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Gurney Journey

This daily weblog by Dinotopia creator James Gurney is for illustrators, plein-air painters, sketchers, comic artists, animators, art students, and writers. You'll find practical studio tips, insights into the making of the Dinotopia books, and first-hand reports from art schools and museums.

gurneyjourney.blogspot.com

Imagining Bug-Eyed Monsters

🎮 I did some freelance work for the Atari game called "Galaga." The painting below is in oil.
Imagining Bug-Eyed Monsters
🎮 The actual screen graphics were pretty basic. Orderly lines of bug-like monsters swarm overhead and drop bombs on you.

Imagining Bug-Eyed Monsters

🎮 The whole idea with the package art was to develop the 3D fantasy in the player's imagination.
Imagining Bug-Eyed Monsters
🎮 Although there were home versions of the game, you had to play the arcade version to see the ultimate levels. I wasn't very good at playing the game, so I went to the arcade and offered quarters to the kids who were good at it. I said all I wanted to do was watch them play and sketch the monsters. When I came back the next day there was a whole line of kids with their hands out. Don't know if I would do that now.






Andy Warhol Meets the Gatekeepers

How Andy Warhol got his start as an art student is an interesting story that we all can learn from. 


The story focuses on a couple of paintings owned by Andy's family, painted just before Andy made his way to New York.


Andy's nephew James Warhola tells how the judges first rejected his slightly outrageous painting "Nosepicker." (Link to video)



Seaside with a Dinosaur

Seaside with a Dinosaur

What would it feel like to run down a beach with a 15-ton Diplodocus alongside? That's the question I tried to answer with Seaside Romp.


Childe Hassam's World's Fair Gouaches

Childe Hassam was an eyewitness to the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  

Childe Hassam's World's Fair Gouaches

Childe Hassam, World's Fair, Chicago, gouache on paper laid on board, 11 x 14 inches. Heritage Auctions, Nov. 4, 2022

Hassam "added backgrounds and figures to a group of existing architectural drawings by other artists which were then reproduced as a series of chromolithographs entitled Gems of the White City." (Source of quote below.)

Childe Hassam's World's Fair Gouaches

The perspective structure of the buildings is carefully measured. The vertical lines are executed with white gouache over a light gray base color using the paint in a ruling pen.

Childe Hassam's World's Fair Gouaches

The style or mindset seems quite different from the chaotic and casual approach to the figures and distant areas.

Childe Hassam's World's Fair Gouaches

Hassam painted several views of the Exposition buildings and its visitors using watercolor and gouache. In some of them he allowed the brown paper to show through, creating a warm and cool effect.

Childe Hassam's World's Fair Gouaches

The fair was visited by 27 million people in a time when the US population was 50 million. The exposure was a big boost to Hassam's career.

*Source of quote: Barbara Weinberg.
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Childe Hassam's World's Fair Gouaches
The auction includes classic illustrators such as JC Leyendecker and Norman Rockwell and American landscape painters such as William Trost Richards and Thomas Moran.




'Nothing Gold Can Stay'

'Nothing Gold Can Stay'
Edge of the Forest, October, plein air oil on panel, 6 x 12 inches

"Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay."
—Robert Frost

Dust bath

Every Yutyrranus needs a good dust bath once in a while.

Dust bath

There are places in the forest where they do it, stirring up a shallow basin full dirt and dust with their arms and shaking themselves off afterwards.


Interview about DinotopiaArmored BrachiosaurThe CrossingImagining Bug-Eyed MonstersAndy Warhol Meets the GatekeepersSeaside with a DinosaurAttack on a Convoy PosterChilde Hassam's World's Fair Gouaches'Nothing Gold Can Stay'Dust bath

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