Colours of Spring

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Spring is just about over and I have decided to share a few of my favourite photos from the season. Some are representing the beautiful colours of this time of year and others not so much. All of the photos are taken in my yard. I could have gone out and investigated all of New Minas for a multitude of the colours and sites of spring but I found such abundance of it in my own yard, I decided to stay home and take advantage of it. I hope you enjoy these photographs as much as I enjoyed taking them.

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Bugs

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As promised, here is my next installment of photos. For this post I’ll be showing photos of bugs. This is my least favourite thing about the warm weather, but my favourite thing to photograph. I love using my micro lens. It’s old and a bit banged up but it still takes crisp clean pictures. As with my zoom lens this lens will not work in auto-focus mode on my camera.

There are four photos, all taken with the AF MICRO NIKKOR 1:2.8 D Nikon lens.

Enjoy my euwwww photos.

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Earl

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Once again, it’s been ages since my last post. I have decided to share with you some photos taken throughout the spring, summer & fall. This will be done over several posts in the next few weeks.

For my first post I’m going to share Earl with you. Earl is our resident squirrel. I think we get the same one most of the time, but I know there are a few more in the neighbourhood that come around as well. They too are known as Earl. There are 2 sets of photos, taken at different times and with different lenses.

The first 5 photos were taken midsummer, late afternoon, using a Nikon D5100 camera (this is used for all my photos) and the AF NIKKOR 80-200mm 1:2.8D lens. The camera is only a few years old with such settings as auto-focus and a myriad of other settings. The only reason I mention this is because the lens was originally bought for a much older less automatic camera and I don’t have the option of auto focus available. The last two photos were taken with the same camera but a different lens, the AF NIKKOR 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G. This can be used as a totally automatic lens, auto focus, f-stops, shutter speed and ISO, which I took advantage of in taking these two photos. I found the quality of focus wasn’t quite as good as when I used manual focus, like in the previous photos and I couldn’t get quite as close up a photo as I would have liked. That being said I love the positions I got of the squirrel in with these photos compared to the others.

So what do you think Earl’s story is?
Does he/she come only to us or does he take advantage of other bird feeders in the neighbourhood?
Does he get chased away from other homes or is he/she as welcomed there as he/she is here?
How far does he come to partake in our feeder?
Does he/she have a brood back at the homestead?
Do the birds like sharing their feeder with Earl?
If you can think of a short story to go with these photos send them to me and I’ll share the best stories. I’d love to hear from you.

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A Fairy Book – My Process Using Pencils & Computer

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Once again it has been eons between my posts. I thought I’d take you through a process I am doing in making drawings for my fairy book. This is not a lesson, it’s just the way I am producing these drawings.

I’m using mixed media involving pencil drawing and computer colouring. I want to apologize for the low quality photos; they were taken with my tablet.

I start with a sketch, of which I don’t have to show, but none the less that’s where it always starts. This drawing is of the Fairy Keeper and his pet. I haven’t come up with names for the keeper or his pet yet but the pet is an RTC (really tiny cat). Of course you’ll notice that the man is smaller than the cat which means he is also quite tiny.

The entire drawing is drawn with an HB graphite pencil. Once I’m satisfied with the drawing, sometimes that’s 2 or 3 or 4 drawings later, I begin the process of shading it. Each type of shading requires a different shade of pencil. As you probably already know there are many shades or hardness of pencils such as H (1, 2, 3, 4, etc), B (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) and F. You also have HB which I use to make most of my drawings. I use the H pencils for my lighter shadings and the B’s for the darker shadings. As I’m shading with the pencils I’m also using a stump or tortillon to blend it. There’s a good explanation of the difference between these two smudging tools at this web site—Pencil Drawing – Blending and Shading – Learn to blend and shade your drawings with JD Hillberry. I must admit, after watching the video I realized I wasn’t using these tools in an entirely correct way, but I did get the desired effects I was looking for. There’s also another web site I found to be quite informative, Rapid Fire Art 

Fairy Book artwork from begining

Once I’m finished the shading, I scan the drawing at 600 dpi grey-scale. I find this setting works best for my purposes. Next, I open it in Photoshop and the first thing I do is select Image, mode then RGB so I can add the colour. Then I tweak the drawing a bit using the levels adjustment to bring out a little more detail in the lines. This can also be done during the scanning process, but I find it works better in Photoshop. Now the process of colouring begins by adding a new layer and naming it. For example, I will make a layer for face or skin tone. Next I go to my foreground colour picker to choose a suitable colour for my skin tone. For the Fairy Keeper I chose a medium pink-orange tone. Using a soft mechanical pencil brush, I begin adding colour to the face. While adding the colour I change the layer blending to “Colour Burn”. The layer blending is different for other parts of the drawing depending on the effect I’m looking for. For instance the clothes are done using a “Linear Burn” instead of the “Colour Burn” to give the colour a little more intensity. I also use “Overlay” on occasion. I will do each part of the face on a different layer then make a new group layer from selected layers and call it Fairy Keepers face. That way if I decide to change the colour of his eyes I can just go to the face group, find the eyes layer and change the colour. It’s also helpful using groups to keep the layers list from getting too long. From here I just do each part of the drawing adding layer after layer until I’m finished.  I used some special brushes to make the grasses and bubbles. I also added a couple of my individual fairies to this drawing of which I went through the same process to colour. One on the roof and the other behind a blade of grass. Now I’m finished colouring the drawing.

For the last thing I open a template that I’m using for the frame around each of the drawings. Next I will go back to my finished drawing and flatten the layers and then drag it over to the template, size it to fit the square and change the outside colour of the square to match with my drawing. That’s it I’m done. I make a glossy print and put it on the wall with the rest of the fairy work I have done so far then go to work on the next drawing.

As I said at the beginning, this is not a lesson. I don’t always do things by the book where art is concerned, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but I learn a lot with each endeavor and I really enjoy what I do.

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A New Year, A New Image and New Ideas

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I haven’t done much blogging in the last year but I am going to change that for 2016. I am now semi-retired from graphic design and will be concentrating more on my art and maybe a few crafts as well. As before I will once again be featuring local Nova Scotia or Canadian artists & photographers. I also thought I’d add some craft ideas. For now I am going to do the research needed to find an artist of the month and a photographer of the month for February. If you know of anyone you think I should feature please let me know. I’m always up for your thoughts and ideas.

In the mean time, I’d like to feature a few of my favorite photos from 2015. I traveled to Ontario from Nova Scotia for some of these photos, and the rest are taken locally in the Annapolis Valley. The valley has such beautiful country side and watching the colours change from summer into fall is quite spectacular although I’m not sure how well I captured that magnificent colour. My favorite places to frequent and photograph are Blomidon Beach & The Look-Off. During low tide the beach goes out for ever. The sand is fairly hard and red. The cliffs are also made with red sandy clay and the combination of the red clay, deep green plants and rich blue sky make for a most stunning aray of colours.

I hope you enjoy these few memories of 2015.

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