Saturday, April 25, 2015

Fun with KaliedaKamera App

KaliedaCam is the App for which I've been waiting my whole life.  Truly!   This is the thing that had me staring into my iPhone more than anything else.      Remember the Kaleidoscope quilts I did a few years ago -- every block different --  I stayed up late to work on them, curious to see how each one would turn out.   You can point it at anything -- the most mundane things come out  as beautiful works of art.  I think the original vista above was lace curtains with Christmas lights strung up on them.

The only improvement I'd make to this app is to allow a recording feature so you can keep the kaleidescope changes as they happen.  Maybe it is there, and I haven't found that little utility yet.

It really is a nifty little app!  And only 99 cents for hours of entertainment!  My husband was so impressed, he had to get a copy, too.  And a few of my friends, too!

Here are a few more of my favorites :

Eole's Star

Arabian Nights

 Royal Gala

Wood Pile

Primary Colors Star




Yellow Starburst

Emerald City


Green Starburst

Come Go with Me

July Red (Cancer)


2LO Texture-Making Class Lesson 4 : Waterlogged

I'm continuing on with 2 Lil' Owls Texture-Making Class.  Real paper -- real paints -- real textures.  Just look at all these gorgeous colors!

This technique kind of reminded me of Ann Johnston's color by accident, where you through all your leftover dye into a vase with your fabric, and let it seep in where it likes.  It's really pretty amazing that the colors stay distinct and don't just turn into mud as you might expect.

Basically, you throw the color at the paper until it's good and wet, then you dry it -- and things come out surprisingly muted and nicely blended. 

I LOVE this technique!


This is how it looked on the drawing board while it was still wet.  Pretty muddy -- but by the time it dried, it turned into this :


This one with the browns and golds and grays came out the prettiest of the whole set!  This is one I think I could actually use layered into a photo--as is!

 I love this one, too!

I've been aching all week to do more of these ...  but work and other commitments have kept me from the studio.  Now I can take more time to play with color and light and water!

2LO Texture-Making Class Lesson 3 : Watercolor Starbursts and Gradients


Continuing with 2 Lil Owls' online class on The Art of Texture-making.  This lesson focused on starbursts and Gradients.   Startbursts

Part 2 of the lesson focused on gradients ...    I was thinking of landscapes ...
And just for fun :  Blue to green.

The colors on Lake Winnebago some evenings :  blue to pink gradient.

And open farm fields for this time of early Spring --  
browns and dark grays and clay reds -- before anything starts to grow.

2LO Texture-Making Class Lesson 2 : More Watercolor Techniques : Edge

Continuing with Denise Love's Art of Texture-making Class.
 Lesson 2 - The focus this lesson was on creating nice edge treatments, or frames with Watercolor.
These are still "raw" images.  I'd probably touch them up in PSE or do more to them before using them as a layer in an image.

 The watercolor does take some practice to master.  I did a whole set one evening, and then decided none of them were good enough to show here ...  just practicing, and getting to know and understand the medium and how to get it to do interesting things ...

Like this one where the pigment did this sedimentation thing -- like mud, or earth eroding and drying where it lay.

If you'd like to join the class, sign-up info is here : Art of Making Textures Online Workshop. - See more at:

If you'd like to join the class, sign-up info is here : Art of Making Textures Online Workshop. - See more at:

Monday, April 13, 2015

Everyday Inspiration : Blue Light Abstract and Ponderings

 Blue Light Abstract (1)

This was a broken glass bowl that shattered on the kitchen counter recently.  
I purposely moved the camera as I took the shots to blur and streak the color.

This one kind of looks like a school of flying fish jumping and leaping --
like in the fountain at the Detroit airport. (Gosh I love that fountain!)

As I get older (into bifocals now, so maybe it's just harder to focus), I have more and more appreciation for abstract art -- especially textures.   Color, texture, movement, even a mood.  They can be quite complex with many layers incorporated.  And yes, they can have an emotional impact, too.  But sometimes, I just want to settle down and enjoy the abstract -- the colors and the textures without a big important and heavy message to change the world.  I don't have to DO anything with abstract textures.  I can just enjoy them.  Sometimes, I just want the Calm. 

I used to think -- What's the point of abstract art?  What's it's trying to tell me?  What's the hidden meaning?  Maybe there isn't any -- maybe it is just a feeling -- calm or chaos, or something else ... 

I've been thinking about the emotional impact of my photography -- or rather, how to get it?  What makes some pics get so many likes, and others barely get any?  Not just mine ...  In some of the photography groups I'm in, some of the posts are really wonderful--well composed, well-executed, well done--a complete package, yet they hardly seem to get noticed.  Some are just blah, and they still get lots of likes.  Maybe it's who you know, or how you market it?  It's all in the networking and connections these days, right?  Maybe this Like-economy isn't all it's cracked up to be?  It's not really a popularity contest, or is it? 

There are times when I've really done it well--gotten that emotional impact that connects with other people.  The barns seem to do it -- Is that because people get sentimental with a past that is no more.  With barns falling down around us, they are no longer the center of most rural families' livelihoods. When I do manage to hit that holy grail of emotional connection in my art, either I know it and love it myself, or it looks and feels so foreign, I barely recognize it.  

Other times, I make something, and I absolutely love it, and no one else seems to notice or care.   Maybe those are the times that I myself may know the emotional impact of a piece which is why it's so powerful in my own personal mythology, but doesn't quite connect with other people who don't know the full story.

Other times, an image or symbol is so iconic, it connects with people because the myth or stories about it are so well known, it's almost a cliche.   Those are things that need no introduction, as everyone knows the context. 

I do know that I don't hit that home run of great art and emotional connection every time I finish a piece.   In reality, no one does.  Maybe I just need to do more work to hone my skills in whatever medium I'm working in?  Ira Glass, Patty Smith, and Neil Gaiman [Sheila -- Pay attention to the NG link.  There are some gold nuggets for you there, too.]  say : Do the work.  Keep putting your stuff out there.  Hone your skills.  Make good Art--with a capital A. You'll only get better ....  It just takes time to master these skills.  It's not a contest.  I only have to be better than I was.  And I see the progress I've made over the years -- just look back at all the stuff in over 700 posts on this blog.  I am always learning, developing a sense of composition, and what works, and what doesn't (I don't post the disasters too often--I'll spare you that!)  Good taste.

And I have to ask myself : Why am I doing this?  I'm not seeking to make a living from my art.  I do it because I have to ...  If I didn't make stuff, I'd go crazy (Been there, done that in post partum days.  Not a happy place--and not a good place for my family, either.)  It brings me great satisfaction to know I've brought something beautiful into the world--my work.  My process.  My journey to make it real--whatever it is.  And in the end, the only one who needs to like what I see, is ME. If someone else likes my stuff, that's just icing on the cake.  But not expected.  Just me in my own little world.

Then again, part of the point of Liberate Your Art is to put your stuff out into the world and to share it with other people.  Kat had another project called The Photo-Heart Connection --- those photos were not necessarily great art, but they did require a heart connection.   Two very different things.

There's a skill to putting out what people will like (and be willing to purchase) vs. just doing what pleases me.  I'm not about to start posting LOL Cats or Hey Kitty-type cutesie stuff, so it's good I'm not counting on my art to make a living.   I don't do cutesie.  Still finding my voice ...  and I don't think it's in still lifes either -- at least not at the moment.  

Maybe my work just hasn't found it's audience yet?  Kind of an ugly duckling scenario (Weren't we talking about personal mythologies a little bit ago?)

Blue Light Abstract (2)

Although the texture pieces can be layered into other photos, sometimes it's just nice to look at them on their own merits.  They hold their own.  This one is kind of like shooting stars, or a meteor shower.

I do know that I'm feeling more comfortable sharing my abstract texture pieces.   It's a chance to just BE and not have to DO.  Breathe and enjoy these quiet moments, and quit talking so much!  That feels like HOME these days, so come on in, sit down and have a cuppa tea with me ... We don't even have to talk -- just bask in the blue and golden light of these new textures.