Monday, October 31, 2011

A Monday Perk

Wasn't the original idea for a 'weekend' one of relaxation and renewal?  These days it seems that we are busier than ever on the weekends.  Mondays are a good reality check.  I know I did not rest and renew on the weekend when I feel exhausted on Monday.  Duuuuh ...  Today is one of those Mondays!  Were you able to find moments of rest and relaxation on the weekend?  Hope so!  :)

The photo art that was showcased here last week was SO inspiring.  A big THANK YOU goes out to all of you who shared your work. 

Are you preparing a piece of original photo art to showcase here on Photo Art Friday this week?  We are all encouraged to try an effect, technique, style, editing tool that is out of our usual artistic norm, remember? 

I know what I want to try but have been procrastinating.  Will dive in and begin experimenting soon.  What about you?  Is your piece ready or still on your To Do list?  Well - get busy - I'll be looking for you here on Friday!  :)

(If are just learning about Photo Art Friday, you can read the general guidelines for participation by clicking HERE.)

Here is a little piece of photo art made over the weekend with a couple of newly-created textures:

Below, is one of the textures used in this piece and I would like to offer it to you for your texture library.  You should love the results you can achieve with this one.  Let me know what you think.

To download the 300 dpi version of pdpa Soft Echoes texture, click HERE.

Terms of Use for Free Downloads: You are free to use my textures to enhance your personal or commercial artwork. Please do not claim them as your own work, regift them or sell them as is. I also ask that you do not use these textures with the addition of slight adjustments to make your own textures. Copyright still applies after download. I am only agreeing to forgo copyright once they are incorporated into your own art or photo editing work.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Photo Art Friday, Oct. 28th - Oct.30th

It's time for our virtual gallery exposition.  Have you brought a piece of photo art to showcase here?  If you haven't, you still have time to go and create one and come back and link up your art.  Photo Art Friday is open to all from the Thursday night before (at 7:00 p.m. EST) to the Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. EST.

The pieces I have posted for this week's showcase are a composite of a texture (mine), a photograph given a painterly feel in PSE (mine), and a public domain image of a woman.  I can see much room for improvement - but these images will have to do, as is, for now.

Thank you to all who shared their creative works at Photo Art Friday last week.  "You just blow me away!"  Thank you too for all the good wishes re the health issues in my family.   They were much appreciated.

For next week's Photo Art Friday let's each try something we have never done before - something a little out of our individual comfort zone.  For example, if there is a technique you have been wanting to try, a Photoshop tool you have been wanting to master, a new form of photo art you have been wanting to experiment with, a specific tutorial you have been wanting to follow to produce something artistic, an effect you have been longing to create ... do it, and showcase a piece of photo art that is different from what you would normally produce! 

Don't worry about whether or not you have totally mastered the new effect you are trying.  Just link-up what you have done, give us a little information in your post about what you are trying to achieve, and your degree of satisfaction, your next anticipated step, challenges encountered, etc.  Then wait for the encouragement ..... and possibly feedback, suggestions, tips, possible resources, etc. to pour in.  Easy peasy!

If you are comfortable with this type of information exchange, we can become sources of learning for each other, as well as sources of encouragement.  Not all of us will need or want tips and suggestions, but for those of us still climbing a steep learning curve in the creation of photo art, this way of proceeding could prove invaluable.

So that folks who do not want suggestions or constructive criticism about their work do not receive unsolicited advice, I suggest that if you need feedback, tips, suggestions, etc., you ask for it in your post.  Thus, if someone does not ask for tips or suggestions, we proceed with our commenting as we always have done ..... and avoid giving unsolicited tips.  No one should feel any obligation to have to receive or to give feedback.  I welcome your comments about this suggestion.

Monday, October 24, 2011

... another free texture ...

The sun is shining here today.  Gold and orange leaves seem to magnify the blessing of light.  Everything is enveloped in a golden glow.  O how I savour these crisp, shimmering Autumn days.

Your submissions to Photo Art Friday last week were so inspiring.  I just wanted to drop everything and create more of my own after looking at your amazing work.  Thank you to each and every one of you who shared your work here.

This week's Photo Art Friday has no theme except the standing one - that you submit something that you consider artful.  When I have more time, I will cook up a challenge for you!  In the meantime, thought I would share some work done using some of the four free texture downloads shared with you last week.

I applied the textures to the following piece of photo art, made a while back from a macro photograph of Black Knight Delphinium blossoms leaning on bamboo supports:

The first texture I tried on it was Mauve Magic:

Here's the result:


Apply Mauve Magic to image
Blended in Vivid Light at 100% Opacity
Used a Layer Mask to remove most of  texture from flowers
Levels Adjustment to bring in more whites
Flattened and Duplicate layers
Filter>Artistic>Poster Edges
Reduced Opacity of poster edges to 33%.

Next Tangled Tendrils was added to the same image:

Here is the result processed in Color Burn at 48% opacity:

Still using the texture Tangled Tendrils, but processed in Luminosity at 40%:

And now for the addition of the free texture Fanciful:

And the result processed in Difference (90%), with the addition of Poster Edges (33%):

I am hoping that the above examples of the addition of "Art-Easy" textures will encourage you to try them yourselves.  You can download all four of them for free HERE.

NOTE:  Don't try to enlarge and save the textures as you see them in this post.  They are only 72 dpi for blogging purposes.  To get the 300 dpi textures, go HERE to download.  Don't you just hate it when someone offers you use of an image and you download or save it only to find that it is 72 dpi.  If you want to sell or display your edited images you need to work with high resolution resources.

If you have already downloaded those four from last week, here is a brand new texture for you to add to your personal library of textures. I hope you like it.

To download (for free) pdpa Soft Swirls texture, simply click HERE.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Photo Art Friday, Oct. 21st to Oct. 23rd

Welcome to Photo Art Friday!   Guidelines for participation can be read by clicking on the button under my header.  I'm looking forward to seeing where your creativity has led you this week.

The above image is a composite using a copyright-free photograph of a young woman off of the web, and a photograph of bright yellow flowers digitally married with textures and filters in PSE.

Due to some health issues in the family, I will not be able to leave comments re each image linked up this week.  I will certainly do my best, however, to view and delight in each one!  Things will hopefully return to normal for me soon.

Monday, October 17, 2011

... as per hannah's request ...

A regular contributer to Photo Art Friday, hannah of the blog, honi - soit, recently asked if I would post a larger version of my new PAF button (see sidebar).  So, dear hannah, this post is for you!

It began as a macro of geranium petals and stems.  I added one of my new Art-Easy textures - tried a few different blending modes and opacities and came up with an image I like so much, I decided to make a blog button of it.

Here are a few of the other effects achieved with the same photograph and texture:

If you would like to try out some of these Art-Easy textures on photographs you would like to use as a canvas to create some art, simply scroll down to the previous post, or click HERE Four new textures are available there for free download.  Have fun!

I am linking this post to Lisa's The Creative Exchange.  Just click on her button to join us there!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Simple Texture Tips and Freebies!

I'm simply 'over the moon' about the photo-art you have been sharing here every Friday!  Perhaps that is why I find myself in a creative frenzy lately - making so many wild and crazy textures that I want to share with you.

Thought I would express my appreciation for your participation in Photo Art Friday with the gift of a few of these freshly created textures to facilitate the making of your photo-art.  I'm SO excited to share these with you.

Please know that I am not setting a new norm by giving away 4 textures in one post.  I will be returning to the usual one or two texture offerings.  Yes, it's true.  :(   Just saying .... because I don't want to set you up to be disappointed when I only post one freebie at a time!

Know, too, that these are textures that will usually transform rather than subtly enhance.  They are really for creating art with your photos - but once you download them, you can, of course, incorporate them into your work in any way you want!  (I should mention that you can achieve paler effects with these textures if you blend them in Screen mode or Lighter Color mode.)  

Sometimes you just have to realize not every texture is going to be right for every photograph.  Part of the artistry is making the right 'match'.  Don't apply what you think is a beautiful texture to find it obliterates the aspects of light that could come through from the photograph.  Light is everything - do all that you can to preserve/create it in your photography and art.


  • Occasionally try rotating the texture.  Image>Rotate.  By rotating them you can produce very different looks with the same texture.

  • You can sometimes change the color tone of the texture.  Duplicate Layer>Adjustment panel>Photo Filter.  Experiment with the different shades of color using the slider with each photo filter selection to get the tone you want.  (Don't forget to make changes on a copy so that you always have your original texture download intact).

  • Use the little square bounding boxes, that appear around the edges of the texture when you use your Move Tool.  Pull with your mouse on those little boxes to adjust the texture on your photograph the way you want it. That way if you just want to use just a part of the texture, you can.

  • Sometimes you may want to lighten or darken the texture.  Duplicate Layer>Adjustment Layer Panel>Levels...  Use the black slider to adjust dark tones, grey slider to adjust middle tones, white slider to adjust light tones.  Again, work on a copy so that you keep your original texture intact. 

  • Play with the Opacity slider after most manipulations/edits.  Even if you initially like the look of the texture on your photo while it is at 100% Opacity.  Just slide it down a bit while watching your screen to see if you find something you like even better.

  • Try playing with your photograph first, (before applying the texture) in your photo editing program.   If you want a photo-art result that is more abstract, use some Filters (Liquify, Twirl, Splatter, Cutout, etc.) on your photograph to give it a different look before you apply your texture.  Don't forget that you can adjust the degree of the Filter effect by using the Opacity slider.

  • Remove texture from places in the image where you don't want it.  The best tool for this is a Layer Mask (using a soft, black brush).  If you work in older versions of PSE and do not have a Layer Mask option, you can download a free Layer Mask Action at Rita's The Coffeeshop Blog.  You can also use your Erasure Tool to remove areas of texture.

  • Don't forget that wonderful "Undo" option (in the upper right hand corner of my workspace in PSE 8).  If you make an adjustment to the texture/image that you don't like, simply click on Undo as many times as you need to get back to the pre-adjustment texture/image you prefer.

Okay, let's get to your free downloads!

To download pdpa Happy Day texture, click HERE.

To download pdpa Fanciful texture, click HERE.

To download pdpa Mauve Magic texture, click HERE.

To download pdpa Tangled Tendrils texture, click HERE.

Have oodles of fun with these!  Hope you will display some of the results right here at the next Photo Art Friday!

Terms of Use for Free Downloads: You are free to use my textures to enhance your personal or commercial artwork. Please do not claim them as your own work, regift them or sell them as is. I also ask that you do not use these textures with the addition of slight adjustments to make your own textures. Copyright still applies after download. I am only agreeing to forgo copyright once they are incorporated into your own art or photo editing work.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Photo Art Friday, Oct. 14th to Oct. 16th

Here we are again, about to take our weekly tour of the virtual photo-art gallery!  I'm so happy you have decided to join us, whether to showcase your art or to visit and soak up all the creativity on display. 

If you have just discovered this artistic showcase, you can read the guidelines for participation HERE.

Next week the sky's the limit.  Post whatever photo-art pleases you!

I have two different treatments of the same simple photograph of an orange Nasturtium flower to contribute this week.

This has one of my new Art-Easy textures applied, but you don't see it as I blended the two in Color Burn at 100% opacity and that blend mode 'burns' away most of the texture while adding great backlighting.  I couldn't resist the light or the drama! 

This version again has one of my Art-Easy textures applied and blended in Linear Light at 90% opacity.

Okay, dear friends, it's time to 'mount' your art on our virtual gallery walls.  Can't wait to stroll around and appreciate all the creative genius on display.  What sheer delight!!! 

Oh ... don't forget to pick up a bit of liquid refreshment in the virtual lobby.  You have your choice of sparkling water, white wine and some fine champagne.   Tea and coffee will be available later.   :) 

Since not everyone links up  their photo art right at the beginning of our virtual vernissage, do come back now and then to check out the later additions!

Tower of Song

La Fotografía Efectista Abstracta. Fotos Abstractas. Fotos abstractas.With this image, I am again participating in Leovi's (La Fotografia Efectista Abstracta/Abstract Photos) month-long tribute to the songs of Leonard Cohen.

(Don't forget to prepare your artwork for Photo Art Friday!  The gallery doors open tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST.  See you there!)

Tower of Song

Well my friends are gone and my hair is grey
I ache in the places where I used to play
And I'm crazy for love but I'm not coming on
I'm just paying my rent every day
Oh in the Tower of Song

I said to Hank Williams: how lonely does it get?
Hank Williams hasn't answered yet
But I hear him coughing all night long
A hundred floors above me
In the Tower of Song

I was born like this, I had no choice
I was born with the gift of a golden voice
And twenty-seven angels from the Great Beyond
They tied me to this table right here
In the Tower of Song

So you can stick your little pins in that voodoo doll
I'm very sorry, baby, doesn't look like me at all
I'm standing by the window where the light is strong
Ah they don't let a woman kill you
Not in the Tower of Song

Now you can say that I've grown bitter but of this you may be sure
The rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor
And there's a mighty judgement coming, but I may be wrong
You see, you hear these funny voices
In the Tower of Song

I see you standing on the other side
I don't know how the river got so wide
I loved you baby, way back when
And all the bridges are burning that we might have crossed
But I feel so close to everything that we lost
We'll never have to lose it again

Now I bid you farewell, I don't know when I'll be back
There moving us tomorrow to that tower down the track
But you'll be hearing from me baby, long after I'm gone
I'll be speaking to you sweetly
From a window in the Tower of Song

Yeah my friends are gone and my hair is grey
I ache in the places where I used to play
And I'm crazy for love but I'm not coming on
I'm just paying my rent every day
Oh in the Tower of Song

~Leonard Cohen

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Check Out This Giveaway

It seems to me that if one is interested in photography it follows that one is certainly a lover of nature.  If that describes you, you will be interested in a giveaway I am sponsoring at my other blog Original Art Studio

You do not have to jump through any major hoops to qualify for the giveaway - all you have to do is leave a comment on the post.  The one proviso made by the publisher, who will send you the book when you win, is that you have to live in Canada or the USA.  My apologies to those of you who live elsewhere.  I will soon be sponsoring more giveaways that will have no limitations on where the gift can be shipped.

The giveaway gift is a newly-released, hard cover copy of John O'Donohue's new book entitled,
Four Elements: Reflections on Nature

If you know O'Donohue's writings (Beauty: The Invisible Embrace;  Anam Cara, etc.) you will love this little collection of his writings on fire, water, air and earth.  If you don't know O'Donohue, here is an opportunity to get acquainted with a wise man (gone too soon) whose writings always inspire, motivate and comfort.

So come on over to Original Art Studio and leave a comment for your chance to win the book!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Came So Far For Beauty"

La Fotografía Efectista Abstracta. Fotos Abstractas. Fotos abstractas.Leovi from La Fotografia Efectista Abstracta/Abstract Photos has a wonderfully creative tribute to poet, philospher, singer Leonard Cohen at his blog for all 31 days of the month of October.
Since I have 'worshipped at the altar' of Leonard Cohen for many years, I just had to participate. 

Cohen, a native Montrealer, wanders freely throughout this city (when he is here) - especially in his favorites haunts of the city called Outremont and The Plateau

Once when my grandaughter was about five years old, she went out for an early breakfast with her father at a well known cafe in The Plateau, and ended up seated at a counter beside Leonard Cohen. 

Cohen, who can never resist a beautiful woman, no matter what her age, asked my grandaughter her name. 

"Indya", she replied. 

"Indya", said Cohen, "that's a very auspicious name.  Now you must work hard to live up to the name you have been given."  

Indya had no idea who this man was, nor what the word 'auspicious' meant.  Apparently she smiled shyly.  Cohen patted her on the head, smiled at her father and they all resumed eating their breakfasts.  Sweet.

Today I want to honor Cohen with an image dedicated to his song "Came So Far For Beauty".  I've always like Jennifer Warnes interpretation of this song. 

The photograph was pulled from my archives and is of the window of an art gallery displaying paintings that made me think of Cohen's piercing lyrics about the sacrifices we make for beauty.  I wonder how many of us have left our "masterpiece unsigned" because of a frantic, futile quest for beauty?

Came So Far For Beauty

I came so far for beauty
I left so much behind
My patience and my family
My masterpiece unsigned

I thought I'd be rewarded
For such a lonely choice
And surely she would answer
To such a very hopeless voice

I practiced all my sainthood
I gave to one and all
But the rumours of my virtue
They moved her not at all

I changed my style to silver
I changed my clothes to black
And where I would surrender
Now I would attack

I stormed the old casino
For the money and the flesh
And I myself decided
What was rotten and what was fresh

And men to do my bidding
And broken bones to teach
The value of my pardon
The shadow of my reach

But no, I could not touch her
With such a heavy hand
Her star beyond my order
Her nakedness unmanned

I came so far for beauty
I left so much behind
My patience and my family
My masterpiece unsigned

~ Leonard Cohen

Monday, October 10, 2011

Free Texture Thank You

It's our Thanksgiving long weekend here in Canada.  While most celebrate with their Thanksgiving meal today, we gathered our family together yesterday to enjoy a bountiful, harvest meal.  It was basically a vegetarian feast, but we did resort back to our pre-vegetarian tradition of apple pies and pumpkin pies and they were delicious!! 

My dear husband, who is trying to squeeze in his last few golf games before winter sets in, left early this morning for the links.  I will take today to recuperate from about three days of cleaning, shopping and cooking.  Phew!!!  And where better to recuperate than in front of the computer screen catching up with all of YOU?!!   :)

On this Thanksgiving Weekend, I am also giving thanks for each and every one of you who shared your photo art images last week with Photo Art Friday They were outstanding!  I know it takes a lot of time to create the image, post your blog, make the links, and visit the other participants ... so I am truly grateful that you are willing to use your time and energy to link up with Photo Art Friday.

This week there is an optional suggestion of using one of my textures in your photo art submission - however, if you had something else in mind - go for it!  The doors to the virtual gallery always open early - each Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. EST.  I'll have your glass of champagne ready!

In the meantime, how about a great, new texture to download?  I love this one.  Hope you do too.

To download pdpa French Boudoir Blue texture, simply smile ... and click HERE.

This texture is called French Boudoir Blue and produces a variety of lovely effects in different blend modes.  I post my images on the blog in 72 dpi, but the product you download is always 300 dpi which allows you to produce superior images - especially if you sell your artistic creations.

Here are a couple of examples of what I have produced using this texture:

The above image was sharpened, texture applied on top of photograph, and blended in Screen blend mode at 75%.  A layer mask was used to move all texture from the main flower and a levels adjustment was made to bring a bit more light into the image.  Added my signature and it was good to go!

On this photograph, after sharpening, the texture was dragged on to the photograph and blended in Hue.  Opacity was left at 100%.  A layer mask was used to remove texture from the white blossom. I flattened the layers and then from that one layer made a duplicate layer.  Then went to Filter>Artistic>Poster Edges was used to highlight the lines in the texture.  I did not want those lines on the blossom and so removed them with a layer mask.  The last step was adding the signature.

Enjoy the texture and please read the Terms of Use.

Terms of Use for Free Downloads: You are free to use my textures to enhance your personal or commercial artwork. Please do not claim them as your own work, regift them or sell them as is. I also ask that you do not use these textures with the addition of slight adjustments to make your own textures. Copyright still applies after download. I am only agreeing to forgo copyright once they are incorporated into your own art or photo editing work.

I will be linking this post to Lisa Gordon's wonderful Creative Exchange.  You can join us by clicking on her button below:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Photo Art Friday, Oct. 7th to Oct. 9th


This is the first piece I edited with my new vivid textures (think I used one very similar to Abstract Elements "Splotches").  I did it a couple of weeks ago and don't recall each step now, but I believe I would have generally been using the steps given in this tutorial.  The original photo is a red gerbera.

Let's try an optional, broad 'suggestion' for the photo art next week

If it suits your creative mood, use one of my textures to create the photo 'art' you present here next week.  (I appreciate that many of you have already been making a point of doing so.  It has not gone unnoticed.  Merci!)  So for next week's Photo Art Friday, use one of my textures ... if you can ...

But if you have a piece in mind that does not use textures, or uses textures acquired from one of  the many other great sources out there, that is just fine too

We are serving our virtual sparkling water or virtual champagne again this week.  Do have a glass while you stroll through the virtual gallery.  I've already had a couple while waiting for you!  Bet you can guess which I chose ... (hiccup...hiccough) ...   ;)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mid-week Texture Freebie

I've been having WAY too much fun creating and testing these new "Abstract Elements" textures.  "Fun" is even more delightful when shared - so here's one of these vivid textures just for you.  Hope you have a great time producing some 'artsy' images with it.

Download Abstract Elements "Drops of Jupiter" Texture HERE.

One photo with which I tested your texture.

Here you see what the marriage of the above photo and the texture "Drops of Jupiter" does in six different blending modes, all at 100% opacity.  Of course, you can go on from there editing to your heart's content.   Part of the art joy is that you just never quite know what little miracle the alchemy of photo, texture, your artistic eye and photo-editing skills will bring.  I love happy surprises!

Looking forward to seeing the 'art' you submit this week for Photo Art Friday.  Remember the doors to our little virtual vernissage always open the night before (Thursday, 7:00 p.m. EST) for those of you chafing at the bit.  If you are new to Photo Art Friday, you can read the guidelines for participation HERE.

If you didn't yet pick up your $20 discount code for Marie Otero's upcoming Photo Magic Class, simply scroll down to my previous post.

See you Friday, if not before!   :)

A Discount Coupon for You!

If you are looking to improve your skill level with Photoshop CS or Photoshop Elements (aren't we all?) I recommend that you enroll in the upcoming Photo Magic Class with Marie Otero.

Marie Otero, aka The Lost Aussie on the loose will be running the next session of the Photo Magic Class starting on October 29th, 2011.  Marie is the best teacher of anything "Photoshop" and I have taken several online classes from a variety of sources in the past couple of years.  Her class is "aimed at intermediate-beginners to advanced users of Photoshop Elements or Photoshop Creative Suite and runs for 4 weeks."

Having learned most of what I know about PSE from several of Marie's classes, I can attest that, as with all her classes, Photo Magic " jam packed with creative techniques including basic photo editing skills,  portrait retouching for people and pets, adding texture, blur and bokeh to create really eye catching images, learn how to use displacement maps and tips for creating web images including custom bog banners, avatars and much much more."

For further information about the class you can check out the full class description HERE.  You can register for Marie's class HERE.

To participate in Marie's class, you need  "A basic working knowledge of your program... - ie. you need to be able to locate and open your files.  Know how to move and resize them and be comfortable with downloading and opening zip files from the internet."

 Marie has generously made A  DISCOUNT COUPON CODE worth $20 available to all Pixel Dust Photo Art Followers.  At her Shopping Cart Check out, type PMOct2011 in the coupon box to receive your discount before payment.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Did You Pick Up These Freebies?

WOW!  Did you see all the fabulous submissions to last week's Photo Art Friday?  You people are one talented group of artists.  Amazing work.  THANK YOU so much for making the effort to join in our little 'vernissage'.

There is no particular theme for Photo Art Friday again this week.  To review the guidelines for participation you can click HERE.

If you did not discover the two free textures tucked in at the end of my tutorial, on one way to create abstract photo art, I am republishing them here for you.  "Splotches" is a bit strong for simply enhancing your photographs.  BUT if you are into using your photos and textures to create a piece of photo art, this new series of abstract elements textures is for you.  You can find some of the new textures, designed for artwork, in both of my shoppes.

We are 'enjoying' our fourth consecutive day of wind, rain and cool temps today.  Think I will re-arrange some kitchen cupboards and pull out some of my cool weather clothes.  Hope you find (or make!) a little bit of sunshine wherever you are!  Have a great week.

To download pdpa Abstract Elements Splotches texture, click HERE.

To download pdpa Scratches texture, click HERE.

Terms of Use for Free Downloads: You are free to use my textures to enhance your personal or commercial artwork. Please do not claim them as your own work, regift them or sell them as is. I also ask that you do not use these textures with the addition of slight adjustments to make your own textures. Copyright still applies after download. I am only agreeing to forgo copyright once they are incorporated into your own art or photo editing work.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Abstract Elements Textures and A Tutorial

I've been creating some fabulously intense textures that may not be something you would want to use to enhance your special photographs, BUT that are ideal for creating abstract art using one of your photographs as the canvas for your work.  Let me show you how I go about it, and a couple of the new textures used. 

This is the first time sharing this process and any of these new Abstract Elements Textures. (I first considered calling these textures Abstract Art Cheats because that's what they are!  They make creating abstract art so easy - but decided it did not sound too attractive.)    :)  

Feedback is always welcome and that includes constructive criticism.  Let's get started:

Open the photo you have decided to use as the basis for your abstract art into your photo editing workspace.  You don't want a photo with too much blank space.  I am working in Photoshop Elements 8.

The image is sharpened using Pioneer Woman's action Define Sharp.

A Levels Adjustment is made to add a bit of light.  You may not need to do this on your photo.

I now want to use the Filter tool on the image, but to do so must first Flatten the image, and then Duplicate the image - don't know why this is so, but it is.  I am not a professional designer/editor, so there may very well be other more efficient ways to do this.  I can only demonstrate the way I reach my goals in PSE.

Filter>Artistic>Cutout.  The Cutout filter is great for giving an abstract look to any photo and I rarely see it used.  Now you have one of my sweet, secret editing tricks.
A closer view of the Filter>Artistic>Cutout selection.

Now you have made an abstract image from your photograph.  With the Cutout tool you lose a lot of detail and will most probably want to reduce the opacity some.  So many artistic decisions that have to be made according to what pleases YOU, but that's part of the fun, right?

Opacity is reduced by at least half (48%) on the Cutout edit.  Now I want to give the image the Poster Edge effect.  To get the best result, the layers must again be flattened and duplicated.

With the image flattened and duplicated I go to Filter>Artistic>Poster Edge.
A closer view of the Filter>Artistic>Poster Edge selection.

Finding Poster Edge adds too many black dots at 100%, opacity is reduced down to 50%.

Now I begin to add one of my new Abstract Elements Textures, designed to produce (surprise, surprise) an abstract effect.  At this point, I never have a precise idea of what the marriage of the edited image and this "Abstract Splotches" texture will do.  Time to experiment and see what PSE produces! 

I will try the texture in many of the Blend Modes.  Here is the result with Hard Light.  I am just looking to get a sense of what each blend mode does and not bothering reducing the opacity yet.  I will reduce the opacity of the blend modes I consider using.

Linear Light always packs more punch, while adding light.

Darker Color can sometimes produce interesting effects.  I do not like this one, however.  Remember, what I gravitate to may not be YOUR preference.  There is no right or wrong - with abstract art there is just what YOU like, prefer or want.  Play with the tools.  Don't try to follow my recipe exactly.  Just try to understand the principles and give your inner artist free rein!  Your photo will be different and have different reactions with the texture and blend modalities.

Difference is dark, but I like the nuances of color in the blue flower.

Hue is always fun to try - sometimes producing pale but interesting effects.  I really like this blend, but had something darker in mind.

Luminosity creates shifts in color.  Reducing the opacity (brings back more of the underlying image) to see if that pleases me.

Luminosity with opacity reduced to 74%.  You will certainly reduce the opacity until your image feels right to your eye.  Thought this might be the one, but am not thrilled now the opacity is reduced.

Let's try Color Burn which gives intense light effects that I usually like.  Here it is too dark.

Back to Difference.  Think I will continue to work on the piece with this Difference Effect.  First, I reduce the opacity to 85%.  (BTW, much below 85%  and you lose the "Difference" effect.)

The image is now a bit too dark for my taste and it gets a Levels Adjustment - using the grey middle slider (moving it to 1.22) to bring in some light.
I tried using the white slider (under the Histogram) to add light but got better results using the grey middle tones slider.

This image is still not feeling textured or abstract enough.  Time for another texture.

I drag the Abstract Elements Texture "Abstract Scratches" onto the image in my workspace.

Soft Light and I like the effect, but ...

Overlay brings in a bit more light with the texture.  This is it - Overlay at 100% opacity.

The addition of Poster Edges could now add a nice finishing touch.  Before using the Filter tool I have to again flatten and duplicate the image.

Under the heading "Layer" you can both flatten and then duplicate layers.
Click on Layer, scroll down to flatten and click.
Click on Layer again, choose duplicate layer and click.

Flattened and duplicated I now go to Filter>Artistic>Poster Edge.

Poster Edges at 100% opacity overpowers the image, so I reduce the opacity to 35% and feel quite happy with the result.  Done.  For now ... :)

My signature is added and image is saved as a PSD in case I want to go back and make any further edits.  It is also saved in Save To Web to get a 72 dpi JPG to post to my blog.

The finished piece of abstract art made from one of my photos, 2 textures, and edits made in PSE!

Now, if you have been patient enough to read through the whole tutorial, you get a little reward!  Yes, here are the two textures from my new (and growing) collection of Abstract Elements Textures, used in the tutorial, for you to download for free to try creating some of your own abstract artwork.  Enjoy!

To download pdpa Abstract Splotches texture, click HERE.

To download pdpa Abstract Scratches texture, click HERE.

Abstract Elements Textures are now featured in both my Texture Shoppes.  You can take a peek at them HERE.

Terms of Use for Free Downloads: You are free to use my textures to enhance your personal or commercial artwork. Please do not claim them as your own work, regift them or sell them as is. I also ask that you do not use these textures with the addition of slight adjustments to make your own textures. Copyright still applies after download. I am only agreeing to forgo copyright once they are incorporated into your own art or photo editing work.