Saturday, December 20, 2014

LA Street-Light Colors


LA Streetlights, before (left half) and after (right half)
c/o LA Curbed and LA Bureau of Street Lighting
Los Angeles is in the midst of a major street light replacement program. They are changing out the sodium vapor lights (left) and replacing them with LED lights (right).

They're making the change because the new LED lights run far more efficiently and last longer. But an additional consequence of the change is a different visual appearance to nightscapes, which affects nocturnal on-the-spot painters, filmmakers, or anyone who is sensitive to the qualities of light.

LA Streetlights, before (left half) and after (right half) c/o LA Curbed
The most obvious difference is that the light has an overall cooler appearance compared to the distinctly orange colored sodium vapor lights, which are the most common street lights these days.

That older sodium vapor light is almost a monochromatic orange, as you can see from the solitary spike on the spectral power distribution chart at the lower left, which charts wavelength against output.

Spectral Power Distribution of various light sources c/o NoFilmSchool
Even the improved high pressure sodium lamps (bottom center) are still not very good on reds or blues. Incandescent light (upper left) is warm, but it contains some of all the wavelengths, which means you can correct it with a colored gel. Metal halide (lower right) is a whitish street light that's used in a lot of big-box parking lots.

Natural daylight (center top) is the standard, with all the colors well represented.
Spectral Power Distribution for a Philips Lumileds LED
Here's a chart for an LED light, but it's not one of the street-light LEDs that they're using in LA. LEDs can vary quite a lot in the quality of light they deliver, but the bottom line is that the light will be cooler and more natural than the creepy-zombie effect of sodium vapor lights. 

It's also good news because the best best portable work lights for outdoor painters are the small LED lights, and the more you can match your work light to the subject's light, the more likely you'll choose the right colors for the painting.
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More in my book about light and color for painters:
Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter
Read more online:
No Film School: "Why Hollywood Will Never Look the Same Again"
LA's New LED Streetlights Will Change the Way Movies Look
Thanks, Angela

Friday, December 19, 2014

Alaska Art Adventure Opportunity


The Voices of the Wilderness is an art residency program that pairs intrepid artists with wilderness rangers. Participants not only fill sketchbooks, but they also get a chance to learn about research, monitoring, and education. 

Over the years, several GurneyJourneyers have seized the opportunity, including Robin Peterson who went to Tebenkof Bay Wilderness last summer (left).

According to Barbara Lydon of the US Forest Service, who helps organize it, "The program continues to grow—and is really gaining momentum and support."

More info about how to sign up
Previously on GJ: Alaska Residency Opportunity

Big Cat Safari



Together with a company of dedicated wildlife artists, Spanish paleoartist Mauricio Antón has been leading sketching safaris to northern Botswana in search of the big cats.

Mr. Antón also makes splendid videos of the experience. In this one, he talks about the structure of the lion's head and what it's like to see lions in the wild. "In order to get a different view of the cats," he says, "we need to see them moving and behaving naturally in the wild." (link to YouTube).

There's information about joining the next safari at the end of the video.
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"Chasing Sabretooths" blog

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Menzel Armor Study

This small study of armor by Adolph Menzel (1815-1905) sold at auction last month for two million Euros. The pre-sale estimate was estimated between €100,000 and €150,000.


Menzel did several studies of armor in the 1860s, and they all have a lifelike quality, as if they're animated and looking at you.

Link to article
Thanks, Christian
GJ Post on painting in an armory

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dinotopia Episode 6

Today we continue with Episode Six of the serialized podcast of Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time. To listen, click the orange play button below, or follow the link to the Soundcloud file.


Are there meateaters in Dinotopia? You bet! And in this episode we see what happens when you encounter them.

Arthur learns about the sabertooth cats that once lived in Waterfall City.

They outfit a convoy for a journey across the Rainy Basin, where tyrannosaurs present a constant threat.

And we witness Bix bravely face off against a T. rex.

The Podcast Series
This acoustic adventure was produced by Tom Lopez, mastermind of the ZBS Foundation, with an original music track by composer Tim Clark.

Episode 7 arrives in a week. Each short episode will only be live online for one week, and then it will disappear.

If you'd like to purchase the full two-hour Dinotopia podcast right now and hear all twelve episodes back to back in a feature-length production, check out Dinotopia at ZBS Foundation website for the MP3 download.
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You can also order the original book from my web store and I'll sign it for you. It's the ultimate holiday gift for the imaginative person in your life. (Ships via Media Mail within 24 hours of your order, so it may or may not arrive in time for Christmas. US orders only for the book, please). The Dinotopia book is also available from Amazon.
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There will be an exhibit of Dinotopia originals at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center in Connecticut from February 14 - May 25, 2015. I'll be giving an illustrated lecture there on Sunday, February 22.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Animal Drawing at Otis

Great schools are made up of great teachers, and one of them is Gary Geraths, who teaches animal drawing at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. He has brought in camels (and belly dancers) to his class so that students can draw them directly from life.


Understanding what's going on beneath the surface is not always obvious, so Gary does demonstration drawings of the skeleton and the surface features.

He brings the students to the Page Museum, where they can sketch from articulated skeletons of animals that fell into the nearby La Brea Tar Pits.

Gary works with students of all ages, and he has taught other things, like rock climbing.

His knowledge of animals is extensive, and his demos cover sea creatures and invertebrates.

For students wishing to get jobs in animation or illustration, having a deep knowledge of animal drawing is extremely valuable, and a good way to set your portfolio apart from the competition.

Here's a video of Gary's animal drawing in action.

Because of the logistics of bringing in live animals, or bringing students on field trips, there aren't many schools who can offer such a thorough study of animals as Otis does, and there aren't many teachers like Gary. 
James Gurney visits Gary Geraths (center) and Bill Eckert at Otis in 2010
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Gary has written a book on Drawing Animals, which you can get from Amazon
or you can contact him directly for a copy