This daily weblog by Dinotopia creator James Gurney is for illustrators, plein-air painters, sketchers, comic artists, animators, art students, and writers. James Gurney wrote "Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter," he also wrote and illustrated "Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time.
Around 1900, it was common for young American artists to study in Paris. But not everyone was in favor of it.
Typical Life Class in Sculpture
In an effort to promote American schools, Edmund Talbott painted an unflattering portrait of what it was like for young women studying art in Paris.
"American girls going to Paris have no conception of the life they will be forced to lead: the obnoxious companionship, the antiquated, disease-breeding sanitary arrangements in the dwellings, the scanty food and liability of illness resulting therefrom, the dirt, the dishonesty, etc. These things they cannot, except in rare cases, escape....Idleness, the dissipation of energies resulting from the temptations incident to residence abroad have robbed proud prestige which they acquired in their American schools, and left them worse off than though they had remained at home."
The concert was all acoustic and included traditional instrumental tunes, songs and step dancing.
Mick is a storyteller, tour leader, professor, and folklorist with a special focus on songs about the Irish immigrant experience in America. As a professional musician, Mick plays the banjo and mandolin. He leads the Green Fields of America and has been one of the cherished leaders of the traditional music revival.
There was a single light on the wall above Mick, and the rest of the room was quite dark. I waited for him to return momentarily to his pose, immersed in song. I used three colors of gouache (flame red, yellow ochre, peacock blue, and white). I held the sketchbook in my lap in very dim light, making it possible to estimate tonal values, but difficult to guess at the chroma or hue.
Edwin Austin Abbey shared a studio space with John Singer Sargent in England as they prepared their murals for the Boston Public Library. Abbey had worked for years as a pen-and-ink illustrator, but he had a lot to learn about painting in oil at a large scale.
Fortunately he had Sargent to show him the way, as a contemporary account describes:
Detail of Grail mural by Edwin Austin Abbey
"The evolution of Abbey's art at this point is remarkable. Heretofore he had dealt almost entirely in small pictures done in black and white. Now he suddenly 'blossomed forth in a night' as a painter in large, — covering canvas after canvas with powerful figures glowing in color. Yet these sweeping lines were evolved only after painful struggle.
"[William Merritt] Chase, who coached him at one time, says, ' I almost despaired of him: he would persist in seeing in black and white." And Abbey was particularly fortunate in having Sargent at his elbow while the Boston work was going forward, for Sargent was the maturer artist, and had dealt almost entirely in oils. The two men, indeed, were of mutual assistance, having followed different methods all their lives. Sargent was the painter of portraits in one medium; Abbey was the illustrator of stories in many mediums. Being opposites in other respects they naturally became good friends."
"The broad-minded viewpoint of these two strong men is shown by remarks made by them as the years sped by and the work seemed to languish. When Sargent was asked when he would complete his task, he replied, 'Never, unless I learn to paint better than I do now. Abbey has discouraged me.' While Abbey replied to a similar query, 'Give me a little time, and I'll do something worth while.'
Detail of Frieze of the Prophets by John Singer Sargent
What was it like in the Morgan Hall studio where Abbey and Sargent worked side by side?
Study for the Frieze of the Prophets by John Singer Sargent
"It would have been hard to find a better equipped "laboratory" than the Morgan Hall annex at this time. Here was room for a dozen enormous easels at one time, without crowding, and the whole space was generally in use. Great sections of canvas might be seen in every stage of completion, the busy artist darting from one to another as fancy directed him ; while as for properties —many a theatre might have looked upon this collection with jealous eyes, for they were the real thing."
The Delaware River near Milford, Pennsylvania, casein, 5 x 8 inches
The surface of the river becomes glassy as the afternoon wears on. Here's what I was thinking about as I was painting the reflections:
• The reflections mirror the colors of the far bank of trees. • The colors in the reflection are very slightly darker than the colors being reflected. • Within the area of the reflections of the trees, the detail is stretched vertically downward. • The bottom edge of the reflection of the trees breaks up into horizontal fragments. • Slight zephyrs create a blue patch in the middle distance, disturbing the vertical reflections. • The bridge is reflected in the form of fragmentary strokes. ----- Previously on the blog: Water Reflections, Part 1 Water Reflections, Part 2 Water Reflections, Part 3 More about reflections in my book Color and Light Join the Facebook group "Sketch Easel Builders" Take part in the challenge "Paint a Parking Lot"
Donald McGill was a gag writer and illustrator of comic-picture postcards in Britain in the mid-20th century. Each card had a slightly outrageous joke or double entendre.
George Orwell, author of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm, wrote about McGill's art:
"A comic post card is simply an illustration to a joke, invariably a ‘low’ joke, and it stands or falls by its ability to raise a laugh. Beyond that it has only ‘ideological’ interest. McGill is a clever draughtsman with a real caricaturist's touch in the drawing of faces, but the special value of his post cards is that they are so completely typical. They represent, as it were, the norm of the comic post card. Without being in the least imitative, they are exactly what comic post cards have been any time these last forty years, and from them the meaning and purpose of the whole genre can be inferred."
Painting efficiently is not just about painting quickly—it's about getting a lot done in whatever amount of time you've got.
Efficiency is not the main goal in art. Sometimes in the controlled conditions of the studio you might want to throw away the clock. But having those skills can really help when you're facing the rapidly shifting conditions of just about any outdoor motif.
I assume that the name "Surfside" is semi-whimsical, because there isn't much surf on Lake George.
I want to paint this neon sign showing the lights coming on, so I wait until after sunset to start painting. I try to anticipate the effect of the fading light of dusk by exaggerating the gradation in the sky and darkening and softening the ground areas around the base of the sign.
In 1956, Harvey Dinnerstein and Burton Silverman traveled to Alabama to cover the bus boycotts that were sparked by the protest of Rosa Parks.
Mrs. Rosa Parks by Harvey Dinnerstein
"New York artists Dinnerstein and Silverman spent several days drawing Montgomery’s African American citizens walking and carpooling, listening to speeches by community leaders and civil rights activists, and participating in the trial that challenged the segregation of public transportation. This exhibition features their drawings, ranging from expressive portraits to impassioned courtroom drama, and capture the spectrum of actions and emotions that marked the boycott as a turning point in the struggle for civil rights."