in love with Perylene Maroon, and Prussian Blue in gouache.
2. Another circumstance is when I have a preconceived color (or lighting) idea and I don't care what the actual colors are in the scene in front of me. That was the case with the painting of the solar flare effect, which I wanted to look like my memory of a photographic lens flare.
3. The third circumstance is when I look at a given scene and I try to identify the main color notes that reappear in the scene or that are essential to it. I try to boil those down to about six or fewer colors and set those out as tubes on the palette. If I need a "spiker" color or "guest" color (as I call them sometimes) I can bring them in as an extra spice.

Varnish and Mediums

Garin Baker painting with me (in oil) at Lowell's Boat Shop
Koushik: 2) You mention varnish in the section on birch panels. You appear to be using some sort of brush-on varnish (made by Richeson I presume) for your finished pieces. In one of your earlier posts on GJ you've mentioned trying the Richeson varnish on paper and having it soak into the surface repeatedly. How would you varnish something that is painted on say, illustration board? Does the clear coat spray work better instead? Additionally, how long do you wait before varnishing (with either brush-on or spray)? I know the emulsion strengthens with time - even though the surface is dry to touch, Richeson says it might take several weeks before the paint film completely sets!

Yes, I was using the Richeson varnish, applied with a brush. But I have also tried Krylon Crystal Clear. Both tend to get soaked up into paintings done on absorbent paper or board, so for those substrates, it can take over four coats before you start seeing much gloss or darkening of the darks. Even if the varnish soaks in, it's important not too use too much with each application.

A surface sealed at the beginning with gesso or acrylic medium or a thick layer of casein that fills the paper's pores would allow the varnish to float on the surface more. It's probably a good idea to wait at least a week or two before varnishing. 

Margaret Berthold: I'm having trouble varnishing casein paintings on 140 pound Arches watercolor paper. When I spray on a gloss varnish, some areas remain matte and some are glossy. It's very patchy and it seems no matter how many coats I apply it won't acquire an even gloss. Would sealing the paper help? With what? Or is a different surface a better idea?
Yes, as mentioned above, if you want the glossy look of a finish, try to prep the surface at the beginning to make it less absorbent. Two things to add: don't use anything with oil on any layers below the casein, and consider leaving the casein unvarnished. The matte surface can be very attractive.

Technique
Jeff Allen: When painting the water, would the same layering technique apply as casein, paint the light 1st, then the dark?
I'm not completely sure I understand your question. Since it's an opaque medium, you could proceed in various ways—light first, then dark; or dark first, then light. Or area by area. My general approach is to wash in some light tones, work the big masses of tone and save the lightest, darkest, and finest accents for last.
John Berkey

Hypnopoodles: 
Do you know of any great works of art done in casein? And on another note, do artists ever work large with gouache and casein? I'm not sure I've ever seen a gouache painting spanning several feet 
John Berkey comes to mind (above). Casein has been used a lot in theatrical set painting and Medieval portable altarpieces, and in some murals, so certainly it can be used large. Below is a casein painting by Samuel Colman.

"Solomon's Temple, Colorado"
20.5" x 26" casein on canvas
Samuel Colman Jr. - 1888
 Links and resources
"Casein Painting in the Wild"
HD Digital download on Gumroad (Credit cards)
HD Digital download on Sellfy (Paypal) Buy now
DVD at Kunaki (ships worldwide) or Amazon
Casein Explorers Pack (12) (A good introductory palette that gives you pretty wide gamut.)
Casein 6 Pack (The colors I used for this painting. On its own, it's a rather muted palette. It makes a good supplement to the 12 pack.)
Casein 6-pack with travel brush set (Same set as above with the short-handled set).