Water­color in the Wild

Artist and il­lus­tra­tor James Gur­ney gives you the con­fi­dence to paint with speed and in­tent when you’re on lo­ca­tion

ImagineFX - - Reviews -

Pub­lisher Gur­ney Stu­dio

Be­lieve it or not, there was a time when artists wish­ing to paint on lo­ca­tion had to man­age with­out iPads. The cel­e­brated il­lus­tra­tor James Gur­ney’s lat­est video evokes that era with a charm­ingly low-tech over­view of how to take a set of paints into the wild, and how to make the most of the tools at your dis­posal.

James starts by tak­ing you through his por­ta­ble paint­ing kit. The ba­sics of paint, brushes and sketch­book fit into a small bag, although the Heath Robin­son con­trap­tion that goes on top of a tri­pod and ball head is rather less con­ve­nient. As well as mar­vel­ling at James’ in­ge­nu­ity at mak­ing sure ev­ery­thing he needs is close to hand, even avowed dig­i­tal artists can find ideas of use in this prac­ti­cal sec­tion.

The core of Water­color in the Wild presents six se­quences in which James sets up his rig at a dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tion and starts paint­ing. The chal­lenge he must an­swer on each oc­ca­sion is to

Price £18 (DVD), £9 (down­load) Web www.james­gur­ney.com cap­ture the level of de­tail he wants in what can be very limited time. You’ll see how James tack­les a va­ri­ety of sub­jects where time is of the essence: whether it’s a build­ing in a scene where the light will change soon; a his­tor­i­cal re-en­ac­tor who has to go to war; or a de­light­ful foal who might stand up at any sec­ond. It’s all beau­ti­fully filmed, although greater use of split-screen de­vices to show what James is see­ing as he paints would help you un­der­stand his cre­ative de­ci­sions bet­ter.

For any­one who’s in­ter­ested in wa­ter­colour and the ba­sics of how to use this won­der­ful medium of liq­uid and light, Water­color in the Wild is a great primer. James also has a de­tailed list of ma­te­ri­als avail­able to down­load. But even if you pre­fer to cling stub­bornly to your tablet de­vice and use a fin­ger­tip in place of a flat brush, you’ll pick up a strong work­ing process for analysing a scene and get­ting its es­sen­tials down on to the can­vas with­out wast­ing pre­cious time.

Artist pro­file

In this paint­ing of an elab­o­rate green­house, James in­ten­tion­ally lim­its the colour pal­ette for a har­mo­nious re­sult. After wait­ing pa­tiently

for a farm­yard foal to set­tle down, James has only a few min­utes to cap­ture the es­sen­tials. Who needs an iPad? James’ cus­tom-made rig gives him ev­ery­thing he needs to paint at his fin­ger­tips.

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