Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Grab A Decorative Button For Your Sidebar!

Here are some new blog buttons just for you.  Buttons you can use to decorate the sidebar of your blog.  Most are related to textures and photo-art (what else?) and I hope you can find one that expresses something you would like to say on your blog.  If so, click on Decorative Buttons (see tabs under my header) where you can find the buttons currently available, their code to copy/paste, and instructions on how to do so for those of you that are not sure.  More buttons will make their debut soon. 

So take a look and let me know which button you like the most!  Did I remember to say they are free?  Enjoy!

ready for a little more gratitude?

Texture Tuesday asks that the theme of gratitude be used for this week's challenge.  Since one can never tire of gratitude, and I recently created a texture called Gratitude 2, I have no excuse for not participating!

Used my texture Gratitude 2 as a background and frame for an image of wild flowers already treated in RadLab.  Then K.K.'s texture Yesteryear was added to seamlessly pull the whole image together.  Yesteryear was blended in Soft Light at 23% opacity.

You can download my texture Gratitude 2 HERE.  Check out my Free For You page and the previous post to add even more textures to your collection.

Monday, November 28, 2011

This Week's Free Texture

A warm, double kiss embrace going out to all who participated in last week's Photo Art Friday!  I'm so grateful for your participation - and so many inspiring images!!  Thank you ALL.

Last year at this time I had two broken bones in my arm near my wrist.  The photograph below was taken one-handed out of a moving car, during that time.  Due to that it's not a great photo, BUT with the addition of a texture to give it a vintage feel it becomes a viable little piece of photo art!

 This version has the texture Faded Fresco added and processed in Luminosity blend mode at 75% opacity.

 This version employs the same texture in Screen blend mode at 85% opacity.

This is the pdpa Faded Fresco texture used above and you can add it to your collection of textures by clicking HERE.  Enjoy! 

(Remember, if you try to simply click on the image in the post and 'save as' you are getting a 72 dpi image.  When you download it by clicking 'HERE' you get a 300 dpi image which is what you want for superior quality images.)

Sharing with lovely Lisa's The Creative Exchange.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Photo Art Friday, Nov. 25th - 27th

Hi there everyone.  Hope you have had a good week, and if you live in the U.S. that you are having a safe and very happy Thanksgiving.

Welcome to this edition of Photo Art Friday!   (I am publishing this post a little earlier than usual, however you will still have to wait until 7:00 p.m. EST this evening to link up your images.

This week the suggestion is to link up a piece of photo art sitting in your archives that never received the 'attention' it deserved.  I think we all have some of those hanging around!  I often find myself scrolling through old edits and finding one I had been excited about at the time it was created, but never got around to posting.  The one I pulled out to use for this week is the second image displayed in this post.

After pulling it out of my archives, I couldn't resist playing with it a bit more.  So immediately below is the old image now doctored-up a bit for Thanksgiving.

Yesterday I gave the already edited image a faded, rather chiseled look.  I used a brush to add gentle rays of light and used the Text tool to add in the word 'Grateful'.  I finished it off by adding some texture (Filter>Texture>Texturizer).

This is the image that had been sitting unused and definitely under-appreciated in my files.  It's a composite image where a macro flower photograph was used as the background, an angel was added with a brush (brushes often act as stamps, for those of you not familiar with Photoshop), and one of my favorite, never-fail textures (#3) from my Vintage Manuscript Sets finished off the piece.

An alternate version also withering away in my archives that had the addition of the Filter, Stained Glass.

And another version done yesterday, that was gently blurred (Gaussian Blur).

For the next edition of Photo Art Friday let's go back to challenging ourselves to try some edits we have been wanting to try, but have felt were too hard or that we just haven't had the time for.  The photo art could be produced from following a tutorial or simply the result of some creative play with new photo art tools and techniques.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

... free texture alert ...

Autumn Oak leaves SOOC

Same photo treated with RadLab Prettyizer and KK's Phoebe in Soft Light 35% Opacity.

Sharing with Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.

I hinted yesterday that there was another free texture on the way.  It's called Smokin'!

To download this free pdpa Smokin' texture, click HERE.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Every Monday Needs A Little Surprise

Hi there dear friends - hope you all had a great weekend and are happily bravely greeting another Monday!  :) 

I did a little experimenting with the new free texture called Gratitude 2.  If you didn't pick it up yet, you can do so by going here.

Here, Gratitude 2 is applied to a photograph of branches of red berries against a blue sky.  This application was blended in Difference at 95% opacity.

 Look at the surprise I had when I tried the Blend Mode Hue (100%) opacity.  The background seemed to divided itself into arcs of color without my needing to do a thing!  Love the effect!  The word 'gratitude' also disappeared with the use of this blend mode, without my erasing it.

 Here's basically the same effect using Saturation Blend Mode at 100% opacity.  I love sweet surprises on a Monay morning.  I hope some of you will let me know if you get similar effects with this texture in those two blending modalities.

Keep your eye out for another free texture coming soon.   And don't forget ... this week's Photo Art Friday is an easy one.  Simply link up a piece of photo art from your archives that has never had the attention it deserves.  Easy peasy!  :)  See you soon.

Sharing with Lisa Gordon's The Creative Exchange.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

an expression of ...

For your free expression of Gratitude 2 fine art texture, click HERE.

Just want to say how grateful I am to be able to host such an inspiring showcase of your photo art each week.  It was a delight to see each and every one of the link-ups for the last edition! 

May our American friends have a grace-filled Thanksgiving celebration this week.  May we all live in gratitude each and every day of the year.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Photo Art Friday, Nov.18th - 20th

Hey there!!!  So glad you came to visit.  Welcome to Photo Art Friday!!!  This week the suggestion is to post and link a piece of photo art that illustrates one of your favorite, "go-to" edits. 

After the 'easy' challenge of this week, I intended to suggest that we go back to producing a piece of photo art that uses a technique, tool, style or form we have been wanting to try, but felt a little intimidated by.  However, next week's Photo Art Friday falls around the American Thanksgiving holiday and I imagine a lot of you will be quite busy.  So ... next week's 'challenge' will be to post a piece of photo art from your archives that never got the spotlight and attention it deserved.  How's that for keeping it nice and easy? 

After the Thanksgiving weekend, let's return to challenging ourselves to learn and share something new.  Why not use these weekly link-ups to nudge ourselves into new digital editing territory?  We can just do same old, same old - but why not use these artistic get-togethers to try out new things and ask for feedback or tips on how to kick it up a notch?  If each of us shares our editing process, we will also learn a lot as we visit our fellow photo-artists' blogs.  That way, we would not only be participating in a weekly artistic showcase, but we would be creating some great learning opportunities as well!  What do you think?

Not to worry, as we move into the holiday rush of December, we'll go back to just keeping the weekly link-ups nice and easy.

For my piece of photo-art for this week (using my 'go-to' editing preferences), I will illustrate the progression from straight out of the camera to final product:

SOOC photograph of a shed and fence - taken in the late afternoon this past Tuesday.

In PSE 8 - duplicated the image and processed it in Color Burn blend mode at 70% opacity.  I actually quite like this, as is.

One of my usual 'go-to' edits is, (what else?) the addition of a texture.  Here, I used pdpa Gentle Fog texture processed in Hard Light at 85% opacity.  Still needs a little something to pull it all together though ...  Time to use one of my 'go-to' favorite PSE features.

One of my very favorite PSE 8 features is the Filter, "Poster Edges".   I love how it can sometimes pull all the layers of an edit together.  It does not always work, but I like to give it a try.  If I don't like it, I simply "undo" it.   To apply Poster Edges you must first flatten the layers of the image - and then duplicate the now flattened layer.  Select Filter>Poster Edges.  While I usually bring the opacity of Poster Edges down below 33%, in this case I liked the look at 70% opacity.  That's it, that's all.  Now it looks a little more artsy, don't you think?  (You need to click on the image to appreciate the full impact of the Poster Edges.) 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

... update ...

What are you up to this week my friends?  I've been busy - what else - making textures.  Yes, it is a serious addiction!  :)    The other day I acquired a plugin for PSE from RadLab, but I am now thinking I should have invested in texture ReHab!!! 

Did you pick up the free gift set of seasonal textures in my last post?  They are there, patiently waiting for you to download them.

Did you get the note in that post about the 'challenge' for this weeks Photo Art Friday?  The suggestion for this week is to showcase an image where you use your favorite, 'go-to' technique for turning a photo into a piece of photo-art, and that you share your process and the technique/tool/manipulation.  That doesn't seem like to big of a intrusion into your busy schedule ... does it?  Hope not.

Below is a collage of the new textures that are now (as of last night) available in my Texture Singles Shoppe.  They do not come in a set, but as individual textures so you can choose only the ones that suit your particular needs.  They are all high resolution, have all been tested, and would all be stellar additions to your texture library.  Do go and browse to see if there is a texture or two that calls to you.

New single textures making their debut in the Texture Singles Shoppe.

Hoping to see you on Friday, if not before!  Until then, be well.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Pre-Holiday Gift for You

Yes - I'm a little early for holiday gift-giving, but this gift is something you may be able to use several weeks before 'the season to be jolly' arrives.  I've prepared a set of four seasonal textures that you can use for your holiday-related digital projects.  Hope you like them. 

(Unlike, my usual terms of use, I want to allow you to use each texture as is for your personal use.  That means you do not have to incorporate these into your own work, if you prefer to use them as is - personalizing them with text etc. in order to use them on your blog or for personal seasonal gift projects.  Usual terms of use apply if you want to employ them for commercial (sales) purposes.  Usual terms of use come in the zipped set.)

For your free download of this zipped digital Holiday Gift Texture Set, simply click HERE.

May all your holiday preparations be joyful and productive!

Thank you ALL for your amazing contributions to Photo Art Friday this week.  You just outdo yourselves each and every week.  I know it is a lot of work to prepare, post and link-up your artwork to showcase here, and I want you to know how much I appreciate the thought and preparation that goes on behind the scenes to link-up your digitally-edited image. 

NEXT WEEK FOR PHOTO ART FRIDAY - let's share a piece of photo art that has been made using one of our favorite, "go-to" editing/processing techniques

That would mean that we each should also give a brief overview of our edits to the image, highlighting the one that is our "go-to" favorite.  That shouldn't make too much extra work for anyone.

So bye for now, I have to get on my horse and go find more virtual champagne to replenish my dwindling stock.  You digital artists seem to really enjoy the stuff - I can't keep enough full glasses on the gallery table!  And really...truly..., it's not me that makes it all disappear!!!  ;)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Photo Art Friday, Nov. 11th - Nov. 13th

Hey there fellow photo-artists - it's time to showcase your work here in our little virtual art gallery!

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

Did you have time to experiment with some new styles, forms, tools, compositions this week?  Don't you love the gratification that comes with the mastery of a new skill?  I don't even have to totally master a skill to feel gratified.  Just getting familiar with a new photoshop tool or trying a new form of photo art gives me a shot of  'let's keep going' encouragement.

The piece I am sharing today is a tiny experiment with something I have never tried on a piece of photo art before.  I am light years away from 'mastery' or 'competence', but I am pleased with my first try and, therefore, encouraged to keep working on the skill.

This is the photograph (already having had some manipulation in PSE) that I used as a canvas for experimenting with something new - for me.

The black marks on the flower in the original piece of photo art reminded me of buildings.  So my idea was to experiment with my Wacom Bamboo pen and tablet (which has sat quite unused on my desk - for months) to turn the black marks into a bit of a cityscape within the flower. 

I have to admit I need a lot more practice drawing with the pen and tablet on my digital images - I actually seemed to have more 'dexterity' using my mouse to draw.  The Wacom Bamboo pen was great for the finer details, however.  I have promised myself to make a point of using the tablet and pen each week to develop more ease using it.  (You can also use your fingers on the tablet to move your cursor, instead of using your mouse.)

A couple of new textures (as yet unreleased) were then added to produce different backgrounds.

This version is my favorite.  To my eye, the grey background works best with the yellow flower.

After a recent report (by a kind follower) of some difficulty downloading one of my free textures, I would like to ask a favor of all of you who download the freebies offered here: 

If you encounter any problems with a download, could you let me know about it in an e-mail so that I can work out and eliminate any glitches in the process?  Thanks so much!  Quick feedback like that will not only help me, but all who like to collect new textures for their texture libraries.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


It's unseasonally warm up here in the NorthEast - a real Indian Summer!  I'm planning on spending as much time as I can outdoors today.  But first ... have to share another texture with you and show you some of the amazing things it can do for your photos.  This texture is called "Wicked" ... because it is wicked good!  Wicked is, as you will see, related to Feelings, but packs a little more punch.

To download pdpa Wicked (in 300 dpi), assume a devilish grin - and click HERE.  ;)

I applied Wicked to this photo of a convent in Montreal.

Also applied Wicked to this photo of a bldg. taken while my DH was driving.

 Look at what a little Wicked-ness can do!  Crazy, surreal and fun!  When I saw that Wicked turned yellow leaves purple/periwinkle blue, in HUE blending mode (100% Opacity), I pulled out some other photographs with yellow leaves.

Again Wicked was appled to the photo and the two were blended in HUE at 100%.  I did use a layer mask, as the building was turned to grey by the texture and I wanted to remove the grey to restore the building's natural brown color.

The version above was then 'treated' to the addition of some RadLab 'stylets', namely: Divine Light, Flare Up and Edge Blur (all toned down in intensity with sliders), to produce the above softer effect.

This version (with texture) was also manipulated with RadLab to produce a soft, dreamy, Spring-like effect.

 This path full of golden and yellow leaves also received the addition of my Wicked texture, blended in Hue at 100% opacity.  It is not a completed project and is filed away with images that merit more consideration and attention.  As you can see, I love images that are not only beautiful - but that step outside of the norm, that provoke the viewer's mind to try and figure out what they are seeing.

Finally, added Wicked to this photo and liked the effect in Color Burn at 70% (see below).

 Yes, this one is very dark, but I love the play of light and texture on the leaves, and will find some way to use its dark beauty in the future.

The inlinkz tool will go up tomorrow evening for our next Photo Art Friday showcase.  Have you been working on a piece of photo art that is a little out of your norm?  While that's what we were challenged to do for this week - we also left room on our virtual gallery walls for any photo art you may wish to share.  I'll be looking for YOU!   :)

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 create derivative 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.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Abstract Art Using Textures

Here are a couple of pieces of abstract photo art made from a recent photograph and a recently made texture entitled, "Abstract Aria":

Blended in Overlay at 100% Opacity

Blended in Screen at 75% Opacity.

Photograph used for abstract photo art.

Texture "Abstract Aria" (posted here in low resolution 72 dpi, and with watermark) combined with above photograph to produce two pieces of photo art posted above.   This texture is one of the four in my new pdpa Art-Easy Potpourri Texture Set.

Don't forget to pick up the latest free texture in my last post!

This post is being shared with Lisa Gordon's "The Creative Exchange".  Join us there by clicking on her button:


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Download This Free Fine Art Texture

I'm loving the art posted for Photo Art Friday this week.  You have really outdone yourselves!  Thank you to all who have linked up and to all who have visited some of the links!  There is still time to link up if you have a piece of photo-art you would like to share.  The inlinkz tool will be active until 7:00 p.m. EST Sunday night.  Or, if you would just like to be inspired by some wonderful photo art, click HERE.

Just made and tested this texture and couldn't wait to get it to you!  It's so good, I should save it to put in one of my shoppes ... but I'm going to follow my initial impulse to post it for a free download.

Please give me some feedback on this one - once you have a chance to try it.  It gave me fantastic results in almost every blending mode when tested.  Have fun! 

To download pdpa Feelings texture, simply smile and click HERE!

Remember if you simply click on the image to enlarge it and then click "save as", you will get a 72 dpi texture because that is the size image I load on my blog.  To get the 300 dpi texture, you must go through the downloading procedure.  The 72 dpi is what you want for images to load quickly on your blog, but it is not what you want if you plan to sell or display your photographs or photo art.  For a high quality result you want the 300 dpi - a high resolution image.

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 create derivative 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, November 3, 2011

Photo Art Friday, Nov. 4th to 6th

Welcome all you photo art enthusiasts!  I'm really excited to see what you are bringing to our virtual gallery this week. 

Our challenge for this week was to make a piece of art that moves beyond our usual modus operandi - showcasing the use of a new editing tool, effect, artistic style/form, etc.  Since we are trying something new - we have to be willing to share pieces that may not be quite up to our usual standards.  Well ... maybe I should just speak for myself!!!

This piece is my attempt to produce a collage of previous works using multiple layers and layer masks.  While it may look like other composites/collages previously posted, it is the result of using an entirely different method in PSE 8.  It took four attempts before I produced something I really liked.  If you would like to read about the steps taken to produce this piece, I have written about them HERE.

For next week, those of you who would like to continue experimenting with new styles or effects are heartily invited to do so.  For those of you short on time, motivation or inspiration -  we are ever and always delighted to see your amazing photo-art in whatever form it takes.  That makes showcasing artwork feasible for each and every one of us - no matter what our current circumstances.  :)

Multi-layered Digital Collage (with recipe)

The challenge for Photo Art Friday this week is to do something we've been wanting to do to expand our artistic photo-art repertoire.  I've been wanting to attempt this form of digital collage that involves many layers and layer masks.

What I am showcasing for Photo Art Friday is a third attempt at making such a multi-layered composite.  I was not that thrilled with the first two attempts - one of which (the better one) you see immediately below - with a screen shot of the layers panel.  :) 

My third attempt and Photo Art Friday Submission

You may recognize some of the images in the above digital collage.  They are a few of the photo-art images created and displayed on my blogs during the past year. 
I will try to reconstruct my process for you:

1.   gathered images I wanted to showcase in this composite, into a file

2.  opened a few of the images from that file  that would make an interesting marriage, in PSE

3.  randomly placed images on a texture (2700px X 2700px) used as the background of the piece

4.   resized the images and placed them so that all the images covered the texture background and so that they overlapped each other ... placed more images on top of those

5.  each image was placed on a separate layer, as you can see in the screen shot below - this allows you to add a layer mask for each image used

6.  applied a photo mask to almost every layer with goal of exposing some of the images hidden in other layers beneath

7.  using a soft, black brush (opacity at 33%) gently removed parts of the various images (you can see the areas where I removed parts of images on the white layer masks in the layers panel)

8.  if I liked what emerged, I left it - if not, switched the brush to white to put back what had been removed

9.  it took time and patience moving among all the layers to find the balance between revealing and masking parts of the images, to produce a balanced whole.  (Looking at it now I see edges of images that I left exposed.  I will go back to the PSD version and make some changes to eliminate those straight edges).

10.  once satisfied with the composition, a texture was applied on top of the completed collage to help blend the various parts together.   The texture and collage were blended with Soft Light at 60% Opacity. You can see the pale blue 'art-easy' texture used - second from the top layer in the layers palette.  (The texture was pulled up to the top of the stack of layers after taking this screen shot.)

As you can see this is a rather imprecise, intuitive, hit-and-miss process.  I intuitively placed my images at different locations on my base texture - overlapping here and there.  I had only the most general idea of what I hoped to produce.  Some of the 'unmasking' worked - like the happy accident of exposing the green lips - while some manipulations did not produce a pleasing effect.  But there lies the joy of using layer masks, as you can put back some of what you removed until you get the effect you want. 

If you do not have access to a layer mask tool, you can use your erasure tool and your 'undo' button (when you don't like the effect), but that becomes a bit of an either/or process not allowing you to work with the variations and nuances as a layer mask allows.

If you have any questions about my process, I will do my best to answer them.  However, as you see, I am still finding my way.  If you have any ideas about how to achieve this effect, please share them here!  Am hoping to produce more of these abstract, multi-layered collages in the future.