Thursday, June 14, 2018

Red Poppy

I could say a million things but you'd eventually be bored. My life seems to be changing. Perhaps it's actually my priorities.
I'm no longer a servant to the public or an audience. (A creation of my own doing which I know I'm not the only one who's fallen into the cyber world black hole.) Don't get me wrong, I've met many wonderful people. But I feel I've let my 'real' life be robbed.
I've had so much more peace just doing what ever I want (to a degree) or feel like.
More time in the garden this year. (And not even with my camera!)
I've played with dyeing papers.
Making a book of paper and fabric.
Getting a sourdough starter going and making a few wonderful things so far. (Including the best chocolate cake I've ever eaten.)
Built a double compost bin and have begun to fill it.
I pick up 4 trash cans full of horse poop from a friend every week for future garden fertilizer.
Planted tons more flowers than usual this year, unfortunately the heat has been hard on them.
Spent some time going through 'old' things and organizing the junk and tools our 'barn'.
Redesigning part of the garden and working up plans for a 'garden house'.
Since I got out of my usual habit of editing on my iPad in the evenings during those months of working on Blake's parents house, I've done very little art. I kind of miss it but I'm just not real inspired right now. I did this poppy at least a month ago. Never did get around to posting it on Instagram then either.
Lots of questions to be answered. Keep this blog going? What about my website that I haven't updated in about 2 years? A mirror-less camera or just use the phone?
Wish I had a secretary.
Mostly done in iColorama.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Eco Printing on Paper

Eco Printing has fascinated me to no end. I finally watched some Youtube videos last week and Friday decided it's now or never! And in the last four days I have made four batches!
 I had inherited a perfect pan from my mother in law which held my 11x14 papers nicely. I used 90lb. watercolor paper then added a couple sheets of Bristol to see how it did. It performed great also.
I decided to be more organized while assembling my second batch and took photos of each layer. I also wanted to know what plants were making which colors and what not to bother repeating. It was also interesting to see the difference in the top and bottom of the prints.
Layer 1, oak leaves, cotteneaster, (don't know the burgundy plants name.) I loved the round impressions the Cotteneaster leaves made. This is one of my favorites.

Layer 2, dried pressed maples from my fall trip, honey locust and tiny seed thingies from the neighbors tree that is also unfamiliar. The seed things grow into helicopter like seeds similar to a maple and left great tiny black specs in the paper. (I've pressed a ton of these for later use.)

Layer 3, decided to try more of my saved pressed leaves from our trip out east plus a couple rusty washers and nails and three chrysanthemum leaves. (The dried things proved to work just fine.)

Layer 4, more dried leaves. The ginkos turned out a lot paler but gave off a bit of yellow color. I sprinkled seed buds from just finished blooming Victoria Blue Salvia. It left some wonderful blue marks.

Layer 5, more honey locust, purple pansy petals, Victoria Blue Salvia stems with seed buds sprinkled.  These added a little purple and blue to the mix. Note the rusty area that bled through from the leaf underneath the paper.

Layer 6, honeysuckle (very subtle), crepe myrtle leaves (the darkest), rose leaves (impressed with those), pink salvia and more seed things from the neighbors.

My top layer, for weight and just to see what it would do. I love what it did!

This is a view of all the back sides except the first layer.
I placed an 8x11 sheet of index paper 90lb on the very bottom of the pan and it left this great border.

And because the pan was dark and blotchy look how cool this paper turned out! Even though it was 90lb, it was so fragile I had to be extra careful while rinsing it. I did this on each batch and everyone turned out different.

 I topped off all my layers with a piece of 2x12 wood and a brick. Added water I had already brought to a boil in a kettle and added about 1/2 C of vinegar.  Brought it to a boil again and simmered for 2 hrs. My third batch was only simmered 30 minutes and did just as good. Let it set to cool and then rinsed. (I've read of people only cooking for 10 minutes or so too. Or even baking in the oven.)
These are the papers I used.

One batch I sprinkled a few coffee grounds on some of the papers. It didn't leave speckles like I had hoped but it did give a warmer tone to the papers.
Today's batch I added a pinch of turmeric and some ground cloves to one sheet. (Half pinch would have been enough enough, but three layers down looked great.)

 Chinaberry blossoms make great prints, as do the leaves.

Flowers that left interesting marks. Pink peony petals, red rose petals, daisy petals, red poppy petals and their black stamens, Chinaberry blossoms.
Other things. Strips of purple fountain grass and miniature monkey grass cut up in half inch lengths. (Reminded me of chopped chives.)

Even the papers that were so-so, will be great for journaling. I know I will be cutting some up and making little books. I recently found someone on Instagram who is a dyeing maniac.  It would be so awesome to take a class from her. I just drooled over her whole Instagram feed for a couple hours last night. You can find her at @orlyavineri

And if you want to watch "The Big Reveal", my neighbor came over and I filmed us rinsing the papers. (Ignore the part about 140 lb. paper, it was 90lb.) on Vimeo.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Mobile Art Monday Poppy Pods

It's time for a mobile edit tutorial of sorts. Life threw me a curve the past 12 months but perhaps I can get back on a more creative track. 

I like using 'real paint' and making 'gelli' prints on paper. I take photos of these and sometimes they will find a place in my photo edits. These are the two images I worked on in Leonardo on my iPhone.

After a little experimenting with blend modes on the two prints, I ended up duplicating the red layer and set the blend mode to hard light on the second copy and shifted its position. Then I turned the yellow/green layer into black and white (Under Fx-Threshold), moved it to the top and set the blend mode to multiply. Shown in this screen shot of the Leonardo app.

 I opened it in Snapseed to crop and save for future use.

While playing around with this image of poppy pods in Snapseed,,,
I discovered the app now did double exposure. That basically means you can add an image layer and change the blend mode to get a new look. So I imported my edited gelli print and played with the blend modes til I found one I liked.

I wanted to ‘outline’ the pods a bit for more definition, so I opened the original in iColorama. Style>Edges>#8 Apply. Adjust>Levels adjusted the Gamma and Max Input to lighten any gray areas. Saved to camera roll.

In Procreate I layered the Snapseed double exposure and the iColorama ‘sketch’, setting that layer to multiply causing the white to disappear. I reduced the opacity some and on a new layer drew in additional lines and erased what I didn't want.  I also did my version of cloning which was cut and paste on areas that should have been cloned out before editing.

I found a quote that I wanted to add so in the app Over, I added the text layer.

Not quite satisfied, I imported that image back into Procreate and moved the whole thing to the left. Then duplicated it and moved the left to the right side and flipped part of it horizontally. After many more duplications and moving pieces around (including the text), I ended up with this.

A couple days later I decided to add the falling seeds in Procreate using the stipple brush. (I felt it was quite appropriate for the quote and I love their little seeds.) Then I added the extra piece in the lower right corner which was also made from several gelli prints.

Next time I'll show you some editing tricks with gelli prints. Can't wait!
Have a great Mobile Art Monday!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Renovation Transformation

I can't believe my last post was in January (oh, actually I can. Not sure if I'm embarrassed or not.... no I guess I'm not.)

In reference to my word of the year, that last post ended with this statement. "So who really knows what this year will bring, but I'm ready."  (My word..... TRANSFORMED.)

First Transformation 2018....
Last weekend was the first we got to spend at home since Jan 23. We took the RV to the in-law's place and began demolition. Hubby stayed the whole time with the exception of a day here or there for meetings or paper signings. I did hair 2 days a week and spent the other 5 in renovation mode. The plan is to sell the house, which hadn't been kept up in a long time.

The kitchen isn't finished. (Waiting for the countertop to come in.) They called (3 weeks ahead of schedule) to announce it's arrival. Our hearts sank, only because we were tired and needed a break. We picked it up, but it is being stored in our 'barn' until we are ready. 

Last week our dog of 15 years has decided he's tired. Our walks are much shorter and he's not eating as much. No more running and jumping for him so we are not leaving town overnight for awhile.

I wish (sort of) that I had before images of the bathroom. It had no shower, probably the original cast-iron tub, a toilet and a pedestal sink that was only 20 years old. It also had an extra 3-4 feet of wasted space. We gave it a tub with shower and a gorgeous 5' marble topped two sink vanity. It now has a new floor, wood vinyl plank (grey) and new outlets, mirrors and light fixtures. It had been gutted so the sheet rock and texture are also new.
I did find a photo in process. I wish the pink and ecru ruffly curtain was still hanging over the ancient shade.

Blake replumbed everything.

Priming my new texture.

Tadaa! A finished bathroom! 
It was first on the list for obvious reasons of convenience.

I could seriously do this every day. Well... most of it. I have carpenter's blood in my veins from both sides of my family.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Digital Dilemma

My word of 2018... You'll have to read to end for that......

It's come to the point of feeling like my mind is fractured. Like split into a hundred pieces and I'm not even me anymore.
I noticed a few months ago as I was spending my mornings doing projects around the house or yard that I was feeling good, like a normal person. (Or what used to be a 'normal' person.) You see, I had succumbed to the digital age trap and was 'losing' myself.
A few years back I can honestly say it took me on a journey of self-discovery but now it was to the point that I had let a monster consume me. I had days that I felt like a zombie and had accomplished nothing that whole day.
I read this last week in an email and thought... Yes, you hit it on the head! (If you care to read..)
If your cellphone dominates your life – if, like most people, you carry it everywhere and you check it continually – this little device could be making significant changes inside your brain.
Smartphones were introduced just a little over ten years ago. Now they’re a universal distraction and obsession. According to the Pew Research Center, 46 percent of all Americans say they are so dependent on these devices they cannot live without them.1      ..............
A study performed in Asia that involved young men who are “addicted” to their phones and the Internet found significant chemical changes in brain tissue. The researchers peered into brains using an MRS (Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy), a type of MRI (Magnetic Resonance imaging) that categorizes the brain’s chemical composition.
The study also measured to what degree the participants were hooked on surfing the Internet and compelled to spend time on their phones.
The first finding was disturbing: those who displayed the highest degree of addiction also suffered the most intense depression, insomnia, anxiety and impulsivity.2
And when the scientists measured levels of neuro-chemicals in the brains of these young men, they found elevated amounts of GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) – a neurotransmitter that slows down and restricts the signals exchanged among neurons. GABA is also part of the brain’s system that influences vision and muscle control as well as regulating anxiety.
Plus, the tests revealed reduced amounts of Glx (glutamate-glutamine) – a neurotransmitter that excites and stimulates neurons.
In these smartphone “addicts,” the ratio of GABA to Glx was significantly higher in the brain’s anterior cingulate cortex. That’s an area of the brain that is involved in the moderation of heart rate and blood pressure while also taking part in decision making and emotional changes.
The researchers say the increases in GABA can cause an increase of anxiety and fatigue. They think that having extra GABA in the anterior cingulate gyrus can also affect your ability to learn new information and process memories properly.  It goes on to talk about how the light effects your lack of melatonin production in the evening too.
Now I can honestly say that on days I've let my computer and other devices take a back seat I am WAY less stressed, anxious and seem more focused. Since Thanksgiving, I've spent more time doing mixed media projects, drawing and painting and have been a lot more calm. I posted way less on Instagram in December than any month (which is unusual for me.) Hardly looked at Facebook since then, although that's never been a daily thing. And I've barely done any editing of photos on my iPad in 2 months. I am trying to shoot at least one Hipstamatic shot a day for a 365. (which will end up being 30 if I'm lucky. And I've already cheated.)
Yes the internet has enriched my life but it's also taken it over. And I've let it. I have quit striving to live up to what I think others expect of me. So I guess that mean I'll be 'quitting' a few things. Some are hard to do though. It's hard because it feels like I'm either giving up or I've failed. But they just aren't worthy of my precious time.
Which reminds me.... my word for this year is TRANSFORMED. I didn't pick it, it picked me last November. I knew the minute I heard it that was my word. And if it wasn't I wouldn't have remembered it. ha, ha, ha, ha!
So who really knows what this year will bring, but I'm ready.