52 Pickup 2.0, #5, 2/4/2020
From Joyce Frigon:
“Who paints the illustrations for the book club? I LOVE them.”
Joyce, your question validates what I was hoping to achieve by adding visual accompaniment to Craig Johnson’s incomparable essays. The illustrations are not “paintings”, in the usual sense, but the goal is to make them appear so.
Early on, I simply tacked on a photo or two gleaned from various sources, but to my taste, that fell short. Along the way, I discovered a few applications that made it possible to overlay creative filters onto photographs and the results appealed to my sense of aesthetic propriety. I’m a fan of impressionism, creating a sense of the scene without giving too much away in detail. A sense of mystery apropos to illustrating posts for a mystery series book club, n’est pas?
Sometimes, it takes several attempts, electronically tossing the spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. Usually, one filter or other does the trick, but once in awhile, two or more used in succession are required. I don’t know much about art but “I know it when I see it”.
My favorite filter, and the one I use most often, conveys the impression of a watercolor, with soft tones and a muted palette. It’s also very western-looking to my eye.
One of Craig’s 52 Pick-up answers referenced N.C. Wyeth, and that prompted a search for a filter to mimic Wyeth’s famous book illustrations. I found a photo of Craig (sans cowboy hat, no less) and transformed his pose into one that N.C. might have painted, if he was lazy and in a hurry. But usually, I look for a result that could have come from the brush of Monet, Turner or Cassatt. But not Van Gogh. Nope. I like both my ears just fine, thanks.