Monday, January 19, 2015

Texture Tuesday : Lion of Lyon

"Wherever there is light, one can photograph." -- Arthur Stieglitz

I've been thinking a lot about Light in Photography these days.

I read a book last summer about a photographer in the early 1900s.  He said something about Light being the medium photographers worked with ... 

As a photographer, "you must see what others cannot ... In our world of shadows, there is no black and white, but a thousand different strokes of light."  -- Moses Levy in  The Museum of Extraordinary Things.

There was  more to it than that.   I wish I could find the exact quote.  I'm pretty sure I highlighted that passage, but I can't figure out how to get the Kindle to show me those passages.   The photographer character had been influenced by Arthur Stieglitz who at the time had elevated photography to an art form.  The book was The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman.

Last May, we were visiting family in Lyon, France.  I never realized what a beautiful city is is ...  Mostly we just passed through the Airport and train stations on to other destinations.  But this time, we stayed for a few days.  After that visit, I named it The City of Light.  Christian's cousin lives in the old part of the city, along the river.  Many of the old (medieval) stone buildings are painted a beautiful golden color, designed to reflect light, and make more light where the shadows might otherwise take over.  I took a few pictures of the stucco just to capture that color and texture of the city. 

I'm also amazed at the way our modern tools can help change, improve, or create something new in a photograph.  No  longer is it just capturing what you see.  Light Room as a software program can do some amazing things.  I'm not entirely comfortable with Light Room and tend not to use it regularly--I've "lost" several images with LR in the past, so I tend to use other tools, like Picassa.  Maybe that will change in 2015 : Year of Light?

For the processing, I thought I'd use RadLab to change the Light effects in this overall image.

Photo Processing on this image in PhotoShop Elements:
Layer 1) 2LO Winter Storms 6
Layer 2) Lyon Lion (original) - Darker Color Blend Mode 100% opacity
Layer 3) Pareeerica Ale Texture - Soft Light 87%
Layer 4) Kim Klassen's Golden Hour Texture - Multiply 23%
Layer 5) Rad Lab (Oh Snap! - Punch Out - Lights Out - Antique Tone)
Layer 7) Reflected Light in Lyon (My Own Texture) - Soft Light 23%
     > Merge Layers
Layer 8) Run The Coffee Shop's Dandelion Wine Action (minus the last 3 layers)

 This photo gives you an idea of the beautiful reflected light all over the old city of Lyon, France.

Here's the original.  An overcast day at the city summit.

Sharing with Texture Artists FaceBook Group and Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Texture Tuesday : Light House Study in Topaz


Here's the image worked up in PSE and Topaz Impression :
Layer 1) Background image with minor fixes
Layer 2) Copy Layer 1 - Hard Light Blend Mode - 100% opacity
Layer 3) Jai Johnson's Peach Kiss Canvas Texture - Multiply 100%
Layer 4) Nancy Claeys Just Peachy Texture - Multiply 22%
Layer 5) Kim Klassen's Flourish Magic Texture - Screen 31%
Layer 6) Merge Layers (as opposed to flattening- this way I don't lose the layers)
Layer 7) Topaz Impression - Chiaruscuro filter (played with settings, and moved the glow point to behind the lighthouse tower, lessened the vignette effect, among other things)
Layer 8)  Kim Klassen's Flourish Magic Texture - Screen 59%

I only have a few days left of the free trial, so I thought I should play a little more.  I had this worked up in PSE alone, and I have to say, Topaz did improve the overall image.  I might have to purchase it afterall.  We'll see ...  I'm working out a workflow for

Here's another play at it [Sheila, this one's for you--It's as close as I'll get to actually sketching this subject!] :

Here's what I did on this one for a much different feeling :
Layer 1) Background image > Topaz Impression - Soft Sketch 2
Layer 2) Copy Layer 1 - Soft Light Blend Mode at 63% opacity
Layer 3) Original Image - Multiply 34%
Layer 4) Nancy Claeys Kimberly Texture - Soft Light 100%
Layer 5) Copy Layer 4 - Multiply 29%
Layer 6) Jai Johnson's Peach Kiss Canvas Texture - Soft Light 17%
Layer 7) Kim Klassen's Flourish Magic Texture - Overlay 29%

Here's the Georgia O'Keefe version (above).  I left it large so you can see the smudging especially on the tree branches.  It does a nice job of creating a painterly effect.  I let Topaz do most of the work on these last 2. 

Here's the Turner Storms 2 filet in Topaz.    It's really neat to look at these close up.  They do look like built up layers of paint.  It's pretty neat -- if that's the effect you're looking for.   I left these images large so you could zoom in and see the differences close-up.  Ok--I'm "this close" to purchasing Topaz Impression.  Just waiting for the coupon that I let pass me by so far.

By this time, I worked out the workflow for using Topaz :

Layer 1) Background Image (cleaned up a bit)
Layer 2)  Copy Background Image > Topaz Impression > Turner Storms 2
Layer 3) Nancy Claeys Just Peachy Texture - Multiply 20%
That's it!

Here's the original image, not far from my house.   Nice sunset that night with a little haze across the water.    Many evenings while we're walking the dogs, we see photographers set up to shoot  this scene at sunset.  It's a favorite local subject.

I cleaned up a few things  on my original (I love the spot-healing tool in PSE!  It's a miracle worker!).  I removed the stop sign.  Yes--it's such a popular photography spot, the owners had to put up a sign to warn about their security system and no-trespassing stop sign to keep people out.  It's situated at the mouth of a River as it empties from a large Lake.  A suitable place for a Light House, but it is a private residence.  Once in a while, we get to see the Fresnel lens doing it's work--but not this night.  Perhaps it was too early?

And now for the musical portion of today's meditation on Light Houses :

Yeah--This song never fails to make tears well up in my eyes.  A sad story--even the Light House was affected by the tragedy.  Yeah for anthropomorphism!

And then I think of how happy Una was living with her Aunt and Uncle at the Light House in Ahab's Wife -- a much happier Light House Story.   Still one of my all-time favorite novels.

Here's another song (a happier one this time) : Vienna Teng's Harbor
(I am so glad she decided to follow her bliss in music and not computer science!  Enjoy!)

"The Light in me will guide you home." -- Vienna Teng

How's that for a day's "light" work?
Thanks for joining my on year-long study of Light, my one word for 2015.

Also sharing with The Texture Artists FaceBook Group and Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.

Visit my Light Board on Pinterest (other people's stuff), exploring all aspects of Light.
Visit my Flikr Photo Album on Light (my stuff).
Visit my You Tube Play List for Light (mostly music).

Thank you for sharing my Light Journey.  ;-)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Liberate Your Art Post Card 2015 : Possibilities

I just ordered my postcards from for the 2015 Liberate Your Art Postcard Exchange.  If I had waited a few weeks, I probably would have gotten a coupon or discount, but I wanted to get the order in and done.  They should arrive later this week.  Hurray!  I can't wait to see these images in print--birthed into the real world from a previously only digital existence.  Like witnessing the birth of new stars!  Ok--well--maybe not quite at that level, but it's still pretty exciting for a dabbler artist like me!

This is my personal invitation to YOU to join us for this annual post card swap.  Here's your big chance to see your stuff in print, and to share it with other artists around the world.

More details (including due dates in March) at Liberate Your Art 2015.  

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Word Cloud Explorations in Light

Wordle: Light Kindled

Word Cloud made with Wordle.  I was having way too much fun with Wordle!   Of the word cloud generators I tried, Wordle is by far my favorite--and worth installing the Java applet.  I encourage you to play, too!     I love how some of them came out formatted like poetry--scroll down to see more examples.   

Word cloud made with WordItOut

A Word Cloud is a wonderful way to visually work out a pile of ideas.  It can help bring order to chaos.   For this one, I used WordItOut, with text from The Free Dictionary's entry for Light.  This was my warm-up, so to speak.  But it seemed to be missing many of the words/terms/ideas that I brainstormed myself (and too many references to smoking cigarettes), so I went back to the drawing board with my own list and went wild with Worlde.  The funny thing is : They were pretty good, and then I added the word connection (think : fiber optic communications with or without the fiber optics), and that seemed to bring it all together!This one came out looking like a scratch board where the color comes through and pops with that black background.    Or Christmas Lights on a dark night ...

Here are a few more Wordles to show you what's possible : 

Wordle: Light on White
  Wordle: Light on White 2
  Wordle: Light on Black
 Wordle: Light on Black 2
  Wordle: Light on White 3
  Wordle: Light on White 4
  Wordle: Light on Black
  Wordle: Light Poetry

Wordle lets you choose color palettes, fonts, and general formating of the words.  Or just hit Randomize until you get something you like.   I saved them to the Wordle Public Gallery.  I didn't quite figure out how to save them to my own files, or rotate them when it made sense.  I can always go back to them later.  

Thanks for joining me on my Light Journey.  Smiles!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

2015 : Year of Light

For the past few years, instead of new year's resolutions that don't stick, I've been adopting One Word to carry me through the year.  It's more like a year-long meditation to see how my everyday relates to that One Word, with the idea of creating a better world around me, and a better me.   Most years, my One Word has become a very close friend and companion.  That's why it's important to pick a good one--one you want more of in your life; one that inspires, and kindles your passion. 

Past words have included Story, Open-Hearted, Love, and Bloom.  This year, I chose Light, for the simple reason that all the other words I considered were wrapped up in or came back to this one.  Light was bigger and encompassed so many other ideas.  It's a big, juicy, multi-faceted, many-layered word that will keep me thinking and creating and meditating throughout the year.  All roads lead to Light!

This One Word has really kick-started my creativity.  I have plans-plans-plans ...  Stay tuned!

In devotion to the study of LIGHT this year :
     A new journal (in paper), but you're likely to see entries from  it here
     A new Pinterest Board 
     A new Logo to mark the Project [See above ;-)]
     A new Picassa and Flikr Photo Albums documenting this year-long study
                Maybe a Light 52 Photo Project?
     Quotes about Light
     New blog posts to share my discoveries and Light creations

I love it when a plan comes together!

My sister, Mande, recommends this class by Ali Edwards : One Little Word.

If you'd like to find your own One Word for 2015, Susannah Conway has a wonderful 5-day class to help you Find Your Word.    It's FREE!  Join us for a wonder-filled Journey ...

May it last a lifetime!

If you're wondering how I made the Light Logo at the top of the page, here's the recipe in PhotoShop Elements :
Layer 1) Background Texture from StockVault's Free Texture Friday
Layer 2) I made a PSE Brush out of Susannah Conway's Mandala 1, and stamped it down
Layer 3) Light Text : Papyrus Font - Soft Light Blend Mode at 100%
Layer 4) Copy Layer 3 - Soft Light 87%
Layer 5) One Word Text : Papyrus Font - Soft Light 74% - I wanted it to be just a whisper behind my chosen word.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Texture Tuesday : Playing with Topaz

I picked up a free trial of Topaz Impression.  So many people on the Texture Artists FaceBook Group are using it and loving it.  I wanted to see what it was all about.  I am fascinated with the idea of taking a real life photo and rendering it into the style of a painting.  What they do with light and brush strokes and color can be pretty amazing when done well.

The Tulips photo above was rendered in Topaz with one of the Obscurity filters  I kind of like what it did ...  but not enough to pay the nearly $100 price tag.    So I'll enjoy it for my 30 days, and let it go.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Texture Tuesday : Abandoned

  Abandoned 3

Directly across from the house I grew up in, there was a similar abandoned house--except it wasn't abandoned, and there was a lot of trees and brush around it.  An old hermit lived there : Ed Herder.  No running water, or electricity.  He died there in the 1980s ....   You can read a little about my memories of Ed Herder's house here.   That's probably why old abandoned houses have always interested me.  What stories do they have to tell?  Are they best forgotten?  Sometimes yes, and sometimes no.  Happy home lives with laughter and family togetherness, or drunkeness, depression,  abuse, incest?  Even murder?   If these walls could talk, what would they say?

There's a whole genre of abandoned houses and buildings.  I wish I had the hutzpa to explore more and not worry about getting caught trespassing or injured by a roof falling in on me, or falling through a rotten floor.  Fortunately, I can explore these places through the magic of Pinterest and the Internet!

Yes!  This is it!    Abandoned 3 is my favorite version so far.  A perfect gray November Day.  I can finally put it to rest and work on something else!

I spent virtually the whole weekend on this one image -- going for perfection, I guess!
I was bothered by the fact that that most of the textures wouldn't hang on that white/gray sky.  So I had an idea to start with a texture, and lay my original abandoned image on top.  That way, the whites would disappear and the textures would rule.  

Here's the recipe layer-by-layer :
Layer 1) My own Stormy Clouds Background Texture [Yeah! for using my own textures!]
Layer 2) 2LO Fairy Tale 15 Texture - Normal Blend Mode 59% opacity
Layer 3)  Abandoned House Image - Multiply 85%
Layer 4) Brightness/Contrast Adjustment - Normal 59%
Layer 5) Copy Layer 2 (I LOVE 2LO Fairy Tale Texture set!) - Color 77%
     > The pink texture effectively desaturated the greens in the grass, and added some depth to the moody gray sky.  I was playing around with that blend mode before I settled on it's application here in the line-up.   When I used it earlier, my moody gray cloud texture would take on the exact colors of the fair tale texture, but not the cracked stucco texture--only the colors.  There are times that could be really useful, but not here ...

Here are the other work-ups before I settled on the one above :

This is the version I worked up in PhotoShop Elements with several layers of textures.
The sky needed something ... and that green grass needs a little tamping back.

Processing Layer-by-Layer:
1) Background image
2) Kim Klassen's Flourish Magic Texture - Overlay Blend Mode at 21% opacity
3) Lost & Taken Subtle Grunge 8 Texture - Multiply 100%
4) Levels Adjustment - Brightness / Contrast
5) 2 Lil Owls Bliss 9 Texture - Multiply 100%
6) Copy Layer 4 - Soft Light 30%
7) 2 Lil Owls Bliss 7 Texture - Soft Light 14%
8) Kim Klassen's Light Paper 3 Texture -  Multiply 31%

For this de-saturated version, I added 1 final step to the recipe as laid out below :
 Picassa's Infrared Filter.

Quite a different feel to it, no?  It probably needs some birds flying around there, doesn't?

Here are the original photos I started with, almost straight outta my camera.
I'm always amazed at the transformation that textures can make for creating a mood.  It's almost the difference between "Memorex" and Memory.  Memory adds all the emotion of internal landscapes, while Memorex records what was.  (Remember those old ads from the 1980s : "Is it live, or is it Memorex?" I know, I'm dating myself here ...)

Sharing with Texture Artists FaceBook Group and Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.

Kim Klassen dot com

Monday, December 15, 2014

Warm Winter Woolens : Alpaca Blue Rectangle Scarf on the Tri-Loom

I finished this scarf this month as a Christmas present, using some wonderfully soft alpaca yarn.
Here it is done up as a mobius scarf.  You could also fold in the corners and use them as pockets, or leave them hanging long.  [They were so long, it was hard to get a picture of them hanging down.]

Here it is on the loom.  The yarn made a nice checked pattern once it was woven :

The Tri-loom was set up as described on pg 57 of Carol Leigh Brack-Kaiser's book Continuous Strand Weaving Method.   Basically, I only used the top 1/3 of the tri-loom, as my friend didn't want the 3rd corner to her scarf.  You work it with the usual continuous line method, until you get to the pegs you want to be your bottom edge.  Then I strung a piece of sturdy kitchen twine along the bottom edge to help keep it even.  You can see I still got a bow in it, but I can say it was part of the design, if that's the part that hangs around the neck, you want it to be narrower and less bulky.   Next time, I might rig a steel rod across there to keep it straight and the tension even.    

After you make it as wide as you want it to be, you have to work each side on it's own.  I used a flat stick to open the sheds (1 in the middle worked for both sides), then I used 2 stick shuttles to run the yarn through--one on each side.   Sorry--I didn't take any pictures of that stage.

Here's a shot of how tight the yarns were right before I popped it off the loom.

Here it's coming off the loom...

Here's one corner, fresh off the loom.  
It's holding it's shape, but the yarns haven't settled into their final positions yet. 
I did go around the edges with a crochet hook to even things out and stabilize the edges.

Here it is after it's been fluffed and fulled.  Nice and soft and the yarns have evened out.

A nice shot of the weave pattern.

This scarf used less than 3 skeins of yarn.
The yarn was gifted to me by a lady at work who had inherited her Aunt's craft room supplies.  
She had lots of this wonderful yarn.  I still have a whole bag left to make other things.

Here's to warm winter woolens!

Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap 2015 registration is open

The sign-up for Kat Sloma's 2015 Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap is open. Cards are due to Kat by March 14, 2015.

I've participated for the past 2 years.  It's a wonderful way to get your art out into the world by sharing it with other artists.  It's so much fun to get "good" mail rather than bills and junk.  And connecting with other creatives around the world has it's own value.  ;-)

I don't usually print my digital photography, but this project forces me to pick the best of my work in the past year, commit to printing it, and sharing it. ;-)

Interested in participating?  Find out more and join us!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Texture Tuesday : Brown-Eyed Girl

Layer 1) Background Image (with minor adjustments in Picassa - crop, HDR)
Layer 2) RadLab - Super Fun Happy (adds brightness, contrast, and blur)
Into PhotoShop Elements :
Layer 3) Hue Saturation Adjustment - Dampen yellows
Layer 4) Kim Klassen's Pumpkin Grunge - Soft Light 25%
Layer 5) Vignette - Soft Light 38%
Cropped to Square

And just because it fits so well with the theme :

Sharing with The Texture Artist's FaceBook Group and Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.

Kim Klassen dot com

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Texture Tuesday : Wisconsin Barnstead in November

 I used one of the filters from the 100 Cameras App for iPad to achieve an old-timey Painterly effect.

I love the names for their filters.  I think this one might have been "I Remember the Clouds from that Day" or maybe it was "The Light Fell Between the Trees."  I saved several versions, but it doesn't save the meta-data, so I'm not entirely sure just which filter this was.

 But I couldn't stop there ...  Back into PhotoShop Elements to add Kim Klassen's Linen Texture Brush for that little something extra.  If you click on this image to see a larger version, you'll see the linen texture.  The addition of the Linen Brush makes it look like it's painted/printed to canvas. 

Here's the original image, with pesky power lines and antennae removed.
A real Wisconsin Barnstead, complete with a dusting of snow.

Kim Klassen dot com