Category Archives: Sketching

Gurney Journey at 10

James Gurney's Gurney Journey art blog at 10
Congratulations to James Gurney for 10 years of authoring his superb blog, Gurney Journey.

What started as a modest intention to chronicle his travels on a book tour — in a way mirroring the journaled adventures of the character Authur Denison in Gurney’s popular illustrated adventure series, Dinotopia — has grown over time into not only a superb blog among art blogs, but one of the most in-depth and useful sources of art information and instruction on the web.

Gurney has been unstintingly generous in sharing his experience as an illustrator, author, plein air painter, instructor, model maker, videographer, and restless experimenter and investigator of artistic topics.

Over the course of time his posts on painting techniques, equipment, paints, color theory, drawing, and related topics have been turned into instructional books, YouTube videos, and most recently, a series of full-length instruction art videos.

Gurney has been a proponent of misunderstood and often overlooked painting mediums like gouache and casein, and Gurney Journey remains one of the definitive sources on the web for information and instruction in their use.

Long time readers of Lines and Colors will know I’ve long enjoyed Gurney Journey and recommended it often, along with Gurney’s other projects.

For those who may be new to Gurney Journey, I will recommend that you take a look at the post he did in 2016 on the landmark of 4,000 posts. In it he links to a quick overview of some of the most prominent topics. You can also explore using the list of topics in the blog’s left column, or the search feature at the upper left of all pages.

If you take the plunge, I will issue my Timesink Warning, and point out that I fell down that rabbit hole myself for a couple of hours while preparing this post, bookmarking along the way numerous articles I had forgotten about for future reference.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Francis Hopkinson Smith watercolor of Venice

Over a Balcony, View of the Grand Canal, Venice; Francis Hopkinson Smith watercolor
“Over a Balcony,” View of the Grand Canal, Venice; Francis Hopkinson Smith

Watercolor; roughly 32 x 21 inches (80 x 53 cm); in the collection of the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. On their page, click on “Explore Object” at the top of the image for a zoomable view, or use the “Download Image” link.

This superb late 19th century watercolor of Venice by American artist and engineer Francis Hopkinson Smith is remarkable on several levels.

Not only is it a beautiful evocation of a view from a balcony in the Academia section of the city toward one of its great landmarks — the church and basilica of Santa Maria della Salute — it also captures the variation in light through the scene caused by the scattered cloud cover. The church domes are in sharp sun and shadow, as is the landing forward of that; but the foreground and other parts of the middle distance are in the muted light of an overcast day.

In addition, Smith has delineated the architecture with lines visible through the areas of color, giving the picture the charm of both a drawing and a painting simultaneously.

Most appealing to me, however, is the way he has shifted our view from far to near — essentially in three steps, from the distant curve of the main island beyond the mouth of the canal, to the succinctly delineated middle ground of the church and its environs, to the immediate foreground of the flower pots and ledges, the nearest only an arm’s reach from the artist’s vantage point.

Wonderful.

 
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Shari Blaukopf

Shari Blaukopf, watercolors, urban sketches
Shari Blaukopf is a watercolor painter based in Montreal.

She is a dedicated location sketcher, and you can find her sketches on a dedicated blog, as well as in a section on her website, and on the Urban Sketchers blog.

Even in her more finished work, she maintains a feeling of the informal immediacy that comes from location sketching.

I particularly enjoy her loose approach to rendering architectural elements, and her take on simple, unassuming objects that might often be overlooked as subjects for paintings.

Blaukopf often augments her watercolor sketches with pen and ink, and she has two instructional video courses on Craftsy.com related to sketching in pen, ink and watercolor.

 
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Mars Huang (B6 Drawing Man)

Mars Huang (B6 Drawing Man), watercolor and ink sketches
Mars Huang is an artist based in Japan (I think — most of the pieces are labeled as scenes from Japan and Taiwan). Though he signs his work “Mars”, his Tumblr blog credits him only as “B6 Drawing man”; it wasn’t until I followed a link to one of his process videos on Vimeo, that I came across his actual name.

His blog is filled with delightfully loose and gestural ink and watercolor sketches of architecture, interior spaces, and, in particular, quirky vehicles like scooters and small cars — often loaded down with luggage.

He excels at reducing complex subjects down to their linear essentials, highlighting them with just enough touches of color to give you a sense of texture and presence.

Be sure to follow the link trough to the larger images on his blog, the small example images I’m posting here don’t give an adequate feeling for the work.

 
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Cherngzhi Lian

Cherngzhi Lian
Cherngzhi Lian is an artist based in Singaapore who works primarily in acrylic and watercolor, as well as drawing media.

There are galleries on his website, largely of scenes from his travels in Bhutan. There is a drop-down menu for subjects, accessed from “Painting” on the left (though I found it cranky in my copy of Safari).

There are also sketches under “Drawings” and “Travels”.

Lian has a Tumblr blog, on which he posts sketches, often photographed in the context of the scene he is sketching.

Many of his recent posts are devoted to his latest project, in which he is attempting to design “The Perfect Sketchbook”.

 
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