Combining the elements

I’ve been piling up the gelli prints, writing and drawing in my journals, and playing with photos. So the next step was to combine some of it in Photoshop. This is fairly small, and has about 7 layers. I’m slowly learning to do more in Photoshop but it’s still feels a bit foreign to me. I need to head over the Michelle Ward’s blog and reread her information about making digital brushes masks – she’s an awesome teacher and incredibly generous with  her knowledge.

missimg mum

Feeling better, doing more layers

Having passed my chest infection on to my husband (remember marriage vows – for better or worse – this is worse) and my mother (blast! at 85, it’s not a good thing) – I’m feeling a bit better. Although the house still sounds a bit like a TB ward really. Now that I have my coughing under control, and a wee bit of energy back, I need to get creating. The longer I don’t create anything, the worse I feel and the harder it is to get going again. I am sure many of you know exactly what I mean. So today I have been playing with this idea again:

I’ve taken one of the two large backgrounds and added some transparent freezing works imagery over the top. I want to print this out at roughly A3 size then work back over the top in oil stick and charcoal. I had already done one, and was pleased with it, so some more will help me decide if this is the path to follow or not.

Crusade #35 – what’s your sign?


Over at Michelle’s GPP Crusades blog, this month’s challenge is to document your sign. Michelle says “The signs I’m talking about are images or things that make you think of a loved one”. My instant thought was “I can do that, possibly even without crying”. And I did. Because I needed to write so much I have created my journal page in Word and Photoshop and will be printing it out to glue into my journal as a reminder to myself.  So, come on, why not join the Crusades too, and tell us about your sign? (By the way, documenting my sign turned out to be more imporant than doing something artsy this time. I didn’t even pick up a paintbrush!)

dad show me a sign copy

Looking at the lines, ready to start drawing

fe 2fe 5I have been looking at my inspiration wall of photos for a couple of  days now. Today I chose about 20 favorite photos and used the “find edge” function in PhotoShop to have a closer look at the lines in them. It’s interesting what turned up; I have shared a couple of them so you can see what I mean.

Tonight or tomorrow I will start drawing them in Indian Ink and pastels, concentrating on the lines and the bigger shapes. At the same time, I am rereading one of my most-used books on abstract art, thinking about the theory behind what I am doing. Thinking about the words, the layers of meaning and what I am bringing to this project.

fe 1

fe 4

Crusade #33 – back to school


Michelle’s challenge over at the GPP Street Team this month is to learn something new, either in or out of the studio – you can read all about it here. I decided this month I would learn to let go of the results a bit more, and just enjoy the process. In the spirit of going back to school I have been reading about the creative process, about play, and about some new cutting-edge techniques – trying to make my objective an active on. Some of the books I have dipped into have included Nita Leland’s “The new creative artist“, Nancy Reyner’s “Acrylic revolution” and Lisa Cyr’s “Art revolution“.  

Moving on from reading, I have been playing with looser backgrounds as beginnings to works, collage, enhancing digitally then printing and working further on paper. In the image shown here I photographed a chook in amongst some weeds, made a loose background with texture, collaged the photo on, added some old watercolour painting strips on top, scanned and enhanced digitally. Is it a masterpiece? Not at all. Did I let go off the results and just learn through play? Yes.

Thanks Michelle – my “back to school” lesson was one I needed to start (re)learning. chook crop

Latest Challenge: After Marilynn’s Hands

The most recent challenge was to base a work, in some way, on the works of NZ artist Marilynn Webb. To be more specific, the rules say: Artwork must be an original interpretation based on the artistic style or subject, a straight reproduction, or your individual interpretation of the Master Artists’ work.

Being me, I chose what is perhaps a less iconic work to be inspired by – contrary to the last, that’s me. The piece I have done is digital, based on original paintings of mine, plus a scan of my hand used as is and then manipulated in Photoshop. The finished piece is: Cath’s hands, after Marilynn’s.

marilyn webb hands

Maerowhenua River - The Place of Maeroero by Marilyn Webb

Maerowhenua River - The Place of Maeroero by Marilyn Webb


The NZ Art Guild challenge that finished a week or so ago started with a photograph of some bones. We could do anything we liked, and boy, did I like. Here’s the details of the two works I produced for the challenge.

Original photo ref of bones

1. Title: I love Anthro Bones #1.  Medium: Fluid acrylic on cream colourfix paper, 9×11.5″
Inspiration: I knew straight away there were amazing hearts in the bones so I took the photo down to stencil setting in photoshop to simplify the edges and make the hearts shapes stand out.

anthro bones 1

2. Title: I love Anthro Bones #2. Medium: Watercolour, gel pen and oil pastels on Daler-Rowney 300gsm rough watercolour paper, 8.5×11.5″
Inspiration: In photoshopping the image to stencil to see the hearts betters, I decided the image needed some “bling” so I used white gel pen and neon colours to give the heart of the bones some sparkle.

anthro bones 2

The moon in pastel

1 moon
For those who have visited my blog from time to time over the last three years or so, my moon obsession has no doubt become familiar. I am one of those people who suffer from “full-moon-itis”. You know what I mean. It’s full moon and you’re wide awake, making art at 3 in the morning, or drifting idly round the house longing for sleep.

The moon is waxing gibbous,  74% of full tonight. I know this because I have a moon calendar so I can see, as well as feel, the moon’s phases. As I came home from work tonight the sky was clear blue, the 3/4 moon was up and there were parallel jet plane trails just underneath.

I grabbed my camera…and the results make me want to get out my pastels next weekend and attack some full sheets of Colorfix. I’ve had a quick play with these in Photoshop, cropping and colouring. In any form, the moon fascinates me and when the colours are inverted – wow!

Creating a base layer

salles-ed-2Although I can do all kinds of things I suspect I have only scratched the surface of what can be done with Photoshop.  Not that I am wanting to create digital art as an end in itself, more that I want to create things that I can use in my art that are solely my own work. That way there are no tricky copyright issues and that has to be a good thing, right?

These pieces started with photos I took last night at a friend’s place and have two or three layers each. I’ll be transfering them onto canvas and them painting more layers over the top.



Trying a new direction

Circles 4

Circles 4

This weekend I have been working (playing) with new directions; nothing serious, just seeing what happens. This wee one is a 4×4″ box canvas – it has a lot of layers, some scumbling, some stamping, some glazing. I’ve also been working on a new set of four 4x4s ready for the new gallery in Christchurch.







I’ve also been working on a digital entry for the latest Masters Month challenge, Andy Warhol, with the NZ Art Guild. I took a self-portrait using my Nikon D40 then manipulated it in Photoshop Elements to get a Warhol style self-portrait poster.