Friday, November 16, 2007

Creating From Imagination

Still working out the background details and lighting on this one. It's been slow going. I tweak and look, tweak and look. Gradually this is coming along to my satisfaction. I may leave this and just look at it for weeks, especially in different light. Many times there's an *Ah Ha!* moment and I'll notice something that was missing or needs adjusting.

Right now I'm working with charcoal and soft pastel on tracing paper. Why tracing paper? It's cheap, it works well with several mediums, erases well and I can put different colored papers behind it to get different effects.

I'm keeping the background fairly simple to keep the focus on my main subject...the cat. I've 'suggested' a few ferns, added the trunk of a tree for the cat to lean against and maybe a few fireflies will get in there somewhere. I want this one to be all about the cat and the lighting. Of course the moon or lack thereof is important also. I've decided to create a hole in the sky where the moon had been with a dark night sky and a few stars peeking through. I've abandoned my references completely now and I'm moving on, using only my imagination. I have the concept in my head. Now the challenge is to get it on paper.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Getting Creative to Create

I was browsing Flickr for interesting cat photos when I stumbled onto Peek-Peek. I fell in love with this kitty immediately! He's a chubby Persian belonging to Bokeh. One pose caught my attention because I've had an idea in my head for a painting called 'The Cat That Swallowed The Moon'. I contacted Bokeh who graciously agreed to let me use her photo. Now the fun began.

I had the vision in my head but I knew I needed lighting references to bring this idea to life. Necessity truly is the mother of invention. Grabbing my Crayola Teddy Bear and an old frosted globe light diffuser I set up a mockup still life. I nestled the teddy bear into my rocking chair, set the globe in it's lap and stuck a mini flashlight into the globe to create the 'moonglow'. I duct taped the bear's paws to the globe and set a potted plant arrangement next to my 'still life' and let the light fall where it may. I played in Irfanview to pinpoint where the majority of the light/shadow fell on my subjects.

There's still background details to work out so this project is still in the sketch phase. It'll be awhile until I'm satisfied enough to start painting. If all goes well it should be a fun new cat to add to my series. Thanks again, Bokeh and Peek-Peek!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Mission Accomplished!

~~~This was my solution for Caterwauling. Since the format was square(and I didn't want a little square image in the middle of a white rectangle) I used an image that I'd framed online. I cropped it to fit the notecard. It looks a little lopsided here but it's really not. ~~~
Yes...mission accomplished. At least for now. The mission? To create simple notecards from my Catitude series. My Kodak Easyshare printing program experienced a glitch so I was forced to abandon it as an option. *cuss* I spent the entire past week researching other editing programs, trying free downloads and even giving Microsoft Publisher a test drive. Yup, Microsoft actually offers test drives for several of their editing programs. A test drive means you don't have to download a darn thing. I'm not entirely sure how it works but it gives the user a chance to see the program and sample the capabilites/features it offers.

Using a thirty day free trial of Photoshop Elements I managed to print out fifteen cards...five cards each using three of my Catitude cats...Gingerbruiser, Caterwauling and Undercover Kitty. For some reason Nosey Rosie defied printing. Even with a lot of fiddling with lighting, sharpness and color correction what was on my screen would not translate to the printed card. I haven't given up, though. I just need a break. *sigh*

After trying the programs I'll most likely go with Publisher. It's more straight forward and easier for me to understand. The cost is roughly the same as Elements.

I ordered the card bags from Clearbags. Since I planned to sell the cards singly with an envelope I chose bag size #B45. This size will hold one notecard and one 4 3/8" X 5 3/4" invitation envelope.

As luck would have it when I delivered my notecards to the gallery I ran into another artist who also runs a printing service nearby called Northbound Publications & Graphics. They do giclees, rack cards, etc. She gave me her business card and we spent some time going over prices and just chatting. I've been considering switching to giclees rather than having my prints made at Office Max so I felt this was one of those happy coincidences that life sometimes throws our way.