How to Overcome Creative Melancholy
Gurney Journey | Artist Blog
by James Gurney
1d ago
Feeling stuck? Need a fresh approach to your creative practice? Dürer's Melencolia I Here are four tips to help overcome creative melancholy: 1. Set up a different workstation. For most people, doing work means facing a computer. If it's a laptop, bring it to a new spot in the house or try working in a library or a café. Setting up a standing workstation can be a gamechanger.  2. Invent an alter ego and let them solve it. Pretend you've hired a specialist to help you with the part of the process that stymied you. 3. Trust the process, follow the workflow. For me, that means doin ..read more
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Tronies Exhibit in Dublin
Gurney Journey | Artist Blog
by James Gurney
6d ago
 Not all head paintings are intended as portraits of specific individuals. Joos van Craesbeeck, 1605/6-1660/1 The Smoker Sometimes the goal is to capture a facial expression, a character type, a weird angle, an exotic costume, or an exploratory lighting arrangement. Adriaen Brouwer, The Bitter Potion, 1636-1638, Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Dutch and Flemish painters developed a whole series of experimental modes of head painting. Frans Hals, Laughing Boy, 1625, Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands. There’s a lot of fun ..read more
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Digital Media and Cultural Memory
Gurney Journey | Artist Blog
by James Gurney
1w ago
 All of the films by Laika Animation have "Art of" books available, including Paranorman, Boxtrolls, and Kubo. But their first film, Coraline, doesn't.  Much of the concept art had been shared online, but it wasn't organized, and hard to find. So a group of fans gathered up everything they could find, and created an unofficial digital book in PDF form and put it online. But after the book had been available for a while, they started receiving takedown notices from Laika. They weren't making any money from it, just honoring the artists' work. They wrote to the management of Laika ..read more
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View of Wimmis by F.E. Church
Gurney Journey | Artist Blog
by James Gurney
1w ago
Frederic Edwin Church had the ability, even in a small field study, to capture a lot of convincing detail and texture, working quickly over a pencil line drawing in a single pass of oil paint. View of Wimmis, Valley of the Simmental, Switzerland by Frederic Church, 1868, oil on paper mounted on canvas 32.4 x 50.5 cm The original is only about 13 inches tall, so, depending on the size of your monitor, this detail may be about actual size ..read more
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Hangin’ with the Donkeys
Gurney Journey | Artist Blog
by James Gurney
2w ago
  Donkeys are very friendly and sweet, but it’s hard to sketch when you’re in there with them ..read more
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A guy talking on the cell phone
Gurney Journey | Artist Blog
by James Gurney
2w ago
Cell phones occupy so much of people’s attention that they hold still and they don’t notice you sketching them. I paint this guy in a New York City park. He is talking into his earbud mic for a long time, not moving much, and he doesn’t look over. When I’m done, I show him the picture so he can put it on social media ..read more
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Street Scene Demo
Gurney Journey | Artist Blog
by James Gurney
1M ago
In today's Substack post I paint a street scene where the goal is to capture the feeling of objects against a bright sky.   The technique uses watercolor and gouache over casein. I add a bright light effect with pastel once the paint is fully dry. Also I answer a few of your questions and discuss whether it ‘breaks the rules’ to combine media in this way. Street Scene Demo, free post on Substack ..read more
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What is a Diffuser, and Why Does It Help?
Gurney Journey | Artist Blog
by James Gurney
1M ago
 Getting the best light on your artwork while sketching outdoors makes a huge difference. Ideally you want soft, diffused white sunlight at a level close to the brightness of the scene itself. The worst thing is cast shadows or dappled light across the painting.  That's where a diffuser comes in, and you can make one yourself. On my Substack  https://jamesgurney.substack.com/p/what-is-a-diffuser-and-why-do-i-need  I do a deep dive into various designs that are windproof, lightweight, and adjustable ..read more
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Lilias Trotter, Victorian Gouache Painter
Gurney Journey | Artist Blog
by James Gurney
1M ago
Lilias Trotter’s mentor, John Ruskin, said that if she stuck with it, she could become the “greatest living painter” and create immortal works. She did stick with it, but her first calling was as a Christian missionary. She overcame resistance from people around her and traveled to Algeria, where she spent 40 years of her life. She painted lots of little gouache sketches in her sketchbooks and illustrated letters. Her studies are executed with strokes that are economical, relaxed, and graceful. She was also interested in light and atmosphere, both in her landscapes and in her spirit ..read more
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Contre Jour Lighting
Gurney Journey | Artist Blog
by James Gurney
1M ago
 Contre-jour lighting is a type of backlighting where you place the subject right in front of a bright, sunny sky.  It's a mysterious effect that makes your paintings glow. More today on Substack ..read more
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