Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Stepping back and getting down to SIMPLE

I made a specific decision to get away from digital this week. Although I have found out how to use one or two new tools in my photoplus 6.0, but more of that in my next post.

Yes, this week I have made a few real physical, collaged atc's; and in so doing have rediscovered a yen for the simple life. You know... a background, a main image and ................. little else!

Take this first example...........

I have called this, " ...and the music turned his head". Another of those scraps of material which I used recently, I knew I could make use of them when I found them in a craft shop. I found the girl's image and thought it was just what I needed for this one. But she did look lonely so when I saw Robbie Burns, I knew just what to do with him. Couldn't quite get away from thinking it necessary to add a few embellishments at this stage, so out came the red, lacy edging and a few little sequins ( have I ever used them before? Never!). At this point I managed to consider it finished. One of the problems with this atc was I didn't want to cover the background - seemed a shame!
But........ I could be even more basic..........

This I called, " the hottest fire in the world, probably". With apologies to a famous lager advert!
I was actually trying to make an atc with a theme of fire ... well, I suppose it sort of worked out this way, but the images of the drinkers sort of took over. Found them in a magazine and decided that I could make a better composition with them than the photographer. I think I shortened the standing guy just a little too much, in hindsight.

and then.....

"This is where I planted my petunias". Originally cut these dancers from the same magazine, to use against the fire background. You can imagine the sort of title I was working on. But loas, they did not give enough contrast, oh for a little tweak with the digital toolbox! Anyway, I came across this garden scene and quickly changed my mind. Problem..... and I have come up against this before. When glueing flimsy images, do not use glue sticks! I lost the girls pony tail ( stuck on separately) and his nose, did you notice? I also lost a little of his torso, hence the butterfly; at least it does sort of fit in. It was actually a die-cut shape from an aluminium drinks can. Needs a little bit of pressure but it does work without damaging the cutter too much.
The last two were made using a background paper recycled from a smal gift bag. When I saw it I loved the images, but found it difficult to cover them up again.

The first, "this ole house..... rocks" resulted from a desire to match the main image with the modern looking background image. A jazz musician! I put the ADT tape house in because again I thought the shiny look felt quite modern (although it doesn't look too shiny in this image). Don't ask me why a rock and roll song title came into my head as a foil for the jazz musician.


Now, can you get any more simple than this? A slightly off centre image (oh yes it is!) on the same recycled background. AND why not a modern image? Just wanted to use this dancer .... again. Do I need a good reason for everything, I am an artist! Just couldn't find it in my heart to cover the background up any more than I already had. I do still have a few scraps of this paper left so look out for it in future atc's, LOL.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

digital collages 'R' us

There's no stopping me. I really am having fun with these things. I still feel a little like I am cheating but I am under the spell of this media at the moment. I am still doing a few cut-and-paste images, and don't want to stop that but every time I sit down at the computer these days it seems like I want to start building up a picture, especially if I come across a great background (for example). I have started to create one or two backgrounds from scratch and do find this to be much more satisfying, and also using my own (painted) images but there is so much stuff to use lying around on the web that I just gotta use it.

Here are two more digital collages, both were created for the Make It Mondays challenge on Lisa Vollraths site. I like this challenge as if I miss one week I can catch up without recriminations - there's no pressure on this one to meet any expectations.

the first is called Egyptian Kings, you will be surprised to learn the theme was egypt. I am not really satisfied with this one as it is too symetrical for my liking. Got carried away with flipping the images is my excuse. I do however like the centre of the piece and may well play with it to get a more satisfying effect. This of course is the beauty of digital; you can always rearrange it without any problems.

This one is called (tongue-in-cheek) The Lion King. I wanted a Tiger but couldn't find a useable image; however the lion gave the piece a title. Again flipping the image of the little girl clowns seemed like a good idea.... but I am not absolutely happy, need to work on this idea. The background for this one is self created by painting and modifying in Serif Photoplus.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Out of my comfort zone

I am in a group which has recently run a swap where the them was based on the FIRST NAMES of the participants. I foolishly agreed to participate..........

there were nine of us when the sign-up closed and that meant we each had to create eight atc's featuring the first names of the other participants. It doesn't sound hard but without knowing the likes and dislikes of the others, where do you start? I decided that I would make them all using lettering that I had in my stash - various self adhesive and moulded pieces. I used magazine images for the backgrounds and found a number of ribbons and 3-D embellishments - all the things which I don't normally use but have found that I have been collecting. A very long way from the paper collages which I have made my stock in trade.

Anyway, not my usual style but here they are: I hope my partners in the swap find them acceptable.


I have put a surprising amount of effort into these and am reasonably pleased with the reults. As I say, very different from my usual output and maybe not very adventutous in terms of technique. However this has to be one of the most difficult themes I have undertaken. A shot in the dark, probably best describes it. Hope you like them ladies.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Getting silly with digital collages

Can't keep me away from my new toy - my photo manipulation software. In my case as I have mentioned this is the free version of Photoplus from Serif. Restricted as it is, it has all the functionality that I can manage just now. If you have never tried digital collaging, you don't know what you are missing.

This new collage is me getting a little silly. I called it "dependable or fun"


I have really hurried this one and having found out how to use the magnetic lassoo selection tool the edges of the images are a little broken. Particularly noticeable under the ear on the young man's face. But as I am enjoying myself and learning how to use the software, I am not here looking for perfection - that may come later - much later!
I created the background myself from a few images, mainly a matrix of clock faces and swirls. The main images are the victorian lady (courtesy eggstudio on Flickr) and the young man courtesy of Elizabeth Golden. The bell boy is from a Gitanes advert ( Dover Publishing), there are several other smaller images used and I hope the artists concerned will forgive me not mentioning them this time.
Again, I am using selection / cutting / resizing and pasting into layers which are then given various levels of transparency. Don't think I used any recolouring here but that's about the limit of my abilities at the moment. The next collage, does use images where I have used the colour balance slider controls.


I have used a ready made background here (thanks to cassandra204 on Flickr) and the image was set by Margaret as a subject for this weeks MAMMA challenge on Flickr. I have used three different colour versions of the same image and I have also flipped the blue image to make the trio more interesting compositionally. I have just realised that I haven't yet given this piece a name. As I said I am still playing and the name is not too important for me with these although It is usually a very important feature of my art works. The title Spring Flowers comes to mind, and will do as a working title until and unless I come up with something different.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

cut, paste and stick - again

Well after going on about my digital collages and how they might be perceived, I decided to actually get stuck ( no pun intended) in and make a few good-old fashioned collages. With MAMMA starting up again and the NI group lottery entry due, I had the perfect excuse. And so the following pieces were created:-


The first was my entry for MAMMA (theme of man or men), I called it "Gypsy Love Song", what else. As I said on my Flickr page, music, cars and women are alluded to here and I didn't forget man's best friend. A simple cut out and stick down piece, I have kept to a black and white colour scheme as the image of the man was one I wanted to use and it was B&W.


The second is another cut out and glue piece. I decided to not include any girls/women as these invariably crop up when the theme is Paris. This was for this month's NI group lottery. I looked at the Eiffel Tower and wanted to use something else, and thought that the double towers of Notre Dame ( I think this is right?) complemented the tower perfectly. What else to use? Well the background was a page of french text ( you can see the word PARIS and little else) and I found a couple of posters and the french stamps. They all seemed to fit well and left me with the muted colour scheme. I was happy with this.

The last gave me the opoortunity to use some textile material which I have had around for some time. I bought about a dozen pieces from a craft shop bin, and have never used them - do you find you collect lots of stuff and wait ages to use it?


The images were two I had handy which seemed to fit in with the general colour scheme, and the lady in the moon was a charm which again I had handy. It does pay to collect stuff. ANy way, I called this " just wait till the bass kicks in". It looked to me as if they were enjoying the music, and I wanted to add a little humour.

Mmmm, colour and humour; seems to define many of my ATC's. Hope you like these, I am off now to make a set of a dozen cards- each bearing the first name of its intended recipient. Its different! Will post these when they are all ready.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

still digitally collaging

Can't seem to get away from these. It is so easy to sit down at the keyboard and start creating art. No messy adhesives or having to cut out images with scissors and then finding that it is the wrong size or colour; or could it be just a little less contrasty to merge with the background? AND no more moaning from my OH (bless her) because of the mess I am having to clear up afterwards.

Digital collages are here to stay ( well for me at any rate). I do have a worry however! I have made so many friends over the past 18 months due to swapping atc's and will have to make sure that I do not forget this important part of this wonderful hobby that I have fallen into. In fact if you are someone who swaps, would you consider accepting a "one-off" digitally created image. In other words a very limited edition print, which has been layered to thick card for longevity, and should it be on glossy or matte paper? I would love to hear your opinions.

Here are my latest creations:-


The first I call, "My Valentine". I actually painted this background myself (digitally , of course) and altered it by using a mixture of effects available in the software. The couple and the cross are from collage sheets by Kim Newberg and the butterflies downloaded from Dover Publications free samples. It was made with a challenge swap in mind on Kims group, however I decided to make a cut and paste atc in the end; chickened out, I suppose you could say.


This second collage I call "Memories". the background is an old oil painting sketch from wayback and I have also incorporated a graphite portrait of my own. The couple are again from Kim Newberg. There are a few other images ( source unknown) which were downloaded from the web as free to use.

As I said I am enjoying ceating these digital collages but I would be really pleased to hear your views of swapping prints as ATC's.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Digital collages

Although I haven't been doing much crafting ove the holidays, I haven't been absolutely free of art. I started to play a little with the Serif Photoplus software and found out that I do indeed like using it. I started using it to draft potential collages and then I found that I liked the images that I was creating, went on to do more and forgot to print out the images and stick them down. Wow, I need to decide wether I am going to carry on with this new toy. If I do I am going to have to spend a lot more time with it, learning to use the great potential within it for art work.

the collages here have been created by cutting, resizing and/or altering the colours, pasting (using the layer tools to enable repositioning) and changing transparency, etc of the images to get a composition which represents the ideas I have been working towards. All very basic and simple but It does create great results. Of course like any collage the final image will depend to a considerable extent on the images used. I will reference the sources alongside the images.


I call this first one, " Drink it, it won't hurt you". The background image is from Kim Newberg and so is the female renaissance figure, the "door" and the roundel. Alice the white rabbit and the angels are from Dover Publications samples.


This one is called "Dreamtime" , all the images are cut from my own artwork. The background is acrylic, the trees and the sun are pastels, the figure and the flowers are from watercolour paintings.


the last one is calle "Beware True Love". The background is from Stars*go*blue on Flickr and all the other images are from Dover samples.

I can see myself doing a lot more of this type of work in the future. It will not take over completely however, because I enjoy swapping ATC's too much to back away from that now.