Al Fresco Art Club Challenge for Oct 13, 2019: Paint a Common Object in Gouache

This week’s challenge continued in our tradition of painting common objects (still life) in one hour. I chose to paint a class Penguin paperback published in 1984. For the past month I’ve been having trouble completing my paintings, so I chose a book because the shape is easy to paint, and I made a conscious decision to avoid details. I intentionally forced myself just to block out the large shapes and then just let go of it.

Penguin has a wonderful graphic style: white text (looks like Helvetica) on a black background, illustrated with a painting from the period covered by the book. In this case, Maupassant’s “Selected Short Stories” were written from 1880 on. The fitting illustration for this collection of stories is a detail from Edgar Degas’ painting named “After the bath”. Degas liked this topic and made many paintings on this theme.

Here’s my version.

Al Fresco Art Club Challenge -- A Common Object Painted in Gouache

This week the Al Fresco Art Club continued on the path of learning how to paint with gouache. I chose to paint my kitchen timer. I tried some of the new brushes I bought yesterday, in particular a size 2 flat. I love flat brushes and use them whenever possible, even when I should be using a pointy round brush for details.

Here’s my kitchen timer.

Al Fresco Art Club Challenge - Sep 22, 2019: Learning to Paint Basic Shapes with Gouache

At today’s Al Fresco Art Club meeting I proposed that we all paint a common object using basic shapes — all in one hour. In previous challenges attempting to replicate masterpieces was instructive, and fun. Those challenges taught me that I should really learn the basics first if I want to develop confident brush strokes. As it is, I usually worry the poor paper to death with a thousand tiny pecks of the brush.

I chose to paint my Holga 120 N film camera atop an Artbin craft box. I assert that the black blob does resemble a camera, and the plastic bin definitely look something like an Artbin bin. In this exercise I learned that it’s a good idea to paint in the background first. I didn’t this time but I wish I had. This is called learning from experience.

Al Fresco Art Club Challenge, Sep 8, 2019 -- Maneki-neko in Gouache

Today’s Al Fresco Art Club challenge was to do a still life in one hour. I chose to paint one of my maneki-nekos, a shiny black marvel with lots of highlights and reflections. I started with a sketch using a water soluble graphite pencil, then painted in the local color: black, then blocked in the other gold and green areas. By the time I had done that, my hour was almost up, so I painted some rushed highlights to give it a little more interest.

Al Fresco Art Club, September 1, 2019 -- 30 Days Without Digital Art

Today the Al Fresco Art Club posed this challenge: to do all drawing and painting using only traditional media for the next 30 days. If your work requires using digital tools, you can use them. However, for personal art, we can use only traditional media. I’m going to focus on learning the basics of painting with gouache. Today I turned my gaze to one of my favorite paintings, Cézanne’s Farmhouses near Bellevue (1892-1895). When I did a search to find more information about this painting, I found that it’s also know by the name Fields at Bellevue. I suspect that names is an incorrect translation, but I can’t prove it.

Out and About in Southern Oregon

I was out of the house most of today. When I got home I spent an hour in InDesign rearranging images to tighten up the flow of the story. I even removed a page, which hurt a bit because I have lavished a lot of time and love on that picture. But, I have a 32-page limit to stick to. It hurts to lose the one you love.

While I was in Medford I went to our amazingly well-stocked art store, Central Art Supply. Considering that we’re in the middle of Nowhere — 400 miles are from Portland or San Francisco — Central Art has a full line of Winsor and Newton, Holbein, and Daniel Smith water colors, Copic markers, Arches and Fabriano paper. And, prices are competitive with the big online vendors. I’ve made a pact with myself to buy all of my art supplies at Central. I really want to do my part to support their business. It’s fun to go into a brick and mortar store and touch the goodies.

I bought some gouache and a couple of water brushes. I’m preparing to learn how to paint with real paint.