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Viewing Blog: Gurney Journey, Most Recent at Top
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Creator of "Dinotopia"! This daily weblog by James Gurney is for illustrators, comic artists, plein-air painters, sketchers, animators, art students, and writers.
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1. Eyebrows and Face Recognition

Do you recognize these two people? In both photographs, the eyebrows have been removed. 

Here are the photos of the same faces. Is it easier to recognize them this way? This time the eyes have been digitally removed instead of the eyebrows. (Hint: one is a politician, and the other an actor) 

Richard Nixon and Winona Ryder
Scientists have done facial recognition experiments where subjects were presented with many faces altered to have either the eyebrows or the eyes removed. It turns out that subjects perform better on faces with no eyes, compared to faces with no eyebrows. 

As the authors put it, "The absence of eyebrows in familiar faces leads to a very large and significant disruption in recognition performance."

This came as a surprise to me, since I have always assumed that the eyes were the most important elements to help us recognize and remember a face, with the mouth being perhaps second most important.

Anselm van Hulle, 1649. Anna Margareta
It's remarkable that humans of both sexes have these patches of hair on our faces, compared to primates who generally have more facial hair. The muscles controlling their movement are sophisticated and largely unconscious. We express much about our emotional state to others, even at long distances away. This central role as a social signaler may be related to why eyebrows are also so important for recognition.

The authors of the paper note that:
"During the 18th century, in fact, in Western Europe full eyebrows were considered so essential to facial beauty that some upper-class women and courtiers would affix mouse hide to their foreheads. The perceived importance of the eyebrows for enhancing beauty has not waned to this day. Currently, it is relatively common cosmetic practice to use tweezers or depilatories to narrow and accentuate the arch of the eyebrows, as well as to remove any hair at the bridge of the nose. Cosmetics may also be used to alter the color (especially the darkness) and exaggerate the shape and length of the eyebrows."
J. Sadr, I. Jarudi, and P. Sinha, B, The role of eyebrows in face recognition, [Perception, vol. 32, pp. 285–293, 2003.

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2. Lighting a Model with Two Sources

Sir John Leighton, the Director-General of the Scottish National Gallery, served as both painter's model and keynote speaker at the Portrait Society's annual conference yesterday.

Sir John Leighton by James Gurney, black and white gouache, 3 x 3 inches
He was on the grand ballroom stage posing for a demo by Michael Shane Neal. I was far back in the audience watching the demo, looking at a video image projected on a big screen. Above is a 30-minute gouache sketch I did from my seat.

Mr. Neal lit him with a two-source lighting scheme inspired by Anders Zorn (Swedish, 1860-1920). The lighting scheme produces a shadow core in the center of the form and often puts the eyes in shadow.

In the case of this Zorn, those dark accents in the face float in the middle of a sea of creamy white, the reverse of the usual tonal scheme of a portrait.

Watch a 15-second video clip of my sketch in context on my Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook page.
Related posts: 
Zorn's Two-Source Lighting
Split lighting

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3. Portrait Demo — Three Hours in Three Minutes

If you weren't able catch my portrait demo at the Portrait Society of America conference in Washington, no worries! Here's a front row seat, complete with super-speed action, blow-by-blow narration, and cheat-sheet notes. (Link to YouTube

The original is available for silent-auction sale—if you're interested in it, maybe a friend of yours at the convention can put a bid on it for you. (Check Facebook or #artoftheportrait2016 on Twitter or Instagram.)

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4. Portrait Society Conference

Photo by Caleb
I'm at the Portrait Society of America's annual conference in Washington, DC, and was honored yesterday to participate in the Face-Off event, where 15 artists paint three-hour portraits from five models. It was fun to get the oils going again, after painting so much in water media lately. 

Other Face-Off participants included Carol Arnold, Anna Rose Bain, Judith Carducci, Casey Childs, Romel de la Torre, Michelle Dunaway, Max Ginsburg, Quang Ho, Robert Liberace, Ricky Mujica, Teresa Oaxaca, Alicia Ponzio, and Elizabeth Zanzinger.

I shot some time lapse and live video clips, and I'll share those with you on a future post.

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5. Pros and Cons of Posting Work-in-Progress

There are a lot of ways to share your process online, especially after a painting is finished.

But what a lot of people do is show a work developing over time from its early stages to the finish. When artists do that, we can follow stages of their paintings or even their big book projects over a time scale of days, weeks, or months.

Is it a good idea to post unfinished work online? I can think of a few pros and cons, and would love to hear your thoughts.

1. It's a good way to involve followers in a work that you're doing. It's the essence of Kickstarter campaigns.
2. It's exciting for viewers to watch the ups and downs of the work in real time as it develops.
3. It's valuable for students, fans, and collectors to learn about your process.

1. You lose the impact of the first impression, something you can never get back. Movie companies never share their storyboards; they only tease with impressive finished clips. Unless there's something incredibly compelling about your process, don't take us behind the curtain until after we've seen the finished thing.

2. A painting goes through some pretty awful stages (at least mine do) and some finishes aren't fit to be shared. No reason to lower my average and clog everyone's feed by dumping all my intermediate stages onto social media.

3. If you put a lot of standalone JPEGs of unfinished works on your blog or Pinterest, they'll come up on a search, and the person searching may assume it's a finish (or just a bad painting). This is less of a problem with media that are more opaque to search, such as Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

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6. Disrupting Face Recognition Technology

Face recognition systems are getting very good at spotting a face in a crowd, whether using cameras in public places or software scanning millions of images posted to social media.

Facebook's DeepFace system, for example, uses a neural-net based machine learning approach to identify any person with 97 percent accuracy.

Faces identified in red. Green square indicates no face detected. Via CVDazzle
Ordinary disguises, such as hats, wigs, mustaches, and glasses may fool human observers, but they don't trick these machine systems. However, face recognition systems only work when they see something that looks like a face.

In a new confluence of couture fashion and privacy activism, a group of hackers is adopting the methods of dazzle camouflage to disrupt face-detection technology.

Contrasting patterns of light and dark cross the contours of the face and overlap the features, making it hard to recognize the shape of the head, and interfering with the edges of the facial features. 

Note to concept artists: these styles would fit well into a futuristic cyberpunk world.

Random patterns are painted onto the face. Hair is alternately curly and straight. 

Whether these fashions are accepted or ultimately banned in public places is anyone's guess, since authorities will argue that terrorists can use them too. 

Such methods may only be effective temporarily, since machine learning systems are now being applied to individual movements, such as gesture and gait recognition, with comparable levels of accuracy.

Yet such advances in technology—and countermeasures to that technology—call into question our basic human assumptions about the expectation of privacy and anonymity in public places.
Read more: Camouflage from Face Recognition Technology
Scientific papers on deep learning systems for movement recognition
Previous post: Dazzle Camouflage
Wikipedia on Facebook's DeepFace system

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7. Admissions Officer

I love sketching people when they're moving and talking, rather than posing. I sketched this admissions officer at a meeting for prospective college students. The challenge was to choose a characteristic angle and pose as he spoke.

I'll be lecturing and demoing about sketching people in the wild at the Portrait Society of America's National Conference in Washington, DC this weekend. I don't know if you can still register to attend, but if you can make it, I recommend it highly. Here's the registration form.

During my talk Friday morning called "Likeness and Character," I'll be previewing a segment from an upcoming video that I'm working on called "Portraits in the Wild."

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8. Chris Watson's Audio Postcards

If you like listening to immersive soundscapes while you're painting, you'll enjoy the BBC podcasts by Chris Watson. He's a wildlife sound recordist who takes his sensitive equipment all over the world. His 15-minute programs alternate audio environments with his voice identifying what you're hearing.

Sample episodes:
Midnight at the Oasis—The sounds of the Kalahari Desert, from dusk to dawn, including interesting audio perspectives where he achieves interesting audio perspectives by putting the microphone under the sand dunes and under the bark of the trees.

St James Park—Tracking wildlife in urban environments near his home in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, he starts with the weekend revelers and sports fans chucking out litter. Then we hear the sound of rats and mice eating up the discarded food, and then the urban predators, tawny owls and foxes.

Glacial Melt — The sounds of calving glaciers in Antarctica, and the assorted wildlife above and below the water.
More Chris Watson sound programs
He has contributed audio to the BBC The Life of Birds video documentaries.
Watson talks with David Attenborough about their lives in sound (28 minutes)

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9. Church in the Rain

I just finished writing an article for International Artist magazine which will be out in a few weeks. The subject is painting when you're stuck somewhere. In this case I was in Millbridge, Maine during a camping trip, waiting for the rain to stop. 

I had my painting gear but no umbrella. The only public place with cover was the porch in front of the post office. 

The view looked across to the Congregational church beyond some utility poles and outbuildings. I liked the way the church was white against the white of the sky, with a few birds perched up high on the steeple.

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10. Cardboard Cutout for Reference

James Warhola posing for an Etruscan musician
Here's a tip when you need a quick prop for your model to interact with, but you don't have time to build an elaborate replica. Just draw the shape of it on the surface of a piece of cardboard and cut out what you need. At least that gives the model something three dimensional to hold, and you don't have to make up the whole thing.

It works for a lot of things—instruments, guns, shields, furniture, windows. It only takes a couple of minutes to build, and it's recyclable when you're done.

The full illustration appears in the June, 1988 issue of National Geographic, in the story "The Eternal Etruscans" or on the History and Science section of my website.
It also appears in my book Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist

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11. Harold Speed Discusses Color and Taste

Welcome to the GJ Book Club. Today we'll cover pages 192-216 of the chapter on "Tone and Colour Design," from Harold Speed's 1924 art instruction book Oil Painting Techniques and Materials.

I'll present Speed's main points in boldface type either verbatim or paraphrased, followed by my comments. If you want to add a comment, please use the numbered points to refer to the relevant section of the chapter.

Veronese—Allegory of Love: Infidelity
1. Veronese analysis
Speed does a diagrammatic analysis of the painting, and notes the large arc formed by the woman's arms and shoulders.

2. Warm and Cool Color
Speed groups the following as cool colors: lemon yellow, green, greenish blue and full blue.
Warm colors include orange yellow, orange, orange red and full red. Purple is on the dividing line.

3. If the colors are very vivid and violent they will tend to make their complementary colors tell in the picture.
Harmony and contrast are not always in agreement. More of one quality makes for less of the other.

4. When the color introduced is of a quieter order, those similar to it in the other parts of the picture sing up in sympathy.
For example, a blue note will bring out all the cool colors.

Seago --Thames Embankment
5. The picture that has a prevailing unity of hue, but is full of color varieties subtly introduced in the tones is one of the most beautiful of schemes.
With all the coal smoke in Speed's day, London subjects were often gray days, mostly monochromatic schemes with subtle color—He advises not to overdo it trying to make a pretty picture. Important to get the sober feeling. The prevailing hue must never be of a very pronounced color, but always in the more neutral range.

6. The selection of too many varieties of colour masses should be avoided....A lavish display is apt to be vulgar. 

Giampietrino Last Supper ca. 1520 after Leonardo
7. Copy of Leonardo's Last Supper. Strong color notes of red and blue brought together in the figure of Christ. 

8. Arrange masses of color so that warm colors are grouped together and cold colors together.
Kind of like shape welding using color temperature instead of value. 

9. "Whenever any composition device becomes too obvious, one's sympathy is alienated."
Speed cautions against making the contrasts too violent, and leaves that for the poster designer.

10. Begin planning your color scheme with the broad idea and let the varieties be added to this large intention.

11. White masses always need very careful designing, as they catch the eye. 

Harold Speed -- The Alcantara, Toledo
12. Toledo bridge. Painted in monochrome, allowed to dry, with color added later. 

Sargent Wyndham sisters.
13. Grouping multiple white masses into a larger mass.
White needs careful observing. Beware of harsh chalky whites.

14. When painting outdoors, it's easier to get the overall color impression, but when painting from imagination, it's harder to invent a convincing color statement.
Beware of using blue too much as a unifier.

15. Good exercise: Start with a black and white reproduction and invent various color schemes consistent with those tonal values.

16. Two sources of inspiration: the study of nature and the study of the best art of all times.
These are also the keys to freeing oneself from the fashion of the moment, says Speed.

17. Page 211. "What a better world we might have if real experts were allowed to control the formation of our habits, and were consulted by those in authority when anything demanding taste came up for discussion."
Speed goes on a rant here. He argues that ordinary people end up preferring art of lower standards merely from habit, because they're not exposed to finer things. His appeal for a cultural elite must have seemed like a reasonable bastion against the artistic excesses of his time, but I don't think such a top-down program would work in free countries, particularly given the penchant for artists to defy authority. 

Today the aesthetic standards are largely defined by commerce. In the USA art lives or dies in the marketplace, with art that sells for higher prices or movies that make big box office results being justified on those terms.

However, the Internet has fostered the growth of a citizen band of book critics, movie commentators, and teachers of form and style. And the Internet has also introduced crowd-sourcing as a new model of funding and distribution. This crowd-sourced check-valve on the arts has changed how and why creators do what they do. I wonder what Speed would have thought of it.

18. Art takes patience to appreciate. 
Speed says, "The mind only opens to the reception of ideas and experiences that are beyond one's present capacity." He says that art takes patience and reverence to really appreciate. He tells the story of the young museum-goer asking him to explain the merits of an old master to him. Speed advocates spending time with older painters and "getting past the brown varnish" to understand its retiring qualities.

19. Beware the "one better" type.
He might be referring to Cubists and Fauvists, and he makes specific reference to poster designers, all artists in his opinion who strive for effect by making extreme statements. Speed is always a voice for restraint, reserve, and balance.

Next week—We'll continue with Materials on page 217.
In its original edition, the book is called "The Science and Practice of Oil Painting." Unfortunately it's not available in a free edition, but there's an inexpensive print edition that Dover publishes under a different title "Oil Painting Techniques and Materials (with a Sargent cover)," and there's also a Kindle edition.
GurneyJourney YouTube channel
My Public Facebook page
GurneyJourney on Pinterest
JamesGurneyArt on Instagram

@GurneyJourney on Twitter

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12. Wild Boar

I sketched this wild boar in a restaurant in Guadalupe, Spain while waiting for lunch.
Previously: Wild boar paintings by Georges-Frédéric Rötig

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13. Monkey in Snowsuit and his Animal Friends

Fedor the monkey heads out in his snowsuit to check on his friends, the chicken and the goat. Link to YouTube Via BoingBoing

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14. Water Reflections vs. Ice Reflections

In water refections, the reflected image mirrors the subject at a slightly darker value, deepening the colors of whatever it's reflecting. 

Even in still water, distortions begin changing the reflected image. Verticals remain legible, but they're typically blurred in the vertical direction. Thin horizontal lines disappear.

Tiny ripples introduce wobble into the image, but the components of the image—in this case branches, tree trunks, and sky—are still  legible as separate elements.

How is this different with reflections on ice?

Here are three different photographs taken of a pond at the same time of morning on different sunny days. 

• In #1, the open water is a little more disturbed than in the previous picture, so the ripple distortions are greater. 
• In #2, a thin layer of smooth ice has formed. The range of values of the reflection is less than with the water surface. Where the ice refroze and formed a thicker edge in the middle, it reflects more deep blue color from the sky. 
• In #3, the ice has aged several days, roughening the surface and making it less reflective. The value range is even narrower.

Below are three photos of ice reflections on overcast days. In all three, the overcast conditions reduce the contrast of warm and cool colors, and they all appear more gray.

• #1 is ice with a thin layer of water on top of it. The ice raises the values of the deepest darks, but the water offers a clear reflection of the trees.
• In #2, ice at the edges vs. open water in the middle of the pond shows the difference between the two.
• #3. Older ice reflects the trees as soft dark verticals against a light sky all the way to the far shore. 

The bottom line: Ice reflections are less definite than water reflections. They are blurrier, and they should be painted with a narrower range of values. If you're not bold enough with water reflections, they tend to look like ice reflections.
My book Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter discusses reflections, atmospheric effects, and a lot more. You can get it from Amazon or at my website
Previous series: 

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15. Using Computers to Create a Typical Rembrandt

A team of scientists used statistical analysis, deep learning algorithms, and 3D printers to create an image that is intended to look like a typical Rembrandt. 

Here's how they did it (Link to YouTube)

Read about the process on The GuardianThanks, Dan

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16. DVD Review by Cynthia Sheppard

Cynthia Sheppard, Illustrator and Art Director for Magic: The Gathering says:

"James Gurney’s new DVD, "Fantasy in the Wild” is an enchanting reminder that there is fantastical inspiration all around us. Gurney takes us on a journey through the creation of two conceptual illustrations completed in a novel way—outside of his studio in various locations around town.

The DVD covers an array of pointers on gathering reference from places you might not think to look, as well as materials and tools for working on site. Ever wonder if a traffic cone could be an art supply staple? You should watch and find out....

He transforms the mundane into the fantastical, and delivers useful information with all the warmth and depth you expect from a Gurney production. It feels very much like you’re spending a weekend painting alongside Gurney, as he de-mystifies his process of illustrating using casein and discusses a few of his more unconventional approaches to interpreting everyday objects into creative concepts.

For me, watching the video was like hearing the voice of a caring artist friend who urges me to get off my butt and leave the studio for a fresh perspective. There was a sense of 'look how much fun this is!' running through the whole production, and I expect others who watch it will want to try out the plein-air concept art approach too.”

—Cynthia Sheppard, Illustrator and Art Director for Magic: The GatheringFollow her on Twitter
"Fantasy in the Wild: Painting Concept Art on Location" is available as a download from Gumroad, or as a DVD direct from the manufacturer, or from Amazon.

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17. In a Noodle Shop

Before you scroll down any farther, what does the style of this sketch remind you of? Can you think of any other art genre that the shapes and colors evoke?

About the sketch itself, this guy was looking out the window of a noodle shop, and I had about five minutes to paint him. 

To get the soft edge around his "love handle" area, I painted the gouache wet into wet. The white edge lighting is made up mostly of the white of the paper. I used Venetian red for the background color because the walls were painted that color.

Out of curiosity, I put my sketch into Google's "visually similar" image search, and I was surprised by the results. 

What it served up was a whole bunch of World War II posters from several countries, including the USA, Nazi Germany, Communist China, and Soviet Russia. There's also a Saturday Evening Post cover and a Western movie poster thrown in.  

These results are narrowly focused on a particular period of illustration with a particular purpose, that of arousing the energy of the people to work and fight.

What does that tell us about the style of my sketch? Did any of you think of propaganda art from the 1940s? Poster art from WW II is not a big study of mine, and certainly wasn't in my conscious mind when I was doing the sketch. 

I also wonder what this tells us about the visual intelligence behind Google's image search algorithm? It seems to be based purely on abstract colors and shapes, and it pays no heed to subject matter, other than the fact that it was a figure in a setting.
You can try putting your own art into Google's "visually similar" image search and see what you come up with. 

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18. Night Sketch

Provincetown, Massachusetts by streetlight

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19. Repin's Easter Procession

Ilya Repin's Religious Procession in Kursk Province shows an Easter procession of Bright Week, a tradition of the Eastern Orthodox church. 

Repin --Study for Religious Procession

Controversial in its day, the painting documents the range of Russian social strata moving together toward their common destiny while cruelly maintaining their differences.

According to David Jackson
"At the right, burly peasants carry a platform holding the icon inside an elaborate neoclassical case; only gleams of light reflecting off the gold riza icon cover can be made out. Lines of peasants joining hands hold back the crowd, the foremost at the left trying to stop the crippled boy breaking through the cordon with his stick. Alongside ride peasant or priest stewards and officials and police in uniform, some of the latter beating back the crowd with their riding crops. Behind the icon follow priests and better-dressed people, carrying icons in front of their chest, and an "effete, dandified and bored priest" in vestments carefully straightens his hair." 

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20. Thoughts about Doing Live Demos

My friend Greg Ruth asked me about my thoughts on doing public painting demos, so here are a few musings.

James Gurney paints James Warhola, photo by Patrick O'Brien at MICA
Drawing or painting in front of an audience has its challenges. It's really a kind of performance. I've done everything from Vaudeville style chalk talk gags for bored first graders to oil portrait demos at art schools.

For both, I lower my expectations about how well the painting is likely to turn out. That's because I have to fire up both brain hemispheres so I can talk and draw at the same time, something I'm not as accustomed to doing as art professors are.

Inline image 1
Demo portrait in watercolor of Dennis Nolan, professor at Hartford Art School
Also I can't predict the outcome because I don't have a single tried-and-true system of painting. I may come at the subject with pencil, watercolor, casein, gouache, or oil, depending on how adventurous I'm feeling, or what I happen to have with me.

For me, painting and drawing alternate between moments of confidence and moments of doubt. I think it's best to avoid expressing too much of either emotion. What the audience genuinely does need is a practical understanding of how that internal struggle plays out on the page. How do you spot an error, and how do you fix it? What makes you decide to rub something out? What things to you need to get right at different stages?

The demo should be not merely a display of process, but also of the reasoning behind the process, so that the student has a map to find their way through the thicket.

Greg Ruth interviewed a lot of other artists on this topic, and you can read the range of thoughts on demoing on the blog Muddy Colors. I'd be interested in any comments from those of you who are veterans at doing painting demos. And I'd also like to hear from students about what you have liked most about the best demos you seen (OK to name names or suggest videos), and what are your pet peeves about demos that haven't been helpful (without naming names).
My video tutorials on Gumroad
Instagram I have a differrent track of images on Instagram

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21. Lens Flare for Painters

Whether you call it lens flare (what happens in a camera when you look at the sun) or color corona (a similar phenomenon that happens in your eye), it's a powerful effect that's popular in photography and video these days, but it's also something that has fascinated painters for a long time.

Peder Mønsted, A Winter's Day
The painting above was done in 1918, before color photography would have been in common use, so it's almost surely based on the effect that you can observe with your eyes. However, I don't recommend looking directly at the sun, which can damage your eyes.

The effect comes from light scattered by water vapor and dust in the air between you and the sun. The light is further scattered by your eyelashes when you squint, and then by the aqueous humor and vitreous fluid of the eye. The effect is best observed when you glimpse a setting sun through trees or when you see a streetlight at night.

Try squinting hard at a streetlight and tilting your head to see how the rays tilt with you. Also, try walking through the forest where the sun is mostly blocked by branches and glance up toward the sun as you walk to see how the corona comes and goes.

Giuseppe Pellizza (Italian, 1868-1907) Volpedo, The Sun, 1904
Both Mønsted and Pellizza show the corona with lines radiating from the sun. They also observe a shift from yellow into red. Pellizza breaks the effect into particles of varied color. Note how simply and softly he paints the foreground areas.

Lens flare is easy for digital artists to add, and a little harder for physical painters, depending on the technique. As a photographic effect, it has origins in camera optics. Its artistic use—and overuse—in film, television, and photography is well explained in this Vox video (link to YouTube). Thanks, Dan.
Related GurneyJourney posts:
Color Corona
How to Get a Feeling of Misty Light
Practical Lights
Light Spill

More of this kind of stuff in my book Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter

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22. Portrait During a Sushi Lunch

"You don't need to pose. I'll just sketch you in whatever angle you're in."

Here's a quick sketch I did of Jeanette at a Japanese restaurant yesterday. (Link to YouTube) The donkey is Jeanette's good friend Jezzy.

I'm using a super-limited palette of gouache, just raw sienna, brilliant purple and titanium white (with just a touch of watercolor red for the ears) in a 5 x 8 inch watercolor sketchbook. For most of it I'm using a synthetic #6 filbert, which is ideal for stating the big planes and shapes, without worrying about the details of the features.

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23. Series on Shannon Stirnweis

At the blog "Today's Inspiration," illustration historian Leif Peng is doing a series of posts interviewing Shannon Stirnweis (b. 1931) about his years painting pictures for the advertising, men's adventure, western, and romance markets.

Shannon Stirnweis, Part 1: "I wanted to be an artist when I grew up"
Shannon Stirnweis, Part 2: "The (men's) adventure begins"

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24. Chicken DNA Enhanced to Create New Dino Species

Control chicken embryo, altered chicken embryo and alligator embryo

Scientists at Yale University in New Haven succeeded last year in combining the DNA of a chicken and an alligator to create what some have called a "dino-chicken."

The experiment by Bhart-Anjan Abzhanov involved repressing the beak-development genes to allow more primitive features, left over from their Mesozoic ancestors, to emerge.

According to BBC, in their newest experiment, Abzhanov and his colleagues have added to that genetic blueprint the DNA information recovered from a well preserved Oviraptor fossil collected in the Liaoning province of China.

Unlike from the killer "raptors" of the Jurassic Park franchise, these new animals exhibit what Abzhanov describes as "an unmistakable sense of humor, and an "apparent desire to communicate using a suite of facial expressions and language-like calls."

Surprisingly, the animal exhibits a significantly larger cognitive capacity than the researchers expected. Three of them has taken up residency in Yale's AI lab, where they have learned to operate computers and have used them to further alter the structure of their own DNA.

Yale has filed for a patent for the new animal, which they have dubbed Galloraptor ludificus. They announced yesterday that they plan to introduce Galloraptors into the marketplace as companion animals for the elderly.

The study is published in the journal Evolution 

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25. Micro Videos

Since joining Instagram, I've been having fun making micro-videos, which are limited to 15 seconds. (link to YouTube).

I went through some of my video files and found some stray clips that weren't long enough to make into full-blown YouTube videos. Because they're so short, I upload them to YouTube as unlisted videos. That way they can be embedded here on the blog, but they don't get announced to my YouTube subscribers. I also upload the micro videos to Facebook and Twitter, where I assume they reach a mostly non-overlapping audience.

Until recently, Instagram wouldn't let you upload a video longer than 15 seconds. I have enjoyed that strict limitation. It forces you to set a mood or to tell a story quickly. When it plays on Instagram, it cycles around several times. The effect is hypnotic and immersive, like being dropped for a moment into someone's else's world.

Instagram has just now lengthened its video limit to one minute, which gives a lot more scope for storytelling.
My Instagram feed has mostly different material from the blog.
Previous Posts:
Painting Landscapes in Iowa on Amtrak
Painting Tiny Landscapes from the TGV
Sketching on Moving Trains in Europe

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