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Monday 30 April 2012

From a Chore to Heart Wrenching

I needed to get something out on my blog today - yeah, we all dig around in our jumble box sometimes just to get something out on the blog.

I took a picture of a teddy bear that we had recently been given and just messed around with it in PSE.  But honestly, it looked naff.  So I thought let me try and make it look vintage so I added a picture of my sister and all of a sudden my Mother's old story came back to me with piercing sadness.

When she was about 4 her Dad threw away her teddy bear because she left it once too often lying around in the lounge.  She never forgave her father for this and it was one of the few stories she told about her happy but strict childhood.

So in her 80s she bought herself a little old fashioned looking teddy bear and crocheted some clothes for it and propped it lovingly on her bed until she sadly passed away just before Christmas last year.

So the picture I ended up doing completely changed and I took a picture of her teddy which is now propped up lovingly on my bed. I think it's quite hard for me to put it on here and if you see a smudge on the photo it's probably one of my tears.

She's the little girl in the middle of the family picture and I left the tear across the middle of this picture because I think it was meant to be there.

Sunday 29 April 2012

Picture Transformations

Start with a picture of an orchid and a scrap of fabric with some doodles:
Turn the doodle into a brush, then a frame, then create a clipping mask with the picture and you get one of these:

Will be showing this in one of my future courses on brushes!

Friday 27 April 2012

Online Photoshop Elements Workshops!

I'm going to be launching a new website for Photoshop Elements in May and guess what, my first one month workshop, called Selections, Selections is going to be FREE.  Do you really know what selection tool to use when and the power of each?  Participate in the Challenges and see what others have done!

For example, the Magic Wand video will take you through how I created this:
from this:

Details coming soon!

Sunday 22 April 2012

More on Using Art

Here is another piece of dyed fabric which I have combined within Photoshop Elements.  I made zigzigs on the cloth by drawing with a squeeze bottles filled with thickened dye. First with a golden yellow and then turquoise.  I left it for a little while and then scrapped over the pattern with a credit card.  This of course combined the colours and made them green.
Here it is combined with a picture I took of some wrought iron gates:

Thursday 19 April 2012

Using Art in Photoshop Elements

My whole aim with Photoshop Elements is to merge art and the computer.

I am doing a course in fabric surface design and dyeing this year with Committed to Cloth called 'Wet and Wild'.  The 1st two weeks we concentrated on straight forward dyeing and colour mixing.  Last week we started on mark making with thickened dyes and the aim was to experiment with all sorts of mark making tools like credit cards, brushes, combs etc.

So at last I have something to experiment with on PSE.  Here is one of my bits of fabric marked using a credit card:

Here is the fabric scanned into Photoshop Elements, changed and made into a pattern.  I really want to print this onto fabric.  Just love it. And what potential for machine or hand embroidery!

And this is just one of my samples!

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Newspaper Collage

My best art definitely comes from mixing handmade art with photos. Continuing with creating collages in PSE, I pasted together a page of colours and text that I had cut from newspapers to use as a background.  Nothing special:
I then took 5 pictures of birds, 'cut' their shapes from the newspaper collage using the clipping mask, placed them on top and changed the colours.  I then did various blending and effects and these are the result:

Man, I had so much fun and then I took the background again and just used it with 1 bird:

Methinks I've only just started using this background......

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Transforming Pet Pictures

I was walking with a friend in some local gardens and couldn't resist taking a picture of these lovely dogs.  What spoil the picture was the background and taking it in a hurry it was not well composed.
I thought if I was the owner and wanted to create an interesting picture out of this photo what would I do?  I wanted to give the picture more colour and highlight the dogs.  This is what I did:

Sunday 15 April 2012

Further Digital Collage - Ah, better.

I looked at the collage I did previously and thought, hmm, pretty ordinary, not really inspired.  I thought I can do a lot more with this paper collage than I've done - let's go completely different, not use it as a landscape.

So here are the steps I took:

1.  Changed the colour of the original paper collage and turned it upside later
     (actually, I turned it upside later when I did a blend):

2.  Used this texture that I made earlier and combined it using an exclusion blend:

2.  Extracted this flower, manipulated the colours, applied a down bevel effect and added a border on top:

3.  Finally combined everything:

And here's another one using different colours:

Digital Rendering of Paper Collage

I did this paper collage some time ago and thought I would scan it in and digitally combine it with text and pictures to make it more interesting:

Tuesday 10 April 2012

AndreaMosaic Free Mosaic Software!

While wandering around Flickr admiring all the wonderful talent out there, I discovered free software called AndreaMosaic.  This software converts your photos to mosaics using the photographs you provide.  The only requirement of the licence is that you credit Andrea when you use the software.

To get a good mosaic I think you need to spend a bit of time playing around with it and you need LOTS of photographs and MANY variations of colour.  Here is my first one - you will notice that all the tiles are other birds. As a quick trial I only included 50 photographs for the tiles and limited the number of tiles.
To make it stand out I blended this with the original and a original copy with a sketch filter.  This I liked:

Where I think the software has real potential is with irregular mosaics.  Instead of using squares or rectangulars as a mosaic you can use any shapes.  Andrea's documentation is excellent and if you read it carefully, it makes the process easy.  I had a look at her section on irregular mosaics and my creative mind went crazy.  The possibilities are endless!

This is the example that Andrea gives of the mask file showing that you can draw your own...

but I had other ideas...

I have loads of pictures of flowers so I included 2 directories of flowers that I had taken in gardens and flower shows.  I then chose a daisy picture:

and converted it to the necessary maskfile:

In theory, the shapes should probably be closed areas but I was intrigued to see how the software would handle a file like this. Wow, I love the results!

Oh no, something else to distract me from getting my work done!

Sunday 8 April 2012

Stamping on Fabric

It's been a while since I got creative with paints and fabric so, being a long weekend, I thought it was time to bring out the fabric paints again.  Created some easy fun foam shapes and just played!

Macro Flower

Couldn't resist taking part in Photo Art Friday because I love macro views.  Can you guess what flower I used?

Here are the steps:
1. Select Flower, invert selection to get background, convert selection to black and white.
2. Added Bonnie's Antique Farewell texture.
3. Added a second layer using colour #542526, where I erased the inside using soft brush and 42% opacity.
4. Blended Bonnie's layer and second texture (Texture2) using Pinlight to create Layer2.
5. Created some outlines using Glowing Edges (this will be part of one of my new online sessions coming soon!).
6. Applied Lighter Color Blend on Layer2.
7. Improved the contrasts using a Levels Adjustment Layer.
8. Reduced the pink a bit by using a cyan Photo Filter Adjustment Layer.

Newspaper Collage

I love books - its one of my weaknesses - and while looking for another book I came across Nita Leland's book  New Creative Collage Techniques and couldn't resist buying it.  If you have her previous book its almost the same so not worth getting but I didn't so I just loved it.

The first project shows 2 newspaper collage, one by the author and the other by Gretchen Bierbaum.  I want to try my hand at a proper paper collage but as usual couldn't resist trying to create one in Photoshop Elements.

Saturday 7 April 2012


I spent some of today having a look at photos on Flickr and was inspired by some of the vintage looking photos by Karen Burns.  I managed to take some photographs of people in Singapore and blended them with some old printed fabric.  I also blended in a couple of textures and came up with two variations that I liked:

Thursday 5 April 2012

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Monday 2 April 2012

Time for a Change!

It's spring!  So I've done some spring cleaning and this is my new look.  Hope you like it!

Singapore - The Old and the New

I love nature but actually I love cities too especially if my aim is to take lots of interesting pictures.  In my art, I use nature as the focus and buildings are just wonderful for backgrounds, patterns and textures.

My favourite parts of the city were the old parts - the old colonial buildings and Chinatown.  However, the new skyscrapers were impressive and in the next two collages this is my interpretation of the old and the new of Singapore.