Thursday, March 28, 2013

Photo Art Friday, March 29th - 30th

Welcome to the best little virtual photo-art gallery ever!  

If you would like to share a piece of your digitally edited photos that you think is worthy to be called 'art', Photo Art Friday is the place for you. You can read the guidelines for participation here.

This week our optional theme/challenge is to create a piece of photo-art that contains some sort of graffiti.  It can be a photograph of graffiti that you have digitally edited or a photograph upon which you have applied text to look like graffiti.  As always, any piece of photo-art is welcome.  Following the optional challenge is not obligatory - that's why it's optional!

In my last post, I shared a few ideas to help you with the graffiti challenge, one of which where I suggested you might wish to create a piece of graffiti that makes a statement YOU have long been wanting to make ...  Can't wait to see the ones that embrace that option!

Here are my photo art contributions for this week:

This already edited photograph had a fence just crying out for a little graffiti ... and ... why not promote one of my favorite things ... TEXTURES.

This piece is an effort to illustrate one graffiti artist replying to another.

I shared a version of this in a previous post, but thought the 'vital' statement bears repeating.  :)

Next week's Photo Art Friday (April  5th, 6th) 
will have the optional theme or challenge:



 [kuh-lahzh, koh-]  Show IPA noun, verb,col·laged, col·lag·ing.
a technique of composing a work of art by pasting on a single surface various materials not normally associated with one another, as newspaper clippings, parts of photographs, theater tickets, and fragments of an envelope.
a work of art produced by this technique. Compare assemblage ( def 3 .
an assemblage or occurrence of diverse elements or fragments in unlikely or unexpected juxtaposition: The experimental play is collage of sudden scene shifts, long monologues, musical interludes,and slapstick.
a film that presents a series of seemingly unrelated scenes or images or shifts from one scene or image to another suddenly and without transition.
verb (used with object)
to make a collage of: The artist has collaged old photos, cartoon figures, and telephone numbers into a unique work of art.

The above definition should spark some ideas, create a jumping-off point, etc. for you.  Have fun making a DIGITAL photo art collage!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I Dare You!

Have I gone toooooo far with this week's optional challenge for Photo Art Friday? 

Have you been wondering how on earth to create an image that incorporates graffiti?

Are you stuck in the pattern of only wanting to create beautiful images?

What about venturing beyond your comfort zone to create something raw and gritty?

Well, this week's challenge can be as easy as finding a photograph of a wall, the side of a barn, a solid fence and applying some text to it.  Then you work with the text to give it the look of a stencil, or spray paint.  Here's an example I produced in five minutes.  

Some graffiti has a message.  (You can incorporate a message into your image.) 

Some graffiti is artwork. (You can apply a piece of your photo art to a wall - grunge it up, and you're done!)

Some is gobbledygook.  (Letters that say nothing, to me anyway.) 

Some graffiti is obscene.  (We'll take a pass on the obscene.)

I could pretend the mis-spelling of graffiti on the wall was on purpose, to give it a real-life feel, but truth is, I never remember whether it is 2 fs or 2 ts!  :)

(The fonts I used in the above piece of photo art are:  white - Boopee;  green - HVD Peace.)

Here are a couple of examples of graffiti that I have photographed while driving through the streets of Montreal:

The graffiti image on the right was probably added to the wall with a permit from the City, while the graffiti on the black door on the left was most likely applied with a can of spray paint in the middle of the night.  Perhaps you have a piece of photo art that you could give a poster or cartoon effect and apply it to a photograph that has a blank wall.  Perhaps you just want to wildly scribble some letters or a message.  Well - the choice is entirely up to you.

This is another type of 'graffiti' photographed while stopped at a red light.  This piece perplexed me when I saw it and it still perplexes me now.  It is really a piece of urban art - a piece of trompe l'oeil (fool the eye).  The piece on the bottom looks like it could be on the side of a truck, but the street sign pole on the bottom right reveals it is not on the road.  I've no idea where the green circle fits into this.  It makes me wonder if this whole piece was created on a huge canvas that was then applied to a wall.  Are those real windows?  Is that real sky?  Is this real art?  I say YES! to the last question.

So ... will you join the optional challenge for this week's PAF of GRAFFITI?  You can make it as simple or as complex as you please.

Here's an simple example of virtual graffiti with a message about something I am interested in.  ;)

Do you have a thought, a wish, an admonition, a scream! that you've been wanting to share with the world?  Well here's your chance to take a walk on the wild side and 'virtually' spray paint your words on the side of a building.  I dare you to play with graffiti  -  just this once!!!  Have fun!

Just occurred to me that I've been wanting to 'scream' this for a long time!  :)  
(Added this image about one hour after the post first went up.) 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Reflections on Self-Portraits

The Self-Portrait edition of Photo Art Friday has left me speechless ... well, almost.  I'm really hoping I can find the words to tell you how touched I was by the number of you that shared some form of Self-Portrait. 

Your response to the challenge was amazing and many of your posts revealed that it was a challenge that you initially wanted to resist or reject. 

Isn't it interesting how so many of us feel a certain level of shame about how we look ... and that's a shame.  It's really sad how western culture has made us so self-conscious about our appearance, so sure that we don't measure up to contrived, artificial, unattainable standards of beauty.  So sad how we have been manipulated into believing we are never good enough ... and therefore are in need of their products to help us measure up.   Grrrrr .... these profit-driven norms and lies infuriate me.

Well, our self-portrait gallery was a powerful statement in response to those culturally-imposed, artificial norms!  We are beautiful just as we are.  Powerfully and gloriously beautiful with the light or twinkle in our eyes, the sweetness or humor in our smiles, and the wisdom etched in the lines on our faces.

It seems that this challenge morphed into an interesting personal exercise in self-acceptance and self-exposure and I want you to know that my heart just swelled with affection and pride for each of us who found our particular way to say, "Here I am ... this is me."  I hope one day we will all feel as comfortable with ourselves as our furry and feathered friends are with themselves!

One of you mentioned in a comment that while you resisted this challenge at first, after doing it you would be willing to do it again.  I've taken note, and will perhaps do a Self-Portrait 2 challenge sometime soon.

I was listening to a YouTube video by a spiritual guru (Gangaji) the other day, and was struck by a statement she made.  She said that "there is no fear without a story behind it".  Now that statement could be disputed, but it does have value when we apply it to the resistance, dismay, shyness (all fear-based feelings) we experience about our physical appearance.

If you experienced some level of fear or trepidation about sharing an image of yourself, you might want to ask yourself "what is the story I tell myself about how I look?".   What is the story behind the fear, for you? 

Once you identify the 'story' you tell yourself about your appearance, I encourage you to challenge it.  Ask yourself if the story is REALLY true.  Ask yourself how your life would be different if you deleted the 'not good enough' story from the files in your mind.  Ask yourself how long you are going to continue believe and be 'crippled' by that story and the feelings it creates.

Rudyard Kipling said something to the effect of - "Of all the liars in the world, our fears are the worst".  Let's refuse to believe the fear/lie that we are not good enough  -  that we will be judged as unworthy because of how we look.  Surely it's time to let go of that fear, especially since it is most likely based on a story we absorbed from a culture obsessed with artificial standards of beauty and with youth.  

The level of support and delight we received in the comment sections of our posts is evidence that our fears about our appearance are lies.  We all need to try to absorb that information and not dismiss it.

So, again, thank you for your courageous, generous participation in last week's PAF challenge!!!


THIS week's challenge (March 29, 30) is
It can be graffiti you have photographed and then digitally edited, or it can be an image that you create in which you apply graffiti-like text to the image.  Google "images of graffiti" if you want to see some examples.

Here's a chance to communicate something you have been wanting to shout to the world!  What would you write on a wall for all to see ... if you could?

Graffiti has become a recognized art form - especially in urban areas.  In Montreal, graffiti artists are commissioned by the city to put their art on the sides of buildings in certain areas.  Some graffiti artists have become performance artists and after applying for city permits can apply their talents to streets and buildings - sometimes the art is temporary, sometimes permanent.

So ... if you had a permit ... show us with a digital image what art and text you would want to share with the world.  Go for it!  Make a statement!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Photo Art Friday, March 22nd - 23rd

Welcome fellow digital artists!  

Is your photo-art ready to hang in our virtual gallery?  Yes, it's already time for this week's version of Photo Art Friday.  You are invited to showcase any piece of your digital ART or you can share a piece based on PAF's optional weekly challenge.

This week March 22/23, the optional challenge is to share a piece of photo ART that qualifies as a:


If you are a bit shy or perhaps circumspect about posting your image on the Web, then apply your digital editing skills to create a unique self-portrait that only reveals as much of you as you want to share!

I had a lot of fun with this challenge - mainly combining my photo likeness with photos of other people.  Some of the results tickled my fancy, even if they are rather strange.  I like strange!  :)

 Here I am with my better half.  Wish I could have kept more of the moustache on my side of the face!   (Prepare yourself ... the upcoming 'self-portraits' are just as weird!  :)

   Here I paired my face with a painted face, added scratch textures, filters, Difference Blend, some RadLab stylets and a crop.

The photograph on the left is an image off of the Web that I edited and then applied to my own photograph to get the result on the right.

 Same pairing as above, with more of the other woman's face visible.  Those are also her hands cradling the partly-me portrait. Her expression gives me a frown and a pout ... but I'm still in there somewhere.  As you can tell, for me, this was more about the process than the result.  I was just having playing around in Photoshop!  Hope you had fun coming up with your self-portraits, too!!!

The same 'partly-me' self-portrait with a different treatment and presentation.

For next week's Photo Art Friday, March 29-30, the optional challenge is to make a piece of photo art that contains:

(of the non-obscene variety)

It can be graffiti that you have photographed and incorporate into your piece of photo-art, or graffiti that you have created digitally and applied in your image.

Have you checked out the new Mini-Sets Texture Shoppe?  Small sets of textures with a small price point are waiting for you there.

PARC Subscribers:  New textures go up on Saturday!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The new pdpa Mini-Sets Texture Shoppe

Hi Everyone  -  hope all is well in your little corner of the world.  We are enjoying an end-of-Winter snowstorm here in the Montreal region.  Eight to twelve inches are expected by tomorrow.  However, with the nice temperatures predicted for later this week, it should not be on the ground for long.

I've been creating lots of new textures and have opened a new Shoppe for them.  It's called the pdpa Mini-Sets Texture Shoppe.  The shoppe and sets are called "mini" because each and every set of textures posted there will have only four textures.    All will be small sets of 4 and all will have the same small cost of only $5.00 USD.

Below are some of the new, custom-designed sets you will find there.  There are:

* textures with craquelure around the edges
* textures with soft scratches,
* textures with a canvas-like, linen-weave,
* textures with 'letters' spilled over the page, and
* textures that will give your photographs a painterly feel and an old-world charm.

I'm really excited about the design, sophistication and caliber of these textures and hope you will be too!

Hope you will check out the pdpa Mini-Sets Texture Shoppe and let me know what you think.  I really value your feedback.

Are you preparing a 'selfie' to submit to Photo Art Friday this week?  I'm really looking forward to seeing your interpretations of the optional theme of "self-portrait"!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

To Self-Portrait, Or Not To Self-Portrait ...

Hey Everyone ...  

Congratulations on a stellar showcase of photo art this week.  We certainly enjoyed a wonderful display of digital artistry ... again!  

Some of you expressed a bit of confusion about my choosing Self-Portraits as the optional challenge for next week - after this week's Portraits. (Just trying to keep you on your toes!  ;) 

I must admit it probably was not the best choice to place these two challenges back-to-back ... but it is as it is ... so let's just go with it, shall we? 

If you already shared a self-portrait this week, you can still share one next week.  No problem!  Take it as an opportunity to experiment with something totally different.

For those of you who are a bit hesitant about sharing a self-portrait, remember that this is not a showcase for photography ... it's Photo ART Friday ... a showcase for digital ART using your photographs.  

So the goal is to create a piece of digital art using a photograph that references or represents you in some way.  

A self portrait does not have to show you clearly or fully, as you can see from the examples of digital self-portraits, gleaned from my archives, that I'm sharing here.

In fact, you could share:

* an image of various parts of your anatomy (within reason, of course)

* or a digital design using your shadow

* or a partial mirror reflection

* or your latest tattoo

* or the beauty mark on your arm that looks just like Elvis, 

* or the outline of an angel you made with your body in the snow,

etc., etc., etc., if you do not want to display your actual, real image on the Web.  I'm sure YOU can regale us with even more out-of-the-box self-portraits!

So, I'm really hoping you will take up the challenge and share an artistic portrayal of yourself with us for the March 22nd, 23rd edition of Photo Art Friday!

PARC subscribers:  New textures and a new project are waiting for you on the site.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Photo Art Friday, March 15th - 16th

If it's Thursday, that means it's time for Photo Art Friday!  Sounds like a mistake, right? Well, it isn't.  The doors to PAF always open early ... each Thursday.

You can showcase ANY piece of your photo art that pleases you, OR you can participate in our optional weekly theme.  This week the optional theme is:  PORTRAIT.

Here's my contribution:

This is my daughter's Bernese Mountain dog, Maya.  (The one who ran away and stayed missing for 36 hours when we were doggy-sitting her while my daughter was in Italy ... and the one that I was playing with when I fell and broke two bones in my wrist ... yes, that one!)  She is one big dog, but not to worry, her temperament is gentle and sweet and in spite of our bumpy history, I adore her.  Although you can't see her beautiful face, nor her lovely coloring, my daughter loves this purposely non-traditional portrait.  (Don't forget that you can click on the image for a larger view.)

So ... we need an optional theme for next week (March 22, 23) ...  I'm thinking ...


Now don't dismiss the idea of a self-portrait too quickly!  If you are camera-shy when it comes to yourself, or want to keep your image off of the Web, why not consider a really imaginative interpretation of the challenge 'self-portrait'.  

We do not need only 'full-frontals'! ;)  Your self-portrait can fall anywhere in the range between traditional to super crazy, out-of-the-box, creative self-portrait.  Who knows ... maybe you will end up creating a self- portrait you will want to use as an avatar on your blog!

So put on your creative thinking cap and wow us next week with your self-portrait.  Can't wait to see how YOU portray yourself!  :)

P.S.  (14/03/2013 - 4:00 p.m.)   Some of you have posted self-portraits for this week's PAF of 'portrait'.  NOT TO WORRY!  The theme was not specific so any kind of portrait is just fine.

I should have realized it would be best not to choose 'self-portrait' right after having 'portrait' ... but let's just leave it as is.  If you are sharing a self-portrait this week - perhaps you can challenge yourself to share a new and different one next week!   :)

Frankly, everything you showcase here pleases me immensely.  This is supposed to be fun, not a source of frustration or aggravation ... so, again, self-portraits are welcome this week, as well as next!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Photo Art Friday, March 8th, 9th

Welcome to the March 8th, 9th edition of Photo Art Friday!

If you have been creating art from your photographs and would like to showcase it in our little virtual gallery ... come on in!  You can read the guidelines for participation here.  Any piece of photo ART is welcome or you can share a piece that conforms to our weekly theme or challenge.

This week's optional challenge is to create a piece of photo art using Pixel Dust Photo Art (pdpa) textureS and one of your own images.  

Hope you experimented with this challenge and discovered that using textures (especially pdpa textures!  - OKAY, I admit it - I'm a tad biased!) is a great way to create abstract art pieces you can actually hang in your home or give as gifts to ones you love. 

Here are my offerings for this week:

Click on image to enjoy a larger view.

Here you see the six components I pulled into my project bin with which I hoped to create a piece of photo art.  In the end, the bottom right image was not used.

In the layers panel, you can see steps used.  Because of where I placed the large abstract image in this screen shot, you cannot see that the eye (on/off button for layer) on the sitting figure was turned off and thus does not appear in the piece.  The final version was also rotated 180 degrees.

I broke one of my own rules while making this piece.  I did not save as I edited.  I had a beautiful blue abstract image before I added the last texture and processed it in Difference.  But I got excited when I saw the image processed in Difference and continued on - totally forgetting that I had just lost a great image by not saving as I processed.

I tried to take my final PSD (which has most of the layers) and undo and undo to get back to the lost image, but it did not work - probably because I had flattened the image before processing it in Rad Lab.    And so ... I had to learn the lesson again, the hard way ... SAVE AS YOU GO!

I am going to go back now and see if I can create something close to what I lost .....

Twenty minutes later:   here's what I was able to do.  Actually, it is not exactly the same as what I remembered (quelle surprise!), but I really like it.  Lesson:  Even if you can't reproduce it, you may create something you love - so it's worth a try!

The shadows are those of my DH and myself.  Only the background texture and the raindrops texture were used with the image of our shadows in this piece.  RadLab's stylet "Rusty Cage" reduced to 70% opacity gives the image the sweet, soft blurry look.

Another piece of abstract photo art using pdpa textures and one of my images.

These are the three elements I used to make the above abstract.

After my long-winded 'rant' in my last post about not recording each step of my editing process ... I decided to record the steps I took making this piece of abstract photo art.  Go figure!  I was consistent and predictable as a parent and a professional ... but as a wannabe artist ... hmmm ... not so much.   :)

By clicking on the image to enlarge it and by starting at the bottom layer and moving up you can see the steps I took (and I even typed them into the space provided  -  wonders will never cease!!).  The steps were:

*  Opened pdpa PAF Gift texture to serve as the base for this abstract.

*  Superimposed a piece of photo art that was originally a macro of a delphinium blossom, and processed that piece on PAF Gift in Multiply Blend Mode, Opacity 65%.

*  Duplicated that layer and blended it in Difference at 85% (I rarely go below 85% opacity when using Difference - you usually lose all the 'difference' by going lower!).

*  Because Difference Blend Mode produced a dark effect, I added a Levels Adjustment and adjusted the grey and white tabs to bring in light.

*  With the addition of light a bit of the color was lost, so increased the saturation with a Saturation Adjustment.

*  Ran the image through RadLab using stylets "Lights On";  "Oh Snap";  "Iron Mouse"; "Prettyizer".  Reduced the opacity of the RadLab treatment to 87%, once back in Photoshop.

Still found this abstract needed something more, so added my pdpa texture "Marble Sky".  Blending it in Darker Color at 70% Opacity.  Then added another Saturation bump up, and more light with a Levels Adjustment.  Added my copyright banner and was done.

For the March 15th, 16th edition of Photo Art Friday, the optional theme is:


Give your imagination free reign.  Consider stretching the interpretation of the word "portrait" beyond its traditional definition.  

Of course, you may decide that traditional portrayal is the way you want to go.  Just remember that themes do not have to strictly dictate everything about the style, subject matter, presentation or possibilities.  

You always have the option to step out of the box ... or not ... as YOU wish.  And ... there are always degrees of 'stepping'.  Maybe you want to start with a baby step ... or perhaps you are itching to take a giant leap.  

Either way, I can't wait to see your 'portraits' - next week for the March 15th - 16th edition!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Oooops ... my bad ...

Hey there all you wonderful photo art aficionados!!!  

Standing ovation coming to you for all your great pieces of photo art showcased last week in Photo Art Friday!  If you listen carefully you will hear me chanting "Encore!",  "Encore!".  (Encores will have to take place next week, on the March 8th, 9th edition of PAF.)

I've had a few emails inquiring about the optional photo art challenge for next week.  I see that challenging everyone to make a piece of abstract art from textures only was a bit too ambitious.  I also did not take into consideration those of you who create your photo art without the benefit of Photoshop.

Oooops.  My bad.

So I've decided a gentler, more realistic approach would be to modify the challenge to:

Make an abstract piece of photo art using

*  pdpa textures (you choose how many)


*  one of your own images or photos

Speaking of modifying things ... I modified the first image above by adding a texture made from a photograph of the postal code images found on Canadian mailboxes these days.  Think I prefer the modified version.

Sorry, I cannot detail all the steps made while modifying the image in Photoshop, for I don't record them.  (My bad ... again.)  In a perfect world, I would interrupt my creative experimentation and type each manipulation in the space provided by Photoshop in each layer box.  

But that actually would not be a 'perfect world' for me, for it would interrupt my creative flow.  Occasionally, when I know I want to share a tutorial, I will record the steps taken - but I know doing it drains away some of my creative juices and slows down the entire process.  

In fact, the problem, which is probably common for us all, is that making art activates the right brain, while making explanations, lists, writing words pulls you away from the right brain creative mode and activates the evaluating, judging, explaining left brain modality of your brain.

Of course, we never completely turn off one side of the brain while using the other - but attaining flow, that magical component where we are not thinking analytically and where creativity reigns does require a shift to allow the right brain to dominate.  Engaging in left brain activities like making lists, writing out explanations, etc. hinders right brain dominance and therefore, creative flow.

Some people say that if you don't record all the steps taken, you will not be able to duplicate it.  There may be some truth to that, but frankly I don't care if I can duplicate it. In fact, it would be like interrupting the flow of love-making to record every touch, the amount of pressure, the exact position, the words whispered, etc. etc. so that you could replicate it the next time.  Who would interrupt such glorious flow to do that!!!  :)

BTW, you may have noticed that many who offer precise tutorials and explanations of every step of their creative process, are often producing the same type of image or work over and over again!  That's fine when you are first learning ... but once you get the basics under your belt, it's time to allow your imagination and creativity free reign!!!  

Besides, memory allows me to have a general idea of what I did even if I don't recall specifically the exact percentages of color, opacity, saturation, brightness, etc. that I applied.

So that's my excuse for sometimes not having all the specific steps that I used to create each piece of photo art -  and I'm sticking to it!  :)

Have a wonderful week, dear friends.  Thank you again for sharing your artistry with PAF!