Giving Thanks

Today, in the US, we are pausing to give thanks. At this moment I’m giving thanks for my son snuggled up next to me under the quilt, for sunshine, and for creating art. My list will change throughout the day.

For those of you in the US, I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your family and friends. For those of you outside the US, I hope you can take a moment today and give thanks for what is good in your life, what makes you happy, and the beauty of the work around you.

And for the US expats, my heart is with you today. I remember the feeling of going to work, having a regular old week day, while my home nation was celebrating my favorite holiday. But I’m also a little envious, because I look back fondly on all of the work it took to make Thanksgiving in Italy happen, and I see how much more I cherished the holiday, even if celebrated two days late.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, wherever you are. I am giving thanks for you today, too.

August’s Fun Finds

Lately I’ve been adding to my arsenal of iPhone apps and accessories, and thought I would share a few fun finds…

A New App

I’m a sucker for an app that helps me integrate interesting geometric shapes with my photographs of trees, and my latest find is Tangent. It has a wide range of shapes, patterns, colors and blending modes that create interesting effects on your photographs. I’ve been playing around this weekend, figuring out how to integrate it with my creative workflow. Here’s my favorite creation so far, called Rising:

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Apps Used: ProCamera, XnSketch, Tangent, Aquarella HD, Image Blender


A New Case

20130818-104213.jpgI’m always looking at interesting iPhone cases at the store and wondering if I could live with the design every day. Instead of buying another artist’s case, I decided to take the idea of “living with my work” to a new level and created a custom clip case for my iPhone 5 through Decal Girl. It took a bit of experimentation to find an image that worked with the aspect ratio of the case. The real thing has a little bit of color shift from my original image, Vanishing, but came out great otherwise! Decal Girl is having a sale right now, use code BACK2SCHOOL for 25% off.


A New Magazine

20130818-104150.jpgI ran across this new mobile photography magazine for iPad over the weekend, iPhotographer. I decided to subscribe after looking through the free preview issue. It’s beautiful, interactive, and looks like it is going to be a great resource for those of us loving the world of mobile photography. You can purchase single issues for $3.99 or subscribe to the year for $18.99. Check out the free preview issue through the Apple Newsstand on your iPad. I already can’t wait for the first issue to come out!!

Paused

I am a bit out of sorts at the moment. With the holiday weekend and my Mom visiting I’ve lost track of the days. I forgot to blog yesterday! When does that ever happen?

I resonate with the title I gave this image: Paused.

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Like that little bird on the branch, I am just balancing in the moment, neither moving forward to backward. The moment will pass, and motion will begin again.

But for now, I remain…

Paused.

Blending to Perfection

When you are creating, do you find moments when everything comes together and it just feels right? Your know your piece is finished. When you are new to a medium, it’s not as easy. You may not take something far enough or you may go too far, ruining something good. As you learn and progress, I think it’s easier to know when something is “done.” It’s part of the learning process, and our own style, to develop that feeling of done.

In mobile/digital art, I’ve learned that the name of the game is blending. Using multiple apps and blending them together, until it feels “done.” I had already started on this path, as I created some of my earlier pieces like Rain Painting and Winter Flowers. I had only touched the tip of the iceberg of what is possible with blending in those, however. I’m going crazy now. Today as I share one of this week’s pieces for Paint Party Friday I thought I would also give you a taste of the kind of blending I’m doing now, and how I created this one, called Under the Surface.

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Here’s the starting image, taken with the ProCamera app. I love it! You can easily separate exposure and focus, and switch between aspect ratios within the app, going from square to rectangular.

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Then the fun started. I’ve created this little matrix of images to walk through the process of creation, but it doesn’t even cover all of the steps. To be honest, I get so many layers going I don’t even remember the exact steps but I’m trying to recreate them to share.

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From left to right, top to bottom:

  1. The first step was into Snapseed, to shift the color a bit. This also added some texture and vignetting.
  2. Next I pulled that image into Distressed FX to add textures. The next three are the image with various textures added. You can’t add more than one texture within the app, so I save an image of each texture I like on the photo. Distressed FX also will do color filters in addition to textures, but I often turn that off and just use the textures. It’s become my go-to app for textures lately.
  3. From there, I start to blend. The center image is a blend of the different texture images I saved out of Distressed FX. I’ve starting using the Image Blender app for blending, because it is easier to use and has more blending options than Iris Photo Suite. When blending, I just play with the blending modes and percentages until it looks good to me. There is no logical sequence I’ve got for this step.
  4. Once I had a nice blend, I started to use the painting apps. I take the blended photo into the apps and play around with different effects to get some I like. Middle right is the “Aquarell” painting filter from Autopainter HD (a recent favorite) and bottom left is from Glaze.
  5. From there I started blending again, with the textured image and the painted images. Bottom middle is the new blend.
  6. I was starting to lose the colors, so I took that blend back through Distressed FX and added a filter or two.

From there, I did more blending with previously created layers to get the final result.

Under the Surface

Under the Surface

There were more steps and layers than these I shared, but it gives you the basic idea of how the final piece was created. There is a depth of color and texture in the final painting that is built through blending layers which won’t exist when you use a single app. It’s really the creative part of the process, and where the unique touch of each person will come in. I’ve started to learn the apps, what works on different images and how to achieve a certain look, as I play. Eventually I might develop a “style” but right now it’s all about play and exploration. Lots of fun!

Hello from Hebden Bridge

Have you ever visited someplace new and felt like it was coming home? That’s how I feel here in Hebden Bridge! I don’t know if it’s because I’m back in Europe for the first time since moving from Italy, or if it’s because I visited with several friends today, but I feel at home here. It’s a lovely little town! I love the stone buildings and the colorful doors.

My journey was fairly uneventful and luckily enough the rains stopped before I arrived. There were many places in the Yorkshire area that were flooded and travel was interrupted for many people on Tuesday, but there were no interruptions to my travel on Wednesday. Thankfully, this time Hebden Bridge did not suffer any flooding. They’ve already been flooded twice this year, and you can see the evidence in the storefronts that are being cleaned out and the sandbags at the doorsteps, ready to be put in place.

Well, I’m off to bed… It’s 11pm here. Jet lag hasn’t been a problem for me yet. I wonder when it will catch up with me? Oh, and I tried Wensleydale cheese for the first time today. Yum. Fabulous!