Monday, March 11, 2019

Painting from a Parked Car

When the temperature dips below the 32 degree Fahrenheit mark, watercolors or gouache freeze up and my fingers quit working. 

And when it's windy and rainy, painting in gouache can be miserable. In those circumstances I like to paint from the comfort a parked car. 

Lake Katrine, gouache, 5 x 8 inches 
I'm fascinated by this little house that is wedged between a busy highway and a vertical wall of rock, which is taller than the roof.

(Link to video) I'm painting in gouache over a casein underpainting: Rowney blueMagenta,  Cadmium yellow, and Titanium white. The painting takes about two hours. 

Here's a photo the basic build of the steering wheel easel, before sanding and finishing. The cap piece is made from the wood base of a mouse trap. The whole thing fits right over the steering wheel.
Pentalic watercolor sketchbook
Travel brush set (Richeson)

Gouache in the Wild (Download on Gumroad)
How to Make a Sketch Easel (DVD on Amazon)


Bob Easton said...

It's really sad when one has to scavenge wood from a mousetrap. :)

Yeah, I know; it was the right thickness.

Always enjoying your ingenuity.

James Gurney said...

Bob, yeah, I used all the spring mechanisms from a bunch of mousetraps, and was left with the wood pieces. They got thrown on the pile of scrap wood--just random scraps to recycle and repurpose.

James Gurney said...

Posting for Mrs. Clark:
"Dear Mr. Gurney,
Truly I love your dinosaur books because one of my art instructors was Mr. Zallinger who created the Peabody Museum Murals when he was a student at Yale. I too followed the illustration path with “The Potty Books/DVD/ Dolls (B.A.S. Publishing) now having over three million in sales with lovely royalty checks. Retired and after the passing of my cherished husband, I now spend my time in my father’s old Ford truck Plein Air Painting. I was so excited when my illustrator friend in England attempted to share your blog with me. Because I’m not computer savvy and do not own one, I’m attempting an email. I did see the wonderful painting you created last week in your car. Freezing in Connecticut, I also created a painting in my truck using a touch of vodka in my water to keep it from icing over. I do not know how to comment on blogs or I would have typed all this for you there. I’m ecstatic knowing you Plein Air Paint in your car! I now feel less isolated knowing you are out and about when I am. Hopefully, I am not being too forward by saying I always suggest an old Ford truck with a bench seat for more room that turns into a cozy portable studio.
Most Fondly,
Mrs. Clark"

James Gurney said...

Hi, Mrs. Clark,
Thank you for your kind note. It's good to hear from a retired illustrator and a practicing plein air painter. I met Mr. Zallinger during a visit to the Yale in the early 1990s. I admire his big dinosaur mural at the Peabody Museum. Seeing the mural and meeting him was like seeing the Sistine Chapel ceilings and meeting Michelangelo. I like your thought about the Ford vehicle with lots of space and generous seats. Jeanette and I owned a Ford Econoline camper van when we were just starting out and it was an ideal sketching rig for a cross-country road trip for two sketching buddies.
I'll post your note on the blog comments. I'm not very computer savvy either, but I know just enough to do what I need to do. I do enjoy shooting and editing video, but sometimes the computer makes my brain feel like a rat in a maze, and I'd really rather be painting. Despite all the bad things we hear about, I believe there's magic in the Computer and in the Network, thanks to the good people who assemble here. I like to think that my blog and YouTube channel have a little of the spirit of the early days of the Internet, where people exchange information freely with one another.
James G.

arturoquimico said...

Amazing bit of engineering... rigging your easel so it can be set on a steering wheel or used on the table top... I am thinking about forwarding the video to a grandson who thinks engineering is building rockets; but in my opinion there's still lots of money to be made in these amazing small to medium projects...