Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Watercolor as a Controlled Emergency

RLD Studio asks: "I noticed you chose to eliminate some elements like several lily pads and make the frog larger in relation to the pad it was sitting on. I assume you did so to improve the composition. I find myself hesitant to change too much of an image when I'm painting outdoors... I'd love to hear your take on this and if you changed your approach over the years."

Normally, I try to stay true to what I'm seeing. But you're right, those changes happened, not so much as a deliberate compositional decision, but rather as the result of a sort of controlled emergency, like landing a parachute in a windstorm. I tried to lock in the frog first, assuming he'd move, and built the lily pads around him. I deleted some of the closer pads to make space for the rippling water which gave the picture some movement and context.


Sketching Artist said...

I'd swear he is smiling.

nuum said...

Master Gurney,
The frog painting post was an instant hit.
You are creating a new kind of art.
A mix of Painting/Drawing, live scenes, and Poetry.

Carl Wendt said...

In viewing your video you used watercolor and painted directly similar to a gouache painting or casein approach. Bravo! The results look better than the photo....but of course you were painting from life with gave you the ability to assess the colors live. Nice glowing sunlight bouncing everywhere. And of course he knew you were painting his portrait so did his best to stay still.

JayloHusiyar said...

Hi !
I am JAYESH from India.
I applied for fine arts course in college near me.
But if I don't get admission there no other option for college so I have to learn painting by myself.
How can I practice to study colors.
I want to learn colors like you & some other artists do. You use lot of colors & still they make beautiful harmony & matches with others.
I have lot of questions but this is the main one " how can I practice myself to create beautiful color harmony?
Thank you.
Big fan.

James Gurney said...

Hi, Jayesh,
That's a good question. You can teach yourself color by
1. Paint outside in various conditions.
2. Make thumbnail copies of art or photos you admire.
3. Read books, watching videos, and study websites about color.
Besides GurneyJourney, let me recommend David Briggs's website HueValueChroma:
4. Keep a notebook of what you learn.

nuum said...


James wrote a wonderful book that can help you a lot:
Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter


Take care.

Edna Krueger said...

Jayesh, I have that book also & love how James tells you how to get the right colors etc. highly recommend.

Halix said...

Your painting so amazing. The colour is more lively than the ref. I just want to ask the frog in your pic seems too heavy for the pad to hold, so in reality it can be possible? And if not, how can you solve the conflict between art beauty and reasonability? I find it difficult to do that when drawing and want to hear your advice.