Monday, 21 November 2011

Sewn Collage Photoshop Brushes

 Now that my darling daughter has gone off to New Zealand I have been able to use her room to get some of my old collage materials out. Lord, some of them haven't seen the light of day for years. Tons of stuff, lots to be thrown out but lots to be re-aquainted with. At the same time I have been thinking about the idea of machine stitching on paper but without any real purpose in mind. I put a few pieces together, just randomly grabbing things from the pile. The first piece - a square of fabric, a piece of gessoed paper and a couple of scraps of coloured photocopies. The piece below, more coloured photocopy but scribbled into with pen.
 This I scribbled with thread and then added pen. I thought the added pen would be overkill and nearly didn't add it but it does work. That's the thing with physical and not virtual stuff; make a mistake and it's not generally erasable. I've become spoilt and more than likely, lazy, from always working in digital media, being able to delete layers and erase bits.

 Another photocopy and then a page from a book done years and years ago.

 So I did all these little pieces and dragged some canvases out and played around with various different combinations but, while I liked them well enough, they didn't really grab me, you know? I kept thinking  - so what! Little thought then goes trotting across the back of my mind . . . . so I go and scan them in, turn them into photoshop brushes ( simple tutorial here ) and BINGO! Now I like them! Here they all are on one page in my favourite combination of grey and cream . . .  kind of spooky aren't they?

Then it was play time trying them out  . . . . . this one below almost looks like a print of some kind.

 This Cathedral one is the best piece I've done for a while, you know that feeling when something just comes together . . .  I fiddled with the underneath for ages and then the last few elements just fell into place one right after the other. Sweet. Now, back to that pile of papers . . .  I must have a purge.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Scribble Domain - new stuff

I have, finally,  got these notebooks done and listed  here ( or should that be done and dusted? )Nothing worse than a pile of stuff sitting there reminding you reproachfully that you still haven't made the time. They are satisfying to finish off though, a nice weight in the hand ( 50 sheets of nice smooth recycled paper ) and the colours have come out really well.

Add to that the print to go with the notebook . . . . .

And something new entitled 'The Moon behind the Clouds' a 10x10 print. I quite fancy this for our living room wall . . . . it just needs a nice matt black frame.

Something else I've been fooling around with, trying for a simpler line. I always start off simple but end up with something that is waaay more complicated that I planned. Like life really! This to me has Miro kind of quality to it. Not sure if I want it to actually be a print or not . . . . . gotta live with it for a while and see.

Oh yes and then this . . . . . I'd started fiddling around with a very vague pattern idea, just vertical lines to start with, trying to keep it loose, just seeing what components would look good totgether without any real thought to their placement. I have to work as spontaneously as possible or I just grind to a halt. Do it it rough ( and yes, this is very rough ) and then later work it up in best. Have also decided that I am going to do this in a half drop repeat. Which I'm not that good at doing yet. We shall see, it's going to be entertaining! Will let you know if it works out . . . .  if it doesn't there will just be the sound of sobbing coming from in front of the computer . . .  and not for the first time, I might add!!!

Have a good weekend whatever you are doing!

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Saturday, 15 October 2011

Portrait Photography - My neighbour Gill

My  neighbour Gill kindly agreed to sit for me  . . . . it was such a lovely day, the sun was shining, we cleared a bit of space in her living room  and chatted about this and that while I moved around her with the camera. I really enjoyed the session though she was quite upset by the pictures when she saw them . . . . . " I didn't know I looked like that" she said when she saw the wrinkles and lines. But this was exactly what I wanted to show . . . . that women are beautiful with and despite their lines and wrinkles. I'm so glad that I got the chance to take these pictures . . .  if you knew her you'd see that I've captured something of the essence of Gill. I am sorry that they upset her so.

One of the things I'm trying to do is take pictures spontaneously, use the camera, the lighting, the setup just as is, just as I find it. Not quite sure where I'm going with this but I shall, as always,  follow my nose and see where it leads me.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Ink blot Photoshop Brushes

Having cleared the advancing tide of fabric so that I could do the first part of my Mandala collaboration with Shana I took advantage of the space to get some ink out and do a couple of ink blots to make into Photoshop brushes. I've been wanting to do this for ages and oooh, what fun it was to splatter . . . . . I used watercolour paper for this first one but cartridge paper for the second.

 Watercolour paper again for the one above . . . .

and then with just a little ink left in the saucer I dragged a dry fan shaped brush along the paper. I wasn't going to keep this one, didn't really think it was going to give good results but so glad I did.

Once scanned in I desaturated the image and tweaked about with the levels, making a light, medium and dark version - being careful to save each version as well as the original! Pushing the dark end of the Levels takes all the midtones and most of the detail out of course but the heavier version can give some good brush results . . . . I've used all three levels of the same brush on the bottom half of the image above  . . . . all on seperate levels so I can move them about if I need and then using a soft fuzzy brush at about 30% opacity as an eraser to just blend the edges together. 

Here is the long streaky brush . . .  looks way better than I thought especially when layered with another colour

Straightforward inkblots . . . . .

but this is what they look like all together . . . I used  large dark ink brush at the top of the image layering it in black and turquoise. Gotta love the yellow though it's 'out of gamut' which is Photoshop speak for 'Holy Smokes you can't print that!!'

You can see where I've used the brushes in this piece below . . . .  I used the lasso selection tool to make the tall rectangular shapes and the splatter ink blots inside that.  A whole world of possibilities opens up does it not? My busy little mind is thinking of all the other paint/wet media techniques I used to use . . . . . .

In case you want to make some brushes for yourself here is my basic tutorial 
on how to get started and another on building textures with brushes 

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Saturday, 8 October 2011

In which I collaborate with Shana

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Something new, something really quite exciting . . . . a collaboration with Shana Goetsch on her Art that Circles the Earth project which is all about creating  Mandalas . . .  here is her blog post about me  (gosh feels strange to be reading about myself ).

 We each start a piece then send it to each other,  add a bit to it then send it back. We do this twice before it's finished. I've been making virtual art for quite a while now, one reason being that with one room to work in and all the fabric for my vintage stuff ( Every Girl's Story ) in that one room there really isn't the space to get the paints out or the ink or the boxes of assemblage stuff. But this gives me an excuse to clear the table and get physical with some art. I've even splattered some ink around to make some new Photoshop brushes and boy, does that feel good!  I want to try them out first but hope to share those with you during the week some time. In the meantime I've done the  first part of my Mandala and it goes off in the post to Shana on monday . . .  I'm going to be sitting by the letterbox waiting for the postman till hers comes winging it's way to me.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Scribble Domain - Mid Century Designs

Oh yes, I have been busy, scribbling away, trying this, trying that. Dumping this and going with that. So, some new stuff . . . . . prints now listed in my Scribble Domain etsy shop.  A new abstract  ( above ), a very satisfying combination shape and line. It's not always as easy as it looks to get that balance just right.

Another print worked up from a scribble I did with a fineliner and a brush pen . . . . chopped up and reworked . . . . the one below is for a notebook cover.  Paper is cut, all ready and waiting for me to print out the covers. I'm at a bit of a low ebb, energy wise so I'll have to get to that later in the week.

And my curiosity being what it is I thought I'd just see how that design looked on a mug. Only stuck on with bluetack mind,  but I put it in the kitchen so I could look at it and was suprised to find that, despite being Modernist,  italso looks good with pretty vintage stuff

The dark blue vase behind it has obviously been an influence . . . .

Then something completely different. Believe me when I say this happened completely by accident, it just made itself. I was only fooling round with a couple of shapes (honest guv) and before I knew it I had 'The Rialto'. Not what I was planning to do but I was so taken with it I thought I'd see if I could do something else in that vein . . . . cut paper shapes have now been added to the scribbles 

The Temples . . . . .  hoping  these might evolve into a series.

The Rialto as a possible mug design . . . . 

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and lastly fooling around with The Temples as a stamp. Another notebook cover perhaps? I have all these printed out and stuck on my wall so I can live with them for a while . . . . got to let the ideas percolate for a bit, see what else happens . . . . .
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