Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Indigo Moon ... Dreaming One Night

Indigo Moon ... Dreaming One Night
[Click on the image for a larger view.]

An appropriate posting for the day after a Super Moon!

I saw this very scene out walking the dogs one evening in my neighborhood.  One house on the Lake has a lovely wrought iron fence that creates a wonderful silhouette when the light is right.   I didn't have my camera with me at the time.  By the time I got home, and ran back to take the picture, it had changed quite a bit--the moon has risen higher, the colors washed out.   Indeed, the actual photograph as it came out was not as good as it was in my memory.

Enter PhotoShop!  With the magic of textures, I made the sky the blue I remembered, and erased the tiny little moon, and replaced it with the pearly giant you see here.  There, now : This is what I remember from that night!

Photo Processing :
Layer 1) Background Image - tiny moon erased
Layer 2) Copy Layer 1 - Screen blend mode - 100% opacity
Layer 3) Nancy Claeys' Xeveria Texture - Multiply 100%
Layer 4) Stock Vault Free Texture Friday (a starry night blue) - Soft Light 56%
Layer 5) Kim Klassen's May Magic 1 Texture - Screen 15%
Layer 6) Caticat Moon Brush on DeviantArt - Normal 100%
Layer 7) Copy Layer 6
Layer 8) Text - Tangerine Font with color sampled from image - Normal 80%

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

Kim Klassen {dot com}

Saturday, September 06, 2014

A Conversation about Using a Design Wall

My Blog-Land Friend, Sheila over at Idaho Beauty and I were having a conversation a few weeks ago about using a design wall.  Sheila thought about how she uses the design wall in her creative process and thoughtfully answered answered my questions, posed to make her meditate on the process.  Read Sheila's post here.  I suppose it's only fair to answer the questions I posed to Sheila (though I asked them originally because I've learned how Sheila works, and where she gets frustrated with the creative process) :

Do you prefer creating on the design wall or from a sketch?
They work hand in hand.  I may sketch out something, or collect scraps from other mediums and put them in the sketchbook for safe-keeping until I've developed the idea or collected other supplies enough to take it to the design wall for the next step of the creative process. Then I can start to play ...  auditioning fabrics, yarns, scraps, etc.  Trying to figure out what will work.   For quilts the design wall has been wonderful to layout the blocks and let them stew a while before I actually sew them together.  I guess I could say the same for the smaller journal quilts.  Even the journal quilts usually start as a sketch, though.

This post from 2011 about the Bluebird Journal Quilt is a good explanation of how I tend to work.

Is working on a Design Wall more like improvisational jazz, offering more freedom for the piece to grow and develop as it wants?
It can be--although it's hard for a perfectionist like me to let loose and just let it flow like jazz.   At some point, you can get into "The Zone" and just let it come ...  I tend to be more deliberate and take more time than being in the moment allows.  Usually, I have something in mind before I start, something that's been percolating for some time on the ideas level.    For the bluebird quilt above, I thought I wanted to use that lovely pink snow dye, but it didn't make it into the final piece.  I used the dyed cheesecloth instead because it was more opaque -- like a tree full of spring blossoms is opaque, allowing you to see the sky through all those sweet flowers.

When I'm creating composed fabric from scraps, that whole process feels very improvisational.  I never quite know what I'm going to end up with.  I may start with a general idea like Fall Colors but then the process takes over : a little of this- a little of that - a little bling here - a little sparkle there.  And then there's the stitching for a whole other dimension. 

Does a sketchbook lock you into a design that may or may not be possible in real life?
I don't usually feel like a sketch locks me into the original design--Of course, I might feel differently if I were designing a building with millions of dollars were at stake.   To me the sketchbook is just a step in the creative process.  A placeholder for possibilities, rather than a blueprint etched in stone.  I'm usually working out the process as I go along, and wouldn't necessarily know that I needed to do B before A until I get there.

String Improvisations : 2 Potholders and a Pillow

I had 6 extra blocks leftover from the Black-White-and-Red String Quilt.  At first I sewed them together 2x3, but that seemed a little wide for a table runner.  Then I thought I could pull them apart into the current configuration : 2 single potholders, and a 2x2 pillow.    This is such a great and easy way to put together single blocks for potholders.  I made these 2 for my Sweetie who does most of the cooking at our house.  Big enough for his hands, with 2 layers of batting for extra protection from any hot pans.  Works like 2 charms!

I haven't quilted the big quilt yet.  Since I hadn't pre-washed the fabric nor the muslin foundations [I know--I know : I've been on the lookout for the Quilt Police ever since!], I wanted to do a test run with these smaller blocks.

The perfect pillow for my reading nook on the porch!

The verdict is that I think I'll be just fine. I was actually hoping that the foundation fabric would shrink up more than it did.  I know the Hobbs 80/20 batting will shrink up in the bed quilt.  That's what gives it that nice antique-y look and feel.   This old mattress pad in these smaller pieces didn't shrink at all.  It's been washed so many times, it's done shrinking--but then, that's the beauty of such materials.

Tree of Life : Wall Quilt Completed

[Click on the tree to view a larger size.]
This quilt has been in the works for about 2-1/2 years now.   It wasn't difficult, though it looks putsy.  I just needed to put in the time--and take my time with it.   I am grateful for the sewing table my husband made for me a few years ago.  It makes free-motion quilting so much easier than it used to be.

Detail photos of the quilting ...  I used my new embroidery threads to quilt it.  It's a strong polyester with a nice sheen.  I don't have to worry about the threads breaking as I would with rayon.   And I have so many colors in the set that it's easy to find a match! 


Detail of the stitching on the tree trunk.   
The edges of the tree were top-stitched down to the background layer of the quilt top, along with a stabilizer.  Then I quilted the background through the quilt sandwich (batting and backing included).  This helped to make the tree pop out.  

Originally, I wasn't planning to quilt/stitch on the tree, but I had a doodle in my sketchbook that my mother happened to see.  She liked it and encouraged to transfer it to the Tree above.  
It worked out nicely!


Although I love Hobbs 80/20 batting for bed quilts, I find that it sags over time (gravity's effect on all of us!)  in wall hangings.  I know people like to recommend Warm'n Natural which was originally designed for window quilts / winter insulation, and does NOT sag.  Although I've used it, it just doesn't puff up and look like quilts.  They are too flat for my tastes.  I've started using old mattress pads (after the parts that wrap around your mattress pooch out and tear off).  The padded part makes a nice puffy batting for wall hangings, that doesn't sag.     These are also good for quilted pillows and pot holders.    It's a great way to recycle them, too.  They're good yet, even if they won't stay on your bed!

I haven't done up an official quilt label yet.  I don't have a great way to do it yet.  My printer doesn't do fabric, and writing with a fabric pen is functional, but doesn't look so nice.   At this point, I just have the info written on an old library catalog card (recycling again!) pinned to the back.  Someday, I'll do a batch of them at once. 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Texture Tuesday : Old Barn

I've been wanting to try my hand at iPhonography, so I used one of my Barns-of-Wisconsin pics.  First I worked it up in Photoshop Elements,  with basic edits, repairs, cropped, adding a number of textures.  Then I moved it over to my iPhone and iPad respectively, using a number of different Apps.  Let's hope the metadata gets transferred when I send them back to my laptop! (Unfortunately, the only one that sent meta-data was Waterlogue.)

My first thought was to use Waterlogue on a Red Barn, so indicative of the Wisconsin rural landscape. Yup--You can tell it's farm country even in this rendition.

Then I took the same base photo and ran it through a few other Apps, like SnapSeed and Distressed FX, PicTapGo, and 100 Cameras.    These filters in the Photo Apps are not unlike the Actions in PhotoShop.  I feel like when I find an effect I like, I could deconstruct it -- do it manually, so to speak.  Like this one :

It appears to have upped the contrast and downed the saturation.  Why didn't I think of that?  I think this is my favorite treatment.  It might have been in Snapseed?  I was hoping that the metadata would transfer when I saved them to my laptop, but none of that came along, and I was having too much fun to take good notes on the process.  So much of it is trial and error--playing until you see something you like enough to save.  This one makes it look more like a November sky.

Here's the photo I started with.  One from my "drive-by" series of Wisconsin Barns.  Because we were in motion, the foreground is a little blurry and out of focus.   It's an effect that works for this scene.

As an aside, I regret doing that drive-by series now.  Many barns fell down under the weight of last winter's excessive snow and extreme Polar vortex temperatures.  These barns deserved more time and attention than a sloppy drive-by photograph.   I started the series because I knew these barns would no longer be part of the WI landscape one day.  That day has come sooner than I thought.  So for Labor Day, my husband and I went for a drive around Lake Winnebago with the express notion of taking some decent barn pictures--where we actually stopped the car, and got out to shoot.   Calumet County has some magnificent barns : It is farm country, meaning people actually still make their livings off the land, and so they keep their barns in working condition.  I have quite a few new pics in the stock files now!

Here's the base photo I worked up in PSE, with the recipe :

Layer 1) Background image
Layer 2) Copy layer 1 - erase crappy tree and crop
Layer 3) Copy Layer 2 - Multiply blend mode at 13% opacity
Layer 4) Kim Klassen's Stained Texture - Darken at 77%
Layer 5) Kim Klassen's Partings Texture - Multiply 21%
Layer 6) Kim Klassen's Stained Texture (again) - Screen at 5%
Layer 7) Kim Klassen's Revolution Texture - Multiply at 53%

After that, I added a graduated tint in Picassa to subdue the sky.

Here are a few more versions :  Sorry, I can't tell you what app they cycled through :

I think it was 100 cameras with some amusing and interesting names for their filters.   I think the last one had something about ghosts in the title.   The emulsion texture layer kind of does look like ghosts floating through the image ...   It's amazing how the various textures and treatments change the mood of the image.

I've been looking at this online iPhonography class, thinking about taking it ...  but the last 2 classes I've signed up for, I haven't been good about doing the lessons for various reasons--too much content, no time, too many professionals in the class and I just can't compare my stuff with theirs [Yeah--maybe a few personal demons rearing their ugly heads here, too) ...  I'm afraid I might waste the money again ...  I did find the guy's book at my local public library.  I will study that ...  At the same time, I'm really enjoying the weekly Texture Tuesday challenges which are pretty wide open as far as what to submit.  I know enough to be productive without having to go through a lesson.  It feels good!

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Texture Tuesday : Magnificent Grunge Work Horse

Magnificent Grunge Work Horse [aka "The Tinker Horse"]
[Click on the image for a larger view.]

This magnificent piece of sculpture stands in downtown Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  This huge rusty draft horse is made entirely of recycled metal parts.  Gears, chains, wire, shovel heads ...  It's amazing!  The longer we looked it, we discovered new things incorporated into it.  It's a beauty to behold!  We were mesmerized by it.  It also says a lot about horses being replaced by "iron mules" when tractors came into use.  My dad even talks about what a revolution that was in farming.  You didn't have to feed a tractor through Winter, or stop working when it was tired.   Still, there's a beauty and a nostalgia about horses -- even work horses.  Maybe that's why we think of the winter sleigh ride with the neighbor's Clydesdales as such a treat!

I tried to find out who the artist was--there was no title card near it on the street.  Anyone out there in blogland know the sculpture artist?

I love-love-love the way this turned out! : No wonder with my love affair with grunge and rust.   This feels so much more comfortable for me than the flowers posted last week.  If I have a personal style, this is probably it.
Photo Processing on this Image:
Layer 1 : Background Image
Layer 2 : Copy Background Image - remove Security Camera in Right upper corner
Layer 3: Copy Layer 2 - Soft Light Blend Mode - 50% opacity
Layer 4 :  Kerstin Frank Texture - Multiply - 48% - masked off of horse
Layer 5 : 2LO Junkyard2 28 Texture - Multiply - 52% - masked off horse
Layer 6 : Polaroid 5 - Screen - 78% (added last as a frame)
Layer 7 : Kim Klassen Beekeeper Texture - Soft Light - 74%
Layer 8 : Copy Layer 7 - Multiply - 63%
Layer 9 : 2LO Relic 17 Texture - Soft Light - 45%

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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Texture Tuesday A Dream is a Wish ...

I've had this photo for a few years now, not quite sure what to do with it--until now!  I woke up with this old Disney princess song in my head., and it suddenly clicked with this pic ...  and then the flourishes -- Obsidian Dawn and Kim Klassen's original Flourish and the subtle magic texture.

Photo Processing Recipe
Layer 1) Background - cropped
Layer 2) Copy Layer 1 - Screen blend mode - 19% opacity
Layer 3) Text - Tangerine Font
Layer 4) Obsidian Dawn Brush Flourish under text
Layer 5) Kim Klassen's Flourish Texture - Flipped - Multiply 27%
Layer 6) Kim Klassen's Flourish Magic Texture - Screen 16%
Layer 7) Color Fill Frame - Soft Light - 38%

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


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Texture Tuesday : Spinning Out of Nothingness

The obligatory summer carnival pic ...   All those centripetal and centrifugal forces of the rides made doing physics story problems fun, back in high school and college.   You could actually FEEL the forces and see farther than you could on the ground.   Oh to be young and feeling all those new experiences!  Not to mention practical applications for math.

The spinning motion of this ride made me think of this Rumi quote ...  the process of being born, in motion, shiny and new.  Creation is not for the faint of heart : It is active work!

Click on the image to see a larger version.  Details get lost when it's small-ified = Disappointing.  The original BIG version is really neat, especially with the added texture.   Bluer and more textured. 

Photo Processing Recipe:
1) Background image
2) Coffee Shop Vignette Action (added after Vintagram 2 below)
3) Coffee Shop Vintagram 2 Action (tweaked settings)
4) Kim Klassen's Oceanside Texture - Multiply blend mode at 39% opacity
5) Text - Rumi quote with Tangarine Font

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


Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Texture Tuesday : French Country Breakfast Still Life

This is one that seems to have lost a lot in the process of re-sizing for the Web.  The original looks so much richer, textured and much more interesting.

In France on this last trip, we stayed in a small country hotel for a few days.   We were there for a family wedding, and this part of France was not known for tourism.  Just real everyday people/everyday scenes in France.   The woman who ran/owned the hotel was also the town mayor, and the person who did civil marriage ceremonies.  She did not do the Church wedding ceremony, however.  It was a small town, and she had a lot of jobs there.  

This is the scene that greeted us one morning at breakfast.  Some scenes just present themselves ...  Glad I had my camera along!

For what it's worth, here's the recipe :
Layer 1) Background image
Layer 2) "15" Texture by ??? ; Multiply Blend Mode at 35% opacity
Layer 3) Golden Contralto Texture ; Soft Light 85%
Layer 4) 2LO 1(4) Texture ; Soft Light 24%
Layer 5) My own Sweet Leaf Texture France 9891 ; Soft Light 65%
Layer 6) Kim Klassen Chalk Magic Texture ; Screen 20%
Layer 7) Hue Saturation adjustment (to tone down the too bright green of the leaves)

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


Texture Tuesday : Good Night Iguana

Good Night Iguana : Lyon Lizard 3
Layer 1) Background image
Layer 2) An old Free Texture Friday Texture from StockVault - Multiply 85%
Copied the layer mask from version 2 (below)
Layer 3) Copy Layer 2 - Soft Light 30%
Layer 4) Color Fill Frame - Soft Light 61%

I think this is my favorite one of the three.  It makes Mr Lizard look like he has a sky full of stars behind him.  Oh what a difference a texture makes!

I was trying to make the spines on his back stand out a bit more, but I couldn't quite do it.  The brushes are round, and the magic wand tool, kept taking more than I wanted.  Hard to follow the outline of the spines, so I finally gave up on that. 

Lyon Lizard - Version 1
Layer 1) Background Image
Layer 2) KK Sissy Texture - Multiply Blend Mode; 89% opacity
50% brushed off the Lizard's face
Layer 3) Color Fill Frame ; Soft Light - 61%

Lyon Lizard - Version 2
Layer 1) Background Image
Layer 2) 2LO Junkyard 14 Texture (smoothed out a bit) - 
Multiply Blend Mode; 100% opacity
50% brushed off the Lizard's face
Layer 3) Color Fill Frame ; Soft Light - 61%
I tried layering these textures but they both wanted to dominate, so I did each one separately.  
I couldn't decide which one I liked better so I'm presenting all three.

"Here's lookin' at you, Kid!"
Here's the original Lizard pic.  

Christian's cousin has a wonderful old stone apartment in Lyon, France,  along the river with shade trees on the terrace outside their windows.  This building must have been there in the Middle Ages, or earlier.  There is wonderful reflected light all over the city -- even with the buildings so close together, you'd think it would be dark and miserable.  On the contrary, it's a warm and inviting light.

Their apartment has all kinds of very interesting decor -- like this Iguana lizard statue. 

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


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Texture Tuesday - Stitch in Time in LaCanourgue, France

Here's another one of the historic street signs in La Canourgue, France.   This one is for a seamstress/tailor shop with a wooden spool and metal needle and thread.  I considered removing the wire above the spool, but it lined up parallel to the needle, and I decided to leave it for the sake of repetition and pattern.

Image Processing Recipe :
Layer 1 ) Background, cropped.
Layer 2) 2 Little Owls Artisan Texture 3(5) ; Multiply Blend Mode at 96% opacity
Layer 3) Copy Layer 2 ; Soft Light  96%
Layer 4) 2LO 3; Soft Light 51%
Layer 5) Kim Klassen's Sonnet 2 Overlay Texture ; Overlay 63%
Layer 6) Text - Aquiline 2 Font

Here's the original photo pretty much SOOC:

It just amazes me how textures can turn a blah picture into something much more interesting and artsy.  Thank you, Texture-makers of the world!

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


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Texture Tuesday - LaCanourge Hair Dresser

When we visit France, we sometimes get to visit with old family friends at their "country house" in La Canourgue.  The town is old European old - Medieval Old - Old World Old.  Lots of history there, and they've kept it up, by restoring many of the old buildings.  I LOVE some of the old shop signs in town, like this one.  I added a few textures to enhance it.

Image Processing
Layer 1) Background Image
Layer 2) Kim Klassen's Lola Texture - Soft Light Blend Mode at 64%
Layer 3) 2 Lil Owls Junkyard 2 28 Texture - Multiply 62%
Layer 4) Levels Adjustment to brighten and increase contrast - Normal 66%
Layer 5) Vignette - Soft Light 70%

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


Friday, July 18, 2014

A Few More Waterlogued Travel Pics

 Breakfast in France.
Nothing like a buttery, crispy croissant!
We weren't actually at THE Notre Dame in Paris.  There is another Notre Dame Cathedral (Hec--There's a bunch of them all over France) in a tiny village called Orcival, where there's a tiny little Hotel Notre Dame with really good food.  ;-)
Used the Travelogue Preset in Waterlogue.

Yup!  Still playing with the Waterlogue App for iPad.

This photo was taken in Fairbanks, Alaska.  I didn't quite know what to do with the image -
an old enamel saucer and cup on the shelf of a dimly lit cabin.  
But the Waterlogue treatment was very good to it.
Used the Natural Preset in Waterlogue.

 Spectacular Wildflowers in Banff, Canada.
Actually, these were outside our lodge, so probably not wildflowers, but they were spectacular!
Used the Travelogue Preset in Waterlogue.

Happy Travels!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Waterlogued Travels

 I've been playing with some of my travel pics from recent trips.  I wanted to try the Waterlogue App (yet again!) on landscapes, since you often see water colored landscapes.  

This one is from Moraine Park in Banff, Canada.  
I used the Natural Preset from Waterlogue.  It's a great rendition of the original, I think. 

 Same scene at Moraine Park in Banff.  
This time with the Color Bloom preset in Waterlogue.
Another acceptable rendition!

 Here's a lovely scene from the Cullain Hills on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.
Used the Travelogue Preset from Waterlogue.

The Church at Uig, Isle of Skye, Scotland.  Used the Travelogue Preset in Waterlogue, hoping to preserve the magnificent ever-changing skies there on Skye.
I was a little disappointed with this one.   I guess I can always run it through some other processes apps, and add textures.  

  Here's the original photo.   I was really hoping Waterlogue would pick up those magnificent skies, but I was underwhelmed.   I guess I'll try something else with this one.  Still a nice pic!

 Eileen Donan Castle in Scotland.  The most photographed castle in the entire world.
Used the Color Bloom Preset in Waterlogue.

I really do think this Waterlogue app is a good way to get my feet wet, to get used to the various watercolor styles, to see what's possible, if I ever wanted to try the real thing for myself.  I know with these being digital, I'm missing the whole watercolor paper texture levels.  Although, there are probably ways to add that via Photoshop ...

This is such a great big beautiful world we live in.  I'm so fortunate to be able to get out and SEE it with my own eyes.  If you've ever wanted to travel, let me give you a nudge to go out and DO it! 
You won't regret it!