Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fun ATC Swap - Unusual Postage Stamps

Had so much fun over the past day or so creating these ATCs for an art swap!  The theme for the swap was "unusual postage stamps" and we got to define unusual - take a look -

The foundation for each of these was some graphics of postcards that I had previously scanned.  I printed out the larger size items and then used a portion of the postcard as the background for each piece - after all, it sort of tied in with the whole stamp idea.  For the piece above, I loved the little elephant stamp - I'm guessing this was some sort of tribute to the 70's???

The next layer of each of these pieces was a new technique that I just came across in a creative magazine, using Citrasolv and alcohol inks.  Basically, I dampened a paper towel with the Citrasolv, added a couple of drops of different colored alcohol inks and then wiped the card.  The colors of the ink painted the postcard type background with some lovely swirls of color. For the above piece, I added the fun stamp with the beach umbrella and a portion of a cocktail umbrella to complement it!

For the above piece, I added a star that I punched out of some scrapbook paper.  I really liked the graphics of this stamp, and the colors of the ink really seemed to capture the fun feel of the star.

This last piece highlighted a stamp from New Zealand.  I really liked the colors of it and used ink colors that offset it nicely.  What a fun discovery this alcohol ink technique was.  I think I'll have to try it out on some other substrates, too!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

This Morning's Walk

Went for a morning walk today with Jeff and Miki  Got some good shots, and played with them to create some fun and pretty effects.  Added a quote here and there, and this is the result ~

These little flowers were just so beautiful I couldn't resist capturing their beauty.  I played with my HDR software to enhance what I saw in them.  I found this lovely quote that seemed appropriate for these little weeds, persisting in growing in a not very hospitable environment.

The grass looked really cool today, covered with little raindrops. However, unfortunately, the raindrops looked better in person than what I could capture in my camera, so I decided to get playful and create some fun colored grass, just to sort of illustrate how happy I think all the growing things are here right now with the lovely monsoon rains we've been having!

And, finally, as we were finishing up our walk, I noticed our friend's hors enjoying not only breakfast, but the lovely sunrise to boot!  The scene was just so wonderfully calm and peaceful, I couldn't resist capturing it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sunrise Walk - Wild Photos!

Yesterday, I woke up a bit early and decided to take Miki and my camera on a very early sunrise walk.  I knew the images would come out very poor from a purely photographic perspective, so I thought I'd take the images and then play with them with the HDR software to get some very different, unrealistic results.  Take a look ~

Great clouds in the above image!  The colors of the sunrise were really pretty, but it was still pretty dark.   So, I used what is called a "creative" effect that seemed to highlight the cloud shapes and also accented the beginning of great color of the sunrise.

The above image reminded me of one of those sort of "pop art" posters, usually advertising something or some one's tour.  Pink ground???  There was something very fun about this effect that just struck me - had to share this with you!

The sun was really beginning to radiate at this time, so I stopped to capture that and focus the special effect on highlighting that one little section of the sky as the yellow gold crept up from the horizon.

And, to be very different, I decided to go black & white for this last shot.  In a way, the lack of color emphasizes those clouds that are radiant from the pending sunrise.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Blue, Green and Purple Abstract on Book Page Backgrounds ATCs

Here are some ATCs I made for an art swap.  The theme was to be an abstract using blue, green and purple in each piece, and have the background of the ATC be a book page (text) background.  I thought it was a great opportunity to use up some scraps of paper that I keep in a tub (nothing ever goes to waste when doing collage/mixed media!).

The first piece used Japanese text as the background, and then I just stamped some texture type effects on it and added the 3 colors in the circles.  The middle one really is a shade of green, altho it doesn't look like it much!

For this piece, I liked using some swirl stamps, punched circles and dabs of paint over what I think is French text.  It just had a sort of free flowing feel to it that I like.

I really like using diagonal lines.  I feel it adds a tension to the piece that sort of wakes me up.  I used purple ribbon for the lines, with some punched circles from watercolor effect paper that I had.  The green band along the right side is a piece of Citrasolv paper I made a while back (from National Geo magazine pages).  I'm not sure what language the background text is.  I have several foreign text books - maybe German??

This last piece is quite a busy piece.  The text is, I believe, Spanish or Italian, and I added bands of colored handmade paper on the right, bands of the same Citrasolv paper as in the previous piece across the card and some purple paints dabs that could be considered very free form circles !!  LOL!

Monday, July 15, 2013

All Creatures - Great, Small and Fast !

We definitely saw several different types of creatures out on our back road explorations - here are some of them....

Let's not forget our busy bees!  We stopped by the roadside where there were lots of these sort of goldenrod yellow cornflowers.....and the bees were feasting!  (Along with a few hornets and wasps, too...)   

We drove thru a national forest campground, just to check it out for potential future stays, when we came across some campers who had already been set up there for quite a while!  They did have a fence to keep these guys out of the campground, but I guess when there's a will, there's a way!

Thank goodness we tend to drive slower along the back roads - we came across this guy right on the side of the road - so I rolled down the window of the Jeep and got this up close and personal shot!

Here was a fun site - a little mule deer, racing along next to our Jeep!  As I readied my camera, Jeff rolled down the window and kept pace, so I could capture him in motion!

Reservation and/or Wild Horses

We saw some either reservation or wild horses while camping this weekend - something different that I don't recall coming across much!  The first 2 images are of what we were told were reservation horses, but the last 3 images were ones I captured while we were out back roading, so I don't know if they, too, are reservation horses, or just wild horses.  We are very close to the Navajo reservation, so I guess they all could be reservation horses.  In any event, they are beautiful.....

In this first image, we were up on the bluff around our campsite, actually sort of across the campground from the lake.  There is a creek there, and these reservation horses were there, munching on the lovely grass and drinking what I imagine is the cool water.

Here's an image of a mom and her foal.  I did enhance this image somewhat, just to draw out the great detail of this scene.  They were just so peaceful, and didn't even notice us up above.....or they just didn't care? 

As we were driving along the back roads, we saw several deposits of horse poop along the road, and then came around the bend to see the source of all that poop....and in such a breathtaking setting!

These are the horses that can be either wild or reservation.  For the most part, they ignored us, but you can see the one horse was definitely keeping an eye on me!  What a lovely, peaceful scene this was, and I just loved seeing these wild beautiful animals in their element.

I just love the image of this mom and foal peacefully enjoying a morning graze.  The foal was just so sweet, always very close to mom.

Out There Landscapes....and More

Some interesting images captured at the campsite and wandering the back roads - yep, the rain happened and got things wet enough so that the national forest roads were once again open - yippee!

I know, this first image is really "out there", isn't it?  It was a great sunset, but I as I played around with the image, this one jumped out at me because it really accentuated the radiant sunbeams coming from the setting sun.

Here's the "real" image of the same sunset.  I really like this one, too.  The depth of the clouds is just so beautiful, isn't it?  A much more subtle rejoicing in the end of a great day.

The next day, the early morning sky was really such a soft pastel color, I really wanted to enhance it.  Again, the camera wasn't quite able to capture what my eye was seeing.  In this shot, I'm standing just off our RV, by the fire ring, looking out on the lake before all the jet-skiers and speed-boaters hit the water.  Just the fishermen and me enjoying the start to this day.

As I said, we were able to get out on the back roads after the rain, and stopped at this lovely little area.  We think it might be an primitive camping area (tents only), but it was really hard to tell.  I love the line created by the split rail fence that ran along the side of the little road in this area.

One of the places we explored was a very unimproved (they call it primitive) road that went up to the top of Mount Sedwick (I believe).  We didn't make it to the top, since the unimprovement got to be a bit too much, but we got close, and I was able to capture this overlook image.

I just wanted to share this image of an incredible branch formation.  Look at how gnarled the branch grew - I wonder why?


The first day, we did a bunch of wandering and I was able to capture some very nice images.....


This first image is of a weed that reminded me of a variation of Queen Anne's Lace, and is the same type of plant that my "bee study" (previous post) included.  I just love the repeated pattern of the leaves of this plant, and the overall softness to it.

Isn't this a lovely little red bloom?  I was really glad I was able to capture it, and altho the sort of branch running thru the middle of the image might typically be considered "bad form" in terms of photographic content, in this case, I liked that it provided a sort of "base" to the quote that I found that really spoke to me about this image.

One of the things we did was to explore the lakeshore just down from our campsite.  As I wandered along the shoreline, the colors of the rocks there really jumped out at me, so, of course, I had to capture them!  Again, I played with this image with my HDR software, just so I could bring out the colors of the rocks that caught my eye.  Cameras are fabulous tools, but they don't always capture what we see with our own built in best camera - our eyes!

This last image is one of my favorites from this wandering.  I just love the little flower (ok, weed) that is just determined to not only survive, but thrive, in the midst of all of the rocks surrounding it!  We can all learn a lesson in persistence from this little bloom!

A Bee Study

The first full day we explored, we were rather hindered by the lack of rain that the area had been having.  All the national forest back roads we tried to explore were closed due to the extreme fire danger.  However, I was able to spot a bee (actually, he was quite a large one!) working away at a weed, and was able to play with an image to get some different effects....

The first effect, above, reminds me of a sort of Asian feel to the image.  I can imagine this printed on some nice quality material....perhaps as a decorative scarf or something??

This second image is sort of a neon glow effect.  Not realistic at all, but a kind of bright fun perspective!

For this third image, I used a sort of painting type effect, but a pretty subtle one.  It really captures the overall softness that I originally picked up on when I decided to capture this little guy.

This last image of this series is probably my favorite.  I used a sort of poster edge effect, which really captured in sharp detail all the aspects of not only the bee, but the bloom as well.  I also cropped the image in a bit tighter to really focus on the bee and bloom.

Day's End

It was actually quite rainy at Bluewater Lake State Park on our weekend, which ended up being a lucky break for us.  These images were all taken the first day we were there, toward the end of the day....

One of the things that I love most about New Mexico is the big sky.  Here I'm standing at our campsite, looking out over the lake at a rain storm that's happening in the distance.  I never get tired of watching the sky open up with a downpour, while I'm standing in absolute dryness!

Since it was so cloudy and rainy, we didn't get a spectacular sunset, but I really liked the peaceful feel of this shot as the day ended.

For the above image, I played around with my HDR (High Dynamic Range) software to create a sort of painterly feel to the scene.  I just love the detail that existed in the clouds.

Water Dog !

Miki does love the water!  This past weekend, we camped at Bluewater Lake State Park, here in New Mexico.  We had to take her down to the lake at least a couple of times so she could play "fetch" with her stick - and, of course, it had to be fetching it from the water!

Here she is, just hitting her stride, heading out to swim and fetch that stick!

 Can you see the stick still in the air?  I just love how she leaps as she's racing thru the water.....until it gets deep enough for her to swim. 

Here you can see the stick splash down, and Miki's well on her way to it.

Success!  We all should be able to find joy in such simple pursuits!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Digital Collages

Here are some new digital collage ATCs I created for a swap.  The theme of the swap was "Forgotten Places" and most of these have scenes from some ghost towns we've visited here in New Mexico.  Take a look......

This first image is of a door, specifically the doorknob, of a deserted building in the town of  Chloride.  Some of the layers include a watercolor background, a vintage postcard, and some brush-stokes in the shape of keys that I downloaded online.  Oh, and of course, the image of the doorknob.

This second piece is based on an image I shot in a cemetery in Cerillos. There are layers of watercolor, some background paper I made using the Citra-Solv technique, a music sheet, and the image itself.  The cemetery is still used, I believe, but this image was from a section of older graves.

This image is not of a ghost town, altho the background of the room looks like it might be.  Actually, that tattered room is another of the Citra-Solv backgrounds I've come up with.  I included some text in what looks to be a child's handwriting.  The image of the young woman is from a vintage photo I have, altho I don't know who she is.  She is one of my favorite subjects, tho.  The little girl in the center of the piece is actually a photo of my Mom, taken when she was quite the young child.  Remembering one's childhood can stir up all types of emotions, and I think you can project your own onto this piece.

The non-existent town of  Waldo is the subject of this piece.  The only thing left of this town are the foundations of some old coke ovens.  The town was built right along the tracks, and the coke ovens were just on the other side of the tracks.  We actually had to climb over a fence to get here.  I'm sure we weren't supposed to, but, there wasn't anyone there to see us!  And, I just love the vintage photo of the young lady with her bag and a determined look in her eye, waiting to board her train.  I added that vintage postcard again, and decided the piece was complete.

The town of Fulsome is shown above.  The old main street really had a great feel to it, in terms of making you feel the spirit of the town as it once was.  The background was another of my Citra-Solv background, and I had to add the image of the raven.  The text across the top of the piece was text that remained after the Citra-Solv technique.  I thought it added such a good touch, I decided to just leave it there.

This last piece is another one that is not of a ghost town.  The background is another Citra-Solv number.  I added in the handwriting from (I believe) a vintage postcard.  On the far left of the piece is a vintage image of the young soldier who I'm imagining wrote the letter to his love, the haunting woman shown in the lower left corner.  This woman is actually a photo I took of one of the statues at the Cemetery at Ricoleta in Buenos Aires, Argentina, when we visited there several years ago.  This statute is one of my favorite images from that cemetery.  As a little tidbit of info, that cemetery is where Eva Peron (Evita) is laid to rest.  No statute like this at her family's crypt, tho.
Enjoy ~