Above: A page spread from my Shinola Sketchbook in which I use gouache to play with new colors and the inspiration of John Harris' work. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
I’ve been experimenting with different colors selections based on inspiration from the work on John Harris, a science fiction illustrator who makes stunning land- and cityscapes.
(I took a copy of The Art of John Harris: Beyond the Horizon to the last MCBA Visual Journal Collective meeting when we were asked to bring books that are inspiring us and pushing us in our work. This collection of Harris' work is stunningly reproduced and I highly recommend.)
I also love the way he captures dynamic shifts in light.
These three small color thumbnails are my first attempts to put my observations into action. In the first (top left on the page spread) I’m not thinking enough about how I want to blend and move my colors.
In the second I decide to look at shapes I find in his paintings but change the colors. I'm hoping that approach helps me by allowing me to spend all my time thinking about the use of color and the juxtapositions I want to create. That second color thumbnail worked a bit better.
So then I decided to think about the huge building shapes he creates and strikes with light. I floated my "structure" over the landscape inspired by his many paintings of starships.
There’s so much more to think about, not just about color and light, but about all the atmospheric conditions he conjures in his paintings.
I know that all I’m learning from this observation and play will help me when I go outside and work with the real landscapes in front of me. It’s one of my goals for this year—to start to think about and work with landscapes. (Of course first the temperature has to drop quite a bit, because it’s too hot for me outside right now and the mosquitos are pretty fierce!)