For some reason my first artistic love, photography, has been calling my name the last month or so.
As I write this I’ve got two rolls of film (yeah, you know, film…the stuff people used to put in cameras to take photos) ready to be developed. It’s kind of a back & forth dance, I am really excited about playing with film again (and some new toys) yet I don’t really need batches of 4×6 prints laying around the house. So I guess I’ll just have it developed and scanned to a disc so I can play with it in Photoshop if I am so inclined.
Several years ago when I gave up on using film I still had a large stash of it so it’s been in my freezer for at least 8 years, some of it longer than that. We were always told in photography class that it could live in the freezer “forever” and not age or expire. I’ll be curious to see if that held true or not. Of course I’m playing with odd lenses, double exposures and other fun stuff so I may not really be able to tell film quality from experimentation.
It was fun just going through all the rolls to see what I had stashed away. Today I pulled out a roll of B&W infrared film. Oh, the possibilities! I had forgotten the anticipation of waiting to see how your images turned out until I had these rolls ready to go. 🙂
In the meantime, in this age of instant gratification, I’ve been spending a lot of time playing with different smart phone photo apps. Some of these images have been run through two or three different filters/programs before I was happy with them. Again, like the smart phone art, they aren’t really large enough to do much with but they are fun and I am just enjoying being creative. A weekend camping trip to a nearby park gave me lots of opportunities to play – I like the “old photo” feel and look of these images! Of course my favorite is this one, with a silhouette of my grandson playing in the water. 🙂
I guess I can’t talk about smart phone photo apps without mentioned Instagram! If you have an account I hope you’ll leave your username so I can follow you and see what kind of fun you are having! If you want to look me up my username is photoladylm. You can download the program for free on both iPhones and Android phones if you want to experiment with it!
Once I get the rolls of film developed/scanned I’ll post some of the images here (hopefully there will be something worth posting!) and also give you the scoop on the new cameras I’ve been playing with. Until then, happy shooting!
The previous posts in this demo showed ways to adjust a photo using filters to make it more artistic, and how to blend layers together to create new images. Starting with the original image (shown below), I’ve shown you nine new versions so far:
When all four new versions were blended with this image as a background, this was the result:
Today we’re going to look at a few other variations of the same image made by selecting certain layers of the composition and leaving others out. The following image shows each of the layers that will be used followed by the resulting image:
By removing the mostly white third layer the final image is much bolder than when all layers are used. This next image uses even fewer layers!
The final image uses even less layers by removing the background layer and blending two of the filtered layers by themselves:
As you’ve probably guessed by now, the possibilities are endless. Add or remove a layer, change the way the layers are blended, adjust the opacity of a layer, apply more filters…the sky is the limit. I usually run out of steam way before the possibilities run out! If you weren’t familiar with photo art, layers or filters I hope this both inspires you to play with them and helps you understand how they work. I’m available by email if you have a quick question and I also do one-on-one or small group instruction on photo and/or digital art. I encourage you to take some time and just play with your photo images to see what happens, that’s how I’ve learned and how I continue to learn!
Yesterday, in Part 1, I introduced some steps to create art from a photograph. Today I’m going to show you how all these new layers and images can blend together to create yet more art. As a reminder, here are the layers that I am working with:
To see each of these new layers blended with the original image be sure and visit the previous post! This next photo shows the “Layers” window on the screen in Photoshop Elements with all of the layers visible.
With all the layers blended and visible (layers are visible in your art when the “eye” on the left of the layers window next to it is visible) the final image looks like this:
In part 3 of this demo I will show you what can be created by making one or more of the layers “invisible” and taking it out of the image.
After looking through my earlier posts about digital/photo art I realized I hadn’t ever done any kind of “how to” posts. Well, that ends today! 🙂 I’m going to do a show & tell of fairly simple steps you can take to change a normal photo into something more artistic. I’m starting with an image I took of leftover collage scraps. I like that they have lots of bold colors & lines. Plus I’m just a sucker for words so that didn’t hurt anything either!
For this demo I am using Photoshop Elements. I am sure there are other programs out there that use filters & layers, which is all we’ll need for this exercise. The first step I took was to make a duplicate layer of the same image (this can be done by right clicking on image in the layers window shown below or by selecting “duplicate layer” in layers tab at the top of the screen). I then used a filter on the duplicate (the first of the following three images) to create a new image. The filters tab is at the top of the page, when you click on it there is a drop-down menu with a large selection of filters for you to experiment with. The filtered layer was then combined with the original layer, which I’m using as a background. There are many different blended tools available to combine the layers of an image, I chose the “overlay” effect to blend the two together, which in turn created another new image (the last of the three images shown below).
Next I made another copy of the background layer/original image. I applied a different filter to that layer, creating another new image and then – like the first new layer – blended this new image with the background/original.
This is a photo of the layers window that shows each of the individual layers in the “Layers” window. The one that is highlighted is the one that you are currently editing (background copy 3 in this case). In this photo I clicked on the blending modes so you could see all the different options available for blending your images. I routinely try most of them to view how they blend before deciding which version I like best.
After the second layer I added two more layers with different filters, effects and blending tools, shown here:
I know I’ve thrown a lot out all in one post but I didn’t know how else to divide up the steps! Part 2 of 3 will show how all these layers come together into one image and beyond.
I am busy this evening (and I’m sure tomorrow morning!) getting everything prepared to hang the show at Sugar Creek. I am getting SO excited, I think it’s going to be an awesome display! Tonight I’m doing the paperwork type things that go along with a show, label/price tags, inventory lists…the “behind the scenes” stuff that makes a show a show but most people don’t think about. I am always amazed at how much time artists end up spending doing things other than making art. Many times because it’s what you have to do to get your art out there, opportunities rarely fall in your lap! They take application forms, submissions, copies of artist statements & resumes, letters of recommendation and that’s just for the chance to show your work! Occasionally, it is easier to do all the paper stuff than it is to start or complete a current art project. I have avoided creating work on many occasions by submersing myself into the “business” of art. I almost always wish, at the end of the day, that I’d chosen to be creative!
Right now I am basically in a state of letting out a big exhale – whoosh – and stepping back for a bit. I have cranked out over 20 pieces of new art in around 2 months. Like the image above a few of the pieces were digital/photo art, which (other than clicking my mouse a few thousand times!) doesn’t take quite the time & energy, but the majority of them were all “built from scratch” hand assembled mixed media pieces. Add in teaching some classes, a photo session or two, judging a show and my normal schedule caring for my grandson and the rest of the family and it’s been hectic! I don’t think I paid much attention to how hard I was pushing to get them done until I was finished. Now I am tired out and ready for a break! At the same time I am exhillarated to have so much new work to show. I guess that makes me satisfyingly worn out. 🙂 I found out earlier this week that the classes I was scheduled to teach at OASIS this month were cancelled due to low enrollment. I suppose I should be disappointed but the truth is I was kind of relieved. They would have added to the chaos that will be the month of June so it turned out to be a blessing to be able to take them off the schedule. Things seem to work out for the best, even though I am often convinced otherwise!
Later this week I will be picking up my finished ceramic pieces. I am SO anxious to see how they look all glazed and fired. They will be a bit of a late addition to the show (it officially opens on Thursday) but I plan to have them hanging before the reception. Even if I have to hang them in my little studio space and point people in that direction to see them! I will be sure to take photos and post them once I’ve got them home & finished (most of them are getting some metal and wire added to them before they hang).
That’s all the news for tonight, just hadn’t checked in this week and thought I would put in a quick update. Take care!