Into the Woods


Into the Woods

Into the Woods

Into the WoodsI left the little red cabin for a day of painting in the Catskill wilderness. All the plein air gear fits into a black backpack so I can take it on the trail. The “Barbie-go” wheels on the pack might take away a few style points among hard-core trekkers, but they make the rig handy in airports.

Into the Woods
Here I am in the woods “up a stump” and starting to paint. I use (and recommend) the Open Box M pochade box ( The paint palette and adjustable panel holder mounts onto a camera tripod (Velbon CX 444). The advantage over the traditional French easel is that you can turn, tilt, raise, and lower your work very easily. I added a side panel with graduated holes for holding brushes and Nalgene palette cups containing Gamsol solvent and Liquin alkyd medium. On the mixing palette is disposable white freezer paper.

Into the WoodsHere’s the finished painting, Trail to the Beaver Dam, which I did in two consecutive three-hour sessions. It’s very tiny, only 6 by 12 inches. I was attracted to the glimpse of distance through the trees on the right, and the profound darkness on the trail ahead on the left. The illumination in the foreground comes from the trees that were cut down.

For more information about plein air work, have a look at the Web site

6 Comments on Gurney Journey: Into the Woods

  • Michael Damboldt
    on August 11, 2007 | 18:22 Michael Damboldtsaid :
    "Mr. Gurney,

    I'm glad I found your website! Your books have been very inspirational to me since I was a kid! It was even better to find your blog! I think it's awesome to see how different artists work and it's great that you've put your thinking processes and experiences on this blog! It's a definite inspiration to other artists!"
  • Anonymous
    on August 12, 2007 | 02:54 Anonymoussaid :
    "wait wait wait wait wait.... Master Gurney? on the INTERNET! Welcome indeed, I've been neglecting my community if it's taken me this long to find this. As always you impress me deeply with your work and I can only hope to one day come close to the beauty that is dinotopia.

    Now, all I need to do is somehow find a way of wrangling you down to aussie land so I can play the fanboy in person...

    Ever a devotee
  • Anonymous
    on August 19, 2007 | 19:53 Anonymoussaid :
    "Nice work Jim."
  • Antony Bridge
    on June 21, 2008 | 17:16 Antony Bridgesaid :
    "Brilliant photo and painting."
  • James Gurney
    on June 21, 2008 | 18:26 James Gurneysaid :
    "Thanks, WLM and Pochade!"
  • Anonymous
    on August 19, 2008 | 05:53 Anonymoussaid :
    "Your post about "drawing made easy" is so true. As a product of the 50's art education, I gave up painting because I couldn't draw to satisfy myself. The ideas we get about the process of drawing can really influence our whole life. It wasn't until I discovered Betty Edwards that I had any success drawing, 40 years later.

    Thanks for your blog. I always find interesting and useful ideas."
Into the Woods

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