Monday, October 29, 2012

Stay Safe And Secure!

Hi Everyone.

First let me thank all of you for your inspiring contributions to Photo Art Friday.  The theme 'derelict' seemed to please many of you - and the variety of artistic interpretations were wonderful.

While you can post any piece of photo art you please, this coming PAF's optional theme is to use the background/texture Cobblestone Road.  You can download it here.

If you are in the path of Hurricane Sandy I hope your preparations are complete and that you and yours remain safe and secure for the duration.  Looks like it may extend its tentacles all the way up into our area, but the effects will be nothing compared to what many of you in coastal areas are already experiencing.

Here are a couple of recent photographs of good weather and fall colours.  After Sandy wreaks her havoc, there will probably be no leaves left on the trees in the North East.  Enjoy:

Speaking of being 'secure'.  I just discovered that zipped texture sets I store on Mediafire and sell in my Texture Sets Shoppe have been accessed without permission and downloaded over one hundred times.  I store most of my textures sets that are for sale on e-junkie, but recently put three of my 'for purchase' sets on Mediafire.  I assumed because I have to log in to Mediafire with e-mail and password that no one else could access my files there.  Guess I am both ignorant and naive.  Now I see that each file can be password protected (and I have done that) ... I just never expected that my work prepared for sale would be stolen right out from under me!

I am working at accepting what is (what choice does one have?) and am aware of my disappointment and slight sense of violation.  I recall that a while back Jerry Jones from Shadowhouse Creations posted that a couple of people had downloaded his free textures sets, repackaged them and were selling them as if they were their own products!  Are there charlatans lurking about everywhere on the Internet?

Anyway - I'm sharing this as a cautionary note to any of you who are selling or considering selling digital products.  It seems they are so easy to steal and that there are people out there on the prowl for any opportunity.

I'm trying.   :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Photo Art Friday, October 26th, 27th

Welcome fellow photo-art lovers!

It's time for Photo Art Friday again!  Last week your submissions using the 'Leafy Landscape' texture were incredible!!!

Viewing each other's work is truly a delight and can also be a great opportunity for learning and expansion of our artistic vision.  So many of you generously share your photo art 'recipes' too, which fosters the learning opportunities.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you!!!

This week the optional challenge is to create a piece of photo art about something 'derelict'.

Of course, you are always welcome to share any piece of photo art you like, especially if you do not have the time or inclination to go with the challenge/prompt.

Here are my pieces using the prompt 'derelict':

 The above piece of photo art was created using an as-yet-unreleased texture.  The two derelict cars, with a shabby, abandonned set of what looks like Olympic rings, made for an interesting subject.

The above abandonned building certainly qualifies as derelict.  With the addition of a painterly texture, poster edges, and a touch of Orton Effect, I have easily turned a humdrum photograph into a little piece of photo art.

In response to a couple of questions in the comment section - if you want to install a Layer Mask Action designed for older versions of PS Elements, Rita of The Coffeeshop Blog offers one for free. Go here:

You can find good instructions on how to use layer masks here:

For next week's edition of Photo Art Friday you can showcase any piece of photo ART you choose,


you can showcase a piece of photo art using this 'challenging' background/texture:

To download pdpa Cobblestone Road texture (for free!!!) click HERE.

Please note that I refer to Cobblestone Road as a background, as well as a texture.  You can use it as a texture if you are willing to use a layer mask to remove texture from the subject in your photo - however - it can be used very effectively as the canvas (background) on which you build a piece of photo ART using one or more of your photo images.  This means that instead of applying the texture or background to your photograph, you apply your photograph(s) to the texture/background.  

As mentionned above, there will be lots for us to learn next week as we see all the different ways great creative minds use the background/texture.   Can't wait!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Photo Art Friday, October 19th, 20th

Welcome to Photo Art Friday!  

Our virtual doors (the appearance of the inlinkz button) open here in North America at 19:00 hours every Thursday.  That means that those of you across the oceans, for whom it is already Friday, can actually link up on what is Friday for you!

If you are new to Photo Art Friday, please read the guidelines for participation by clicking on the Photo Art Friday tab under my header.

This week, the optional challenge is to share a piece of photo art that you have created using images from your archives, paired with the texture pdpa Leafy Landscape.  If you did not get to download the high res version of the background/texture you can find it in this post.

pdpa Leafy Landscape texture

To make my submission for this week's edition of PAF, I used the texture/background, Leafy Landscape as my canvas and added the above texture from my personal archives.  I then dropped in the digitally enhanced photo (taken by my son-in-law while in Spain) of a mother duck and her baby ducklings.

Wanting to make it appear that the group of ducks had just emerged from a body of water, I used the brush tool to paint in some blue at the base of the scene.

Poster Edges were added.  When making a composite, I find that a soft application of the filter 'poster edges' somehow marries all the elements in the composite together.  

A couple of 'stylets' were added in RadLab to slightly enhance the overall appearance.  The addition of my signature was the last step, and we were good to go!  What do you think?

Click to enjoy an enlarged view.

Next week, as always, you can link up any piece of photo art that pleases YOU


you can link up a piece created with the prompt, DERELICT

Here are a few of the meanings for the word derelict given by an online dictionnary:



left or deserted, as by the owner or guardian; abandoned.
neglectful of duty; delinquent; negligent.

a person abandoned by society, especially a person without a permanent home and means of support; vagrant.
Nautical a vessel abandoned in open water by its crew without any hope or intention of returning.
personal property abandoned or thrown away by the owner.


I leave you with an enhanced view of a portion of the path on which I walk almost every day.  No matter the season, I return home full of reverence and renewal.  Wish you could join me for a little stroll.  :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Autumn's Gifts

Hi Everyone!  Popping in with a bit of North East Autumnal glory, and a little reminder.   Took these shots this week and just now gave them a bit of an 'orton effect' (soft blur) using PSE and RadLab.  If you want to learn how to produce the Orton Effect click here.

 I pass this beautifully-shaped, little tree on my daily walks.  I'm sure it smiles at me.  :)

 Vines growing up gnarly branches of a Sumac tree.  Do click on the images for a larger view!

Couldn't resist this shot of the street sign  'rue des Erables', right in front of a Maple tree.  (des erables means maples in French)

The Photo Art Friday Gallery opens tomorrow evening.  The optional prompt for this week is to use the above background/texture with your own images to create a piece of photo art.  You can download a high res version of it here.  

You can, of course, link up any piece of photo art you choose but it's always fun to see what all you great digital artists do with the prompt.  :)

A simple example of how the background/texture can be enhanced with an image from the web and a light-beam brush.  It took only minutes to create - (the longest part was choosing an image from the web!).  

I'm working on another very basic image using the texture for tomorrow's PAF.   As always, I am excited and impatient to see your offerings!

 See you tomorrow!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Photo Art Friday, October 12th, 13th

Welcome to this week's Photo Art Friday!

Everyone is welcome to showcase a piece of their photo art in our weekly virtual gallery.  The guidelines for participation can be found here.

This week, the optional prompt is the word "Liquid".  Can't wait to see your artistic interpretations!

To create the above piece of photo art, I used the texture "Bluebells" (rotated 180 degrees) from the pdpa Bedazzled Texture Set on a photo of water fountains taken at DisneyWorld in Orlando.

To create the above piece of photo-art, I used the texture "Lavender Dreams" from the pdpa Painterly Finesse Texture Set on the photo below.  If you look hard enough you will find a little stream which I think would qualify as 'liquid'.

For next week's Photo Art Friday prompt you have the option of using one of my textures (provided below) to create a piece of photo art. 

This texture is designed to use making photo art, not just to enhance a photograph ... but, as always, YOU will use it any way YOU want!  

Oh ...  and this texture is free for download only if you use it for next week's PAF.     ;-)  ;-)

Download the high res pdpa Leafy Landscape texture HERE.

The texture that can optionally be used for next week's Photo Art Friday is a busy one. Thus, I chose one of my test photographs with a lot of negative space in order to give you one simple example of how it can be used.

Couldn't just have a run-of-the-mill, beige texture for a photo art prompt - right?   I'll be interested to see the creative choices you will make using it!  Have fun!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Rue des Artistes

Hi there my lovelies - how are you?  Hope all is well in your little corner of the world.

It is quite cool here in the north.  The wind is blowing the vividly-coloured foliage off of the trees.   While it is sad to lose all that glorious colour, it does make for wonderful leaf-crunching walks on paths through the woods.

We had a little earthquake here in the early morning hours - measuring 4.5 only.  But it felt like we were sleeping right over the epi-centre when we were awakened by a loud noise and the room shaking violently!  Rather scary, to say the least.

There is a little lane in Old Montreal where artists can come and display their creations.  I love the banner above the lane and have snapped several pics of it from different angles. The above personalized piece of photo art is the result of the application of a texture and a few manipulations in PSE.

 Here is the SOC photograph.

This new texture, plucked from my new collection (unreleased as yet), was applied to the above photo after a levels adjustment and some sharpening.  The texture was blended with Difference and left at 100% opacity.   Print was added to a building and a sign using the Text Tool in PSE.  I then used my old favorite filter 'Poster Edges' to slightly distort and make the image more graphic.

If you would like to add pdpa Blue Depths texture to your texture archives, I am pleased to provide the link for you HERE.  ( "Thank yous" and links to your work using the free textures are much appreciated.  :-)

If you like the textures you download here, do check out my Texture Sets Shoppe.  The best of my work is available to you there at reasonable prices.  Two new sets that feature script have recently been added ... and they are great, if I do say so myself.

Photo Art Friday will be here before we know it.  This week's optional theme is "liquid".  

Are you preparing a piece of photo art to hang in our virtual gallery?  The doors open Thursday (tomorrow!) at 19:00 EDT.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Photo Art Friday, October 5th, 6th

Welcome to our first virtual gallery showcase (aka Photo Art Friday) for October 2012.  Since it is already or almost Friday in half of the world - the doors to our gallery open Thursday here in the Western Hemisphere.

It just warms my heart to see digital artists from across the globe sharing their photo art compositions here each week.  And the caliber of all the work just blows me away!

This week you can share any piece of photo art that you wish to feature or you can link up a piece that highlights our weekly optional prompt.  The prompt for this week is "figure(s)".  If you feel a bit stymied by the prompt 'figure' but still wish to use it, in posts earlier this week I provided a texture and a background that you can use with one of your photos - if you choose.

This piece is from a photograph of one of my paintings that then had a couple of textures added to it. I like the abstract, stick-like figures and the textured background, although it may not be to every one's taste.

Thought I would throw in a little piece of composite photo-art featuring my favorite little figure skater.  These photos are from a competition in 2011.  She continues to train and compete - now travelling to different cities to test her talents.  We are all amazed at how fearless, determined and focused she is.

I arranged the photos of her on one of my textures, using it as a background.  Once happy with the arrangement, I added another texture full of swirls (my own) to suggest movement (and keep her Mom happy by blurring any clear view of her facial features)  - reducing its opacity until I was happy with the effect.

When I visit your blogs, enjoy your images, and read your posts I try to imagine you in your particular environment.  It's such a unique privilege to be allowed into your world in this limited way.  I hope life is good for each of you and that whatever challenges arise, you are able to manage and move through them.

If you are currently experiencing any of the myriad of challenges that life can bring, I would sincerely encourage you to check out (and evaluate for yourself) the works of Eckhart Tolle.   See if his gentle, non-denominational, inner-peace perspective can bring you some relief and comfort.  His two main books are The Power of Now and A New Earth.  His books have been translated into 33 languages, so they are available worldwide.  

You can also get a feel for the way he articulates this eternal philosophy by watching videos of him on YouTube, or by visiting his website

A composite of two photographs - one of a flowering bush, the other of a section of a piece of silver sculpture seen in a gallery window.  After manipulating and placing the figure where I wanted it, I brushed over it with a small, soft brush (foreground color a pink tone found in the flowering bush).  I reduced the opacity of the pink after application.  Then, still thinking about Eckhart Tolle, the word presence was added, and my initials (from a brush I made) to finish.  Easy peasy.  

Next week any photo art image is welcome or you can share one inspired by this prompt:


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

More Free Stuff!

If you are like me, you probably rarely use a texture on your best photographs.  It's like, why 'gild the lily'?  But if you like to try to save an average or poor photo, or if you are into making photo-art then textures are an essential 'go to' in your artist's toolkit.

I've been working on some FABULOUS (if I do say so myself) new textures which I plan to release soon.  As a pre-release teaser and a little gift for you I want to share one with you here today.  First, let me show you one way I used the texture.

Yes, you've probably seen the above photo before.  I often use it to test new textures.  It was taken from a moving car and through the car window.  Not the best photograph, for sure!  But I like it's subject matter and composition.  Being not too busy, it really shows me the quality of any texture. 

Here are two examples of what the addition of this sample texture can do.  Please click on the images in this post to get a larger view!

After the application of the new texture, I blended it in Overlay at 90% opacity.   (I did not want the text on the texture to appear on this image so I simply used a bounding box to pull them up and off of the photo.)

A Layer Mask was used to remove most of the texture from the foreground/bottom of the photo.  In order to apply a filter, I merged the visible layers and then duplicated the merger.  I then went to Filter>Artistic>Poster Edges and adjusted the Poster Edges sliders as follows:  Edge Thickness>1;   Edge Intensity>1;   Posterization>2. 

 I liked the painterly, sketched effect achieved so added my signature and it was done.

Same image as above given a bit of additional 'love' in Rad Lab.  I applied the Snap It, Vario-Sat and Super Happy Fun stylets.

This is the sample of the new textures I am so excited about and that I used for the above pieces of photo art.  Hope you will give it a try and let me know what you think.  You can download the high res version of pdpa Oh The Joy texture HERE.

I was probably a little ambitious with my prompt "Figure(s)" for this week's Photo Art Friday.

I realize that some of you don't have the time or inclination for a difficult challenge.  So to atone and in an an effort to be of help, I offer this background on which you could apply one or several photographs to make a piece of photo art to fit the prompt  -  if you are so inclined.

Yes, I call it a background, because it is not a texture.  Generally you attain better results if you apply your photo images on top of a background, whereas you usually apply textures on top of your photos.  Of course, I know you will find your own unique way to use this background - just as you can find YOUR own way to interpret the prompt 'figures' - for there are many interpretations possible apart from actual numbers.

To make pdpa Go Figure background I used a different layer in PSE for each number applied.  It was a lot of work!  I made this background ages ago so to the best of my recollection right now, the tape measure 'brushes' came from Marie Otero.  Thanks Marie!

Oh ... you can download pdpa Go Figure Background by clicking HERE.

Here's an example of applying a photo to the background.  As I look at it now, I am thinking it could have benefitted from an application of Poster Edges - but I use that filter way too much already!  LOL.

Same image with a little massage from Rad Lab.  Yes I know there is absolutely no connection between the photo and the numbers ... but who says everything has to make sense?  Certainly not me! :-)

If you like textures with bits of text or script on them, you will love the two new sets just added to the Texture Sets Shoppe.  Each set has six textures - five with text, one without.   Hope you will check them out.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Figuring on a freebie?

Hey Everyone - it's October - already!  

I figure it must be time for a freebie ...

To download your high res version of pdpa Heartache by the Number texture, simply click HERE.

Doing my best to be helpful ... and not just figuratively!