Category Archives: technical solutions

Creating an Accurate Sketch

When I want a sketch to be very accurate, I use my iPad as a sketching aid.  I almost always find inspiration out walking so use my iPhone to capture the image.  Then I use Airdrop to transfer the photo to my iPad.

The next step involves any iPad app that has at least 3 features:

  1. Layers with opacity settings
  2. Photo import
  3. Fine line pencil tool

My go to app is ArtRage.  This last time, however, I used ProCreate since it also has the ability to overlay a grid of any size.

I import the photo and move it move it to the bottom layer.  Then I set that layer to an opacity of approximately 80% or less to make it easier to see the trace.  On a second layer above, I use the pencil tool and eraser to create the sketch with my Apple Pencil.  I keep checking to make sure I’m drawing on that layer and NOT on the image layer.

Two very helpful features at this stage are pressure sensitivity and zoom.  The apps understand how to make the line thinner or thicker with the amount of pressure I use.  Being able to zoom in and out makes it easier to get intricate areas accurate.

When I complete the sketch, I turn the imported image completely off to display only the sketch.  Usually at this point, I Airdrop it to my desktop computer and size it the way I want for a sketch to use on my light table.  In this case, however, I used the overlay grid as a guide to transfer the sketch to my hand-gridded paper.  That’s how I created Fifth Element at Cap Sante

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Local Resources for a Father’s Day Project

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Fifth Element at Cap Sante

In between completing the Atmospherics Landscapes class, I decided to hand-paint a Father’s Day card.  There’s a fairly good little art store within walking distance of the marina, Good Stuff Arts.  We are even given a coupon for 10% off this local business when we check into Cap Sante marina.  They do carry my favorite Pro Art tape, but they only had the note-sized frame cards.

I checked Bayshore Office Supply across the main drag, Commercial Ave,  and they had the Strathmore photo-mount cards.  I was looking for the frame cards that have a 3.5×5 opening, but this would have to do.   

Read my next post to learn how I created this card.

Atmospheric Landscapes

I have been enjoying my second go-round in Birgit O’Connor’s online course, Atmospheric Landscapes.  I’m grateful that Birgit is one of the many successful artists and instructors who has also mastered the technology of online teaching.

If you haven’t seen her website, I encourage you to visit.  She offers many different ways for students of watercolor to study at their own pace.  You can purchase a course for a very reasonable fee and not have any fear of using it because you are guaranteed lifetime access.  If you sign up for her newsletter, you will receive periodic offers to sign up at a discount.

With my busy schedule, I originally opted for working completely on my own.  However, I found that I tended not to do it until I signed up for one of the courses where we actually all meet online every few weeks for live discussion and feedback. I found that having that deadline to submit paintings in time for the bi-weekly review finally got me painting more regularly.

I’ve even been able to finish the Landscapes class while on vacation.  I’ll post some of my paintings completed for the course so you can see what is involved.

Happy painting!
Ann

Not one of my successful lessons since I let the purple color get “stuck” with not enough water to float in the sky.  A useful exercise in the proper amount of water plus a meadow foreground where one tried not to paint every single blade of grass.

An Apple iCloud Notes Solution

I have embraced Apple notes as my go to app for capturing ideas when I’m on the road, but I ran into a problem this week. I thought I would write this up because it was a problem that even Apple Support did not understand. (I have not included an exact step-by-step of the Apple device settings, so if you want to know more information, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments.)

I’m not a big fan of the cloud because I’m often out of WIFI reach. The remote coves we enjoy on our boat have no internet service, and the advertised WIFI at marinas is usually woefully lacking. (I’m writing this in the Anacortes Starbucks.). However, I have found putting certain items in the cloud useful.

One of these is my ongoing Notes. I have several folders of notes for my art endeavors that I like to share between my desktop iMac, iPhone and iPad. These include Admired Artists, Art Materials, and Art Techniques. I recently wanted to add a scan from a magazine to one of my existing Art Techniques notes on Color Mixing.

It’s easy enough to take a scan or photo with the iPhone. You can save the scan to Photos, but you can also directly Share the scan or photo to Notes. The problem was that I could not select my iCloud based Color Mixing note after I chose Share.

I knew my iCloud notes were there because I could see them if I looked for them in the Notes app. So why couldn’t I Share to them?

I discovered there is now an app for Apple Support and downloaded it (so my WIFI was obviously strong enough), but could find no reference to sharing to iCloud Notes in the Knowledge Base. The app suggested the best way to get support was to telephone, and as usual, I am amazed at the quick response one gets when calling Apple. They do ask for your Apple ID, and I’ve paid for the extended Apple warranty for my mobile devices, so I guess I’ve paid for it, but it still amazes me how quickly you can reach a real person at Apple.

Unfortunately, it was difficult to describe my problem over the phone. Taisha did her best and rounded up all the mobile Notes support articles for me to read later, but none of them referred to this problem. She had some odd idea that you needed to do iCloud backups of your device to get to your notes. I happen to only trust iTunes for backup and didn’t think that was the problem. I’m sure I’d been able to save from my iPad to a note originally created on my iMac, so what was wrong now?

I guess it’s my engineering background, but I couldn’t rest until I solved this problem. Artists would do well to adapt the engineering approach. All it requires is asking yourself a question and testing to find the answer. So, my first question was, could I do this on my iPad? Yes, it turned out! I could select a photo from Photos and then Share that photo to a Note from the iCloud Notes folder. This was a clue! Could there be a setting on my iPad that i did not have enabled on my iPhone?

There were two places in the Settings to look- one in the iCloud section and one in the Notes Settings area. The iCloud settings are oddly located at the top of Settings under your name. Here I noticed all the iCloud settings were the same except iPhone iCloud Drive was off. Could that be it? I enabled iCloud Drive on the iPhone, but nothing changed.

Then I looked at Settings/Notes. Here I noticed that the very top option, Default Account was On My Phone. For my iPad, it said simply iCloud. I switched the option to iCloud on my iPhone as well. I wasn’t hopeful this would do anything because the description was “Choose a default account for Siri and the Notes widget in Today View.”

However, this did seem to be the solution! Now, when I went to Share to the Notes app, I could only see my iCloud notes. So I guess you only get one or the other.

It’s tempting once you fix something to leave it be or it might “break” again. However, the final engineering verification was to switch it back to Settings/Notes/Default Account=on my iPhone. Sure enough, I could now only share to notes on my iPhone. Switching it to Default Account=iCloud allowed me to share to my iCloud notes. So, Solution Found!

Art materials snipped

A tidbit of captured info, this time for my Art Materials folder