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Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Happy Birthday" – Art Nouveau

This week’s Sunday Postcard Art challenge was “Happy Birthday” in celebration of their one-year anniversary. I made an art nouveau theme, using several images. I had to recreate part of the banner, then I colored it. I also added some swirl designs to it, as well as the message on it. The background is a replicated flower border. When I was done, I added some lighting effects to give it texture and depth.

Friday, May 29, 2009

"Wild Animals"

This week’s Think Monday – Think ATC challenge was “Wild Animals.” This is my first entry for this challenge, and my first Artist Trading Card (ATC). I love rhinoceros, so that is the focus of my ATC. (There are two in the picture.) I used several images to create this. The images are from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery. I never made an ATC before, so I hope I did this right. The size is 3.5 x 2.5 inches, and I used 96 pixels/inch.

Sat May 30, 2009 05:30 EDT: I experimented with lighting effects and created this version, which has texture to it. I like how it turned out.


This week’s Thank God It’s Friday challenge was “Architecture.” This is my first entry for this challenge. I’ve wanted to “make a book” for awhile now, and this seemed like a good opportunity to do that. Egypt was this week’s theme for the Tag It On challenge, so I used it here as well. I made up the book title, and the author’s name is a play on my initials and blog name.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Art Creations Friday" - Challenge 28

This is my picture for the Art Creations Friday May 29, 2009 challenge (the 28th one). This is my first entry for this challenge. The challenge site provided the background image. All of the other images are from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery. The smaller circles in the background reminded me of honeycombs, so I created a “bee” theme.

"Walk Like An Egyptian"

This week’s Tag It On challenge was “Walk Like An Egyptian.” The focal point is the Goddess Bast, and I used the blue Egyptian water lily for my tag fastening point. (I’m continuing with my idea to use a flower for that part of the tag.)

I apologize for the quality of the picture of the actual tag again. I’m still a novice at taking a picture of something I made.

Monday, May 25, 2009

"Gothic Arch" – Garden Sprite (problem with uploaded image)

Since I started doing the Sunday Postcard Art challenges, when I look at everyone’s postcards, I’ve noticed some people have been doing a “Gothic Arch” challenge. Their creations looked wonderful and it looked like a really cool challenge. But I was a novice, so I didn’t venture beyond SPA. Recently, I started looking for new ones to do, to expand on my creativity. I’ve done two Tag It On challenges, and I’m thinking about doing the Art Creations Friday one. I looked into the Gothic Arch challenge, but it’s by invitation only. So, I made my own, after I saw what someone said the theme was, even though I don’t know what the rules/requirements are for making one. I’m just doing this for myself, to have fun.

First, I created a Gothic Arch template. I got the arch from Clipart ETC and modified it. Then I colored it. The end result is the template I will use every time I do a Gothic Arch challenge, but I don’t know how often that will be.

Technical notes to myself: Something is very wrong with the image uploaded to my blog. The arch (background) is very blurry, but it doesn't look that way on my computer. And I see the pixel "ghost" problem on the blog, but that isn't in my image. Awwrrrr!!! I might have to yank this post. The picture looks awful! :-(

Tue May 26, 2009 19:25: I had to compromise and change the arch color to green. After spending a lot of time on this, and even adding lines for the stone blocks, I still had a problem with blue colors appearing blurry when I uploaded the image. TODO: I need to revisit this problem, to determine what it is.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

"Numbers" – Math and Science

This week’s Sunday Postcard Art challenge was “Numbers.” My postcard is a math and science theme. I colored the picture of the man, Humphry Davy. The quote is from Avogadro constant.

I also decided to make a “Number People” postcard (see below), to get more practice using GIMP.

"Numbers" – Number People – Prima Donnas

This week’s Sunday Postcard Art challenge was “Numbers.” I wanted to create “Number People” similar to the “living playing cards” in Alice in Wonderland and the “postage people” from last week’s challenge. The medieval numbers are from Clipart ETC. I might experiment more with “Number People.”

Friday, May 22, 2009

"Oriental - China Blue"

This week’s Tag It On challenge was “Oriental - China Blue.” I used Asian theme stamps and an oriental painting. I used a “China Blue” value of RGB 0x79A9DB (121, 169, 219), which I found with a Google search. I used both GIMP and PhotoPlus to create this.

I apologize for the quality of the picture of the actual tag. This was my first time taking a picture of something I made. I included the original image as well, but the printed out blue looks much nicer. And I couldn’t find my box of ribbons, after scouring a very hot attic for it, so I had to use a ribbon I took off of something else.

Technical notes to myself: I originally liked how the “flower” came out for the top of the tag, but when I was done, it looked more like a “flower power” symbol, so I don’t like it anymore. (Sat May 23, 2009 05:20 EDT: I should’ve modified this when I posted it, to say that when I printed and cut out the tag, I liked the flower again. So I might use it again next time.)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"Postage People" - Bette Davis

This week’s Sunday Postcard Art challenge was “Postage People.” I never heard of these before, so I don’t know whether or not I made mine correctly, but I had fun doing it. My primary postcard is Bette Davis. I also decided to make Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe (see below), to get more practice using GIMP. I got their heads (postage stamps) from the US post office. The bodies are made from other sources, and are not their own. For a detailed description, see blog post "Postage People" - Detailed Description below.

Friday, May 15, 2009

"Postage People" - Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe

"Postage People" - Detailed Description

This week’s Sunday Postcard Art challenge was “Postage People.” Fortunately Marion, who came up with the challenge, made a YouTube tutorial video on how to make one. I wanted to use a vintage stamp but I couldn’t find any with a head that I liked, so I went to the post office, to see what they had. I was ecstatic as soon as I saw Bette Davis, and knew she was the stamp for me!

Using a Google search, I found a woman wearing a similar, but lighter colored coat, and used her for the top of the body. I got the coat color to match very closely by duplicating and multiplying the layer. I also had to alter the coat, because it was too long for what I wanted.

I found the bottom of the body and the pictures of Bette Davis on the New York Public Library Digital Gallery. I used GIMP to make her two film photographs look like slide negatives. I used part of an art deco picture to construct the border, and did one last Google search to add the film reel. The background is a cloud layer overlaid with a green layer.

I wasn’t sure whether or not part of the “postage people” technique was to make the stamp blend into everything else so you can’t tell it’s not part of the original picture. I didn’t do that. I left most of the stamp border intact, and only erased at the shoulders, to show that the two blend together.

I also made this a tribute to Bette Davis. She is one of my favorite actresses. They don’t make actresses like her anymore.

I had fun making this postcard, so I decided to make a few more, using stamps from the post office and images from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.

Frank Sinatra: I modified the stamp so that his hat was complete. The background sky is a cloud layer overlaid with a blue layer.

Marilyn Monroe: I colorized the picture I put her on, then made some minor modifications to it, to make it blend with her. I used PhotoPlus to create a pseudo-art-deco border, then used a pattern fill in GIMP, to change its color appearance.

All of that might sound like it was easy to do, but it was time consuming, and required some meticulous steps, too. But I enjoyed myself, and I like the way some of these challenges have the additional benefit of having me learn new things.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Fairies at the bottom of the Garden" - tweaked

There are two things I don’t do:

1) “Quick and dirty.” I either do something right, or I don’t do it at all.
2) Go back and fix something that’s already complete. If there are flaws, I treat them as lessons learned and move forward, and correct those mistakes/flaws in future creations I make.

Seeing how I broke rule number 1, and did a “rush job” to create my submission for this week’s Tag It On challenge, I decided to break rule number 2 and try to fix it. I had an idea of how I wanted to try to merge the two images, so I gave it a shot. I fixed some major flaws, but I still don’t like the abrupt vertical transition between the two. I’m not keen on the clouds either. But I’m done with this now, and am moving forward with the lessons learned from it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Fairies at the bottom of the Garden"

This week’s Tag It On challenge was “Fairies at the bottom of the Garden.” I was too late creating mine to make the challenge. I put mine together quickly, after seeing Frankie’s comment on my blog. (I had seen her new challenge mentioned on Kris’ blog, so I added a link for it on mine then, but I hadn’t done the first one.) Anyway, I made this, but I don’t like how the smudging came out, and I don’t fully comply with the rules, since it doesn’t have a fastening.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! I made these for my Mom.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

"Alice in Wonderland"

This week’s Sunday Postcard Art challenge was “Alice in Wonderland.” I never read the book, so my knowledge about the story was very limited. My postcard shows the scene where Alice meets the caterpillar sitting on the mushroom, smoking a hookah. I created a background to convey the idea that she’s in some bizarre world, and not our normal one.

Technical notes to myself: This week I used 128 pixels/inch for the image. The image looks larger, but it still prints out as a 4x6 inch image. I’m used to working with it as a 96 pixels/inch image, so I’m going to go back to that.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

"Black and White"

This week’s Sunday Postcard Art challenge was “Black and White.” I thought this theme would be easy to do, until I tried to come up with an idea and make it. I get great ideas, but since I can’t draw, I have to find copyright free clip art/images that I can combine together to create the picture I want to paint. That never turns out to be easy with what I imagine in my mind.

My postcard shows an outdoor ball, with the dancers under lantern lighting. I converted the final image to black and white using GIMP’s Colors – Desaturate – Luminosity. I then added two layers and used GIMP’s pattern fill on them, to create a grainy affect, to make it look like an older picture. I used pattern Ice in Mode Multiply, and pattern Slate in Mode Grain merge with the Opacity set to 70.2 percent.

That was my “primary” image, which I exported as a jpeg file. I applied GIMP’s Filters – Artistic – Softglow on it and saved that as another jpeg file. Then I created a new GIMP file, copied each jpeg in as a layer, with the “primary” layer as the topmost. I erased the lanterns on it, to allow the ones on the softglow image’s to appear. They were brighter and more like the original ones before I converted it to black and white. I exported the GIMP file as my final jpeg postcard.

A thank you goes to Shannon, who had an example of doing this erasing technique on her blog, and who told me the link where I could find the tutorial on how to do this. Although the tutorial is for PhotoShop, the same instructions can be applied to any other tool with similar commands. The tutorial is here.

Technical notes to myself: This week I only used GIMP to create my postcard. The reason I had problems with the quality of the image I created in GIMP last week is because PhotoPlus defaulted to a resolution of 96 pixels/inch when I created 4x6 or 6x4 images in it. GIMP has that setting under the Advanced Options, and it defaults to 72 pixels/inch. So besides setting the image size, I also need to set the resolution. TODO: Experiment with the resolution setting in both and see what affect it has.

Friday, May 1, 2009

I'm a ham!

Last night I took and passed the Technician test to become licensed as an amateur radio operator! I studied intensely for the past week and a half, after finding out they were giving the test on April 30. I got 34 out of 35 questions right. I have personal reasons for pursuing this so intently in such a short time frame, but I don’t want to put them on my blog. But now I’m a ham! Yippee!!