Monday, April 30, 2012

... light ...

For the rest of my life I want to reflect on what light is.

~Albert Einstein

The eternal light, bound by love into one volume:  all that is scattered in leaves throughout the universe, fused as a simple light:  I saw this and in telling it I feel my joy expand.

~Dante:  Paradiso

...greet the day with joy...

If the day and the night are such
that you greet them with joy,
and life emits a fragrance like flowers
and sweet scented herbs,
that is your success.

~Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Photo Art Friday, April 27th - 29th

Hey there fellow photo-art aficionados! 

Welcome to this week's edition of Photo Art Friday! 

Hope you are well and enjoying life wherever in the world you find yourself.  We have participants now from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, France, Poland, New Zealand, Japan, U.S.A. ... and more ... linking up to PAF.  If I have not included your country in my off-the-top-of-my-head list, please make sure we hear about it in a comment!

If you are new to Photo Art Friday, you can read the guidelines for participation here.

This week we can, as usual, post any image we feel qualifies as photo art OR post an image that, as part of the editing to make it into a piece of art, uses one of my textures.

I am using one of my textures as a background to feature a quote by Steve Jobs that speaks to the 'creative' in me.  I'm hoping it speaks to you too. 

A second version using a different textured background and format.

Have you considered using a texture as a background for your art instead of only applying them and blending them into (on top of) a photo?  Let me offer you the first background as a free download and you can try it out.  As you can see, while not impossible to use as a texture, it could also serve nicely as the canvas upon which you create a collage, piece of abstract art or a composite scene.

To download your high res copy of pdpa Blank Page background, click HERE.

(Please read my Terms of Use and, where possible, give accreditation.  Thanks.)

For next week's Photo Art Friday you can link up any piece of photo ART you choose;


you can link up a piece of photo ART that in a creative, inventive, imaginative way features, or somehow alludes to, the title of one of your all- time favorite books

Let me give you an example:  One of my favorite books is "The Hours" by Michael Cunningham.  (Perhaps you saw the movie, The Hours with Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore?) 

Following the above prompt I could create a piece of photo art featuring an hourglass or an old timepiece and that would reference the passage of time and therefore the book, "The Hours".  I'm sure you can think of many other ways to illustrate or reference "The Hours". 

Your work can, but does not have to literally feature the title of your favorite book - it could just 'speak' to it or allude to it.  The title does not have to appear in the image.  Hopefully you will share the connection between your photo-art and your favorite book in your post.  :)

What I like about these prompts/challenges is that there is no right or wrong way to do them.  It is all about your individual artistic understanding and unique interpretation.  As the artist, you take the prompt and go wherever your artistic impulses lure you. The individual interpretation is part of the joy of both the creation of art and the viewing of art - don't you think?

All that to say - don't be intimidated by the promptUse it to ignite your creative fires and share your unique take on it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Painterly Texture For You

Hi there!  Hope you are having a good week.  It's been unseasonably cold here in the Northeast - and we have even had some snow!  Mind you it melts soon after it falls, but it is still strange to see snow at this time of year.

I've prepared a new texture for you.  It can give a real painterly feel to a photograph.  I'm also posting a couple of examples of images on which I have applied this texture with the editing steps used to produce the effect.  Remember you will probably have to make slightly different editing choices based on the photograph you use.


*  apply texture to photo in editing program
*  blend in Linear Light at 90% Opacity
*  apply Layer Mask
* using soft brush at 45% opacity (working on Layer Mask) remove some texture from water

*   apply texture to photo in editing program
*  blend two together using Hard Light at 100% Opacity
*  apply Layer Mask
*  using soft brush at 25% opacity remove some texture from flowers
Layer>Merge Visible
Filter>Artistic>Watercolor - reduce opacity to 85%
Levels Adjustment to increase white values
Layer>Merge Visible
Filter>Artistic>Poster Edges - reduce opacity to 40%
*  Apply signature or watermark - reducing opacity so it does not dominate

To download your free, high resolution copy of pdpa Painterly texture, click HERE.

Please read my Terms of Use.

(A nice and easy way to say "thank you" for free textures is to become a Follower if you are not already!)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

... a better solution ...

Hey my Lovelies!   Isn't this an inspiring edition of Photo Art Friday?  As of this moment (Saturday morning) we have hit the 50 participant mark for the first time!  Wooo hooo! 

Sooooo ... allow me to tell you about what's been going on in my head for the last 36 hours:

Between all your supportive, appreciative comments and seeing several new people join our basic core of participants, I am noticing that I am feeling regret (and some guilt) about putting PAF on hiatus for the summer.

I have also received a few e-mails with suggestions on how I could keep the doors of our little virtual art gallery open.  I appreciate the encouragement to look for a way to do what I need to do personally without withdrawing and temporarily closing PAF.  It is really heartwarming to see how much many of you value this platform.

I've always maintained that things are rarely 'either/or' situations and that with a little creative problem solving we can make them into 'both/and' situations.  Maybe I should follow my own advice!  Duuuuuuh .... 

Sooooo ... here's the 'both/and' (BOTH taking the time to attend to personal needs AND continuing this platform for turning photos into art) solution I have come up with: 

If I don't put pressure on myself to comment on every image linked-up each week, I can happily continue to set a theme and provide the venue for the links to share our photo art images.   For the summer months, I will comment sporadically - concentrating on commenting to welcome and thank first-time participants.  I will still view all the images, I just won't spend all the time required to comment.  (Eeeek - I feel rather conflicted about this.  It seems so rude!  :)  But truthfully, as the number of participants grows, I will not be able to comment on every image ...

Soooooo - is a crazy lady allowed to change her mind and NOT put Photo Art Friday on the shelf for the summer, based on the above compromise solution?

Of course, events can intervene with the best laid plans, but for now I am cancelling my plan to put Photo Art Friday on hiatus.  Hoorah!!!!  We can keep on inspiring each other artistically every week!

My apologies for all the angst and confusion I may have created trying to attend to my personal needs in a rather uncreative, unimaginative way.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Photo Art Friday, April 20th - 22nd

Welcome to this week's Photo Art Friday! 

Yes, we always begin Photo Art Friday on Thursday.  Why?  Just to be quirky, to cause a little confusion  ;)  and to allow early birds to hang their photo art as soon as possible every week.  If you are an early bird, the virtual gallery opens at 7:00 p.m. EDT every Thursday just for you!

This week, as every week, you can showcase:

 any piece of photo art that pleases you


a piece with a theme (in whatever way you choose to interpret it) of new life.

I considered sharing a couple of images of pretty, green buds, but in the end, I chose a photograph of some urban renewal to turn into photo art.  That qualifies as a form of 'new life', right?  :)


*  open photograph and chosen texture in editing program
levels adjustment on photograph to increase white values
*  apply photograph to texture pdpa Aurora (from Gossamer Glow Texture Set)
*  blend in Darker blend mode at 90%
Layer>  Merge Visible
Layer>  Duplicate File
Filter>Artistic>Cutout - opacity 44%
levels adjustment to increase white values again
Layer>Merge Visible
Layer>Duplicate File
Filter>Artistic>Poster Edges - opacity 48%
RadLab (selection made skies more blue than mauve and added a slight blur.  Both of these steps could easily be done with your photo editing tools if you do not have RadLab)
Filter>Artistic>Poster Edges - opacity 65%
*  add watermark or signature

For participating in Photo Art Friday, I have prepared a little photo art party favor just for you.  Do help yourself to this new texture.

This image is a low res version of your French, 'vintagey'-looking texture. 
To download your free, high resolution image of  pdpa Paris texture, click HERE.
A sweet way to say 'thank you' would be to become a 'Follower', if you are not already!
(Please read my terms of use.)

NOTE:  A few of you have commented that you are having trouble downloading the texture.  Thank you for letting me know.  It's strange because 4-Shared shows that there have been dozens of downloads.  Regardless, I have reloaded the texture and changed the link.  Please try again, and if there continues to be a problem just let me know.  When you are at the 4-Shared site click on the blue rectangle on the left that says:  "Download Now".   :)

NOTE:  I want to let you know that after the May 4th edition of Photo Art Friday (in two weeks), PAF will temporarily close its doors for the summer.  Doors to our virtual gallery will re-open in the Fall.  I'll be sure to give you lots of notice. 

I need to devote some time to re-building my physical strength after this bout of walking pneumonia, to get away from the computer screen and to concentrate on my photography.  Not to worry - I'll still be posting, offering free texture downloads, and my Texture Shoppe is always open for you to browse and acquire some always unique texture sets.  It is just Photo Art Friday that will be on hiatus for what remains of Spring and for our all too brief, and therefore precious, Canadian summer.

For next week's PAF you can:

*  link-up any piece of photo art that please you


*  link-up a piece of photo art that contains one of my textures
(Please name the texture in your post.  Thanks.  :)


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Photo Art Friday, April 13th - 15th

It's time again to showcase some great photo art!
 (If you are new to Photo Art Friday, you can read the guidelines for participation here.)

This week we have two options for the art we will hang in our virtual gallery:

1.  any piece of photo art that pleases you;  OR

2.  a piece of photo art that features a quotation, inspiring words or even a poem that has significance for you.  I have chosen the later.

(click on image to enlarge)

The partial edit from the poem by Galway Kinnell comes from the piece entitled St. Francis And The Sow.  I love these words.  We can all use the reminder whether as parent, child, friend, colleague, human, that we can take the time to remind someone of their intrinsic goodness or loveliness ... until they can own that knowledge and nurture and bless/love themselves from within.

In case you cannot easily read Galway Kinnell's words on the image, here they are:

The bud
stands for all things
even those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers,
from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on the brow of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within,
of self-blessing ...

~Galway Kinnell
  St. Francis and the Sow 


For next week's Photo Art Friday we have the options of:

1.  linking up any piece of photo art we wish to showcase


2.  a piece of photo art that somehow reflects "new life". 

checking in with a free texture

Hi my lovelies!  Just popping in to remind you that the doors to our virtual photo art gallery, aka Photo Art Friday, open this evening (Thursday) at 7:00 p.m. EDT.  

This week we can share any piece of photo art we like OR a piece that highlights one of our favorite quotations, inspirations - perhaps even a poem.  I'll be at the doors handing out the virtual champagne ... can't wait to see what you are bringing to hang in our gallery!

Until then, thought you might like a lovely, new, free texture.  I call this one "Quartz".  Enjoy!

This image is only low res.  To download your high resolution version of pdpa Quartz texture, click HERE.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Photo Art Friday, April 6th - 8th

Welcome to Photo Art Friday!

The photo art showcased in our virtual gallery last week was truly exceptional.  A big "Bravo" and "Thank You" to all who participated. 

A warm thank you too for all your well wishes.  I'm still weak, weary and coughing.  The antibiotics have not had any effect, so guess this "macoplasma" (walking pneumonia) virus will just have to take its course.  It could be much worse and I am making the most of this down time reading, journalling, sleeping and when I can, making digital art and textures. 

In the meantime, our family has received the best news possible - our daughter who had major thoracic surgery for cancer in 2008 has received a clean bill of health after a recent series of scans and tests that she will undergo every couple of years for the rest of her life.  After holding our breath for a couple of months while waiting for these results, we are now all doing happy dances, jumping and clicking our heels together, shouting "Wooo Hooo" indiscriminately wherever we go.  SO happy ....

This week our challenge is to share any macro image (with whatever manipulations you choose) that pleases you.  I decided to make a montage of three macro photographs of flowers - simply layering them on top of each other using tools in PSE 8 to try to make a pleasing union. 

Here are the 3 photographs sitting on the final montage.

The resulting montage of 3 macro photographs.  (Recipe below.)

Layers panel demonstrating most of the work done to produce the piece of photo art.


Open photograph that will serve as the base for the piece in editing program.
Duplicate image - (Background copy)
Open and apply next photograph, using Move Tool to adjust fit.
Apply Layer Mask, masking with black to remove green and reveal peonies in layer below.
Blend the two photos in Vivid Light at 42% Opacity.
Levels Adjustment to tone down grey values and increase white.
Open and apply third photograph, using Move Tool to adjust fit.
Blend with Screen at 100% Opacity.
Levels Adjustment:  Adjusting only Output Levels to "49" to further desaturate image.

Note:  The blending modes and opacities you use will depend entirely on the particular photographs YOU are using.  Following the above recipe to the letter with your photographs will not produce the same result necessarily.  You invariably have to experiment to find the right blends and opacities for your piece of photo art.

For next week's Photo Art Friday:

1.  Post any piece of photo art that strikes your fancy


2.  Share a piece of photo art that somehow features a quotation that you hold dear - a quotation that has proved meaningful or significant in your life.  If you like, you can share in your accompanying post how or why the quotation has been meaningful for you.

Monday, April 2, 2012

... applying textures ...

Hey there!!!  Here we are in April ... already!  Any good April Fools' stories from yesterday?  I'm still dealing with my dual - maybe - possible diagnosis of bronchitis or walking pneumonia so I was not the instigator of nor the subject of any April Fools' jokes this year.  A good giggle is always welcome if you have any stories to tell ...

Thought I would show you some applications of a few of the new textures recently added to my Texture Sets Shoppe.  I applied three of them to the same archive photograph of a daisy.

The basic components used in this demonstration of the application of textures.

 From pdpa Bedazzled Texture SetJupiter Dust is added to the photo.  Editing details below.

 From pdpa Fancy That! Texture Set, texture Inkblotter is applied to photo.  Editing details below.

Same as above image with final Levels Adjustment decreasing grey values to 1.86 and moving Output Level to 110 - giving image a desaturated look.

From pdpa Bedazzled Texture Set, texture Sweet Swirls is applied to photo.  Editing details below.

I tried to keep the basic editing steps the same for the application of each texture.  There were, however, variations in opacity adjustments.  Here's what I did:

1.  Before applying the texture to the photograph, I used the clone stamp to remove a bug and pollen dust from the white petals of the daisy.

2.  I sharpened the photograph.  Now, looking at it, I see it must have already been previously sharpened.  Over sharpening is indicated by the slight blue edges you can see around the tips of the petals.  If I were going to sell these I would go back and redo them to bring down the sharpening and eliminate those blue edges.  Since these images are simply for web demonstration purposes I left them as is.  And flaws, mistakes, oopsies make good teaching/learning opportunities.  Right?  Right!  :-)

3.  Apply texture using Move Tool to fit.

4.  Blend in Hard Light.  I chose different Opacities for each texture but all within 65-80%.

5.  Apply Layer Mask in order to remove texture from flower.  I use a soft brush and because I want all the texture removed from the flower I leave it at 100% opacity.

6.  Check the result to see if a Levels Adjustment (in this case whether I wanted to add light) would contribute to final look.  I only used a Levels Adjustment for the desaturated version.

7.  Open my file that contains banners, signatures, copyright symbols, watermarks etc., choose the signature I want and apply.

8.  Added a white border to two of the versions.  You can easily add a simple border to an image using your Crop Tool.  First, decide whether you want the border to be black or white.  I chose white and then made sure that white was the BACKGROUND color in my tool bar. With your mouse pull the move tool from one outer corner to its diagonal opposite.  You will now have crop lines around the entire outside edge of your image.  DON'T click the green check mark to commit your 'crop' yet!  With the little bounding boxes along the edge of the crop lines, pull the lines out about 1/8th to 1/4 of an inch.  When you are sure the distance is equal on all four sides, hit the green check mark, and your border will appear.