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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

Animal News

Over at the farm yesterday, Lenny harnessed up the Belgian draft horses. He wanted to give them some practice with ground driving.

Animal News
Even the miniature horse Skye was in harness. She’s pregnant. A baby miniature foal is due in the next few days. I’ll try to do some sketches when the day comes.

Animal News
Lenny let me try ground driving behind Sofie and Abby. It’s the first time I’ve tried it. He told me to lean back a bit to let them know I was behind them.

Animal News
I was pretending I was walking behind a couple of Anchiceratops, like in Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara.

Animal News
The other news is that on Saturday night a big black bear came right up to the back of our house. I think he smelled the bird feeders. It's the first black bear I've ever seen on this side of the Hudson River.

Animal News
Soon it will be time to close up the feeders for the season, but there have been some spectacular birds passing through, such as my favorite, the rose breasted grosbeak, a bird we see only one day a year.

Previously on Gurney Journey
Princess the Belgian filly
Christmas Surprise (birth of Joy, the donkey)
Joy in the Farmyard
Snow Plowing with Draft Horses

By the way, ACOPAL (America China Oil Painting Artist League) has announced its winners and finalists. The link takes you to a gallery of the work accepted. I'm delighted that my painting Chandara was chosen as a finalist.

The Stone Figures of Ebulon

Inside the seated stone figures of Ebulon of Dinotopia are many levels of rooms hollowed out from the rock.

The Stone Figures of Ebulon
The sleeping chambers are on the top level, with windows looking out through the eyes of the statue. Below that are workshops and a privy or toilet to the right. The next level contains kitchens and dining areas. The bottom level of this cutaway view reveals a storehouse for barrels of salted fish, and a roosting area for the skybaxes, which leads out to a flight platform on the lap of the seated figure. 

The Stone Figures of Ebulon
Various views of the Ebulon figures in the book Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara are all based on this rough clay maquette. It was about four inches high, and it only took about a half hour to sculpt. I recycled the clay after photographing it.

A physical maquette pays great dividends in the understanding of lighting. Note the warm reflected light in the shadow planes on the right of the figure, compared to the cool tones of the fill light. This information is very hard to invent, and it makes all the difference in convincing the viewer of the reality of an imagined world.

From Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara, published in 2007

Dinotopia Originals at Brafa Festival

Two original oil paintings from Dinotopia will be offered for sale at the Brafa art festival in Belgium, which officially begins today, January 21st and will be on show until January 30th.

Dinotopia Originals at Brafa Festival
The paintings include “Arthur and Telescope,” the illustration on page 1 of Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara (2007), and “Imperial Palace,” which appears both on page 132 of Chandara and page 154 of Imaginative Realism.

Dinotopia Originals at Brafa Festival
The paintings will be on view at booth 115, the Daniel Maghen Gallery, which has a select assortment of fantasy and comic art from Europe and America. For more information contact Olivier Souille at Galerie Daniel Maghen at info (at) danielmaghen.com.
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Galerie Daniel Maghen 
Brafa Festival

The Stockbridge Stomp

When the Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts hosted a Dinotopia exhibition in 2006, a small group of Dinotopia fans from all over the world assembled at a mini-convention called “The Stockbridge Stomp.”

The Stockbridge Stomp
I joined them for the festivities and then invited them to my studio a short drive away, so that they could pose for a painting I was working on.

The Stockbridge Stomp
We had a big bowl of homemade soup together, and then they put on costumes, some of which they brought with them. They posed in small groups, imagining themselves standing beside a Styracosaurus and a Chasmosaurus. Many of the figures in the painting were based on that impromptu gathering.

The painting appeared on the title page of Dinotopia Journey to Chandara. The painting also appears in Color and Light, page 116.  

This painting will be one of about 40 paintings from Dinotopia Journey to Chandara, opening today at the The Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art in, Midland, Michigan.
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The Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art/ Midland Center for the Arts
Web article about the exhibit, which includes “Bigger than T. Rex: Giant Killer Dinosaurs of Argentina.”
Exhibit review on MLive.com
Journey to Chandara at the Dinotopia Store.
Journey to Chandara on Amazon.
Thanks to all the Stompers!

Air Jousting

Advanced pterosaur pilots, or “skybax riders” as they are called in Dinotopia, learn the sport of air jousting.

Air Jousting
The armor is a lightweight version of horse jousting armor from the Middle Ages in Europe, where the rider can only see through a narrow slit in his sallet, or helmet. The protection for the eyes of the skybax makes him blind during the approach. A dismounted skybax rider must parachute to the ground.

 Air Jousting
The final oil painting was published in Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara (2007), but it was based on a quick marker sketch that I did much earlier.

Beginning January 20, the original painting will appear along with more than 40 of my other paintings, in the exhibition: Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara, The Paintings of James Gurney, at the The Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art in Midland, Michigan. The show is the same as the one recently in Lucca, Italy.
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The Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art/ Midland Center for the Arts
Web article about the exhibit, which includes “Bigger than T. Rex: Giant Killer Dinosaurs of Argentina.”
Journey to Chandara at the Dinotopia Store.
Journey to Chandara on Amazon.

Step-by-Step in International Artist

The new October/ November issue of International Artist magazine has a four-page feature on the making of the painting “Old Conductor” for Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara.

Step-by-Step in International ArtistThe reproduction of the various steps are shown larger and in more detail than what appears in Imaginative Realism, and I included some of the reference photos.

This issue has other step-by-step demos, including an alla prima oil portrait by Tony Pro. “The Art of the Portrait,” a regular feature of the magazine by Gordon Whetmore, shares news about artists such as Jeremy Lipking, Michael Shane Neal, and Everett Raymond Kinstler.
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International Artist magazine
Previously on GJ: the Washin Stage

Imperial Palace

The second of three original Dinotopia paintings for sale in the upcoming auction shows the Imperial Palace of the city of Chandara.

Imperial PalaceThe view looks east across the Zhengtao River. The emperor’s palace occupies a high and remote prominence in the center of the city. Morning sunlight illuminates the top of the gold dome and the flying buttresses, while thunderclouds assemble over Silver Bay.

Imperial PalaceMy approach was inspired by several artists of the past who specialized in otherworldly moods in landscape: Frederic Church, Isaac Levitan, Andreas Achenbach, Hans Gude, and Jean Ferdinand Monchablon.

The painting is in oil, and appeared in Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara, which was published in USA, France, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece. It also was published in Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist. Other paintings from the book toured museums in Yverdon, Switzerland, Newcastle, England, and Nantes, France.
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Earlier post about another painting in the Tajan auction.
Galerie Daniel Maghen is the expert adviser in the sale. For more information, please email Olivier Souille at "info@danielmaghen.com"
Tajan’s October bande dessinée auction (the final online catalog is still in preparation).
James Gurney Original Art blog
Dinotopia website
James Gurney Original Art blog
Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara

Dinotopia Originals to be in Tajan Auction

Some of you have asked if original art from the Dinotopia books will ever be made available to collectors. For many years I’ve kept them off the market so that I can make them available for museum exhibitions.

Until now, no paintings from Dinotopia: The World Beneath, First Flight, or Journey to Chandara have ever been sold.

Dinotopia Originals to be in Tajan AuctionOn October 16, the Tajan auction house in Paris will conduct their first-ever sale of bande dessinée, which includes comics and fantasy art. They have invited me to participate.

The auction will include three original oil paintings from Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara, (published as Dinotopia: Un Voyage À Chandara in French).

The first painting, from page 151, is called “The Emperor’s Offer.” It shows the main characters, Arthur and Bix, with the officials of Chandara. The image is 17.5 x 29.5 cm on a 25.5 x 38 cm acid-free board, and is signed lower right.

This painting is very special to me and I worked hard to capture that other-worldly light and mood.

Dinotopia Originals to be in Tajan AuctionI posed a variety of models, including myself and my wife, and used a maquette to work out the pale, glowing silhouette of Chandara in the distance.

I’ll show the other two paintings in later posts.
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Galerie Daniel Maghen is the expert adviser in the sale, which will also include Moebius, Bilal, Pratt, and Franquin.
Tajan’s October bande dessinée auction (the final online catalog is still in preparation).
James Gurney Original Art blog
Dinotopia website
For more information, please email Olivier Souille at "info@danielmaghen.com"

Draw-Through

Here’s the preliminary line drawing for a Dinotopia painting called “Flight Past the Falls.” I did it on a separate piece of paper, photocopied it, and transferred it to the canvas with an Artograph projector.

Draw-ThroughThe rider on the pterosaur was drawn on a separate layer of paper and moved around until I got the position I wanted.

What I want you to notice is the “draw through,” which means the lines carried across to invisible parts of the form. For example:
1. Circular curve of the bottom half of the globe.
2. Chest of pterosaur hidden by wing.
3. Eye level or horizon hidden behind falls.
4. Curvature of Moorish arch hidden by the flanking buttresses.

Note also the centerline markings on the globe, and the winged sculpture. Also note the perspective grid on the side of the drawing.

Draw-through helps you keep track of what the form is doing when it slips behind something else. If you work out the draw-through on a separate piece of paper from the finished work you don’t have to worry about erasing the lines or covering them up.

You can apply the draw-through principle to figure drawing or any drawing, especially in the early stages. It will make your final drawing or painting more solid and convincing. When an architect draws a building elevation, she knows where the windows and doors are located on the back side of the building.
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Earlier GJ post about the skybax model and the finished image.

Monkey King

I’m honored and grateful to receive the Monkey King award from CICAF, the annual animation festival in Hangzhou, China.

Monkey King
The painting that won the award is “Desert Crossing,” from Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara.

Next time I visit a troupe of wild monkeys, I will now demand respect as their true sovereign. I will not tolerate the lèse-majesté that happened on the previous occasion.
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CICAF's Monkey King Award
Journey to Chandara
GJ Post: "Manhandled by Apes" and "Return Flight"
Animal NewsThe Stone Figures of EbulonDinotopia Originals at Brafa FestivalThe Stockbridge StompAir JoustingStep-by-Step in International ArtistImperial PalaceDinotopia Originals to be in Tajan AuctionDraw-ThroughMonkey King

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