Friday, August 27, 2010

Photo Field Trip

A group of us went to the Pt. Pinos Lighthouse in Pacific Grove, CA for a photo shoot. What a nice group of women -- so much fun to share creative energy and interests.

It was a gray day so the sky doesn't look like much. I got some great photos of textures around the grounds -- a rusting buoy, lichen on a gnarled tree, bright pink "naked lady" flowers. I'm sure you'll see some of the photos in my art work soon...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back to School

A long time ago, in a lifetime far, far away, I studied marine biology and invertebrate zoology at San Francisco State University. It was definitely a learning experience: I discovered that I'm not a field scientist at heart and I get brutally seasick. Eventually I got a real job and moved on to other things, but I still love my little sea beasties, as long as someone else takes the photos!

Fast forward a couple of decades, and I'm collecting images for a workshop with Sue Benner called "Driven to Abstraction: Developing Abstract Imagery." I'm looking forward to the retreat but it will be a real stretch, since I am pretty darned left-brained. When I work from photos, I tend to want to use those same colors and keep the color placement fairly true to the original. That doesn't sound abstract, does it? :-)

As a warm-up for the retreat, I thought I'd play with some photos in Elements. The idea is to see if I can "goo up" the photos enough so they feel more abstract, but I don't want to obliterate them quite yet (the way the Liquify filter would, for instance). So here goes...

Nudibranchs (shell-less mollusks) are some of my favorite critters because they come in outrageous colors and fantastic body shapes. I did some internet searches and have come up with a great selection of photos to play with. The image above is by Chriswan Sungkono and was taken in Indonesia (Wikimedia Commons). The background is wonderfully colorful and "mushy" as it is, but the sea slug really stands out.

I made copies of the background image and tweaked them with the Watercolor, Posterize and Crosshatch filters. I like the way the filters worked on the background, deepening the shadows, but they had much less impact on the critter than I expected:

It is fun to revisit the past, this time more creatively (no actual dissections involved!!!) I doubt Photoshop even existed when I was in grad school, and I certainly wouldn't have guessed I'd be working with my little invertebrate friends in this way. Stay tuned for more fun!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Playing In The Poppies

This has been a fun little project -- a fabric postcard in decidedly unnatural colors! We (members of my sit and sew group) each picked one or more vintage images from the "Dancing Poppies" collage sheet by ArtChix to be used in an item to be shown at our September meeting. I picked a seed packet, and since I have the original file, I can play in digital land!

I created a 4" x 6" postcard blank in PSE 8.
Layer 1 is a mint-green leafy digital scrapbook paper from Designer Digitals.
Layer 2 is the seed packet image, cropped. I applied the "exclusion" blending mode, and the colors got oh, so cool! Not a bit of red in sight.
Layer 3 is a brush with vintage handwriting from Scrap Artist in a color selected from the image.

The image is printed on photofabric and ready for embellishment and backing with fast2fuse. Not too bad for a hour's work on a night when most of my brain cells were elsewhere!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Good Dog!

Just a quick update -- the sewing machine has to go back to Portland (a 3.5hr drive each way) to get the power supply replaced. Grumble grumble!

The good news is that Yoda passed his Canine Good Citizen test. He didn't like the examiner messing with his paws, but he put up with it enough to pass. Such a good boy. I was a chicken and just signed Wookie up for a run-through (I wasn't sure how he would react to another dog since he can be a bit reactive when on-leash). I should have had more confidence in him because he would have passed with no problem. Yoda and I are signed up for our first agility trial in September -- keep your fingers crossed!

From yesterday's dog page-a-day calendar: "If your dog thinks you're the greatest person in the world, don't seek a second opinion." -- Jim Fiebig

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Service at Last!

The part has arrived and my sewing machine goes in for service today!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shakespeare Goes Supernova

Our quilt show is over and I managed to get my challenge quilt done in time. I may do a bit more quilting on it, but thought you'd like to see what I've been up to the last two weeks. Our theme was "Starry, Starry Night" and I based the color scheme and placement on a photo of a supernova taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The pattern is "Shakespeare in the Park" by Judy Martin (I changed the color placement to focus on the 4 large reel blocks). It was fun playing with color and value to make some of the border stars stand out and have some barely visible in the night sky. The quilt is approximately 60" x 60" and I'm quite pleased with it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The "Joys" of Machine Quilting

I remembered yesterday why I bought the longarm -- stitching in the ditch around blocks on a 60" x 60" quilt on my Bernina... It doesn't help the Bernina loses its brains periodically when it warms up. Luckily, power-cycling the sewing machine doesn't screw things up too much (that's why I'm not attempting anything complicated). Borders today, then a photo soon.

Monday, August 2, 2010

So Close...

I was cranking along on my challenge quilt, getting it ready for this Saturday's show. Put the last of the four big blocks up on the wall and realized the color was WRONG. By then it was midnight and I had to get some sleep before today's 7:30 workout. I might as well have stayed up to pick fabric because I didn't sleep anyway...

I whined enough that the trainer took it easy on me, so now I get to choose new fabric and remake those blocks. I don't think I will be quilting today... :-(

p.s. my little "gladiator" dogs are doing their best to entice me to play. Wookie tries to bring me a toy, while Yoda grabs him by the tail and pulls him backward. It is pretty amusing, but not nearly as much fun as when I ask "who wants to play green dog?" -- laser-guided wind sprints up and down the hall! The laser pointer is build into a green plastic dog and the beam comes out the nose!