Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bandaras Bay Bandit – digital art

sunset pink pirates copy

The pirate ship in Bandaras Bay, Mexico is a well known tourist excursion [aka trap].  This bird was no less a bandit than the pirates though.  I snapped him sitting on this chair with a piece of shiny – something – in his mouth.  I plucked him off the chair, flipped the chair horizontally, and then [after a LOT of puttering] plunked him down looking out at the pirate ship as it cruise in this amazing pink sunset from last December.

I won’t bore you with the details [I have an epsom salts soak waiting…] but here two of the photos.  Although this isn’t watercolor, acrylic or mixed media, it is teaching me quite a bit that will be useful in the future in my work…  besides it’s just SO much fun!

sunset pink beach thief bird copy BTW, I’m off to Bandaras Bay for a week soon!  Yay!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mexican pottery shop [enhanced photo]

Plate place copy

This is a photo from my 2006 trip to Mexico.  The bright noon sun washed out the beautiful tile around the door – the very thing I wanted to capture.  I opened it in PSE 8.0, selected the tile areas, and replaced the washed out color with a nice blue.  Then I stamped a Mexican passport [a downloaded brush file] on the top right.  Ron and I are leaving for Mexico again soon and I’m getting excited…  beach time in spades.  Yay!

On a much more serious note, I’ve been watching the destruction and listening to the stories out of Haiti.  I combined 8 photos for this collage. The photo of the cross windows was taken in October in Wausau, WI at Living Well Community Church where my brother Harvey is pastor. Harvey, and Ole [my nephew] returned Monday from Haiti where they were helping at an orphanage with a group from their church. 

I pasted images of the beautiful children at the orphanage into the cross... The third window from top has such a gorgeous fall view I couldn't cover it up. Perhaps it's symbolic of how the people of this faith community in Wisconsin are bound together with the children of Jacmel, Haiti... I hope so. They plan to return asap and rebuild the orphanage. Thankfully all these children are safe and all injuries were mild.  Please keep praying for Haiti.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Swing Song start & some digital art

I’ve been working on this painting a bit each day since January 5th although most of my art time has been spent learning Photoshop.  I started this out with a layer of texture made by the usual suspects [onion netting, carved rubber stamps, painting knife, punched ribbon, etc].  Then I did a layer of loose, wet acrylic.  Next I sat down with a coffee and stared at it from a distance [all four directions] and asked family what they saw in it.  Funnily enough they don’t even find this question strange anymore…  Kim and I “saw” a violinist at almost the same time – how fun that process is!  So, I’ve been working to develop that idea for the past couple of days. 

swing song copyHere’s a photo of the painting as it is right now.  At this point I’ve just defined the skin by a layer of almost white.  It looks much bluer here for some reason.  Anyhow, I brought this photo into PSE 8.0 to experiment with my next steps.  I drew her facial features on one layer and  then added shadow and her bow on another layer.  I plan to use some tissue collage in part of the background.  Here’s how it looked after I puttered in PSE.

swing song planJust as soon as I see this small thumbnail I can see her jaw is quite large…  I’ll have to factor that in when I get to my painting again tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

Here’s the photoshop exercise I did today – DJ really has good taste in her subjects…  I really like this!  Cheers

masking2 exercise copy

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Send Me Roses… digital artwork

Here’s the latest in my digital efforts.  It’s nice to know a bit about Photoshop – it can be quite a frustrating program.  I’ve had it for 2 years and done very little work because of the complexity of the program.  Today I learned how to do a layer mask properly.  Very cool.  I used a photo of a rose and a public domain image of an old envelope in this collage. 

SEND ME ROSES copy Praying for Haiti…

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fairy Dreams & Guard your Heart

This blog will be quick….  I’ve finished a project since yesterday.  I wanted my fairies to have wings…  now they do.sunshine creek copy I began a new project today and used most of the same techniques from the earlier exercises as well as a few more.  Too late to get into the details.  But here is “Guard your Heart”.  The pincushion cactus does a great job covering their beautiful heart….  we need to do likewise…. 


Sunday, January 10, 2010

More photo artwork…

I puttered a bit more with Photoshop Elements today.  The first photo is a fun memory of my husband, son-in-law, and two of my granddaughters racing their sleds.  The girls were so excited and were cheering on their team.  So fun [and SO cold].  The guys look pretty determined too! 

race This file ended up with 5 layers.  After making a copy, I blurred [gaussian] the background layer.  I reduced the opacity on the copy and changed the blue color channel a bit.  On a second copy I cut out the top half of the background so that the figures came forward.  The frame was made with dark color with a huge grunge brush using almost black first and softening that edge with white.  The text was added last.  I’m happy to say I’m getting faster at this…  yay!

sunshine creek copyIn this second project I used a photo of a creek near the Sunshine resort as my background.  I fiddled with the color channels to intensify the color.  Then I “placed” 3 photos of my niece in her pretty flower girl dress into the project.  I removed all the background from each of them, resized them and used them for my fairies…  she looks like a little pixie just dancing up the rocks of the waterfall.  I added a layer under the the dresses to turn them pink [they were white].  Frame grunge as usual using different brushes.  Lastly a layer for some of my favorite starwalt design stamp/brush marks.  Fun times!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Lord is my Rock – digital

DJ posted Exercise #2 today and rather than use her sample photo I chose the photo below from last May when we visited Manitou Springs, CO. It’s hard to explain what I did but I’ll try…

The red rock was backlit by the bright sky and totally washed out.  I fixed that first by adding a layer with a sky from the same day.  I set that layer to “darken” blending mode so that layers below it that were darker showed through.  Then I erased bits of the sky layer that were affecting the color of the rock and foreground. Next, I applied a dry brush filter to the original photo.

The “frame” of grundge brush marks was added on top.  I opened a white fill layer used rough black brush marks around the edges, & selected “darken” blending mode to make the lower layers show through.  The black frame was too severe [IMHO] so I added a “muzz” layer – white fill set to 20% opacity with the focal area erased with a soft edge.  This softened the effect of the darker frame and gave me a spot to write “the Lord is my rock” in black using my Wacom tablet and a calligraphy brush. 

I’m sure I’ve missed some steps because there was a lot of playing around going on.  There are many ways to achieve the same effect in PSE 8.0.  Frankly, I’m glad I’m not dealing with the full Photophop program as I’m not sure I could absorb more information.

red rock and trees

Best learning so far???  Setting up my workspace with “undo history” showing – makes it easy to back up many steps with just one click. 


Friday, January 8, 2010

The Me-ness of Me [digital collage]

who am I copy

The hours you can spend on Photoshop Elements - oh my goodness!!!  Sharon and I spent some Skype time last night working with fun new stamps/brushes that are found many places on the web [google photoshop brushes and see what you get!]. is one that has hundreds of fun shapes and sizes that can be used as interesting brushes to draw with OR as cool stamps when used large. 

Today I used startwalt watercolor and steampunk brushes in this photo collage – talk about fun – I am really down a rabbit hole here….  Right now I’m filling up my tool kit.  I can see all kinds of ways to use these techniques in my mixed media paintings!  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Photoshop Elements Learning

victor hugo bird quote_edited-2

Love this quote from Victor Hugo!  I recall various points in my life when it felt like the frail branch trembled beneath me.  At times like that it’s critical to remember that we were born to fly!  I’m enjoying the photoshop course – what a powerful program.  It’s lovely to have some of these powerful tools explained in plain language.  I know I will use them in my art…  but meanwhile my brushes are dry :-[  Ciao!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year and WHAT’s UP?

It’s been 11 days since I blogged and I wanted to give my readers an update on the happenings in my art world.  Over the holiday season I took some time to visit with friends and family and just plain rest.  I certainly enjoyed that but I’m anxious to get back to my painting.  Here’s a little coastal scene I did a few weeks ago that I’ve just puttered on a bit more. 

Coastal I have been working on my mixed media skills the past few days.  Monday I began an online class with almost 300 other folks from around the world.  DJ Pettitt is the teacher and you may like to check out her artwork on her website –  I hope to post some digital artwork here at some point but MAN do I have a lot to learn about photoshop!!!  Back to the books… tomorrow.  Cheers!