I got to thinking about how I could improve my compositions. I came to the understanding that many of them didn’t have a focal point, something that would grab the viewer’s attention when the piece was first viewed. I think this is particularly true of “In the Hall of Masks.” (See previous post.) It’s a nice enough piece, but there’s really nothing for a viewer to latch onto. So I redid it by moving the right foreground character closer to the viewer and adding some glowing eyes. I think this strengthens the image. I also lowered the red saturation, which I felt was overdoing it, and I changed the text a bit. Here’s a look at the new image. I think it’s an overall improvement. What do you think?
I started something new today, doing Morning Pages as ideated by Julia Cameron. As Julia puts it:
“Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing,
done first thing in the morning. . . [they] provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and
synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put
three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.”
The activity is akin to meditation (which I also do) and it’s supposed to help with clear thinking, better ideas and less anxiety (something I’m not prone to feel too much). The main reason I’m doing it is to boost my creativity, another benefit which other people have mentioned .
I usually get up around 5:15 a.m. and go jogging around 6:30. The writing takes about 30 minutes, so I can easily do it before pounding the road. The idea is to write three legal-sized pages (about 750 words) of . . . whatever. It’s stream-of-consciousness writing, so whatever you feel like putting on paper, do it. I’m the only one who’s going to read it, and after I finished writing this morning, I crumpled up the paper, without reading what I wrote, and tossed it into the trash. (That’s one of the suggestions, not to read what you write until you’ve been doing the practice for a while.) Then, keep doing it every day.
I’m going to give this a try for a length of time. How long, I don’t know. Some people have been doing it for years and swear by it, saying they can’t start the day without doing their morning pages. So, hopefully this helps my “muse.” I’ll let you know what happens. More later.
Here’s my latest digital art creation, “In the Hall of Masks.” I originally created this for Halloween, but I didn’t finish it until a few days after. Better late than never, eh?
The photos of the masks and the dancers are mine from 2003 and 2004, when I attended the Mask-Dance Festival in Andong, South Korea, where I was teaching English at the time. All the other elements are from Pixabay. I used different blending modes, lighting effects and I ran a merged version through Topaz Labs 2.
After posting this to Facebook in a couple of art groups I belong to, I came back to it a few days later and discovered a few things that I should have done differently. I think it’s too red, and I should have moved one of the dancers closer to the viewer to give the piece a main focus point. I’ll probably go back and rework it later. Until then, enjoy.
In the hall of masks
High Heat is a baseball term that describes a pitcher’s fastball. Here I extracted a couple of photos of players at the New York Yankees baseball academy near Boca Chica in the Dominican Republic. The player photos are mine, but everything else came from Pixabay. I tried to add a dispersion effect to the back of the baseball, without a lot of success. So, I ran it through a couple of PhotographyBB actions to get the final creation. I’m not entirely satisfied with this result, so I may do some work on the composition somewhere down the line.
Here’s a fairly simple new creation. The baseball players were at a short instructional camp in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic put on by the New York Yankees baseball academy, which is in Boca Chica. All photos are mine, the players at the camp and the Yankees academy in Boca Chica. I did a little processing of the photos and then extracted the players and added them to a photo of the academy. I merged the layers and ran them through a Photoshop action, PhotographyBB Powder Paint action.
Nothing too complicated here, just a few layers in Photoshop, but I like the effect of the action. More like a quickie finger exercise than anything, I suppose. Enjoy.
Here’s a black and white conversion of a somewhat bland color photo I took of a friend’s father. I think the b&w photo is much more interesting than the color. I added an overlay (the typography) to it, added a bit of a vignette, a color look up from Photoshop, made some adjustments to tone and shadow, added an orange warming filter to give it a vintage sepia look and ran the piece through Nik Silver Efex Pro2. What do you think?
Here’s the b&w conversion. See the original color photo below.
Here’s the original color photo.
Here’s my newest digital art piece, which I’m entitling simply “On the Farm.” All the photos are mine, from Morocco and Laos (the truck), except for the farm lady, which is from Pexels and the basket is from Pixabay. (I don’t know why these two links have lines running through them, which usually signify broken links, but both links are working correctly.)
I added a few textures, some blending options, a color lookup (all in Photoshop, of course), and I ran it through Studio 2 from Topaz Labs. I’ve always admired the paintings of Edward Hopper, and Studio 2 has an Edward Hopper look, which I applied to this piece. Enjoy.
On the Farm
My latest composition is titled “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” which is the name of a horrifying short piece of speculative fiction by the late, great Harlan Ellison. It really is scary; it gave me nightmares for a few nights after I first read it back in the mid-70s or so. You can probably find it somewhere on the ‘Net or at your local library.
The model is me. It’s from a photo that I first used back in 2017. As a matter of fact, it was my first attempt at digital art.
The little robots or whatever they are, came from Pixabay, the model is me and the other background stuff is either from Pixabay or from the resources of my various digital art courses.
I added some various lighting effects and ran the finished product through a Topaz Lab plugin that I have.
We’ve had a lot of rain recently, leaving the area back of the house with several inches of water. I’ve noticed that on the cement wall in back there are these weird-looking pink “things” that have been clinging to it. What the heck are they?, I thought.
These are apple snail eggs, pink “aliens” clinging to the low wall in the back of my house.
So, I did a search on Bing (I don’t like using Google, for various reasons). Are they animal, vegetable or mineral? I eliminated mineral, so animal or vegetable. The word mollusk popped up in my mind, so I did an image search for pink mollusk. Bingo! Got it right away. These appear to be the eggs of the apple snail, which lays its eggs above the waterline, according to this Wikipedia article. Mystery solved. Thankfully, they’re not space invaders.
My latest piece of digital art is entitled “The Storm King,” which I created as part of the Re-Awake effort that I wrote about in my previous post. I originally called it “Lost at Sea,” but I changed the title when I added the visage overlooking the sea. That visage is actually yours truly, from a self portrait. However, YT has very little hair on top and no beard, so I had to extract the hair from a photo I got from Pixabay, a royalty-free stock photo site.
This creation took me a while, though I’m pretty slow with these things anyway. “Storm King” has about 55 layers, which is quite a few for me and might have the most layers of all my somewhat meager collection of digital art. (Many artists have pieces with hundreds of layers!)
In this one, the clouds, my face, the small boat and part of the ocean are from my photo stash and the other bits are from Pixabay. Next, I’m going to try to get a composition incorporating some of the techniques from our Awake 3 session-painterly looks, repeated patterns, text wrapping around a circle or other shapes, and the use of brushes. I won’t try to use all the techniques, just a few. I’m not yet sure exactly what I’m going to cook up, but I hope it’s a worthy composition. More later.
The Storm King