Thursday, September 3, 2015

Gurney Journey

The thing I love about dinosaurs is that they are on that balance point between fantasy and reality. 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.
~James Gurney

Jim and friends

I don't usually feature blogs for Art Thursday, but I'm making an exception. Dinotopia creator James Gurney has an incredibly informative blog called Gurney Journey, where he covers a multitude of topics. Some examples include pencil sketching (I like that he sketches everywhere, even during concerts), lettering (I was impressed by Jake Weidmann), watercolor painting, museum visits, and plein air painting. I really like his posts about painting gear -- I love that he shows what he takes when he paints outside. Gurney also does posts on what other people use. Here's a great post about JoaquĆ­n Sorolla y Bastida's painting set-ups. Gurney also has a fine set of randomness that he refers to as rabbit trails.

Quotes from his site:

Where did you go to college?

I went to the University of California at Berkeley, but I didn't take any classes in the art department there. Instead I sought out the archaeology and paleontology professors and asked them if they needed an artist to render artifacts. They let me loose in the vast Kroeber Museum collection. One of the things I got to do for school credit was to render Egyptian scarab carvings for a scientific publication. After participating in an actual archaeological dig, I decided to major in anthropology. I then went on to study drawing and painting at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

What was your first real art job?

I had to drop out of art school because I got a job working in the movie industry as a background painter for the animated film Fire and Ice, (Bakshi/Frazetta, 1983). My assignment was to paint the landscape scenes that appear on screen behind the action. Over the course of a year and a half, I had to paint over a six hundred scenes—jungles and volcanoes and swamps—entirely from my imagination. Each afternoon, when I watched dailies, I could see characters moving around in the spaces I had just painted. It was like living inside a painting. I became hooked on fantasy art, and soon after, began working as a cover artist for science fiction and fantasy paperbacks.

Some examples of his art:

Dinotopia, Episode 6A

Dinotopia Outtake

Irving at IMC

Blacksmith Jay

Allen Williams

West Clare Graveyard


Retta said...

Oh, loved this. JG has been my Numero Uno favorite blog to follow every day for about 10 years!

Thanks for this. I had missed the part on his blog about drawing artifacts for the archaeology and paleontology professors! No wonder his interests went in that direction. Fascinating post, thank you.

HWY said...

Fantastic art! And I really enjoyed reading the excerpts from his blog.

Thanks for introducing him to me.