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