Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Treat and a Tute

I recently came across a Photoshop tutorial called Manga Doll. You can take a photo of a face and distort it into some really creepy-cool results. Here is how the witchy woman in this piece originally started out:

I created this collage for this week's challenge at Digital Whisper. I call it Black Magic. I love the tutorial and think I may be using it a lot! It's so nice to see artists who are willing to share their work and their knowledge for people like me who could use all the info we can get.
Happy Halloween, everyone! :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Before The Storm

This is a photo of my Dad (far right), aunt and uncle as children. I mentioned in my last post that my aunt had passed away Friday. I created this piece after thinking about their lives and the diverse turns they took. In their adult years they haven't been close and have rarely talked. I still find that sad but there are circumstances that figure into the equation.

I was looking through old family photos and this is one of my favorites. They grew up having very little and had to make the best of it. I named this piece Before The Storm because here they look like a happy trio out having fun, before the complications of life as an adult set in; these just seem like better times. And that's how I'll remember my aunt: happy with two brothers who loved her.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saying Yes To ...

On Jamie Ridler's website she has a wonderful weekly feature that she calls Wishcasting Wednesday. The idea is you respond to her prompt on your blog and then place your response on her blog. People are to read what you wish for and leave you a comment that says, "As (your name) wishes for herself, so I wish for her too." How cool is that?

The topic for this week was "What do you wish to say yes to?" That's a great one! After a very tough week physically and emotionally, I thought I'd reply here. So, I wish to say yes to...

Taking better care of myself
Not giving my energy to negative people
Having more compassion for those I don't understand
Showing my friends how much they mean to me
Supporting my family more with positive thoughts and actions
Healing my heart

What a great exercise to participate in. Jamie has a wonderful site and is such an inspiration to me. While I'm not one to join a lot of the challenge sites publicly, I do enjoy them. This one, in particular, struck home for me. By the way, do you know what the last week's subject was? "What do you wish to let go?" Considering my recent post on just that subject, how timely was that? I wasn't aware of that particular wishcast until after I'd posted about Letting Go. Just another example of serendipity at work again!

My aunt passed away Friday. She was my Dad's younger sister. She had led a very hard life and made some bad choices along the way. She hadn't really kept in touch with the family much but Dad always seemed to keep tabs on her. During the last few years she had reunited with her daughter who was able to arrange for her care. I'm sure she was thankful for the love and forgiveness her daughter gave to her in her final years.

When Dad told me she had died I just thought about how even those who we don't understand need to know they can always come home. I hope my own siblings always feel they can come to me for anything. I plan to make that very clear to them immediately! :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

No Fear

I participated in a webinar Tuesday night that introduced Photoshop actions. Oh my... I never understood the actions feature and, frankly,didn't think I could figure it out. I still don't know how to create my own actions but I have a little better understanding of how to download and run them. There are tons of free Photoshop actions on the web available for download!

Basically they are a saved set of commands that produce some awesome effects on your images. For example, here I supplied the image of the dock going out into the water. The action took that image and created the water/sky background. I adjusted the ripples in the water and chose the time of day (dusk). The background colors were different, depending on the time of day you chose. I added the girl later.

Needless to say I spent the better part of the day hunting for these jewels and downloading them. Ooh, the possibilities! So no more fear of that particular unknown! I am trying to push myself to learn new techniques and try new media in my art. Now I have another tool to play with!

I just realized that the figure in the last image I posted is very similar to this one. Hmm... something about those outstretched hands and leaping into the unknown is weighing on my mind. I'm exploring that in my art journal too; no finished page to show yet. For now I'll go with this theme and see where else it leads me!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This and That

OK, are you in the mood for Halloween yet? It's coming! It's very cold and rainy here today and that put me in the mood to create a digital piece reflecting the season. I've used the image of the hooded doll before but I love her! She's just perfect for haunting scenes!

Other news: Here are my latest sheets of fabric paper that I'm making for my wallhanging. First, though, is a finished square! I decided they will be 3" x 3". This one is cut from a sheet I showed previously. I added some bronze seed beads and now all I need to do is put in the eyelets:

Here are the two sheets with the color added:

I think I'll add the gold spray webbing to these. I really like the look and the texture it gives. I may add a few more bits of color in spots. We'll see.

I'm not having a whole lot of luck in taking my own photos for the photo journaling course. So, I'm still using free images that speak to me. They fit the theme and this allows me to keep up with the course. I plan to take some photos today as soon as I find something I've been looking for all day! Eventually I will find it and then I can at least have one of my photos in a journal spread.

I did originally print out a few photos that I had in my archive for this latest assignment. These may still work; I'm thinking about it. They were photos that my Mom and Dad had taken, so technically I guess they're mine. ;) I'm working on the background now and hope to post the spread by the end of the week.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fabric Paper: New Sheets and An Embellishment

Now I'm starting the sheets of fabric paper that I'll be using in my wall hanging. Here are two sheets that I made today. These are in the raw state right now (no color). Actually they were still wet when I photographed them. I'll leave them to dry overnight and tomorrow will decide on a color scheme. I love both of these! I took some of my favorite scrapbook papers and cut the designs out of a whole tablet. Yes, this took a couple of days. But the beauty in that is you decide the design of your own fabric! Here is the second sheet:

I also took one of the previous sheets and added some gold webbing spray paint to the top. I love the look of that webbing spray and plan to use it my journal, too! It's a very cool metallic gold color. Here's the result on a portion of the paper:

I may add more. I didn't want to overdo it since I've never worked with spray paint before. Love the effects of this so I may give it another swipe.

Today I'm also working on my next photo journal assignment and hope to paint some in my journal after I pick my photos. Thought I'd show you my latest fabric paper, though. These sheets will be cut into squares of approximately 3" x 3". That's all I'll say for now. I'll get a copy uploaded of the type of thing I want to make so it will make more sense to you in my next post.
Right now, back to work.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fabric Paper: The Next Step

Today I colored the base fabric pieces that I made yesterday (see yesterday's post). Here are the results from my experiment so far. The top photo is my favorite. The pink is just the right shade for what I think I want to go for in my huge batch I'm going to make for my wallhanging.

Here is the second piece. In this one I used more of the butterscotch color than the pink. But I like this one, too:

This last one is very vibrant. I used the butterscotch and plum spray inks at full strength. For some reason the plum shows up as more of a red color here. It's really more of a dark purple:

Overall, I like all of these samples. I am still going to add something to this last one. Also will start tomorrow on a big batch for my wallhanging squares. I'm thinking about doing most of them in the design of the first two. I used scrapbooking paper, wrapping paper, tissue paper with iridescent dots, wallpaper border and plain, white tissue paper. The inks I used were Adirondack Color Inks in Butterscotch and Wild Plum.

Today I wanted to spend more time on a new batch but somehow ended up destroying my Yahoo email account and now am unable to access it. Spent way too many hours trying to figure it out to no avail. So I opened another one and spent all afternoon trying to change my email address in all of my Yahoo groups...big headache. Hopefully my mail will get to me via this new account now. I couldn't access my old email addresses to even tell people that I can't read it anymore... Needless to say I'm not loving the computer today.

Anyway, tomorrow I will spend working on a new batch and adding a little something else to the bottom piece. I highly recommend the Stitch Alchemy book. There are a ton of ideas for embellishing your base fabric paper. I'll keep you posted on any new ones that I try.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fabric Paper Revisited

If you've been following my blog, a while back I made a big batch of fabric paper for a fat book swap. I really loved the process and still have some of that paper. Now I'm experimenting with taking the fabric paper a bit further.

These photos are just the first step. Basically, I've made a raw batch of fabric paper without adding any color yet. What little color you do see is from the collage papers. So I have my muslin backing, my collage papers and my tissue paper all glued down and dried. Here is another sheet using the same collage papers:

Here is a larger sheet using different papers and more variety of tissue paper:

I belong to a Yahoo group called Mixed Media Art Friends, led by Belinda Spiwak. We are doing a book study following this book:

The author has taken fabric paper a step further and applied all kinds of techniques to the basic layer. So, first things first: make a raw batch with no embellishments. That is what you see here. I'm going to let these get really good and dry and leave them be overnight. Tomorrow the fun begins. There are a ton of ideas in the book for coloring the paper with dyes, paints, inks, etc. and embellishing it with everything. First, I'll color these and then will show you the results of that.

What I'm wanting to do, eventually, is make a really nice, huge batch of these sheets colored the way I want and then cut them into squares (size yet to be determined). The book shows this awesome wall hanging with squares that have eyelets in them. The squares are connected through the eyelets by wire. That is what I want to do but on a larger scale. First I need to make a batch with the colors I want. Then, I'll figure out how to proceed. Stay tuned...

Friday, October 2, 2009



And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
it took
to blossom.

--Anais Nin

I found this poem on a great poetry website. I go through spells where I read a lot of poetry, write some poetry and just get immersed in it for awhile. This poem stuck with me and the images just came together pretty quickly for this digital piece. Lately I find that poetry has been very inspirational for my art and my journaling.

Speaking of journaling, I found a wonderful journaling class on LK Ludwig's blog. If you aren't familiar with her work, she is a very inspirational photographer, journaler and author. She has written some very good books on art journaling and keeping a journal. I was thrilled to see that she had just now started this class (Oct. 1).

Serendipity is at work. I was just thinking yesterday about how much I love journal prompts and how they can really get you thinking about so many different possibilities for a page. That's one reason I'm trying to get my studio space finished up today. I'm itching to get back to the journal and try some new techniques. I also want to write more in my journal and was looking through a couple of books on the subject. Then I started blog hopping and lo and behold there on LK's site was the class. Coincidence? I think not! ;)

So today I'm going through my photo archive and picking out some photos for my first spread in this class. I'll post a few of the pages as I go along. Another serendipitous finding: browsing through a thrift store I came upon a blank, hand-made journal filled with the nicest watercolor paper just waiting to be filled... the gods are speaking to me! I'll include a photo of that, too, in my next post. I just now thought about it or I would have included it here.

So, enough talk. Time to play.