Thursday, September 20, 2012

Heroes & Friends

I used to be afraid of meeting people I admired out of a fear that when I met them, then they wouldn't live up to whatever huge ideal I had created in my own head. As I've gotten older I realize that people are people no matter what and if you live your life that way you will miss out on meeting some wonderful folks who make this planet much better for sharing it with you. I got to do just that today. I got to meet James Gurney and his lovely wife Jeanette.

 You will most likely know Mr. Gurney from his Dinotopia series of books.  Or from his many illustrations from National Geographic.  Or from about a hundred other equally impressive things.  He came through the southeast this week giving lectures at various schools and fortunately for me, one of them was in Atlanta right down the street from work.  SCAD Atlanta hosted the Gurneys (his wife is quite an accomplished artist, as well) and a group of three of us from the museum made the trip down Peachtree Street to hear the lecture.

And it is a great illustrated lecture.

This is the book that the lecture is a very short version of.  Basically, he tells you how to paint that which you can't see.  Everything from dragons and monsters to dinosaurs and cityscapes of ancient Rome.  I cannot recommend this talk enough if you are at all interested in art and the process.

When the first Dinotopia book came out I was in college and therefore missed it for twenty years.  I started following Mr. Gurney's blog last year and it is a HUGE source of information as well as inspiration.  In the course of reading his blog ( I finally picked up the books and they completely re-define what "children's" literature can be.

I know I'm gushing but today really has been a great day.  No longer will I have a fear of meeting people I look up to and respect.  Both of them are ridiculously nice people.  I had sent a message through Facebook to Mr. Gurney several weeks ago to invite him to the museum if he had time.  He sent back a very nice response (politely NOT pointing out my schoolgirl fawning) saying he would love to if they had time and also a nice little note about art in general.  It was a very...serene...response.  Which sounds weird but that's the only description I can come up with.  Through that and his talent for teaching through his lectures and blog postings, I have decided to dub him "Art Yoda".  ("Art Buddha" seemed a little too...religious-ey.  Plus Yoda fits into the Imaginative Realism  theme we have going.)

(You can purchase their books from Amazon, but if you buy them off of their website, you have the option of getting signed copies.)

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