JUST IN CA­SEIN Il­lus­tra­tor James Gur­ney of­fers a guide to a muchun­der­rated medium – but there’s cre­ative gold dust in­side for any artist

ImagineFX - - Contents - Pub­lisher Gur­ney Stu­dio Price £18 (DVD), £11 (down­load) Web www.james­gur­

Part­way through this video – the lat­est in James Gur­ney’s se­ries show­ing how to use dif­fer­ent me­dia in out­door paint­ing ses­sions – the il­lus­tra­tor ex­plains that ca­sein may not be as ubiq­ui­tous in the artist’s arse­nal as water­colour or gouache, but it’s a very ef­fec­tive medium. Like acrylic, you can ap­ply ca­sein in thin washes or as thick, opaque daubs, mak­ing it a ver­sa­tile choice when you don’t want to carry too much around.

In the 74-minute video, James presents seven sketch­book projects where he re­lied on ca­sein to get the job done, as part of his con­tin­ual work to gather ref­er­ence on the in­ter­ac­tion of light and the nat­u­ral world. As the cam­era fol­lows him from a pic­turesque Catskills moun­tain stream through a Wy­oming horse ranch and into the main street of a small Colorado town, you’ll see how James uses ca­sein’s prop­er­ties to cap­ture each scene with great ef­fi­ciency.

His ap­proach is prag­matic, plac­ing the paint in ser­vice to his con­cept. Some­times he records the scene as he sees it. Some­times he uses his sur­round­ings as raw ma­te­rial for an idea he wants to ex­plore, as in the pro­ject where a mun­dane road­side scene be­comes a shim­mer­ing con­tre­jour light show.

It’s this down-to-earth at­ti­tude to his ma­te­ri­als that al­ways makes James worth watch­ing, even if you’d rather be paint­ing on your iPad. Whether by co­in­ci­dence or de­sign, there’s a broad theme of sim­pli­fy­ing com­plex­ity run­ning through th­ese projects. As James paints a boat work­shop, for ex­am­ple, he fo­cuses on colour tem­per­a­ture and val­ues to make sense of the many over­lap­ping forms. You’ll see in a cou­ple of other projects, mean­while, how he con­structs his ini­tial sketches to en­sure the pro­por­tions are cor­rect. What­ever your pre­ferred medium, an hour and a quar­ter in James’s com­pany is time well spent.

The se­cret to this Wy­oming ranch scene is the clas­sic tech­nique of paint­ing from back­ground to fore­ground.

The chal­lenge of this boat work­shop scene was to strip the el­e­ments down to their ba­sics – you’ll see how James tack­les it.

James’s por­ta­ble art stu­dio fits into a pouch, but en­ables him to cap­ture a va­ri­ety of nat­u­ral scenes.

An or­di­nary road­side scene be­comes an ex­er­cise in cre­at­ing a semi-ab­stract dis­play of light and colour.

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