Photo of the week

Has it really been a week since I posted my first Photo of the Week? Yikes, well okay then, here’s the second – my favorite photo(s) from this week, with some background …

Admiral butterfly feather collage

Admiral butterfly feather collage

Okay, obviously not a straight photo. It’s a collage from three photos I took this week. I started with my photo of a red admiral butterfly (Vanessa atalanta):

Red admiral butterfly

Red admiral butterfly

George and I trekked up Albany Hill to check on the monarch butterflies – starting around this time of the year they overwinter in the eucalyptus trees there. Last year we only saw a few, so this year we were very encouraged to see far more. Hopefully they’ll keep coming.  I didn’t get any photos of the monarchs because they were fluttering around high up in the sky, but there were a lot of red admiral butterflies flitting lower down and then landing to sun their wings on the duff. This one let me creep close enough to get a shot.

I blended that photo with a closeup I shot of a small bouquet in a vase on my windowsill. It’s a black and white striped hen’s feather next to a dried stalk of some soft pouffy grass.

Feather and grass

Feather and grass

I was struck by the conjunction of the lines and disparity of the textures and tones.

The third photo in the collage is another closeup of part of the same bouquet.

Silver dollar plant

Silver dollar plant

It’s the remains of a seed pod of a money plant (Lunaria Annua), also known as silver dollar plant. The plant has been slowly eroding, and I liked the juxtaposition of the frame of the disk with the empty spaces and few remaining tattered pieces.

I used the layer blending tool in Photoshop Elements to blend the photos. I liked a few of the different settings to blend the first two, but finally settled on the ‘overlay’ setting.  I then added the money plant and blended them all into the final collage.  When I make my blended abstract collages I usually take photos from different years – it was fun to use three that I shot on the same day.  Here are some of my other blended collages.  You can see that butterflies appear in many of them. What are your favorite subjects in your art or photos?

Printing with Golden’s Digital Grounds on Lutradur

I made a blended photo collage from my photographs of a hen’s feather and a white phalaenopsis orchid. The end design is abstract, although you can see the feather shape repeated three times in the center of the piece. I shifted the colors to get subtle golds and shades of blue.

Phalaenopsis and feather collage

Phalaenopsis and feather collage

I prepared a piece of lutradur for inkjet printing by coating it with Golden’s Digital Ground matte (see my posts about lutradur and digital ground), and printed the collage. I backed the print with thick Pellon interfacing, and sewed along some of the lines of the image.

This is the printed/quilted piece (it’s 5 by 7 inches):

Phalaenopsis and feather collage

Phal/feather collage on lutradur

This is a closeup of part of the lutradur print, to show the quilting:

Phal/feather collage printed on lutradur and quilted

Phal/feather collage printed on lutradur and quilted

I decided to finish the lutradur print by mounting it to a 9 by 12 inch canvas board.  To enlarge the phal/feather image so it would fill the blank portions of the board, I printed segments of the image on Transfer Artist Paper (see my posts about TAP).  I transferred the segments to the canvas board with my iron set on the cotton setting.

Phalaenopsis and feather collage

Phal/feather collage, TAP on canvas board

This is a closeup of one of the corners.  The TAP transfer to the cotton board resulted in a pleasing texture, and the abstract nature of the design worked well with the transfer, I think.

Phalaenopsis and feather collage

Phal/feather collage - TAP on canvas

When the weather permits, I will spray the piece with fixative (probably Golden’s new archival varnish because that was designed for use with digital grounds prints).

The end piece, with the lutradur adhered to the center of the canvas board, will look like this:

Phal/feather collage, lutradur and TAP on canvas

Phal/feather collage, lutradur and TAP on canvas

To hang, I will probably drill two small holes near the top of the piece and string with metal chain.  Alternatively, I might put the piece into a frame.    I finally decided how to hang the piece!  I  drilled two small holes near the top.  I wanted to reinforce the holes, but normal eyelets aren’t long enough to go through the canvas board and grab onto the other side.  The only grommets I could find were much too large for the effect I wanted.  I finally found some slightly longer eyelets and set them.  I debated stringing decorative chain or wire, but dug out some raw leather cord I have, and decided it worked well with the tone of the piece.  I’m very happy with it now, see what you think.

Upper corner of piece with leather cord as hanger

Upper corner of piece with leather cord as hanger

Completed piece, with leather cord as hanger

Completed piece, with leather cord as hanger