Hello!

Welcome (back) to Mixed Media Artist!

Hi, I'm Cyndi, and I've been writing and updating  Mixed Media Artist since 2005.  If you're a new visitor, welcome! Come tr...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Graphic-style florals


I can hardly say the word "poppies" without hearing the voice of the Wicked Witch of the West as she croons, "Something with poison in it, I think. With poison in it, but attractive to the eye—and soothing to the smell! Poppies! Poppies! Poppies!"

Anyway. I took lots of pictures of poppies and other wildflowers in Italy, and decided to try something a little different with them. Floral images are often great subjects to play around with in Photoshop and other image-editing software. Just when you think that everything has been done with a flower that can possibly be done, you find some new digital tricks that you’ve not thought of before.

Although I like "plain old plain old" flower photos, I’m always tempted to see what else I can do with them. Here’s one such experiment:

1. Crop small piece of image and increase resolution to slightly pixilate

2. Boost contrast using levels

3. Add grain. Layer>new layer>>overlay mode, check fill

4. Filter>Noise>Add noise>>amount 100%, gaussian distribution, check monochromatic

5. Blur the shadows. Copy the layer, add gaussian blur 5, darken mode

6. Recover some detail in lights. Double click layer to open dialog box> move white slider below “This layer”

7. Flatten layers

8. Add edge burning. New layer, large soft brush with black, adjust opacity.

9. Flatten layers again


Copyright 2008 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


Technorati Tags:,,,,,,

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Watercolor backgrounds for mixed media

Sometimes I forget that there are other media in the world that are useful for creating backgrounds besides my usual acrylics. Watercolors, for example. No instructions are needed for a piece like this:


The only thing I would caution, though: if you plan to use your watercolor background with other wet media in the future, spray it several times with Krylon fixative, or it will run. That’s what watercolor does!

So here's how I used it: It struck me after I had fooled around and painted the watercolor background paper, that it would be a really good backdrop for some of my pictures of Venice. I’ve been sorting through them, and I particularly love the doors and windows, weathered and peeling as some of them are. So I scanned my watercolor piece, and sized the Venice images to fit:


Copyright 2008 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


Technorati Tags:,,,,,,

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mounting beaded pieces


I have been participating in the year-long project known as the Beaded Journal Project, or BJP, started by Robin Atkins. You can see all of my pieces on the BJP website. When they were all finished, I needed to figure out how to mount them.

I used 12″x24″ gallery-wrapped Frederix canvases to mount my the pages. Each one is 6″x4″, so this left plenty of space around them.



Materials and Tools

3 gallery-wrapped canvases
Golden’s acrylic paints
Sponges
Waxed paper
Beading thread
Beading needles

1. Arrange beaded cards as they will be on the canvases. Mine are arranged by month: otherwise I may have grouped the colors somewhat differently.

2. Test the colors that you plan to use. I only ended up using one color on each canvas, despite the mottled look that they have.

3. Sponge on a first thin layer of color. Apply it in wide sweeping circles. As soon as it’s tacky dry, apply a second layer, not covering the canvas evenly, but allowing darker spots to form. I used slightly smaller circular sponging to accomplish this.

4. Let them dry at least overnight so that your work won’t stick to the acrylics.

5. Pin the pages in place and stitch them on from the back. Heavy pages will need extra stitching spots to avoid drooping later on.

Copyright 2008 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


Technorati Tags:,,,,,,

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Making an abstract collage that focuses on shape and repetition

Cosmic Flowers

This one almost got named Lucy in the Sky with Flowers, but that seemed too cutesy. Cosmic Flowers is a fantasy abstract that I created when I was fooling around with repetition of shapes. I would recommend reviewing my post on creating an abstract, where I quoted Nita Leland’s explanation that the elements and principles of design are what an abstract is really "about". To add a bit to that here, let me share another quote with you from Nita’s Creative Collage Techniques:

The elements of design are the tools with which you construct the framework for your collage….The principles of design are the rules that you apply to the elements of design to organize your collage into a unified whole.

Keeping all that in mind, the elements that I primarily focused on were shape, size, and color, and the principles that I primarily used to create the piece were repetition, rhythm, and harmony. The color scheme is an analogous one, with a few splots of the complementary colors thrown in. This usually results in a very harmonious color combination, but not one that is static or boring. Secondly, I played with the size of the circle shapes, from single beads up to the largest (about 1″ across) punched circles. The repetition of the circle shape across the various sizes helps to unify the piece. The paper circles were cut from floral images in a catalog. The placement of the clusters of circles, looking like flowers themselves, was designed to develop a rhythm as your eye moved around the piece. Single circles and smaller ones were placed around for balance.


I wish I could give you the "Three Simple Rules for Making An Abstract", but I really don’t think they exist. Most of this design work simply happens without too much thought as you move your potential pieces around and make decisions about what stays, what goes, and what gets moved. Still, I think it’s helpful at times to look at your piece and analyze the design elements and principles that you see in effect, and consider whether tweaking them somehow would create a stronger piece.

Copyright 2008 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


Technorati Tags:,,,,,,
Related Posts with Thumbnails