Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Dead Vehicle Challenge

Old tow truck, watercolor by Jeanette Gurney
We had such an enthusiastic response to our previous painting challenges, such as the Food Truck and the Weed Painting Challenge, that many of you asked for another opportunity.

This time the theme is Dead Vehicles.

Dead trucks in Highland Park, CA
painted in oil when I was an art student. 
You can paint any abandoned car, truck, bus, or motorcycle that's no longer in working condition. No tractors or construction equipment this time.

It could be parked in a garage or a museum, or outdoors behind a repair shop or in a junkyard. It could be damaged from a crash, covered with graffiti or partially dismantled. If it's got flat tires or weeds growing up around it, so much the better. 

On Location

It must be painted on location and it must be a new painting or sketchbook page done for this challenge. It doesn't have to be painted in one sitting; you can return to the spot multiple times if you want.

Media
All physical painting media are acceptable: casein, gouache, acryla-gouache, oil, acrylic or watercolor. There's no limitation on the palette of colors.

Two-hour paintout of an old pickup. Actually, I think this one wouldn't
qualify for this challenge, because the truck still ran.

What to Enter
In addition to a scan of the final painting, your entry must include a photo of your picture on the easel in front of the motif. Your face doesn't have to be in the photo unless you want to.

Multimedia Prize
If you want, you can record a video or audio (1 minute or less) of the owner describing their vehicle, or you can document something that happened while you were painting it. I'll give a special award to the best one.

Deadline
It's free to enter. You can enter as soon as you finish the piece, but no later than the deadline: Monday, July 31 at midnight New York time. Winners will be announced on the blog on Thursday, August 3. 



Where and How to Enter
Upload the images to this Facebook Event page (This way I don't have to deal with email, and you present your images your way). If you don't have a Facebook account, please ask a friend with an account to help you. Please include in the FB post a sentence or two about your inspiration or design strategy, or a story about the vehicle

If you share our image on Instagram or Twitter, please use the hashtag #deadvehiclechallenge


Prizes
I'll pick one Grand Prize, five Finalists, and one Multimedia Winner. They will be published on GurneyJourney. All the winners will receive an exclusive "Department of Art" embroidered patch. In addition, all the winners will receive a video (DVD or download) of their choice. Everybody who participates will have their work on the Facebook page, too.
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Resources and Links
Facebook Event page on Dead Vehicle Challenge
•If you want to try out casein, I've asked Jack Richeson to put together a basic set called Gurney's Casein 6 Packor Gurney's Casein Explorers Pack (12)
• Own the 72-minute feature "Gouache in the Wild"
• HD MP4 Download at Gumroad $14.95
• or HD MP4 Download at Sellfy (for Paypal customers) $14.95
• DVD at Purchase at Kunaki.com (Region 1 encoded NTSC video) $24.50

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Terror of the Seas


Sea Monster study, gouache, 9x12 inches
An experiment in biomechanics spirals out of control, and the leviathan slips out to sea.

Monday, June 26, 2017

W. T. Richards Field Study

 William Trost Richards, field study
36.4 x 51 cm (14 5/16 x 20 1/8 inches), RISD Museum
Here's a field study in watercolor and graphite by William Trost Richards (American 1833-1905) The curators of the Art Museum at Rhode Island School of Design write:

"William Trost Richards’s close studies of nature reveal his belief, based on the writings of critic John Ruskin, that the way to truth was the study of nature in penetrating detail. On display here is Richards’s precision and agility with watercolor and gouache in vertical format—his favorite for such studies. He may have found this meadow on one of his many long walks around his daughter’s farm in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Before it came to the Museum the drawing suffered from sun exposure, leading to the fading of the sky’s blue pigment, some of which is still visible where it pooled."

I'm impressed with how he sets up two planes of focus: the near weeds and the far trees. While he carefully defines all the smaller textures of the flowers and foliage with a playful variation of colors, he does so within a controlled value gamut.

He keeps to his overall statement of light-foreground over dark-middle-ground over light-sky. The whole design is set up to feature the Joe-Pye weed in the center, where the tonal contrasts are most dramatic.

It would have been easy to get bogged down in other details, and a photograph would have presented a very different set of facts.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Podcast: 1986 Readings on Gerome, Repin and Shishkin


In 1986 I was part of a group of friends called "The Golden Palm Tape Network" who shared art-talk via cassettes. I thought some of these recordings would be fun for you to listen to in the form of a podcast on YouTube. 




Let's start with a fairly typical one called "Academic Chatter," a combination of readings and commentary. (Direct link to podcast on YouTube).

Topics include: 


The nucleus of the G.P Tape Network was a small group who knew each other at the Art Center College of Design. We first met each other at the Golden Palms Apartment in Highland Park, California.

The artists involved included Paul ChadwickBryn BarnardThomas KinkadeRon HarrisRichard Hescox, Tom KiddDavid MattinglyJames Warhola, Brad Teare, and Barry Klugerman. All those people were (or are) brilliant and incisive and funny, and I owe who I am to what I learned from them.

There were hundreds of tapes, most of which were recorded over again with new stuff. But I still have a lot of these. If you enjoy this one, let me know, and I'll share some more.
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Jean-Léon Gérôme on Wikipedia
Previous post on The Golden Palm Tape Network

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Exhibit of Courtroom Art

Tom Girardi with beating victim Bryan Stow by Bill Robles.
An exhibit in Washington called "Drawing Justice" examines the work of courtroom artists.
"The nearly 100-work exhibit will feature historic sketches such as Howard Brodie’s drawing of Jack Ruby at his sentencing for killing Lee Harvey Oswald; Marilyn Church’s trial drawing of Martha Stewart; Pat Lopez’s capturing of a nervous Ken Lay looking at evidence during the Enron trial; Bill Robles’s drawing of the haunting, dead-eyed Charles Manson on the witness stand; and Joseph Papin’s image of “Son of Sam” murderer David Berkowitz in mental anguish." Read the rest at The Washington Post. 
The exhibition will be at the Library of Congress in Washington through October 28.
Article about the show in Columbia Journalism Review
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Related: Sketch artist recreates Sean Spicer briefing after White House camera ban

Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Review: Portrait Drawing by Mau-Kun Yim

I recently had a chance to read a copy of Lessons in Masterful Portrait Drawing: A Classical Approach to Drawing the Head by Chinese-born artist Mau-Kun Yim.

The book consists mainly of Mr. Yim's charcoal portrait drawings from life.  


The book includes many step-by-step sequences that show his process. He starts with a foundation of straight lines to establish the structure of the head and the placement of the features.

Then he adds masses of tone in a sculptural but painterly way. He describes drawing as "painting without color," and he compares making a drawing to building a house. Edges and highlights are reserved for last.


The title of the book, "Lessons in Masterful Portrait Drawing: A Classical Approach to Drawing the Head" is a bit of a misnomer, because it's not really presented as specific lessons to follow so much as ideas and drawings to be inspired by. 

The book is helpful for the drawings themselves, which are well reproduced. A gallery section of full-page examples takes up the last 50 pages of the 144 page hardcover book. I found the book is also helpful for understanding his philosophy, which he has developed through his study of many traditions of drawing: not only Chinese, but also European, American, and Soviet. 


He quotes the teaching of Soviet master Konstantin Maksimov on the principle of wholeness: "Start with large blocks, straight lines, and masses of light and shadow, before gradually moving on to the features, details, and expression in a drawing. If you can get the relationship between the building blocks right, then a harmonious whole will emerge."

He is a believer in keeping a sketchbook. "Sketch often and sketch slowly," he recommends. "Is faster better in sketching?" he asks. "Not always! I've seen many private studios in the West, Hong Kong and Taiwan where the time allowed for nude sketches is so short that the paintings come out looking like wild scrawls."

There are several videos showing his method on YouTube, such as this one, sponsored by Nitram Charcoal. There are other videos on his own YouTube channel, where he also shares his masterful oil portraits. (Link to YouTube)

His website is Mau-Kun Yim