Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Evolution of Stumpy

I was out walking and had my camera with me. I noticed a tree stump that had two nutshell halves sitting on it. When I took a closer look, I saw a face in the tree stump. Do you see it?

I wondered who had left the nuts. I like to think it was a squirrel, but it could have been kids. I took a picture of the stump and, in Photoshop, let "Stumpy" evolve.



And here's Stumpy!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Antares Revisited

In a previous post I wrote about the yacht, Antares, and created a picture in Photoshop using a photograph we'd taken of Antares.

I carry notecards and ACEOs in my two Etsy shops (Uncommon Cloth and Paper Press), and I wanted to make use of this image. Unfortunately, I'd done an 8"x10" picture, and the proportions didn't work right for either the notecard or the ACEO. Back to the drawing board.... My new image ended up being horizontal in orientation rather than vertical. Actually, I like it even better than the first image!

I've used "Silver Sail" for both a notecard and an ACEO.
Then I decided to use Antares' silhouette with a different sunset.
This one turned out "vertical" rather than "horizontal." While the reflection in the water looks anything but real, I liked the look of image, especially the rich colors.

I named this image "Antares Sunset" and again used it in both a notecard and an ACEO. If you click on any of those links, you'll see that I show the original picture of Antares, as well as the sunsets that I used.
Etsy is an online site for selling all things handmade and vintage. If you've never heard of Etsy, and are interested, here's a link to their main page.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Walk in the Park

We live near a golf course where I enjoy going for walks. I go early morning or late evening when the golfers aren't on the course. I have a new digital camera that fits in my pocket, and I've been taking it with me on my walks. I LOVE this camera! It's a Canon PowerShot digital camera. It seems to take good pictures - regardless of what I'm doing with it. I also have a serious Photoshop addiction and enjoy working with my photos in that software.
Here are some of the images from my last two walks.
One of the water traps, with willow tree:
A pine tree:
A small stream:
This is the pampas grass that's growing in the back of the last picture:
And this is a wooden bridge that crosses a small stream. Part of a sand trap is visible in the background:
I've made notecards from two of these images and posted them in my Etsy shop, Paper Press, in the "New Notecard" section. One is Wooden Bridge and the other is Pampas Grass.
More photos to follow!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Frog Blog #5

Bad Boy Buddy

Introducing Buddy, a new character in the Frog Blogs.

(To see previous Frog Blogs, please use the search box on my blog and use "frog blog" for your keywords.)






(Click on article to enlarge.)



This wasn't good news for Buddy! After reading the newspaper article, he decided that it was time for him to head for parts unknown. He hopped into his classy new BMW and was on his way.












To be continued....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Memory Art #2 - Antares

Memory Art is art inspired by stories or photos from my past.
Antares
During our Virgin Island cruise on Fine Feather (see previous post), we were fortunate to go for a sail on a beautiful yacht named Antares. We were anchored at Caneel Bay on St. John when Antares came sailing through the cut between St. Thomas and St. John.


Antares was over 100 feet in length, more than twice the length of Fine Feather. Antares and her captain were from South Africa and had sailed from there to the Caribbean. The captain was friends with Fine Feather's crew, and when John and Linda saw Antares sailing through the cut, they loaded us in their Zodiac and we motored over to Antares, where we were all invited aboard. The sail continued for another hour or so, till Antares also anchored in a bay at St. John, and we returned to Fine Feather by dinghy. Fortunately, we had brought our camera along with us!





Ed was - and still is - the adventurous type, and he climbed out onto the bowsprit. He actually had to walk on the rope netting hanging over the water to get out there. (He also climbed to the top of one of the masts to help with the sail-setting.) I took his picture while he was sitting on the bowsprit. Ed then took my picture - I carefully passed the camera to him. No, I wasn't willing to go out on the bowsprit myself!










This time, for my "memory art," I decided to do a photocollage in Photoshop. I used the side view of Antares (above) and cropped the sailboat from that picture. Then I found a slide taken at St. Francis Bay on St. John.



I cropped this image, removed the small sailboat, and otherwise played photo-god. I then took the image of Antares, added it as a layer to the scene, and darkened it to make it show as a silhouette. My last step was using the Posterize filter to make it look a bit more painterly. Here's the final result:


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Memory Art #1 - Virgin Islands

Memory Art is art inspired by stories or photos from my past.

A Cruise in the Virgin Islands

When Ed and I first thought about living aboard on a sailboat, the idea sounded pretty crazy, especially to me. But one day, after a really boring, frustrating day at work, Ed brought the subject up again and I said yes, let's do it.

I remember going to work the next day after we had so casually made our momentous decision. At coffee break I sat with some of my co-workers and, during a lull in the conversation, I told them that Ed and I had decided to buy a sailboat and cruise the world. No one responded, and then the previous conversation was picked up again. During the next lull I said, "Listen! I just told all of you that we're going to go off on a sailboat and no one said anything." One of the women spoke what all of them were thinking: "Don't be silly. You'll never do that."

Ed also delivered the news at work that day - to his boss, Larry. Larry had an 18-foot sailboat and had taken us out sailing on a small lake (we lived in Michigan) a couple of times (my only experience with sailboats). I'm sure Larry was remembering how I had refused to even try my hand at the tiller when he responded to Ed, "Jeanie will never go."

It wasn't that our friends were judging me unfairly. I had never been the athletic/outdoorsy type. I never took part in any sports in school. I never walked when I could drive. Ed exposed me to camping, but I didn't take to it - all that dirt and discomfort and bugs. His efforts to teach me downhill skiing were also a dismal failure - I really didn't want to learn - and once I even managed to fall off the chair lift when we were about six feet off the ground.

All in all, I was probably one of your least likely candidates for the cruising life. That said, and thinking that a Caribbean vacation would be a treat, I suggested to Ed that we should go down to the islands so that I could get some real experience. A couple months later (this was in 1976), we decided to charter a sailboat (Fine Feather, a 46-foot Ericson) that came with a crew (captain and mate), and we flew south to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

It was a special week, being waited on hand and foot, gourmet meals three times a day, crew to handle the sailboat, island hopping each day through the Virgin Islands. Even I realized that it wouldn't be like that when we had our own boat!

This time on Fine Feather was a good opportunity for me to see if I could handle steering a boat.











Wow! I really look happy, relaxed, and in control in this photo. Let me explain why - we were at anchor and I was pretending to sail! When I really did take the wheel, it was a different story. Hardly even look like the same person.... John, Fine Feather's captain, was keeping an eye on things.








Now for my memory art. Of the many places we visited by boat that week, one was Briar's Creek on the island of Virgin Gorda. The first photo is a scan from one of our slides, and the second photo is cropped and adjusted for color/brightness in Photoshop. The "boat" in the background was firmly ashore and was being used as a beach bar.







Taking this scene, I used my inkjet printer to print the picture onto fabric, and then created a mini art quilt with it. Linda and John, Fine Feather's crew, can be seen off on the left of the picture. I thank them for the special memories!

Frog Blog #4

Kermit - The Early Days
(To see previous Frog Blogs, please use the search box on my blog and use "frog blog" for your keywords.)

Kermit now lives a sedate life with his friends in Lily Pond, U.S.A., but when Kermit was a young lad, he had many adventures. The times he most likes to recall were the years he spent working as a cook on a charter sailboat in the Caribbean. The sailboat, "The Good Ship Tropic Moon," had a crew of five. They enjoyed sitting on deck and soaking up the tropical ambience.



























One of Kermit's most exciting adventures was the day he fell overboard and was almost eaten by a shark! Here's the tale:
Frog Overboard
Kermit was emptying a bucket of water.
He leaned over the side - farther than he oughta.
And with a great splash he fell into the sea.
"Heavens to Piggy! What's to become of me"?
Just then a shark came swimming along,
"This looks like a tasty morsel, if I'm not wrong."
"Oh no!" exclaimed poor Kermit, floating alone,
"I'm all full of foam, not even one bone.
"You wouldn't enjoy eating poor little me.
There are much better meals afloat in the sea."
And so the shart thought, "Ah well, what the heck,"
And with a toss of his head, flipped Kermit back up on deck.
The crew was lined up along the port rail.
"We thought you were a goner," they started to wail.
"We'd have hated making entry into the log
Of how a great shark ate our little stuffed frog."
"I've learned my lesson, on that you can depend,
For one little mistake could bring a quick end.
I'll wear my safety harness while we're at sea,
So no fish will have reason to make a dinner of me"!













Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Julia Cairns

Julia Cairns is one of my favorite artists. Here's a link to Julia's website. Julia Cairns is a watercolor artist who specializes in paintings with African imagery. In 2004 I saw a calendar of her paintings and fell in love with her work. I contacted her and received permission to use her designs in my art quilts.
That year I made an art quilt that I called "Bequia," from the February 2004 calendar illustration. Three different fabrics from old thrift shop clothing were used for the background of the art quilt. For the dress, I folded the skirt fabric into pleats, which enabled me to run a border along the bottom of the dress. The rooster was great fun to make! I do enjoy naming things. My "island girl" is Anya and the rooster is named Red.

Another one of my art quilts was inspired by a painting by Julia called "Waiting for the Bus." During a recent visit to Julia's website, I discovered a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle of this painting. My husband and I lived on a sailboat for many years, and during our time in the Caribbean, I often stood on corners with the island women, waiting for the bus.... The painting certainly brought back a lot of memories!
For this art quilt, I painted the background foliage using Fabric Brush Markers. The flowers in the upper left corner were from the "dress fabric" worn by the woman on the right. They each have an earring, and the middle figure has a beaded necklace. From left to right, I've named them Dora, Evangeline (with her son Evan) and Frances.










I felt that Julia had been very generous in giving me permission to use her images. I made a small art quilt from her painting "Butterfly Boy" and sent it to her as a thank-you gift.

Julia Cairns images are also used on fabric from Cranston. I had been walking past the fabric section in Wal Mart one day when Julia's images, which are so unique, caught my eye. I bought some of the fabric and used some small figures and a dog in my art quilt called Parrot Bay.









"Waiting for the Bus" and "Bequia" now hang in one corner of my studio.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Lone Lake Mini Art Quilt

This small art quilt began when I painted on a piece of silk. I tend to try for a landscape almost every time I paint, and this time was no exception. It showed some promise, so I decided to scan it into Photoshop to try to further the design process. The painted silk was larger than my scanner surface, so I moved it around on the glass till I had the most promising image. This is what I scanned:


My next step was to print the image, using my inkjet printer, onto a cotton printer sheet. I removed the paper backing from the fabric, and made a quilt sandwich with batting and a backing fabric.


Then the fun part - extensive machine quilting to develop the image. It needed more, so I added a velvet brown tree, small yellow flowers from a piece of trim, and a white triangle to represent a sailboat.

My last step was to paint an 8x10" gallery-wrapped canvas, and mount my mini art quilt to the canvas. I chose "Lone Lake" as the name for this small art quilt.