MontanaRon

An English teacher's blog about his travels and his digital art.

Digital Art–Suwon’s Papa

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?

Suwon's Papa black and white

Here’s the b&w conversion. See the original color photo below.

Suwon's Papa color version

Here’s the original color photo.

Digital Art–On the Farm

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 digital art

On the Farm

Digital Art–I Have No Mouth and . . .

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.

I have no mouth

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.

Pink Invaders?

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.

Apple snail eggs

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.

Digital Art-Storm King

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

Re-awake

Sebastian, the guru, mentor, guide, tutor (and so many other hats he wears) of the various digital art courses to which I belong, has come up with the idea that we can go back through the 25 sessions of our Awake course. It was originally a year-long venture, two sessions a month, but we’re going to re-visit the sessions at the rate of one composition per week, so we would finish in December. The purpose is to give our creativity a serious spark, and at the rate of one a week, that would be serious for my usual slow pace. I’m up for the challenge, though.

It was actually something I’ve been thinking of doing, mainly so that I could put some of the techniques I’ve learned to use. I did the first session some time ago and posted it here on the blog and on Facebook, but I’ll post it again here. One of the techniques in that first session is to use an open-ended frame so that some of the elements of the composition appear to be spilling out of the frame. I titled my creation “Breaking Out.” I’ve got an idea for the second week, so I’d better get busy on that. One a week . . . whew!

Buddhist temple wall mural

Breaking Out

Nothing New

There’s not too much going on over here. Our lockdown ended, more or less, back on June 2nd and school started up again on June 9th, with the term finishing on Aug. 14th. We’re in that rainy season time of year again, and though we have received some nice rain lately, the Mekong is still quite low for this time of year. More significantly, the long term weather reports have predicted another dryer-than-normal season, more drought later on.

I’ve been working on a few digital art projects that keep me busy, along with the various courses I’m taking. The one below hasn’t been finished yet, but I’ll give you a sneak peek at “Lost at Sea.” That’s it for now, more later.

Air Show II

I posted this back on May 1, but I made a few changes and edits, and tinkered around with it a bit. Enjoy.

Here’s the original:

Air Show digital art

Having fun in Glacier National Park.

Santo Domingo Digital Art

My latest piece of digital art is a street scene in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. But, the scene is not one you’ll actually be able to see if you go there. It’s a composite of three photos I took some years ago and put them together to create the scene. This is from a method by Cindy Charles, one of the artists in Kaizen, a digital art group I belong to. Here’s the final result (you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them a few times, but you’ll have to use your browsers back button to return to the post):

Here are the three original photos that make up the composite:

The first two originals are actually extractions from larger scenes and the obelisk is the original photo, from which I later extracted the monument.

The process I used, more or less, was to move the three extractions to a new canvas and move them around to my liking. Then I converted everything to black and white, and began painting in the colors of the buildings by hand. I put each color on its own separate layer so that I could control the opacity and other properties of each individual color. I put the layers and the relevant extraction in a group so I could move them around easily. I didn’t paint the obelisk in the far background and I didn’t paint the clothing for the people walking in the street.

I used a tropical color palette that I played around with in Adobe and used it to color in the buildings. After I finished, I discovered that I had painted in some colors that were very close to the original colors. But, that was OK. The painting took quite a while, but I enjoyed doing it, since it was the first time I had done this much hand painting. I used a soft round brush and the soft light blend mode for each color, and I painted with my Wacom tablet, which I hadn’t been using that much. Fun, really.

I added a few textures, a color lookup, a vignette and a few other things to complete the project. I discovered, though, that there are a seemingly infinite number of variations that can be made, so I may add a few of them to this page, soon, hopefully.

I had fun doing this piece, and thanks to Cindy Charles for the method. I know this one could probably be better, but I’m going to keep trying on other cityscapes and I’ll keep trying to improve this one, too. Enjoy.

My Now Page

If you look at the top menu, you’ll see a new page up there called Now. What is a Now page? The idea for it comes from Derek Sivers. The page lists things that I might be up to right at this point in my life, like what music I’m listening to, what books I’m reading, etc. “But, can’t you do that on social media?” you might ask. No, you can’t. Here’s how Sivers explains it on his about Now page:

What is a “now page”?

Most websites have a link that says “about”. It goes to a page that tells you something about the background of this person or business. For short, people just call it an “about page”.

Most websites have a link that says “contact”. It goes to a page that tells you how to contact this person or business. For short, people just call it a “contact page”.

So a website with a link that says “now” goes to a page that tells you what this person is focused on at this point in their life. For short, we call it a “now page”.

See examples by browsing nownownow.com.

Although it’s normal to make the web address “/now”, just like it’s usually “/about” and “/contact” in those other examples, the URL could be anything.

Don’t Twitter and Facebook updates do that?

No. If I wonder how someone is doing these days, it doesn’t help me to see that they went on vacation last week, are upset about something in the news, or even got a new job. That’s not the big picture.

Think of what you’d tell a friend you hadn’t seen in a year.

Like, “Still living in Dallas, though considering moving to Austin. Working at ABC. Really getting into cycling. The kids are age 3 and 6. I’m reading a lot of Pema Chödrön, and listening to a lot of jazz piano especially Brad Mehldau. I’ve stopped taking on web design clients, since I’d rather keep improving my back-end database work.”

That’s what a now page is for. You can’t get that big picture from any other outlets I’m aware of.

I’ll try to keep my Now page updated either every couple of weeks or perhaps only once a month, depending on what I’m up to. Check it out, if you want.

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