Thursday, January 29, 2009

Adobe Photoshop Elements 6

I purchased this program last year after downloading a Free Trial Version online. It worked great for editing and printing my notecards and that's really all I needed at the time. After the trial period ran out, I was sent an email offering a discount on the full program so I bought it. It cost about $75.00 plus tax and shipping at the time. Now, I don't pretend to begin to know what all the features are or how to use them but I have another cat fantasy piece in mind so I thought I'd see what I could do with the Elements editing features. There's a lot of online tutorials available but they tend to make my eyes glaze over reading them so I just started playing around.

Here's a brief and rather sketchy tutorial of my experiences. From the bottom to the top.....
(1. This is the main editing window. It functions much like any other editing program. You retrieve your selected image from 'File'.

(2. This is my first image which I've rotated for editing purposes.

(3. Select 'Auto Select Layer'. Why? I don't know other than you DON'T want to create a locked layer. That will greatly limit your editing options.

(4. I wanted to create a watery, wavey reflection of a cat's face so I chose 'Liquify' from the 'Effects' menu. Be sure to click on 'Apply' at the lower right hand corner to initate. This will take you to another window. You'll see a circle which will take the place of your cursor arrow. That's your brush which you can adjust under the 'Tools Option' at the right of the screen.

(5. I ran my 'brush' back and forth across the image, giving it the look I was after. When the right look was achieved I clicked 'OK' which took me back to the original window. I then saved this altered image in My Pictures.

(6. I used another editing program to put this new altered image and another I had drawn together to see how well I did.

Voila! Well, it's kind of crude but I'm still learning. I hope this helps someone who's as PS challenged as I am.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Why So Many Cats?

I've asked myself why, when looking for subjects I tend to always go back to cats. I met a man from Dubai a few years ago. He was a longtime pen pal of my best friend, Betsy. They had been writing to each other for over 40 years and finally got the chance to meet face-to-face when he brought his son to Windsor, Canada to enter the university there. I made the journey with her to Windsor and had the pleasure of meeting him, too. He and his wife are originally from India and his wife is still a practicing Hindu. He's a lovely, gentle tempered man and was aware of my artwork. He said to me one day, "You know....Billie is the Hindu word for cat". I looked it up and sure enough...he was right! Coincidence?

Function: noun

Hindu/Meaning: 1. (a) billI

Milky Way~Completed

This one is done! I debated what the cats should look like and finally settled on a variety of colors and markings. The leaping cat was inspired by TJ, my oldest son's cat who passed away two years ago. I would've liked to have paid homage to Raven, my beloved studio cat who passed away last summer but a black cat just didn't work with this piece. I used soft pastel sticks and pastel pencils to finish the cats and also added a bit of soft pastel to the Milky Way in places to soften it a bit.

I had a devil of a time photographing this piece. I couldn't seem to get a nice clear image. After sharpening it in my photo editor it occurred to me that maybe my camera lense was dirty! The colors are also a little 'off' but it's a cloudy day so what can you do. *sigh*

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Milky Way WIP

Update: After my first attempt to paint this one without the benefit of doing a color study(shame on failed miserably), I cut the back of the paper up into squares approx. 6"x 8" and did several studies with various palettes. I settled on this one.

I decided to freehand the Moon, enlarge it to outrageous proportions and attack this project with my trusty Mon Image spray bottles filled with diluted watercolors. (1.)I started with a light wash of DV Gamboge Hue by spraying the entire sheet and wiping the excess paint away with a paper towel. Great way to tone paper! (2.)I then applied Misket to the cats and the reflection in the water. I also spotted in a few stars. I used Frisket film to protect the Moon.(3.)Then the fun began. I sprayed like a maniac, directing and modifying the coverage with good old toilet paper. My paper towels had way too much texture for this purpose. The palette is basically Indigo mixed with FUB, Perylene Maroon(potent color!)mixed with Ultramarine violet and that's about it! I did use a bit of plain water in a sprayer to move the paint in places.

The Frisket film is still in place as is the Misket. I plan to tweak this further with some pastels so I'll remove the masking materials afterwards.

What Kind Of Flower Am I?

I'm a canna lily! I grew this flower one year in a very big clay pot. It was gorgeous but come time to de-pot in the Fall the root system had grown so large I had to fight like crazy to get it out. Very stubborn. Kinda like me....

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Milky Way Study #1

I'm posting this primarily to see what it looks like on screen. I find the screen highlights all the flaws(or successes)in a piece. This was all done with black and white pastel, blk/wht charcoal and white charcoal shavings. Man, I sure make a mess with pastels! My hat's off to all the pastel artists out there that create such gorgeous work. I also forgot how bad Krylon fixative smells.

Any critiques are more than welcome! I can always use them when working from imagination. Imagination is a wonderful thing. You can take many liberties with perspective, lighting, etc. but I still want the piece to make some sort of sense to the eye. Keep in mind this is just a rough idea of the concept. The cats aren't well developed. I'm still trying to decide if I want them all white or not. I'm not even sure this will be my final concept.

If you look carefully you can see I have one cat on the very top that I chose to ignore. I think three cats will be sufficient for this project but I left the outline just in case I change my mind.