Bringing out the Artist in Me

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In the last few months, I have acquired 3 things that have been a revolution for me!

Now, what might they be?

My Ipad Pro, my Apple Ipencil and an amazing painting App – which I will tell you all about in a moment – that’s what!

First a little background story …

Years ago, I used to do a fair amount of watercolour painting, which I thoroughly enjoyed. But I so didn’t love having to wash all the brushes etc and pack everything away at the end of a painting session, a task which had to be done as I didn’t have the luxury of a dedicated area where I could leave all my painting stuff out and readily pick up where I left off the next day.

This meant either I would keep working on a painting until it was totally finished, rather than interrupt the flow, even if this was well into the wee small hours. Or, more often than not, after a day at work (this was long before Romsey Fotografix was even a twinkle in the eye), as it was such a chore to get everything out, set up and get started, I didn’t bother. Inevitably my painting sessions became few and far between, to the point of non-existent.

And thus it was for about 18 years or so!

I had my own graphic design company then which satisfied my creative side of course, and also kept me extremely busy. Together with the boys growing up. I didn’t have a lot of spare time for hobbies.

Photography became my passion and eventually in early 2006 Romsey Fotografix was born. I didn’t really think about painting as such, but as some of you know, I have always strived to be as creative as possible with my photos, always seeking out inspiration and ideas to try and push the boundaries a little.

You may remember back in the autumn I enrolled myself on the Photoshop Artistry course as described in this post https://romseyfotografix.blog/2017/10/13/a-little-artiness/ I worked my way through it and absolutely loved, loved, loved, it! In fact, I loved it so much I have just signed up for the follow up “Awake” training – more about that in another post.

I especially loved some of the whimsical art resources which were included as part of the course and used them in various pictures as you will see from my previous post. Part of me felt I could make my creations more “mine” if I were to draw the faces myself and incorporate those into my artwork, rather than those drawn by other folk, great as they were.

I tentatively dabbled a little to start with. Bearing in mind I hadn’t drawn or picked up a paintbrush in many years – I was very out of practice, lol!! I bought a few arty pens and drew as much as time would allow. Here’s one of my creations using a face I drew, incorporated along with some elements, such as the flowers and background textures, taken from the resources in the Photoshop Artistry course. Incidentally this pic is now a canvas wrap and hanging on our wall!

live life in colour copy

Then my sister, Lynne, who is a brilliant artist https://www.facebook.com/Lynne-Arty-Stuff-1531420060481786/ mentioned that she had got herself an Ipad Pro and IPencil and how wonderful they were. Even though she doesn’t use hers for her art (she’s a paper and paints gal!), she found them very beneficial in her work process.

Amazingly, considering this was only a few months ago and now it’s become like second nature to me, at the time, I was very much in the dark re the difference between and the Ipad Pro and the Ipad I had already, and I’d never even heard of the Ipencil!

With Lynne having sung their praises, I did some research on both, which I found extremely interesting. Exciting in fact!! I thought, hey this would be a great way to do my drawings without the need for pens, paints and paper!

Without further ado, I bit the bullet and invested in a large screen Ipad Pro and an Apple IPencil and golly, I’m so glad I did!!

Next step was to find a Painting/Drawing App I could use to enable me to produce the kind of pictures I needed to incorporate in my digital art.

Again, after much research and reading various reviews, I downloaded a few Apps to experiment with. There was one, for me, which stood out above the others I tried. It is absolutely perfect.

And it is, ta-dahProcreate https://procreate.art/

It does everything it says on the tin and more!!

Here are a few of my creations using the Ipad Pro/Ipencil and the Procreate App, and incorporated with textures etc. from resources included with Photoshop Artistry along with more direct from the suppliers which I discovered via the course.

It didn’t stop there though! I wanted to improve my drawing skills and started looking around for some art training, in particular of the whimsical kind.

As luck would have it, in late November 2016,  I was notified about this humdinger of an Art Bundle https://www.art.bundlesforgood.com/ via one of the artists I follow.  It’s only up for sale once or twice a year for a few days, so I decided to go for it. Gosh, such amazing value for money and some of the proceeds go to a worthy cause, even better. The number of courses and ebooks included is unbelievable! With November and December being such a hectic time in the studio, there was very little time for me to go through everything before the Christmas holiday – in fact I’ve only just finished downloading all the ones of interest to me (of which there are loads), let alone started work on any of the included courses. But you get unlimited access to them all so there’s no rush.

The Art Bundle has introduced me to the work of lots of amazing artists. But one artist, in particular has inspired me more than most, so much so I have joined her very special training course that spans the whole year and includes much more than art alone.

And I’ll tell you all about her in the next post coming up very soon! Thanks to it, my whimsical drawing has already taken a turn for the better. I reckon.

And it all fits in very nicely around my photography work, and helps to inspire me to be even more creative with that too.

Win, win then.

A Little Artiness

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So two weeks in to the Photoshop Artistry course and I’m really lovin’ it!

My pictures, as you can see, are a bit diverse, but that’s the fun of it, experimenting, throwing things into the mix, finding what works and what doesn’t (at least what I think works – art is very subjective) and just seeing what transpires.

There is no must in art because art is free.”  Wassily Kandinsky

Here’s some of my creations to date …

Photoshop Artistry creations

Before I started the course, I reckoned my Photoshop skills were pretty much OK, having used the software to edit goodness knows how many pictures over the years!

As with a lot of things, I guess you learn the bits you need and use all the time – so much so you could do them standing on your head, and although of course you’re aware there’s a lot more to it, you don’t delve too much into other functions when you’re managing perfectly well with those you’re familiar with and use all the time.

Until you DISCOVER more!!  As I have done via this course.

Putting aside for a moment the abundance of arty inspiration gleaned (which has been absolutely fascinating), the PhotoShop Artistry course has also opened my eyes to much more! Loads of things I hadn’t learned/understood before re the complexities of Photoshop, but now I’ve seen them in action, I wonder how I ever managed without! So these tips and tricks have been a real bonus. 😊

If you’d like to know more about the course here’s the info and an offer they are running (at the time of writing this post) https://prophotoshopartistry.com/specialoffer

The man behind the training is Sebastian Michaels and he explains everything with great clarity as he demonstrates in a number of videos and articles the various techniques within Photoshop which he uses to create his amazing pictures. His wonderful work and ideas alone are truly inspiring, but all the “lightbulb moments” that came on for me as I have been watching his demonstrations, are going to be so useful in my day to day work.

I allocated a few hours in the first week so I could get a good start on the training, it’s very addictive, so it was great to be able to do that. Since then I’ve been working on it whenever time allows.  I’ve now completed all the modules, and have been practising the different techniques as I go along, making use of both the myriad of textures/elements included within the course (kid in a sweet shop springs to mind!) and working with some of my own images too. Whenever I go out I’ve been on the lookout and photographing textures in the great outdoors to incorporate in my work (concrete, gravel, wood, sand, stones, you get the drift) – it doesn’t sound very exciting eh, and I did sense one or two funny looks from passers by as I was photographing some things … drains, anyone … but it’s amazing how overlaying one or two of these as textures in the picture can really bring it all together! And no, it won’t resemble a drain (or whatever) once it’s in the final composition!

The artist’s world is limitless.  It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away.  It is always on his doorstep.” Paul Strand

I’ve worked through the training quite speedily as I was excited to see what there was to learn next! Perhaps having experience of Photoshop has helped to get through it a little quicker than had I not. A few of the earlier videos covered some of what I knew already – apart from the “lightbulb moments” as mentioned – but that’s great if you’re starting from scratch of course.

I’ll be going back over several of the videos to refresh my memory on some of the techniques and I’m sure I’ll pick up even more – it’s tricky to take it all in first time round.

I’d thoroughly recommend this if digital art is your thing too. It’ll really get those creative juices flowing! It certainly has for me – it’s unleashed a mountain of ideas, and I know that some I will be able to use in your pictures too, as I’m constantly on the lookout to bring some innovative creations for your galleries.  I’m hoping at some stage to sell some of mine as wall art and cards too.

I shall certainly keep creating – there’s always something new to learn and keep ideas fresh. The course also points you in the direction of loads and loads of excellent resources for use in your creations – you can’t fail but to be inspired!

Good luck if you decide to go for it – I’d love to see some of your works of art too 🙂

To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” Kurt Vonnegut

 

 

Every Chair tells a Story

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So I’d earmarked the last couple of days in my diary to knuckle down and get my annual accounts done, dusted and ready for my accountant. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take a lot to sway me from this arduous task.  Accounts and me, we just don’t gel well at all …

So when those lovely folk at Design Cuts came up with this remarkable value bundle  https://www.designcuts.com/product/the-gigantic-mockup-templates-bundle/ I simply couldn’t resist!

So many goodies at such a bargain price.  If you’re into design at all you could find this lot very handy indeed!!

As soon as I saw some of the chairs in the bundle, I could just visualise them working well with certain of my studio shots, as a series of portraits. So putting the accounts aside for an hour (or two!) I started creating.

Hence my “Chair Project” was born, the idea being that, by incorporating into the picture a chair or two and maybe another prop, might add a touch of storytelling to the scene.

Such as ….

Chair Project

OK, I know it doesn’t help get my accounts done, but projects like this and my 365 Photo-a-Day are vital to keep the old creative juices flowing, which in turn helps to keep my work fresh and the ideas coming when editing your portfolios too.

I’ll be adding these pics to my Instagram feed as and when, as well as any others I may add to the collection.  You can find me here https://www.instagram.com/fotografixgal/ and search for the hashtag #FotografixgalChairProject

Big thanks to Design Cuts for this incredible deal which I’m sure is going to inspire lots of other ideas too, and also to Studio Magic  https://www.layercakeelements.com/studio-magic which helps make creating these types of combis easier than it might otherwise be!

Such choice – I feel other projects coming on soon!!

In the meantime  … errr …. best get back to those accounts ….

Spilling the Beans Part 1 – New Head Anyone?

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Lots of you find it amusing when I say during your photo session, “don’t worry I can swap your heads afterwards if needs be“ And then we have a little chuckle about whose head I’ll give you … I think, George Clooney and Angelina Jolie have been mentioned once or twice 🙂

Seriously though folks … this is a very handy little trick of the trade that has come into its own time and time again over the years. It’s quite rare to get a large group shot straight out of camera where everyone has their eyes open/is looking in the right direction/unintentially pulling a funny face, etc.

In fact if ever a group shot comes straight out of camera with everyone looking amazing you can maybe hear a little scream of joy as I shout it from the rooftops haha!!

Swapping heads is not as tricky as it might sound, in editing terms of course 😉 It’s actually fairly straightforward to do in Photoshop – although can be a little time consuming especially when there may be several swaps to make in one picture, as is often the case for large groups. I won’t bore you with the finer details here as it might mean very little to you if you’re not familiar with Photoshop, although if you’re interested there are loads of tutorials online.

To be on the safe side, I always take several shots of each group pose so I have plenty of options for swapping heads and/or sections of images in post production.

Here’s one I made earlier:

head swap copy

I’ll use a mix of 3 or 4 images, sometimes more. Or maybe I’ll just replace the eyes, should they be closed, and keep the rest of the face as is. The process can involve lots of trial and error to see what works best, but like most things in life, the more you do, the better and faster you become.

So next time you might be curious and think to yourself “how on earth did she get that lovely shot of us all?”… now you know!!

Magic 😉