2024 Online Alla Prima Challenges Resource PART II

NEXT SESSION: APRIL 4:

Congratulations to all on the successful completion of yet another challenge. We are now officially past the halfway point. That’s right–this week, we hit Challenge #11. This week’s challenge, (Casting Call!),
has us reaching back to an educational practice that may have us reaching back to practices that may have begun as early as mid-5th century Greece: Cast Drawing.

In the mid-third millennium B.C., the Egyptians first pioneered the casting method by plastering the heads of mummies for portraits of the deceased. The Greeks, followed by the Romans, adopted the plaster techniques as a means of reproducing copies of famous Greek marble and bronze statues. The first known location of a plaster cast collection was Imperial Rome. The collapse of the Roman Empire ended the popularity of collecting art in the Mediterranean World. In addition, many argue that the rise of Christianity largely influenced the destruction of sculptures and plaster casts in order to conceal references to previously held pagan beliefs.

A tremendous rediscovery of antiquities occurred in 15th-century Renaissance Europe. In fact, one of the earliest references to casts as a tool for training artists is found in Leonardo da Vinci’s A Treatise on Painting. However, it is believed that Francesco Squarcione, a 15th Italian painter, is said to have been the first artist who collected plaster casts in order to train his apprentices. In the years to come, art schools would continue to make use of plaster casts from recently unearthed antiquities because they felt the works of the ancients were incomparable. The effects of the sculptural rebirth reverberated throughout Europe in the art academies and universities.

If interested, a more comprehensive history of plaster casts from George Mason University can be found here:

https://plastercast.gmu.edu/history

So what are our parameters for this week?

Parameters for Challenge #11, Casting Call!: 1. The subject must be any statue or cast of your choice. As before, if you do not have access to an actual statue or cast, you may paint from a photograph or your computer screen. 2. 30-minute time limit! 3. Premixing is NOT allowed! 4. 5-stroke palette draw rule in effect.

You can browse some beautiful casts in the Caproni Collection here:

Looking forward to seeing you all this week!

NEXT SESSION: APRIL 11:

Congratulations to all on the successful completion of yet another challenge. We are on the “back 10,” and we slide into Challenge 12 this week with Vibrant Vessels. This week will bring two big challenges that brush jockeys like us tend to face now and again: ellipses and symmetry. But wait—these taxing aspects are balanced with TWO, yes, TWO special surprises—another 15-minute extension!!! AND Premixing is allowed!!! That’s right—you can sit back and take it easy with a 45-minute window and a ton of premixing at your disposal. Masterpieces are expected. LOL!

Some concepts for this week:

The term symmetry can cover a number of concepts which involve relationships between components of a whole. Specifically, here, we will use symmetry to describe a correspondence between “opposite” halves of a shape or form on either side of an axis or set of axes. The axis of symmetry is a line that divides an object into two equal halves, thereby creating a mirror-like reflection of either side of the object. The term asymmetry simply describes a lack of symmetry.

In the realm of mathematics, an ellipse is a closed, symmetric curve which can be formed by intersecting a cone with a plane that is not parallel* or perpendicular to the cone’s base. The sum of the distances of any point on an ellipse from two fixed points (called the foci) remains constant no matter where the point is on the curve. *A circle can be considered a special case of an ellipse, in which the two foci coincide. (Although, in some contexts, this latter statement is debated in regards to the ontology of an ellipse.)

In the context of visual art, an ellipse is often defined simply as a “circle in perspective” or a “foreshortened circle” as barring the influence of optical distortion, it is an approximation of a commonly encountered shape that falls upon the retina when a circle is observed at an oblique angle relative to the viewer.

For many visual artists, the ellipse remains one of the most challenging shapes to draw or paint successfully. This deceptively simple, symmetrical oval has infuriated countless artists and continues to taunt us all with its smug elusiveness. Ok, that might be a bit much—but if you have tried to draw one of these closed symmetric curves, then you understand the frustration that would lead one to arrive at such a “passionate” description.

If you are interested, I’ve written a short but dense article on the ellipse here: Perception and the Ever-Elusive Ellipse. | Art and Articles

It’s also on Smartermarx here: Perception and the Ever-Elusive Ellipse

So get ready!

Parameters for Challenge #12, Vibrant Vessels: 1. The composition must contain one or more colorful vessels. 2. 45-minute time limit! 3. Premixing is allowed! 4. 5-stroke palette draw rule in effect.

Looking forward to seeing you all this week!!!

NEXT SESSION: APRIL 18:

Congratulations to all on the successful completion of yet another challenge. Well, boys and girls (and whatever else), we lose all of the fun luxuries we enjoyed last week. That’s correct—Challenge #13, Dynamic Drapery, carries with it the loss of that extra 15 minutes and the possibility of premixing. (I know, I know, Booooo!) But hey, we really want to challenge ourselves, right?

So let’s be clear with those parameters for this week:

Parameters for Challenge #13 Dynamic Drapery: 1. Your composition must include some type of drapery. 2. 30-minute time limit! 3. No pre-mixing allowed! 4. 5-stroke palette draw rule in effect.

I remember learning about drapery in my first college drawing class via the concept of the “Seven Folds.” You can read about them in George’s Bridgeman’s The Seven Laws Of Folds, Drawing the Draped Figure, or Bridgman’s Complete Guide to Drawing from Life.

The Seven Folds are 1 Pipe or Cord, 2 Zigzag, 3 Spiral, 4 Half-lock, 5 Diaper Pattern, 6 Drop or Flying, 7 Inert. Here are some illustrations from Bridgeman communicating the folds:

For those that want to browse Bridgman online you can find an internet archive of his Complete Guide to Drawing from Life here:

For those looking for a good read about the role of Drapery in the history of Representational art, there is a great article here:

Drapery and the secret history of painting | Christie's

As always, I look forward to seeing you all this week!

NEXT SESSION: APRIL 25:

Congratulations to all on the successful completion of yet another challenge. We have a playful, somewhat playful challenge coming up this week with Challenge#14, Toy Story! It’s hard to believe that we only have six more sessions after this week. Unfortunately, there are no special relaxations of our standard restrictions this week—but I’m hoping the subject matter might put a smile on everyone’s face!

So, what are our parameters for this week?

Parameters for Challenge #14 Toy Story!: 1. Your composition must include at least one toy. 2. 30-minute time limit! 3. No pre-mixing allowed! 4. 5-stroke palette draw rule in effect.

As always, I am looking forward to seeing what everyone does this week!

The past few weeks when I emailed my image of the finished painting, it hasn’t been uploaded to the DropBox.

Hi Matt! I’ll check with Joe. I know he’s missed a few and I often have to double check. I’m on it.

You are sending to allaprimachallenges@gmail.com

Yes, that is the address. Thanks for checking on it.

Anytime Matt!!! :pray:t2::pray:t2::pray:t2:

NEXT SESSION: May 2nd:

Congratulations to all on the successful completion of yet another challenge. We have another playful (and likely colorful) challenge coming up this week with Challenge#15, Candyland! And as a special “treat” for this week—PRE-MIXING IS ALLOWED!!! We are on the last five challenges for this year, and the efforts put forward by all of you fine painters surely did not disappoint. But as always, let’s strive to really go above and beyond with these last five. I am excited to see what everyone does!!!

So, what are our parameters for this week?

Parameters for Challenge #15 Candy Land!: 1. Your composition must include at least one candy subject. 2. 30-minute time limit! 3. Pre-mixing allowed! 4. 5-stroke palette draw rule in effect.

Hopefully you guys and gals don’t devour your reference beforehand. LOL!

As always, I am looking forward to seeing what everyone does this week!

NEXT SESSION: MAY 9:

Congratulations to all on the successful completion of yet another challenge. This week, we jump into representing a specific material that often fares well under a “less is more” umbrella: glass! Never fear, though, as this exercise in the arena of transparency is made a little easier for us this week as we get to hold on to pre-mixing yet again! And don’t forget–as I stated last week—we are now on the final five!

So, what are our parameters for this week?

Parameters for Challenge #16 Got Glass? 1. Your composition must include at least one glass subject. 2. 30-minute time limit! 3. Pre-mixing is allowed! 4. 5-stroke palette draw rule in effect.

As always, I am looking forward to seeing what everyone does this week!

NEXT SESSION: MAY 16:

Congratulations to all on the successful completion of yet another challenge. This week we jump into a really challenging session dubbed "The Matrix ."This session asks you to paint a biomorphic subject with a matrix of only perpendicular (horizontal and vertical) strokes.

So, what does this all mean? Well, the term “biomorphic” is derived from the Greek words bios (life) and morphe (form). It is used to refer to any shape or form that emulates naturally occurring shapes/forms such as plants, organisms, and body parts–basically, most things organic. The title for this week comes from the nature of the strokes that are to be utilized. A common usage of the term “matrix” is to describe something resembling a mathematical matrix, especially in the case of a rectangular arrangement of elements into rows and columns. Another way to view the challenge this week is that we will tackle a likely curvilinear subject with rectilinear marks.

Why incorporate this type of resistance factor? Having to deploy a counterintuitive brushstroke is a common occurrence in painting. For example, most of us with experience painting something round know that if we only used strokes that followed the shape’s perimeter, we would likely encounter stroke sections that would just catch an enormous amount of light—thus possibly degrading the communication of the subject that we intend. Therefore we have to alter the “obvious” direction of certain strokes to better align with how the representation will be illuminated. This session is a workout for those types of situations (a situation you might remember that came into play with Challenge #3.)

Please don’t fret, though—we will once again offset some of the difficulty for this week by keeping pre-mixing on the table (so at least there’s that!)

So, what are our parameters for this week?

Parameters for Challenge #17 The Matrix 1. Your composition must include at least one biomorphic subject. 2. Horizontal and Vertical (perpendicular) strokes only! 3. 30-minute time limit! 4. Pre-mixing is allowed! 5. 5-stroke palette draw rule in effect.

As always, I am looking forward to seeing what everyone does this week!

NEXT SESSION: MAY 23:

Congratulations to all on the successful completion of yet another challenge. This week we begin the final three challenges with one of my personal favorites: Real Steel!!! Hopefully the fun of throwing down some strong specular reflections will ease the pain of losing our premixing advantage.

So, what are our parameters for this week? Parameters for Challenge #18 Real Steel! 1. Your composition must include at least one metal subject. 2. 30-minute time limit! 3. No pre-mixing. 4. 5-stroke palette draw rule in effect.

As always, I am looking forward to seeing what everyone does this week!

NEXT SESSION: MAY 30:

Congratulations to all on the successful completion of yet another challenge. Well, boys and girls, we are on the LAST TWO CHALLENGES (and I would argue this is the easier of the two, so I’m expecting greatness.) This week we look to the concept of the color wheel for our inspiration with Project Analogous!

For those that might not be familiar with the term “analogous colors,” this term describes 3 to 5 colors that are adjacent on a traditional (often Itten’s RYB) color wheel. For example, five analogous colors would be a categorical yellow, yellow-orange, orange, red-orange, and red. Therefore, our subjects this week would be subjects that contain 3 to 5 of these colors. You can have subjects that contain multiple colors or a collection of subjects, each containing a majority of one of the analogous colors in your composition.

Here’s a few resources for you!:

So, what are our parameters for this week? Parameters for Challenge #19 Project Analogous! 1. Your composition must contain an analogous color scheme. 2. 30-minute time limit! 3. No pre-mixing. 4. 5-stroke palette draw rule in effect.

As always, I am looking forward to seeing what everyone does this week!

https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/b3a14wi791bon33u8ogxh/AO5tIod8Obad0MXlneYDpFA?rlkey=fn4tjhzmqmfxhehvg8f3bmj9d&st=9hezhsaw&dl=0

NEXT SESSION: JUNE 13:

Congratulations to all on the successful completion of yet another challenge. Well, my friends, we have finally reached the end of a long journey. Nineteen weeks of alla prima exercises have brought us to this point, and I hope that everyone has gotten something very special out of the ride (I know I did!) This week (The Storyteller) brings us one of our most challenging tasks: illustrating a story or process with your composition.

Some good news, though, is that the difficulty here is hopefully offset by altering two default restrictions, namely a pre-mixing allowance and a 15-minute augment. That’s right—you can pre-mix and enjoy 45 minutes of quality painting time. Now who can’t create a masterpiece with that? LOL!

So, what are our parameters for this week? Parameters for Challenge #20 The Storyteller 1. Illustrate a story or process with your composition. 2. 45-minute time limit! 3. Pre-mixing is allowed! 4. 5-stroke palette draw rule in effect.

As always, I am looking forward to seeing what everyone does this week!

https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/6to0e93iiq86979nvpe3w/ADFpYGiaftav9t_CUfDIMDs?rlkey=ro2fus99py4tpxdaz7f5ntsrh&st=lj01418c&dl=0