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Gurney (Hopefully near the end)



I have a letter that Jim Gurney wrote to Brian in response to his post. He
asked I put it on the list, if possible - here it is.

Dear Brian:

I was sent a copy of the comments you had made publicly about my
work to the dinosaur list. Brian, these comments came as quite a shock
because I regard you as a respected friend and colleague, and I would
never have suspected them of you.

I feel your criticisms are not fair. I don;t profess to be a scientist or
scientific paleoartist in the same way you or Mark Hallett or Greg Paul
might be. I do go to every extent I can to do research for my work, which
in the case of the stamp project meant going to see the cypress swamps
firsthand that you were kind enough to recommend for me. I also worked
with more then five paleontologists on the stamp project and on the
National Geographic project, and they will be the first to tell you that I
have tried to credit their contribution in print and personally.

As for sculptors, although I do many of my own sculptures for
reference, I will not deny I also refer to the work of sculptors like my
firends Mike Trcic and Tony McVey, and they tell me that they look at my
work for inspiration aas well. I have credited Mike and Toney and Brian
Cooley in print and in letters to them, and none of them to my knowledge
have any objection to the way restorations have benefited from their
work. I have tried to change many details of psoe and texture, and I
certainly do not photograph or project reference of any kind in my
paintings.

I trust you would agree that we as artists must build on the work of
others in what we do. We can't dsig up our own fossils or restore
skeletons or come up with all our own scientific theories. We have to
stand on the shoulders of others and try to pour something of ourselves
in every picture. Nothing we do exists in a vacuum. I really try to
ackowledge the kindnesses of every scientist and artist who has helped
me, because I am not an expert on dinosaurs. What I ask of you is to do
your own best work in the best way you know how and let that work be
proof of your principles. It is not right to attack a fellow artist in the way
you did, and it does nothing to further your reputation.

I wish you well in your work, and trust we can continue in a spirit of
mutual respect.

Sincerely,
James Gurney

Typos and misspellings are mine from retyping.
Jim is a class act and one of the nicest human beings I have ever met.
I will add some final comments of my own in the next note.

Ralph Chapman