Here are James Gurney and I at the opening of his show in Manchester, New Hampshire. The strong down lighting of the gallery made us both look like we had no hair, so I have corrected the image to preserve ( and enhance) my own self respect, and having done so, I couldn't leave James looking any less hirsute.
Dinotopia: The Fantastical Art of James Gurney
New Hampshire Institute of Art from Wednesday, Feb. 20 through Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2013.
77 Amherst St. in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Monday - Wednesday, Friday 9 am - 5 pm Thursday 9 am - 7 pm, Saturday 12 pm - 4 pm
The Norman Rockwell Museum is sponsoring a show of the jaw dropping illustrations for his Dinotopia books and it's a great One. Those of you who read this blog know that I care mostly about what a painting actually looks like. I have little interest in fantasy art, and I hate dinosaurs, (what with all of that biting and other unpleasantness). But I love James's work for its beauty and worksmanship. I am an awestruck admirer of his drawing ability. James can draw as well as anyone alive, I think. He is able to put together pictorial compositions that are as ambitious and well realized as the salon painters of the 19th century. Only a few folks walking around today can do that.
Get your signed copy here.
I was introduced to James Gurney by Tom Kinkaid in the late eighties at a party in Connecticut. I had met Kinkaid at Art Expo in New York when he was just beginning his career. We got to talking about 19th century painting, which at that time was "secret" knowledge, there were virtually no books on the subject then, and no internet. Finding we had similar interests, we arranged to meet at the Metropolitan Museum the next morning. At lunch, Kinkaid leaned across the table at me and told me he was going to make a MILLION dollars! He laid out the plan and I remember thinking, well, he probably will. He invited me to join him at a party up in Connecticut. The party was all young New York illustrators. The illustration market was rapidly collapsing around them, as magazines and book publishers began to use only photography. These young illustrators had all been doing book covers for bodice-ripper novels and magazine work. That world was ending and they were all scrambling to reinvent themselves. I was the only fine arts guy there, having been included by happenstance.
Several people did presentations of their art. I was in New York to retrieve a painting from the biannual exhibition at the National Academy of design and I had my exhibition piece with me (below).
I showed some slides of my outdoor paintings. James remarked that I was a plein air painter. I knew the expression from books, but had never heard anyone actually use it. In those days we just painted "outside".
Gurney Journey. Over the last few years we have chatted more than a few times about art technique, comparing notes and philosophies. James did me the enormous honor of making me the only living artist quoted in his book, Color and Light. But we had never actually stood face to face in about 24 years. I approached him at the opening and we posed briefly in front of his magnificent picture before he was swept away for a photography line up. I heard him lecture later that night.
I never saw or heard from Kinkaid again. A funny thing happened next though. When I was spending the day with Kinkaid he asked me if I would introduce him to John Terelac, a friend of mine in Rockport, whose painting technique Kinkaid had emulated in his own art. I told Thom that Terelac was a very private guy and I couldn't do that. I could introduce him to lots of New England painters, but Terelac wasn't on that list. A few days later when I had returned home I was in my studio and the phone rang. It was John Terelac telling me " I have a friend of yours here!". I said "who?" and John told me "Thomas Kinkaid" in a perturbed voice. I told John that I had not been willing to introduce Kinkaid to him. John said "I thought so!" and hung up the phone. I don't know what happened next, but John was a former high school football star and had moonlighted as a bouncer early in his career. I suspect Thoms' exit was swift and ignoble.
It has been repeatedly pointed out to me that my punctuation is dreadful. I am sorry, sometimes I can get an editor to help me, othertimes they are disgusted by me. I dropped out of high school and missed too many English classes. Please forgive my punctuation, someday I will figure that out too!
I have several workshops in the offing. For instance there is;
This workshop will take place March 9 through the 11th near between St. Paul and Stillwater. When last I taught in Minnesota several in my class asked if I would do a Minnesota snowcamp, so here it is. I have made it as late in the year as is possible to get a little milder weather and I hope there is still snow. I think there will be, but if there isn't, I will still hold the workshop but I will call it Stickcamp.
This will be a transplanted version of the yearly Snowcamp I do in New Hampshires' White Mountains. I will teach the methods of painting snow including color vibration and the planar structure in snow and the landscape itself. I intend to emphasize the idea of form in the landscape rather than a purely visual approach. I will show how to express the convex outward bulging forms that express the structural "bones" of the landscape. I think this gets ignored by some plein air painters today and taught less than it ought be. I will also show you how I build the color structure of the snow using color laid over color to assemble the structure of the snow.
There is no need to stay an any particular lodging to attend the workshop and it will be an easy commute out from Minneapolis or St. Paul. The price of the three day workshop will be three hundred dollars. As per usual with my workshops I run a twelve to thirteen hour day and try to cram as much into the three days we have as possible. I make workshops as intense as I possibly can. We will meet for breakfast and then move to the painting site and work until dusk. Then we will meet for dinner and I haul out my computer and lecture on design and other aspects of landscape painting while we await our meal. If you live in, or can visit the area I hope you will come. To sign up, click here!
I will also be teaching in Lafayette, Louisiana from March 22nd to the 24th . You can contact Maria Randolph to sign up or get more information.
Here is the information copied from their website;