Monday, October 31, 2022

Segrelles Exhibition in Valencia

A new exhibition of José Segrelles (1885-1969) has opened in Valencia (Spain). 

It's called "Segrelles y Blasco: dibujando las palabras" ("Segrelles and Blasco: drawing the words").

The exhibition will be on view at the Casa Museo Blasco Ibáñez from October 27 2022 to March 19 2023.

Curator José Enrique Segrelles (great-nephew of the artist) says the show includes 24 monochromes of Segrelles created between 1921 and 1924 to illustrate four Blasco Ibáñez’ novels.

José Segrelles is a good artist to study for mood and mystery.

More about him on Wikipedia 

Tower of Skulls

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Stuck on a Zoom Call? Sketch!

What do you do when you've got an hour long Zoom call with fellow board members of the Portrait Society? You sketch them, of course!
Pilot 12 fountain pen
Yama Guri Ink

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Final Touches of White

Some plein-(plane?)-air gouaches need a few last touches of white that you can’t get with a brush…
…which is why I carry these: a water-soluble colored pencil, a pastel pencil, and a white gel pen.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Your Thoughts About The Wienermobile

The 1952 Wienermobile was my subject for a gouache study at the Henry Ford Museum

You can ask me about how I'm going about the painting of it—or you could tell your story about your own encounter with a Wienermobile—via this Speakpipe link and I'll try to include some question and comments in an upcoming YouTube video.

Send me your question via Speakpipe
Wienermobile on Wikipedia

Monday, October 24, 2022

Fantasy Art at Flint

Fantasy art gets a good showing in Flint Institute of Arts in Michigan, which is currently hosting "Enchanted: A History of Fantasy Illustration" through January 8. 

One of the images blown up to wall size is Red Dragon by Tyler Jacobson, 2014. 

There are original paintings and drawings by artists such as Arthur Rackham (above), Howard Pyle, Frank Frazetta, NC Wyeth, Norman Rockwell, Jessie Wilcox Smith, Anna Dittmann, Gary Gianni, and Victo Ngai.

Two of my paintings are in the show, Garden of Hope and Skeleton Pirate.

Tony Diterlizzi and I demonstrate the startle reflex of the Horsfield's Tarsier. 

We were joined by museum director Tracee Glab, FIA curator Rachael Holstege, Norman-Rockwell Museum-Curator Jesse Kowalski, and Art Historian Alice Carter.

"Enchanted: A History of Fantasy Illustration" will be on view through January 8. 

If you can't make it to Michigan, there's a gorgeous catalog.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Clipping and Halation

 This photo, taken yesterday at the Flint Institute of the Arts in Michigan, is a good example of clipping and halation,

The sunlight enters the room through a big window, edge lighting the two figures and leaving a bright trapezoid on the floor. 

The light is so bright that the camera's sensor overloads and goes to pure white, a phenomenon photographers call "clipping." It has the same effect on our retinas, though our eyes can adapt to far greater extremes of illumination than the camera sensor.

Because of the extreme brightness and a dirty or imperfect lens, the lines in the floor disappear when they cross into the patch of light, and there's a light glow around the edge of the light patch.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Flying Over Adair

Flying over Adair, Iowa, I wonder if there’s someone way down there in that little town who loves to draw and paint from their imagination... ...someone who is the creative “weirdo” in their family, and who hopes someday to meet other artists who totally understand how it’s possible to dream with your eyes open.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Burgess Shale Fauna

Burgess Shale Fauna and other ancient ocean creatures, 
from Dinotopia: The World Beneath
available signed from the store

Monday, October 17, 2022

Lightbox Expo 2022

On the final day of Lighbox Expo I painted the huge yellow letters out in front of the Pasadena Convention Center.

It stayed overcast all day, which meant the light on the surfaces of he letters was fairly constant.

Artists from all over the world and with all sorts of stories hung out as I painted. They asked good questions about brushes, paints (I'm using gouache), perspective, skyholes, and the adventure of painting on location.

One person asked "Have you ever been kicked out of a painting spot?" 

The answer is Yes! By a security guard, a harbormaster, and an angry nun in Tuscany. 

More at the previous post about "Gamestoppers." 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Corner Shop, Final


Here's the finished study of the Corner Shop in Dun Laoghaire, with the light bouncing off the shiny road surface. The light here is whiter than the light I painted for the night scene of the caffé earlier.

Friday, October 14, 2022

The Corner Shop

The Corner Shop is on another street in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland.

But actually I’m now in Pasadena at Lightbox Expo, and I’ll be signing at Stuart Ng’s booth today between 4 and 5:00, booth 122, and tomorrow I'll be doing a presentation and a panel discussion about imaginative realism and worldbuilding.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Knitting Hands

Jeanette's hands as she makes a sweater with slip-stitch knitting. She's looking at a chart she made from graph paper to get the pattern right. Gouache.

We're heading to Lightbox Expo in Los Angeles, and I'll be doing a book signing at Stuart NG's booth on Friday from 4-5pm. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Hopper's "Early Sunday Morning"

In my recent painting of a street scene in Ireland, I decided not to include people in the scene. 

The image that occurred to me was Early Sunday Morning by Edward Hopper, painted in 1930. He says that the word "Sunday" was tacked on by someone else. 

With or without the title, the painting gives the feeling of either a quiet morning when people are still asleep or a desolate row of shops stilled by the Great Depression.

Hopper said the scene "was almost a literal translation of Seventh Avenue" in New York, but it wasn't literal at all, as you can see from the photo. 

He rolled up the awnings, cleared away the far buildings, and blurred the signs on the shops. He also originally planned to have a woman looking out of an upper window, but he removed her. 

By holding back on specific details his painting transcends a literal portrait of an actual street and achieves a more universal appeal.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Painting a Night Scene in the Daytime

 You don't have to paint exactly what you see. 

You can paint a night scene in the middle of the day by shifting the colors inside and outside of the structures. In this new YouTube video, I take you to Ireland for some plein-air urban sketching.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Smooth, Ready for Takeoff

 OK, one last dog portrait: Here's Smooth with his ears in flight position.

Painted on craft foam with liquid acrylic.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Border Collie in Action

 A Border Collie herding a flock of sheep is a thing of beauty. 

As animal-behavior-expert Desmond Morris says, "they work silently, crouching, creeping and then springing into action, single-handedly marshalling its sheep and moving them from spot to spot with the control of a chess master."

Morris explains how the human shepherd communicates with the collie. "When the dog is near at hand, spoken signals can be used, but when it is further away, the shepherd switches to whistled commands." 

"Each shepherd has his own variations of these commands, and adds further ones for special instructions. To watch man and dog cooperate using this unique language is to witness one of the most intimate and subtle of all human-canine interactions."

In this little portrait sketch, I misplaced one of the eyes and had to move it over. Easy to make such a mistake, but it's easy to fix, too. 

Friday, October 7, 2022

Cottage in Cleggan

I paint this cottage near Sellerna Cove, Cleggan, Co. Galway, Connemara, in the fabled west of Ireland.

 When the owner notices me painting, she brings in the laundry. Then she invites me into the kitchen, which is lit by just one light bulb.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Lightbox Schedule

For those of you attending Lightbox Expo in Pasadena, CA next week, I'll be there. I'll be doing two scheduled presentations.

SATURDAY 10/15 10:30AM - 11:30AM ROOM 102
James Gurney
Dream it, plan it, paint it! This lively and entertaining digital slide presentation for all audiences examines the practical methods for translating an imaginative scene into a realistic painting. The topics include research, thumbnail sketches, models posing, maquettes, photo reference, and plein-air studies. I’ll chronicle the creative development that led to the fantasy universe of Dinotopia, the behind-the-scenes work on a scientific rendering of a dinosaur, archaeological reconstructions for National Geographic, and how I painted a giant robot outdoors, on location, in an urban streetscape.

SATURDAY 10/15 12:10PM - 1:10PM ROOM 104-105

Dylan Cole, David Levy, Armand Baltazar, Sparth, Sonja Christoph, Renee di Cherri, James Gurney

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Do Golden Retrievers Smile?

Do golden retrievers smile when they're happy?-

There's a big debate on that one.

Some say they're showing submission, or they just happen to lift up the corners of their mouths when panting, and we're just interpreting it as a human-like expression of joy. 

 Others say that yes, absolutely, goldens truly do smile. Certain breeds have closely co-evolved their behaviors in tandem with those of humans.. We feel the same emotions and mirror each other as we express those feelings.

What do you think? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Monday, October 3, 2022


My parents had a white bulldog named 'Winnie' named after Winston Churchill. 

Bulldogs are so lovable and funny looking, and they're a blast to paint.

Here's the acrylic-on-colored-craft-foam time lapse process of painting this of dog.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Foggy Morning


Foggy morning, 5am, casein

I have to wake up early and paint quickly to capture this unusual light effect. At the edge of the motel parking lot, down-facing streetlights illuminate the fog. Everything is pitched to a high key.

Saturday, October 1, 2022


 I painted this chihuahua for my granddaughter. I used liquid acrylic on craft foam.


I grew up with lots of dogs around. Bambi was part chihuahua. You could get her to howl whenever you played "Chopsticks" on the piano. She would crawl under my covers to sleep by my feet—I don't know how she breathed!