Creating a digital collage

I am in the middle of 6-week classes giving instruction on creating nature-based artwork.  I thought it might be fun to put some of the info online that I’ll be sharing with my classes when we meet again.  During our first two weeks of class we took photos at different locations, capturing small & large details outdoors during the onset of fall.  The focus was to look for both interesting patterns (not only in nature but man-made as well) and to find specific individual elements that interested us as well.  The next two weeks we went indoors to play with, and create, interesting textures, patterns and elements using various printmaking projects.  Those projects, or details of them, were then photographed for later use.  The last two weeks of the course we will be pulling all these elements together, both using photo/digital tools and also as mixed media pieces on canvas.  As I was sorting through my images this evening I selected a few and made a digital collage to demonstrate one way to create art from your images.  This was created using the Photoshop Elements program.  

The base image that I started with is a print that I used as a basic demonstration during class. 

acrylic monoprint

acrylic monoprint

The next layer was a photograph of a leaf laying on a brick walk that was taken outdoors during one of our photo shoots, I enlarged it slightly so part of the original image (below) was not used in the final image:

photo, leaf on bricks

photo, leaf on bricks

 I then added two more layers of photo images, a backlit leaf laying in the grass and a single weed shot with a dark background:

photo, backlit leaf in grass

photo, backlit leaf in grass

photo, sunlit weed with dark background

photo, sunlit weed with dark background

 All the additional layers were adjusted to blend well and make the basic composition then I went to the next step, which was to select a photo of a single leaf to repeat throughout the image.  During our printmaking sessions we used leaves and other “nature” items in some of our prints.  After being used several times many of the leaves were art themselves, covered with an array of paint.  I photographed several of these during the printmaking session and ended up selecting one to use in this piece.

photo - paint stained leaf

photo, paint stained leaf

 After isolating the leaf and eliminating all of the background I copied the image, moved & rotated its position, then repeated the process until I had a total of six leaves scatter through the image.  I then adjusted the opacity so that they blended into the background somewhat instead of just “sitting” on top.  After a few other minor tweeks I was pleased with the composition. 

As mentioned in a previous post, I struggle with creative names for my images!  I have done several images this year that combined printmaking and nature-based photos, thus this one became “Art & Nature #9”. 

Art & Nature #9

"Art & Nature #9"

Thanks for reading my blog!  I am making an effort to make more frequent updates and to add more pictures as well.  Look for sample images from the printmaking sessions coming soon!

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  1. I love what you just did it is wonderful thank you for sharing it with me .

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