Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sketching in Museums

There have already been a couple of posts in this blog about sketching in museums. You can find those posts here and here. The sketches featured in this post were made at the Edge of the Cedars Museum in the Four Corners region of the Colorado Plateau. Edge of the Cedars has a huge collection of ancient Anasazi pottery, artifacts, and other displays. The first sketch I did from their collection is shown above. If I remember right, the pot was around 12" or 14" across. The intricate pattern was a dark gray on very pale gray clay. It may look as though it might have been tedious to draw, but I found the pattern mesmerizing, and wanted to record it in my sketchbook. And - I had to draw it. For me, a photograph would not do. The image at the bottom of the sketchbook page (shown above) is the beginnings of a sketch of a bone-handled stone knife in the museum's collection. It's unfinished because the museum's closing time caught up with me.

The more recent sketch shown below is of a small gray pot in the same museum. I was intrigued by the pot's irregular shape and mysterious quality, in contrast to it's simplicity. Was it made to be hung over a fire outside of a pueblo? Or was it carried on long trips to special cliff faces where mysterious rock art can still be found?

Sketching in museums can be very useful and enjoyable. It sharpens drawing skills, offers glimpses into the thoughts and attitudes of artists from other times and places, and - for a little while - steeps you in the art-world-at-large. If you plan visiting a museum for sketching, be sure to check with them ahead of time. Many museums have policies regarding sketching. There may be restrictions on when you can sketch, sketching mediums, sketch size, and what may or may not be copied. Carry out your own trash and be sure to leave the place clean. Don't block the way for other museum goers. In fact, for me much of the fun of sketching in museums is talking with museum visitors and staff who seem fascinated with what I'm doing. Above all - DON'T TOUCH THE EXHIBITS! I never have, but I've heard a few horror stories about people who have.

On another note, this is the last week for you to VOTE for Peoples Choice Award in Terra Nova's Plein Air Provo exhibit. Polls are open now until Noon this Friday (Oct. 26th). You can vote by going to Terra Nova's blog:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Terra Nova Gallery's "Tidbit Tuesday"

Terra Nova Gallery featured my Plein Air Provo entry in their "Tidbit Tuesday" this week:

Tidbit Tuesday
Early Autumn
by James Gunter
Early Autumn by James Gunter
Early Autumn by James Gunter
West Provo - with it's ranches, hay fields, cottonwood and willow trees - is a popular place for those of us who paint plein air landscapes. If you look around this year's Plein Air Provo exhibit, you'll see several paintings that were done there. I've painted in West Provo many times. In fact, I've painted this particular tree in different seasons and from many different angles over the years. This year, not only did that cottonwood provide the subject for my entry into the show (with Mount Timpanogos in the background) it also was the muse for several other painters in this year's Plein Air Provo. Like the Pre-Raphaelites had Jane Morris, we Plein Air Provo painters have - that tree! Take time to look around the exhibit and see the different versions of Populus fremontii.
-James Gunter

Early Autumn 
Oil on Board 9" x 12" 

Have you voted?
Vote for the Plein Air Provo exhibit  People's Choice Award at:  

See you in the gallery.  

Plein Air Provo
3-26 October

Great Things Small Packages
2 November - 28 December
Terra Nova Gallery
41 West 300 North
Provo, Utah 84601

3:30 - 6pm M-F
other times by appointment

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Don't forget - only a few days left to vote for Peoples Choice!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It's Time to VOTE!

No, I'm not talking about those guys. I mean for People's Choice Award at Terra Nova Gallery for their 5th annual Plein Air Provo competition. 

Gallery owner David Hawkinson has arranged for the voting to be carried out on line. Anyone can vote. Just go to and follow directions. Scroll down to see photos of all the paintings in the show. Make your selection and click in the little circle just to the left of the painting's title and artist. Then scroll down to the bottom of the column that shows the paintings and click on the "Vote" button. It's that easy! Voting is open NOW and closes October 26th at Noon (note time change).

You can vote just from the images on line, but it's really recommended that you come into Terra Nova Gallery and see the exhibit. It's one of the best Plein Air Provo shows ever! I only entered one painting but it split Second Place with Robert McKay's painting "Sentinel." Terra Nova is located at 41 West, 300 North in Provo, Utah. Check their website for hours or call 801-374-0016.

It can be difficult to decide how to cast your vote, but perhaps I can make the decision easier for you with a little bit of (shameless) advice: Vote for ME! There, now wasn't that a nice break from those two guys who are all over the news channels these days?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Navajo Man Charcoal Sketch

Charcoal on Gray Paper

The picture shown above is of another sketch from a past drawing session. He posed for the class a few times and was an excellent model. One of those times he even entertained us by bringing his Indian flute and playing it. If I remember right, he works as a river rafting guide on the Colorado, and has spent a lot of time in Europe, particularly France and Germany. 

For more about drawing sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "sketching" or "drawing."

Friday, October 5, 2012

...And Another Show Opens Tonight!

The Salon d' Automne is a juried art show in Logan, Utah. The quality of artwork in the show is quite high, and I'm happy to have been accepted into the show. The show opens at 5:30 PM this evening (Friday, Oct. 5, 2012). For more information, visit their website:

Or call the gallery: (435) 753-0333.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Plein Air Provo 2012

Event Flier. That's someone else's hand and stuff.
Plein Air Provo opens to the public tomorrow night (Friday, Oct. 5th)! I met a number of other painters taking part in the competition as I was out painting this afternoon. Unlike last time, the weather for this year's competition was gorgeous! Bluebird skies and mild temperatures, with just enough haze to give good atmospheric perspective. Because of other things in my schedule, I was only able to finish one painting, but I'm happy with it. You can come out and see my freshly painted landscape, along with brand new paintings by a lot of other painters this month at the Terra Nova Gallery.