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