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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Painterly Photographs

Sometimes I like to try to create a totally different look from a photograph. I might just be a frustrated painter, coming from a family of painters like I grandmother, father, brother and sister are all painters. But it's something I've never really pursued much until recently.

I do some painting now, mostly for backgrounds for photographs, which I then layer on in Photoshop. I guess you'd call this digital art but here's a question for you: What is digital art exactly? Is it when you create something totally on the computer? Can it encompass digital collages? (By the way, that's something else I like to do.)

I love playing around in Photoshop. I start with a photograph or a collage and layer one or more "textures" on. A texture can be anything from another photograph such as rusted metal or clouds, to something that's been painted either on the computer or traditionally, with paints and brushes.

I played around with the image of a bee flying towards lupins that's pictured above...I ended up doing so many things to it, I don't even remember everything! That's what happens when you're creating something like can lose yourself in the moment, totally absorbed with the effects.

I realize the end result isn't for everybody, but I really like the way this image ended up. To my eye it's colorful and fun and looks more like a painting than a photograph. And that's a look that I personally enjoy.
lupins art

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Spring Time Means Hummingbirds

The other day I discovered a patch of red flowering currant in the village where I live. It's a bush that grows wild in the springtime here. The hummingbirds love it...they have a thing for red tubular flowers, so it fits the bill (so to speak) perfectly for them.

The hummingbirds have been coming to our feeders regularly since mid-March. I had a little photo shoot with one the other day...he was quite brave and let me get close. In fact, I'm pretty sure this is the same bird that landed on the hummingbird feeder as I was about to hang it up after refilling it with nectar. He sat down and drank his fill as I held the feeder out at arm's-length. It was a thrill!

hummingbird and flowers art

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Butterfly On My Finger

I had an interesting time with this butterfly (which is called a Mourning Cloak, by the way). I went for a two-hour hike the other day and returned to my car to find this butterfly fluttering about in the sunshine. It soon landed on the rim of my tire and inched along with its probiscis down, seemingly licking salt from the tire. I watched it for awhile but had to get going so I picked it up, expecting it to fly away. But it stayed on my hand, inching along (which really tickles, by the way), looking as though it was maybe licking salt from my hand. At this point I became kind of enchanted!

Butterflies "drink" nutrients through their probiscis, which acts like a straw, and they're attracted to the sodium in salt and sweat. So I guess I was a little sweaty after my two-hour hike and the butterfly took advantage of that.

Eventually the butterfly flew away again but returned to my tire. And so it began...I picked it up and took its picture and after awhile it flew back to my tire. We did this routine a half-dozen times. I even shot a short video of the butterfly in my hand.

The Mourning Cloak butterfly (called a Camberwell Beauty in England) is often the first butterfly seen in the spring. Not only was this the first butterfly I saw this spring but it was definitely the friendliest too! 

The Mourning Cloak also landed on some "normal" things like plants and rocks. Here's another picture I took of it:

I thoroughly enjoyed my butterfly experience...I got kind of attached to the little beauty and hated to leave!

butterfly art

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spring Sale

To celebrate spring, I'm having a 25% off sale in my online gallery at Fine Art America for the month of April (this year only!) I have nature photographs, vintage collages, and digital art available that can be printed on paper, acrylic, or metal, or as a wrapped canvas. Artwork can be printed in any size you wish and you can easily view your choice online and match it up with the perfect mat and frame. The quality at Fine Art America is top-notch and your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed.

To receive your 25% off discount this April, please use the code GDXRTJ when you are checking out.

And happy spring to you!
sandhill cranes art

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Snow-Capped Mountains

Normally we only have two or three snowfalls during the winter here on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. But most days we can look up and see at least a dusting of snow on the mountains. At the foothills of the mountains are acres and acres of forest, so the whole effect can be quite spectacular. The above photograph is of the Caren range of mountains in the northern area of the Sunshine Coast, viewable in Pender Harbour. The mountains aren't high enough to be covered in snow year-round. You can see power lines running through the forested areas of the mountains...there are many miles of hiking available along these lines, with lots of wildlife viewing opportunities. Roosevelt elk are a common sight, as are black bears and coyotes, but I've also seen wolves and bobcats. I take my camera along on my hikes, but I also pack an air horn just in case I run into trouble.
snow capped mountains art

Friday, March 7, 2014

Mother Nature Rules Supreme

There's a graveyard for rusty old cars and trucks in the forest close to where I live. You have to walk a ways to get to the spot where about 15 vehicles came to their final resting spot, to be taken over by moss and ferns and mushrooms...all that the forest has to offer. I'm not sure what the story was, how they ended up there. But to me there's something fascinating about a sight like this. I guess it's because it shows that Mother Nature rules supreme, and sometimes I enjoy the feeling of surrendering to the force of nature.
rusty cars art

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Flowers in Snow

Like I said in my last post, winter finally hit us here on the west coast of British Columbia. While we've cruised through a mild winter, the rest of North America has suffered bitter cold and endless snowfalls. But I guess we got a little too smug here and bam! the snow started falling and didn't stop for three days. Lots of people had their electricity go out due to trees falling on power lines. Our electricity stayed on for a change.
We live at the bottom of a very steep hill so we couldn't drive for a few days. One day I hiked for half an hour or so to some woods where I'd seen snowdrops growing earlier. They were still thriving despite the snow. I guess they're built to do that! You have to admire a flower that can pull that off.
snowdrops art