Book Review: Color and Light by James Gurney

Review by Armand Cabrera

James Gurney hits it out of the park again with his new art instruction book Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter. Following the success of his other art instruction book Imaginative Realism, which was released last year, Gurney’s new book Color and Light is filled with everything you will want to know about these two important subjects, written in a clear and concise style. This is not a step by step how to book per se but there are plenty of explanations describing the effects of color and light and how to use them in your paintings. The images accompanying the text are made up of James Gurneys own plein air paintings, figure studies and illustrations for his professional assignments. Over 300 color Illustrations and diagrams.

 

 

Beautifully printed and designed, Color and Light is sure to be considered the text on the subject for years to come. Gurney writes about this subject as a successful, professional artist. This is not someone who doesn’t make their living as a painter or some scientist who only observes but offers no practical application for his information. The paintings by Gurney are a feast for the eyes, his talent is showcased well here and you see the depth and breadth of his formidable abilities as an artist. He has included images of city scenes, portraits, landscapes, illustrations for National Geographic, magazine articles, science fiction and fantasy book covers and his own series of Dinotopia books. The sheer amount of work is amazing and you begin to understand that here is someone who loves the process of making art.

 

Many people know Gurney as one of the premier illustrators in the world and the author of the Dinotopia books, but for those who don’t follow his excellent blog gurneyjourney, they may be surprised to find he has always been an avid plein air painter as well. His landscapes are just as accomplished as any of his illustrations. Many of these small outdoor landscapes are showcased in this book and make up a third of the color illustrations. This is important because it is his work painted outdoors from life that infuse his real and imagined scenes with a sense of light.

 

 

 

Some books are considered classics in the field of art instruction; Harold Speed’s The Practice and Science of Drawing, John F Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting, Andrew Loomis’ Figure Drawing for all its Worth and Creative Illustration, Edgar Payne’s The Composition of Outdoor Painting, and Richard Schmid’s Alla Prima. Jim Gurney’s Color and Light is one of these books. There is no excuse for you not to buy this book, it is very reasonably priced and the wealth of information in it will help anyone interested in representational art. Whether you are a seasoned professional or Sunday hobbyist, this is the book for you.

 

You can order Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter from the Dinotopia website where James will sign copies if requested

http://www.dinotopia.com/dinotopia-store.html

The book is also available from all the usual book retailers like Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Borders

For more information on James Gurney visit his websites

http://jamesgurneyoriginalart.blogspot.com/

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Dinotopia: The Fantastical Art of James Gurney

 
 
 
Artist and author James Gurney will exhibit 22 exquisite paintings from his Dinotopia series of books starting Wednesday, Feb. 20 through Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2013. Don’t miss this opportunity to see his work. The show will be at the New Hampshire Institute of Art. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
 
Here is the full press release:

has been organized by the
Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts
proudly exhibited by the
New Hampshire Institute of Art
 
MANCHESTER–Breathe deep, seek peace, Dinotopia fans, and don’t miss Norman Rockwell Museum’s traveling exhibition Dinotopia: The Fantastical Art of James Gurney exhibited by the New Hampshire Institute of Art. The exhibition will run from Wednesday, Feb. 20 through Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2013. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
 
Celebrate the opening of this exciting exhibit on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 5 pm followed by James Gurney’s lecture: Worldbuilding: How to Develop a Fantasy Universe at 7:00 pm. The opening is free and open to the public. Gurney’s lecture is part of the Institute’s Distinguished American Artists Discussing Art lecture series and the cost to attend is $20.
 
From the soothing, restorative environment of Waterfall City to the hidden wonders of Chandara, acclaimed author and illustrator James Gurney’s magical Dinotopian world comes to life in this enchanting exhibition that features  22 original paintings from the best-selling illustrated books Dinotopia: A Land Apart From Time (1992), Dinotopia: The World Beneath (1995), and Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara (2007), and presents fascinating examples of the illustrator’s creative process, including reference materials, and a handmade scale-model.  
 
Inspired by archaeology, lost civilizations, and the art of illustration, Gurney’s Dinotopia, an extraordinary place where humans and dinosaurs live in harmony, fuses fantasy with realism and scientific accuracy. “The thing I love about dinosaurs is that they are on that balance point between fantasy and reality,” says Gurney. “It might be hard to believe that mermaids and dragons really existed, but we know that dinosaurs did―we can see their footprints and skeletons but we can’t photograph them or see them, except in our imagination.”
 
The Dinotopia storyline chronicles the adventures and remarkable experiences of Professor Arthur Denison and his son Will on Dinotopia, a mysterious “lost” island inhabited by dinosaurs and shipwrecked travelers. The faraway land of Dinotopia― wholly the product of Gurney’s fertile imagination, scientific knowledge and meticulous artistic ability―is a civilization like no other. The society has its own language, alphabet (dinosaur footprints that correspond to each letter of the Roman alphabet), colorful festivals and parades. The lively cast of characters includes the inquisitive Professor Denison; Will and Sylvia, the adventurous young Skybax riders-in-training; the devious curmudgeon Lee Crabb; the beautiful musician Oriana Nascava; and a multilingual, diplomatic Protoceratops named Bix.
 
“We are honored to present this exciting collection of original works by James Gurney,” said New Hampshire Institute of Art Illustration Chair Jim Burke. “This is t the first of what we hope will be many collaborations with the Norman Rockwell Museum.”
 
 
THE MAN BEHIND DINOTOPIA
James Gurney lives with his family in New York State’s Hudson Valley. He was born on June 14, 1958, in Glendale, California. As a young boy, he found it difficult to find books on dinosaurs, a subject that always captivated him. A childhood museum visit provided his first encounter with the skeleton of a formidable Allosaurus, leading him to imagine the dinosaur skeletons “stepping off of their platforms and tip-toeing through the hallways at night,” returning to their post by daybreak.
 
Gurney’s youthful daydreams inspired an interest in archaeology and lost civilizations. The artist recalls many hours spent excavating his suburban backyard for arrowheads and “even a lost temple.” During college he majored in anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley, where he received a B.A. in 1979 with Phi Beta Kappa honors. From there he went on to pursue his lifelong interest in art, studying illustration at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, where he met his wife Jeanette, also an artist, who shared his love for sketching outdoors.
 
A cross-country trip with friend and fellow artist Thomas Kinkade resulted in The Artist’s Guide to Sketching (1982). During his early career he painted jungle and volcano backdrops for animator Ralph Bakshi’s Fire and Ice(1983) and became interested in the fantasy genre. His art soon appeared on the covers of science fiction and fantasy novels but his big break as an illustrator came from National Geographic magazine with a series of challenging assignments working with scientists and historians to recreate ancient worlds. Gurney’s secret dream was to discover a lost city as significant as Troy or Machu Picchu and so, in his spare time, he envisioned and painted Waterfall City and Dinosaur Parade, which inspired the conceptual framework for Dinotopia.
 
His first Dinotopia book, the New York Times bestseller Dinotopia: A Land Apart From Time, appeared in 18 languages in more than 30 countries and sold two million copies. Gurney has written and illustrated three other volumes in the series, Dinotopia: The World Beneath, Dinotopia: First Flight, and Dinotopia: Journey To Chandara. In 2002, Hallmark Entertainment produced a lavish $86 million television miniseries for ABC-TV based on the Dinotopia books that received record-setting ratings and an Emmy award for best visual effects.
 
Norman Rockwell Museum
Founded in 1969, Norman Rockwell Museum is dedicated to education and art appreciation inspired by the enduring legacy of one of America’s greatest artists. The Museum houses the world’s largest and most significant collection of original Rockwell art, and presents the works of contemporary and past masters of illustration. The Norman Rockwell Archive contains more than 200,000 photographs, letters, and other ephemera. In 2008, the Museum was awarded the National Humanities Medal, which honors individuals or institutions whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities.
 
The Museum is located in Stockbridge, MA, where Rockwell spent the last 25 years of his life. In 1993, the Museum moved from its original home at the Old Corner House on Stockbridge’s Main Street to its present location, a 36-acre site overlooking the Housatonic River Valley. Architect Robert A. M. Stern designed the Museum gallery building.
 

About the NH Institute of Art: Established in 1898 as the Manchester Institute of Arts and Sciences, the New Hampshire Institute of Art has had a firm commitment to educating diverse traditional and nontraditional students in the fine arts.

The Institute offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree drawing undergraduate students from across the United States and Canada. Its Certificate Programs and a Continuing Education program attract and engage community members from throughout New England. Dedicated faculty promote intellectual and artistic development and teach students to respond artistically to contemporary social, political, and aesthetic issues.

The New Hampshire Institute of Art is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

The mission of the Sharon Arts Center is to engage the community in the artistic process, to support and serve artists and craftspeople, and to foster the relationship between artists and the community through education, exhibitions, and the promotion and sale of arts and crafts as well as through special programs and events. The Sharon Arts center offers a wide variety of art classes and programs in the school facility in Sharon, NH.

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New York Botanical Gardens Paint Out

by

Armand Cabrera
Last weekend I participated in the first New York Botanical Gardens Paint Out. 25 invited artists were given the opportunity to paint for a day in one of 28 formal garden settings on the 250 acre property. The paintout was the idea of James Gurney and the staff at the New York Botanical Gardens- Miriam Flores,Gayle Schmidt and Sarah Henkind.



We all gathered in the morning for an orientation meeting where we went over the rules for painting and received our swag bags and prepared lunches followed by a photo op. We then were shuttled by golf cart to our respective sites.

At the end of the day we got together again at one of the onsite restaurants for a light meal and beverages and socialized a bit before we all headed home.


Our badges gave us access to the Impressionist show of 22 paintings in the Library building and the impressionist flower gardens planted in the conservatory. The paintings were top notch with work by Sargent, Chase, Hassam, Lawson, Twachtman and a few others. The flowers gardens were beautifully arranged with plants that were popular in the 19thcentury like Holly Hocks, Fox Glove and Lillies.

I was in the Home Garden center where they had some smaller gardens like a rose garden with arbor and flowering herb garden.

Garden and formal outdoor botanical arrangements can be a little harder to capture than a natural setting. The reason for this usually is the smaller area of the arrangement allows more details to be observed. There are usually formal perspective problems or architectural additions associated with the layout too which adds a level of complexity to the scene. 

flower beds 8 x 10 oil
When painting these kinds of subjects I focus on the differences of shape, color, pattern and edges within the setting.  Organizing things in a way that lets me paint in a broad manner without getting bogged down into fussy details but still give the overall impression of the scene.

Rose Arbor 12 x 16 oil
Greens are important in these motifs. I mix all my greens so I can control the subtle shifts their color aspects in light and shade.
Roses and Lavender 8 x 10 oil
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Book Review: Adolph Menzel: Drawings and Paintings

by
Armand Cabrera
Adolph Menzel: Drawings and Paintings

Edited by James Gurney and Christian Schlierkamp

Dover Publications 8.5 x 11 Softcover

116 pages with 130 images including 32 in color 
$27.95

This book of drawings and color sketches showcases Menzel’s talent to record the world around him. His realism is honest and straightforward and transcends the timeframe it is created in because of Menzel’s prodigious abilities with the media he uses, pencil, ink, etchings, lithographs, pastel, watercolor, and gouache. The book is put together by James Gurney and Christian Schlierkamp and you can tell from the quality it was a labor of love for both of them.

 His personal motto was “Nulla dies sine linea” (“not a day without a line”) and you can well believe he lived by those words. Over his lifetime Menzel Produced some 15,000 drawings which are now part of the Berlin Museum collection.

The book’s information is well researched and most of the images are printed full page.The reproductions are crisp and clean allowing the viewer to see Menzel’s virtuosity in detail. If you are a fan of sketching and drawing this book is a must have. 
The book is available from James Gurney’s website and Amazon.




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