Photo Art : Altered Imagery Workshop

Learn a wide variety of techniques and programs to transform your photographs into unique art that you’re proud of, that you can print and frame — for yourself, for gifts, or to sell.

Blue girl rose kaleidescope

Blue girl rose kaleidoscope

If you’re ready to take the next steps with your photos, to stretch your creativity and artistic imagination, I’ve got just the workshop for you. We’ll explore how to enhance your original photos to achieve unique and artistic effects using Adobe Photoshop Elements. Elements is a very powerful, but affordable, image processing program.  The techniques that I teach can also be accomplished with other programs, and we’ll discuss them as well, including GIMP, a free image processing program.

Blending modes

Blending modes

Space is limited, and we’ll work on your images at the workshop, so pre-registration is required. For more information or to pre-register, email me at heidirand@gmail.com. If you can’t make the workshop, email me for other options, including private classes, books, and ebooks.  And here’s a list of my other art and craft workshops.

Sunday May 26th from noon to 3:30 pm at The Village Shops and Galleries, 10330 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito (between Eureka and Stockton, free on-street parking). The cost is $50.

Barn owl pocket watch collage

Barn owl pocket watch collage

 

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Photo Art : Altered Imagery Workshop

Do you have folders-full of photos stashed on your computer that are okay, but that you dream of transforming into unique art that you’re proud of, that you can print and frame — for yourself, for gifts, or to sell?

Odontoglossum orchid

Odontoglossum orchid

Ready to take the next steps with your photos, to stretch your creativity and artistic imagination?  I’ve got just the workshop for you! On Saturday July 14th from 11 am to 2:30 pm at Joan Landis’s Pinole Art Studio I will teach you how to transform your photos into works of art with image processing software and techniques.

Digital collage, Monarch and Woods

Digital collage, Monarch and Woods

We’ll explore how to enhance your original photos to achieve unique and artistic effects using Adobe Photoshop Elements. Elements is a very powerful, but affordable, image processing program.  The techniques that I teach can also be accomplished with other programs, and we’ll discuss them as well, including GIMP, a free image processing program.

Kaleidoscope creation

Kaleidoscope creation

Space is limited, and we’ll work on your images at the workshop, so pre-registration is required.  For more information, or to pre-register, email me at heidirand@gmail.com.  The cost is $50. If you can’t make the workshop, email me for other options, including private classes, books, and ebooks.  And here’s a list of my other art and craft workshops.

Peacock feather kaleidoscope

Peacock feather kaleidoscope

The Owl and the Pocket Watch

When I’m having a creative block, one thing that gets me moving is a deadline. An art group I’m in issued a challenge: create a design using a pocket watch. Deadline: one month. Scouring the house turned up no less than three pocket watches! I chose the oldest, a broken one that I bought at a garage sale with the intent to take it apart to use in my mixed media artwork. Here’s the base photo:

Pocket watchI took out the background and drew on the watch to make it a little less clean-looking.

Pocket watch

Since my favorite thing to do is design fabric, I used elements of the cutout image to make some kaleidoscope designs, which often produce great fabrics. Here’s one:

Pocket watch kaleidoscope

That was okay, but I wasn’t satisfied. I decided to switch gears (no pun intended) to make a blended collage. What image would work with the watch face? I have a folder on my computer of what I consider to be my best photos, and when I opened it, look who jumped out at me:

Barn owl

Now we’re talking! I was very happy with a few of the different blended images I came up with. I liked this one best:

Barn owl pocket watch

I printed variations of the collage onto heat transfer paper and decorated a wooden box, but will leave photos of that for another day.

Have you used the pressure of a deadline to make yourself get to work? I’d love to hear how that went and what you created.

Evolon and Transfer Artist Paper

I’ve had a swatch of Evolon laying on my worktable for months, but hadn’t worked up the courage to do anything with it. Evolon is a microfiber fabric made by the company that makes Lutradur. Like Lutradur, it has a lot of industrial and practical uses, but artists and crafters have seized on both of these products to use for our own nefarious purposes. Evolon isn’t readily available in the US yet. I found one online source, Meinke Toy, but alas, the owner is giving up the business. Hopefully she’ll decide to find a buyer rather than completely close the store down. As she describes it, “Evolon is a nonwoven microfiber material made of nylon and polyester. You can paint, dye, print and heat distress Evolon. It will not fray when cut with a scissors and can also be cut using a soldering iron. It excels as a base for stitch, by hand or machine and works well layered with sheer elements above it.” It comes in Soft, which feels a bit like chamois, and Regular, which feels like a leather-like paper. I love the feeling of both of them.

Anyway, finally having a free minute to do a small project, I decided to try out the Evolon. I printed one of my favorite photographs of a hovering hummingbird onto Transfer Artist Paper (TAP), my favorite heat transfer paper. This is the photo:

Hummingbird hovering

Whenever I print on TAP I make sure to fill up the whole page so I don’t waste any of it (it’s not cheap), so I added a row of one of my new kaleidoscopes, which I made from my photo of a black and white feather. After I kaleidoscoped the image using Kaleider, I played with the colors for a psychedelic effect. This is a single tile of the kaleidoscope:

Feathers wild kaleidoscope

It’s best to use TAP soon after printing it — if you can’t, put it back into the sealable plastic bag that it comes in. I headed right down to my studio and ironed the hummingbird onto the Evolon. I set the iron for the polyester setting, but didn’t hold it on the surface for too long. The transfer worked great, going on really smoothly except for a few bits here and there, which added an uneven effect that I like. Then I cut up pieces of the kaleidoscope and ironed it around the edges as a frame. I ironed the Evolon to a piece of stabilizer for a backing, and sewed around the edges. Finally, I stitched on a hen’s feather. This is the piece:

Evolon Hummingbird HoveringNot sure yet how I’m going to mount or hang it. I’m just enjoying having it here to look at and feel. Really love the smooth, leather-like texture of the Evolon.

I know I didn’t take full advantage of Evolon’s special properties, I just wanted to see how it took the TAP. Next experiment, I’ll coat it with Digital Ground or inkAid and print directly onto it. Now, that’s REALLY my idea of fun!

Photo of the week

My first in a series of weekly posts, where I show you a photo I took, throw in a little background … short and sweet!

Buckeye wing in spider web

A bright color caught my eye as I glanced out my bedroom window.  This is one wing of a buckeye butterfly, caught in a spider’s web. Buckeye butterflies are common in our area.  Below is a photo I took last year.

Buckeye butterfly on milkweed flowerYou can see what the entire butterfly looks like — this one was feeding on the milkweed in our garden. 

Buckeye collage

And one of my favorite kaleidoscopes, which I made by blending copies of my photograph of a buckeye. Have you seen buckeyes in your yard?  This is the wikipedia entry, if you want to learn more.

California Native Plant Society – 2010 Native Plant Fair

Bay leaf mandala

Bay leaf mandala

The East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society presents the 2010 Native Plant Fair at the Native Here Nursery, 101 Golf Course Drive in Tilden Park, Berkeley.  Fair hours are 10 to 3 on Saturday, October 16 and noon to 3 on Sunday, October 17.

Come for  a wonderful selection of local native plants, seeds and bulbs, lectures, books, posters and gifts — as well as to see the local photographers and craftspeople with their native and nature-related arts and crafts.  Free admission!

Trillium chloropetalum  in redwood sorrel

Trillium chloropetalum in redwood sorrel

I will be there both days — please stop by my table to say hello.  I’ll bring a great selection of my original nature-based arts and crafts works, including many prints of native plants, butterflies and insects, my fabric art, tile boxes, and much more!  I also have a new series of mandalas and mandalas that I created from my photograph of the California native Bay Leaf.

Bay leaf mandala

Bay leaf mandala

This event is a major source of funding for the East Bay CNPS.   Over twenty people volunteer regularly at the Native Here Nursery, open year round to benefit the chapter through sales of local native plants.  Click here for more information about the Fair, including a catalog of plants that will be for sale.

Digital collage on art board

How were the holidays for you? I had two 4-day weekends, bliss!  Between the nature walks that my husband and I took, a couple of holiday parties, and a lot of cleaning-up of my workspace, I only managed to get a bit of artwork done. While organizing my towering piles of craft books I unearthed an 8×10″ gessoed wooden art board and decided to transfer one of my digital collages onto it.

I had designed the collage a few weeks ago.  I started with a photo of a fallen tree with insect trails etched into it. I took the photograph on Albany Hill, a small local hill where monarch butterflies overwinter.  We went in November to see whether any monarchs were there. We only saw a few, sadly — we had seen many more there in previous years.

This is the photograph of the tree:

Fallen log

Fallen log

I blended the photo of the tree with a photograph of a fern that I took during a walk we took in Muir Woods.

Fern

Fern

In blending the photographs, I worked to make the colors vivid, and kept the fern image subtle so you only see a tracing of it.

Fallen tree fern collage

Fallen tree fern collage

I liked the collage, but put it aside and hadn’t decided what to do with it. When I pulled out the art board, I thought it might work well.  Before printing it though, I had an idea. There are a number of designs I have produced from elements of my photographs with a great kaleidoscoping program called Kaleider. I mostly use them for my Garden Design Fabrics that I sew into fabric vases, purses, light switch plates, etc.  I generally don’t use them in my mixed media artwork or digital collages, but I wanted to see if blending one of them with this collage might work.  I found one of the designs that had strong simple lines. Coincidentally, the one I chose to try first was a design that I made from a photograph I took on the same walk we took on Albany Hill, of another fallen log.

This is the kaleidoscoped version of elements of that photograph:

Log albany hill kaleidoscope

Log Albany Hill kaleidoscope

I very much liked the effect when I blended them!

Fallen tree fern collage with Albany Hill log

Fallen tree fern collage with Albany Hill log

Okay, enough explanation about how the blended collage came into being (people often ask me how I make my designs and it’s hard to explain without showing the originals, so I wanted to go into some detail here where I could show them).  On to my process for the transfer to the board. I’ve written much about using transfer artist paper (TAP), a polymer paper that I’ve had very good results with transferring onto several different surfaces.  This would be the first time I’ve tried to transfer onto a gessoed wood board. I printed the collage onto the TAP using the recommended settings: plain paper and medium quality. I printed it on the Epson Workforce 500, which I use for the workshops I teach. The durabrite ultra inks are pigment and have worked well with the TAP.  I forgot the first lesson of printing a transfer: REVERSE the image. Oops, but the collage is abstract so it didn’t really matter.  I placed the TAP on the wood board and began to iron it, using the iron’s highest setting. I could hear the transfer hissing a little, which I’ve come to learn means that it’s working. I peeled up a bit of the TAP and checked, and was delighted to see that the transfer was indeed transferring.  After a few more passes of the iron, the entire transfer had completed.  As with my other TAP pieces, there’s a very pleasing texture caused by the polymer.  To protect the print, I applied two layers of varnish and then went searching for a frame.  I unearthed an old wooden frame of exactly the right size that I had found at an estate sale. I think it complemented the collaged board beautifully! Here it is, see what you think:

Albany Hill digital collage

Albany Hill digital collage