Saturday, November 26, 2011

iPhoneography Mission #13

iPhoneography Mission #13: Go someplace you've never been.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
A perfect time for this mission as I was finally going to visit my brother in Nebraska. I took country roads I've never traveled on from Oskaloosa, Kansas to Lincoln, Nebraska. The weather was gorgeous and I took that opportunity to not only snap pics with the iPhone (using the Hipstamatic) but I pulled over several times to grab some shots with the D90 as well which I will share in future posts. I had never been to my brother's house in Lincoln and I discovered it full of babies, children, dogs and lots of laughter! All in all, my favorite mission so far. :)

 Through Small Town America

Sunflower Motel

 Welcome to Nebraska

 Rural Transportation

 Worn Out

 Sun-tipped Trees

Who's Coming to Dinner? 

Family Time 

 My great-nephew, Tayvon

 Sweet Penny

 My great-niece Ariya

 On the Trail of Wolves

 Woody Reflections

 Tread Lightly

 Down by the River

 Joe Cool

 What a fun time I had, especially with my nephew Seth (Joe Cool). We found a trail and nearly were eaten by wolves and attacked by a serial killer but we made it out alive and with our imaginations in tact. :)

Now, as the holiday festivities continue, it's time to think about the next mission! Here ya go:

Mission #14: Study the color and shape of your breakfast.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

iPhoneography Mission #12

Mission #12: Let the weeds get a little out of control.

No problem. It's football season. Typically that means my garden gets the silent treatment for several months.
It stops raining. Things start dying off, weeds start popping up. Still, there is beauty to be found there. :)
All images shot with the Native Camera and processed with a variety of apps including Pic Grunger, Photo Toaster and Lo-Mob. All taken in my secret garden. ;-)

Bold Death 


Forgotten Days

Garden Faerie

 Hidden Path


For the next mission, I grant creative flexibility for all those participating since it's a holiday week.
Here ya go!:

Mission #13: Go someplace you've never been.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Digital Painting: Retro Pinup

It took countless hours, tons of layers and a shortcut here and there before I finally finished my Retro Pinup digital painting! I followed a tutorial by super talented digital artist Jeff MD and I have to say that my finished pinup looks nothing like the end result that Jeff created. But, I guess that's what makes it uniquely mine! And, I'm cutting myself some slack since it's only the second digital painting I've ever done. :)

As is usual with tutorials from magazines, not every step is shown or talked about and it's up to the artist to figure it all out on their own. This was the case with the "details" of the painting...the eyes and hands. Being a member of Doll Dreams benefited me immensely in that I had learned through Adriana's teachings how to paint eyes and I've always been able to draw and paint hands so I didn't have to worry to much about that. I had the hardest time with the mouth and teeth and by the time I got to the log, shoes and background, I was tired of working on it and took a few shortcuts so I could finally call it "finished". 

As with the digital Phoenix I painted some time ago, the steps are pretty much the same. I started with a sketch on a grey background and on a separate layer blocked in shadows, mid-tones and highlights using the dodge and burn tools.

Once the shapes have been defined, I hid the sketch layer and began working on blocking in colors. I used the smudge tool quite a bit to blend in colors as well as the dodge and burn to add in lights and darks.

Next up was to blend in even more colors. This was done on a new layer set to Soft Light and clipped to the base layer. I used a Skin Blender Brush and painted yellow onto highlights, pink to mid-tones and violet to shadows. Orange and pink were used on bounce light areas. I kept merging layers and repeating the process until I was satisfied with the look. At this point, I also repositioned the leg to make it more natural. This was done using the lasso, select and rotate tool and then just repainting the areas as needed:

Now it was time to add in details. At this point, I showed her to my grandmother who said she "looks like she's smelling shit". Uh-oh! That's not good! haha! I worked on one area at a time, starting first with the face, hair and bust and trying to get her so she doesn't look like she's smelling something horrid!

 I loved her hairline and nose but had such trouble with her mouth and teeth!

I kept adding in detail such as dots on the top, adding texture and detail to the shoes, log and sail cloth as well as working on the hands:

Hand detail. I used my own hand as a model and kept looking at it repeatedly while painting.

I have to admit that by the time I got done with the face, hair, upper body, hands and top, I had no enthusiasm left for the shoes, log, sail cloth or background. This is where I decided to take shortcuts. I used a texture over lay on the shoes and log and decided to leave out detail on the sail cloth. In the original tutorial, the background is painted in but I decided to use one of my own sea images:

Using the Paint Dabs Filter, I changed the background into a more painterly image and added it behind my painted pinup. A second texture by Jewell was added as well which helped make everything cohesive. I then adjusted levels, contrast and saturation until I was happy with the final image. Voila! A sailor's dream!

There are areas (those hideous shoes!) that could have used more time and care but I was ready to move onto something new and I was happy with what I learned overall. I learned how to create an instant color palette using filters, what the bloat tool can do and how to blend colors. This was done completely in Photoshop CS3. Maybe now, I'll learn how to use my Painter XI software! :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Watercolor Lessons: Earth

My watercolor lessons continue using First Steps Painting Watercolors (First Step Series) by Cathy Johnson.
This week it was all about the Earth: Rock formations, cliffs, mountains as well as learning to mix sedimentary colors to produce rust.

I really enjoyed this section of lessons. I even found a photo op on my palette:


The next series of lessons is all about learning to paint buildings in landscapes. Very excited for that one as the whole reason I wanted to learn to watercolor was to be able to paint in a journal while on my travels.
For anyone who wants to learn but doesn't know where to start, I highly recommend Cathy's book!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

iPhoneography Mission #11

Mission #11: Meet an imaginary friend.

I spent this weekend with Daniel who is like a nephew to me. Daniel and I have lots in common, including a very active imagination and a whole slew of imaginary friends...or are they really imaginary?  He took me on a walk through his world and introduced me to some of these "friends". Along the way, I introduced him to some of my "friends" from 40 years ago.
For our travels, I used the Native camera and the Hipstamatic App. Enjoy our trip to "imagination station"!

This could be you...if you had an imagination like Daniel. :)

We first met Gonzo, who was in the process of having a nose job.

Meeting Herbert was a delight. Although he did seem to be a little hung over from the night before!

We were lost quite a bit but Daniel's "Mini Mickeys" helped us find our way to the correct street every time.

Chef Julio and Daniel became friends a long time ago after sharing a super-sized cheese pizza!
They had a bit of a falling out when Chef Julio began putting pepperoni on his pie. :(

Mr. Sweet Potato Soup was a little too sweet for Daniel, but I found him to be a perfect lunch companion.

Daniel is friends with everyone from Mythology. He introduced me to Neptune. We got along famously.
I am a Pisces after all!

After lunch, Daniel scopes out different worlds for us to visit. He decides on a castle we both know well:

Welcome to Hogwarts!

Daniel made friends with a Knight guarding the castle. He told Daniel how brave he was!

Gilderoy Lockhart had just flew in from a secret mission for the Ministry of Magic!
He boasted to Daniel about his accomplishments but Daniel just rolled his eyes and walked away.
 I don't think they'll be hanging out anytime soon!

We visited with the Mandrakes and learned how to wail just like they do!

Hedwig and Daniel have been friends for a very long time. 

It was finally time to head over to MY world of imaginary friends. Lucky for us, Daniel has a really useful friend that happens to be a flying car! Of course, I had a little trouble learning to drive it as you can see!

I was so excited to see the Lorax. He was already dressed for the holidays! We asked him the way and He told us where we could find some of my favorite people from my childhood. Off we went!

We found Beetle Bailey napping. I was introduced to Beetle a long time ago by my Uncle Larry. 
It was so good to see him again, even if he was a little too tired to visit with us.

Blondie is older than me but she looks terrific! I really need to find out her anti-aging secret!
Either way, it was really good to see her again! It had been a very long time!

I tried to catch my very elusive friend The Cat in the Hat, but I was only able to snap a quick bit of his shadow before he was on his way. Perhaps next time we can spend more time together!

Even though the Cat in the Hat was too busy to spend time with me, my much older feline friend, Puss in Boots did stop by to say hello. He remembered how much I loved him when I was little.

I wanted to marry Popeye when I was a kid. He still looks strong and handsome.
And I've always had a fondness for Spinach too. :)

When I was just a young girl, I spent nearly every Sunday with The Family Circus. I was closest to P.J and Dolly but loved Billy and Jeffy too. I was so sad to learn of their creators death today, one day after I introduced them to Daniel. :(

Unfortunately, not all my friends from childhood were nice people. I ran into Boris and Natasha and they were up to their usual dastardly tricks. We said a quick hello and went on our way.

I absolutely had to introduce Daniel to my Grandmother's best imaginary friend, Betty Boop.
We ended our day being serenaded by Betty's sweet little voice. 

Using one's imagination is very tiring!
 Sleep my sweet Daniel for you will meet even more friends in your dreams. xo

While Daniel sleeps, I'll tell you about the next mission:

Mission #12: Let the weeds get a little out of control.