Sunday, June 4, 2017

Painting backlit ferns

Instead of painting a standard garden vista, I decide to unravel the complicated rhythms of a bank of backlit cinnamon ferns.

A page of my sketchbook is already primed in casein with a color called "vegetable green" or "parent green." This is the standard hue of the transmitted light that filters through new grass or spring foliage. My intention is to cover up over most of the underpainting, but to let it peek through in places.

(Link to video on YouTube)
I'm experimenting with a sighting grid—similar to Durer's or Leonardo's, but modernized. This helps me to efficiently lay down the main lines of the scene. With repetitive natural forms like this, it's easy to lose track of which frond is which. In this case I want to be as specific and accurate as possible; I don't want to resort to generalized painterly handwriting.

I'll share more about grids and other Renaissance devices in the future.
More about "vegetable green" in the previous post "Prismatic Palette."

New video: "How to Make a Sketch Easel".

The 1080p HD download is available now for just $14.95 from Gumroad.

The DVD version is available for $24.50, and it includes a slide show. The DVD is also available on Amazon.


Karen Eade said...

That was absolutely awesome. Thank you.

Nick J. said...

What a beautiful meditation! Thanks! Can you share any tips or further information on your "universal vegetable green?"

James Gurney said...

Nicholas, I heard the term from Keith Gunderson, a student of Frank Mason and grand-student of Frank V. Dumond, so evidently the term came from that line. I talk a little more about it on the previous post about the Prismatic Palette, which I added to the end of the post as a live link.

Sirfilior said...

Hi James

Since I love your art so much I was wondering how you would go about learning to draw&paint like you if you would start from scratch again ? What would you advice to a 20y/o person more or less completely new to the subject. Drawing from books, videos... I really like your Gumroad tutorials but for me they are at this point more inspiration since I'm not yet able to follow along :)

Thanks for your answer! Keep up your magical work