Al Fresco Art Club Challenge, Aug 18, 2019 -- Another Cézanne Masterpiece

The Al Fresco Art Club is in a sweet groove. For the last couple of months the challenge has been to paint in the style of the masters, as if we were students trying to learn by copying a painting in a museum. I’m hooked on Cézanne. This week I decided to attempt to paint one of his more colorful portraits, Woman with a coffee pot. We’re allowed one hour to paint. Having a strict time limit encourages looking at a painting and quickly prioritizing the important details that must be in the final work.

As always, our painting had to be done on one layer, with no undo, no filters, and no gradients. I chose a triad color palette, which I created with Krita’s Artistic Palette and Gamut Masks tools. Very cool!

The gamut mask for Woman with a coffee pot…

Cézanne’s Woman with a Coffee Pot

Cézanne’s Woman with a Coffee Pot

Created with the Krita Gamut Masks tool

Created with the Krita Gamut Masks tool

My attempt…

Al Fresco Art Club Aug 11, 2019 -- Another Masterpiece Challenge

The Sunday Al Fresco Art Club Challenge was, once more, to copy or interpret a masterpiece. I chose one of Paul Cézanne’s paintings of Mount Sainte-VIctoire. This “cool” version captured my fancy. I created a color gamut in Procreate (see this post for my method). I used Artrage on my iPad Pro. The iOS version of Artrage has a basic set of tools, definitely nothing fancy. I find that working with limited resources and fewer choices helps keep me focused on the painting, not on software features.

I used this color gamut.

I used this color gamut.

Sunday Al Fresco Art Club Challenge, Aug 4, 2019 -- Gamut Mapping

This week’s Al Fresco Art Club challenge was to use a restricted color palette to paint a masterpiece. I chose to repaint “Farmhouses near Bellevue” by Paul Cézanne. I painted this masterpiece two weeks ago, but Artrage failed to save my work. Or maybe I failed to save it. I really don’t know.

This restricted palette challenge was inspired by the “Creating Gamut Masks” chapter in James Gurney’s Color and Light. I created a gamut mask in Artrage with the aid of Aaron Rutten’s Gamut Masking Tool, which he explains in his Youtube video Color Gamut Masking Tool for Artists. Aaron is a cool guy —- I love artists who freely share their knowledge.

Here’s the gamut mask I created using Aaron’s tool. I examined Cézanne’s painting and picked the predominant colors. However, for the sake of experimentation, I intentionally chose to limit blues. Neutral gray serves as blue in this color scheme.

Getting this palette into Artrage was a pain — Artrage for iOS can’t import PSD files. To work around this, I created the gamut mask in Procreate, which does handle PSD files perfectly, then exported a PNG to the iOS Photos app, then imported the “photo” into Artrage. File handling is a tragic affair on the iPad. The idea of using an iPad as a general purpose computer is a joke.

Here’s my attempt to repaint a Cézanne masterpiece. The five swatches at the top of the painting were picked from the color gamut and used for all of the colors in this painting. I did adjust the value of some colors to get some darks into the painting. Overall, I like the mix of colors, a lot.

Sunday Al Fresco Paint a Masterpiece Challenge -- Paint Some Pop Art

Because the air quality is officially unhealthy today*, we decided to meet indoors. The challenge of the day was to paint a pop art masterpiece in one hour. Though Wayne Thibaud has stated that he’s not a pop artist, for my purposed I considered him one of the Pop Art gang. I used my iPad and Artrage to paint my version of his Three Machines.

Here’s what I came up with

* Every summer is wildfire season. From July to October we have many days of smoke and ash particles filling the Rogue Valley. Some days we have the worst air quality in the United States.

Duck and Cover -- Worst Air Polution in the United States

Sometimes the real world interrupts my dreamy, idealistic life as an artist. Every year we have a fire season that runs from July to October. Last night smoke from the first fire of the summer poured into the Rogue Valley, which is a little basin in the earth with high mountains on all sides. It’s perfectly designed to hold the smoke from wildfires burning in Southern Oregon and Northern California.

When the smoke settles in, it’s hazardous to go for a walk, or even leave windows open. Everyone wears a protective dust mask. The stars are wiped from the sky. The full moon is snuffed out, and the Al Fresco Art club cancels its Sunday outings. It’s hard to think about Art when simply breathing is hazardous.

Despite the ugly weather, art happens. Here’s my most recent Vitamin D Club 15-minute sketch. Actually, it took 3 x 15 minutes to do this one.

Crape Myrtle tree with irrigation buckets

Crape Myrtle tree with irrigation buckets

What to Do When the Electricty Is Off

Some unfortunate soul knocked down a power pole today and several hundred people, including myself, were given the gift of a few moments of silence. I noticed that the neighborhood was uncannily silent. I was surprised that we people with our electricity generate a constant wall of ambient noise which our brains ignore. I was hearing the silence of my neighbor’s disabled air conditioner.

Standing at my window, I became aware that I live in a forest. I could hear the rustling of wind through the massive Deodor Cedars that border my property. At this time of year, early summer, they begin to release their worn out needles as if snowing.

I began to think of how dependent I am on electricity for earning a living. Then I thought of my art. I use many electronic devices that were useless now. But then I thought, “You think like this every time the juice goes off. You still have pen and paper. When the lights go out, draw something, you fool.”

An hour later the electricity came back on, and I went back to work as usual. But I thank the anonymous driver who knocked down the power pole. He or she gave me a chance to get a little perspective.

Speaking of perspective, here’s an Artrage sketch I made on my Wednesday Walk using my iPad.