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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Artist of the Month for February 2016

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For this month’s “Artist of the Month” I chose a local Nova Scotian painter/designer. While scouting online for artists I came across Gail Sutherland. Originally from Montreal, Gail now resides in Bedford, Nova Scotia. I decided that since I too live in Nova Scotia now that I would like to show off the local talent. In fact I may do this for the next few months.

I liked Gail’s water colours mainly for their content. I love the landscape and sea side areas in NS and enjoyed the way she played with the colours. My favourite ones were those with vivid colours next to the subtle tones of the sand & sky as in the FACING the DUNES, Brackley Beach, PEI painting. Also, I loved the softness of END OF THE DAY, Peggy’s Cove, NS with bits of brilliance in the ropes and buoys. I liked many other paintings, but instead of telling you about them I’ll let you see for yourself. I chose 10 of my favourite paintings to share with you.

I hope you venture on to Gail Sutherland’s web site to find out a little more about her and to check out the rest of her beautiful paintings. Also don’t forget to check out her blog at http://www.gailsutherland.ca/blog.

 

 

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Illustrator/Photoshop Art

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For this post I’m going to show you what can be created working between Illustrator & Photoshop. This all started with opening Illustrator and realizing how much I don’t know about certain tools provided in Illustrator CS6.  I decided to play with the Mesh Tool. Below is a bit of an explanation of what this tool is and what you can do with it.

[A mesh object is a multicolored object on which colors can flow in different directions and transition smoothly from one point to another. When you create a mesh object, multiple lines called mesh lines crisscross the object and provide a way to easily manipulate color transitions on the object. By moving and editing points on the mesh lines, you can change the intensity of a color shift, or change the extent of a colored area on the object], from Illustrator Help / Meshes web page. I don’t want to bore you by having the entire explanation in this post so for more information go to (https://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/using/meshes.html). It’s worth reading the whole thing if you want to use this tool.

For the first project I started by drawing a rectangle with, what else but the rectangle tool, choosing a very vibrant pink fill. From there I just started adding points of colour and manoeuvring some of the points around until suddenly it looked like a bird with its beak facing towards the ground.  I decided to add an eye by drawing an oval with the ellipse tool, adding points with the mesh tool for the shading and highlighting, then added another oval for the eye-ball. Next I exported it as a PSD (although in this case it probably wasn’t necessary because I only used 1 layer whereas in future endeavours I used more than one layer and was able to work on each layer individually in Photoshop).  Next I played with a few filters in   Photoshop and finally decided on the Alien Skin Snap Art filter – Impasto paint. I quite like this paint filter and used it for a few other projects in this post. And there you have it, a Photoshop image that looks like a painting of a bird, or maybe you see something else. Let me know what you think it looks like.

I will give a short description of each project with the pictures I add. Enjoy.

This next project started the same as last with a simple rectangle. Then I decided to build a cluster of daisy like flowers in a variety of sizes. Exported it into Photoshop as a PSD then applied the Impasto paint filter.

For the next project I had an idea of producing something with what looks like a face. I wanted vibrant colours in the vein of Mexican or Latin American style art. I started with a rectangle then added an oval on top to give it a framed look. And once again I used the Impasto paint filter. I just love the effects of that paint filter. I’m not sure if I totally achieved the effect I was trying for but I liked what I ended up with.

For this project I started with a square. I started using the mesh tool working from the edges mainly and started to see an image. For me it started looking like some kind of butterfly or alike. I tried to use really bright cheerful colours. This time instead of using the Impasto filter I used the Snap Art –  Watercolour filter adding a little saturation and brightness (which is in the controls of this filter). This is one of my favourites.

These last few projects I’m just going to let you enjoy them without explanation.

 

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Autumn Images

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I have decided to share photos of Autumn for this post. These photos were taken between September 1st and October 31st. They were taken throughout the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, including Blomidon Beach, Halls Harbour and just around the area . Photography is still one of those activities, for me at least, that is very therapeutic. I see pretty much everything I look at as a photograph and hope that the special light I’m seeing or the beautiful colours I’m seeing translate into my photos. I have chosen several photos that do just that. I hope you see what I saw in the pictures I am posting today. Enjoy!

 

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