Monday, August 30, 2010

Edible Landscape - Pyschedelic Jello

I recall being in a gallery eavesdropping in on a conversation between two collectors. The one was describing her favorite painting style where the paint is put on so think that it looks like pudding. In the case of the landscape above it reminds me of psychedelic Jello. For one, the water is doing all kinds of rippling in two different directions like a large platter of Jello would do. Then there are the crazy saturated colors not found in nature, but strangely enough in some of the food we eat.

As I've been discussing, I think for once the subject didn't get in the way of color exploration. I find myself often staying too loyal to the original, whereby it acts as some sort of constraint which I constantly measure my efforts against. It's a crutch I need to free myself from.

In this landscape study from a Lake Vermilion photo, I put texture explorations in the back seat and focused more fully on color as I pushed the saturation sliders further than I ever did before. That and some vodka produced colors that I wanted to dive into. Wouldn't it be absolutely crazy if there was a place you could go to for a short visit where the world was colored like this landscape. Of course we couldn't live there, because our eyes would burn out from over sensation.

Maybe that is what a painting is for?.... no.. not to burn our eyes out, but a place to go to for a short visit.

I love how the grass and shoreline turned out. There is enough texture there to keep me from feeling the need for more throughout as was done in the petunia study a few posts back. Both the Topaz Simplify and Clean plug-ins where used multiple times on different layers, along with Photoshop layer masks and other layer adjustments. When you click on the image the enlargement will be close to what the final 20x30 print will look like.

I don't think going psychedelic will work with many subjects so maybe the lesson learned is that I need to choose subjects which 'allow' me to be as nonrepresentational as I want to.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Scott County Art Crawl - Oct 9th

I'll be participating in the first ever Scott County Art Crawl. Read all about it and see some of the work at

Come by for a feast for the eyes, mind and tummy... I'll have great beer, wine and hors d'oeuvres.
You can preview a lot of my work at


4640 139th St. W.
Savage, MN 55378

952 388 3762

Once you found your way to county road 42 (Egan Drive) running east and west through Burnsville/Savage/Prior Lake you can use these directions.

If heading EAST on county road 42 away from Prior Lake, do a U-turn at the Sonic restaurant (the Joppa-Glendale intersection with a traffic light), and head west on 42. Take the first right turn lane (Natchez) after U-turning at the Joppa-Glendale intersection. The Natchez turn comes up quick. Then take the 2nd right (139th St). The studio is a brown building with a white door and trellis in the front, and is to the right of the white brick ranch-style house at 4640 139th St.

If heading WEST on county road 42 from Burnsville take the first right turn lane (Natchez) after passing the Joppa-Glendale intersection (has a traffic light). Then take the 2nd right (139th St). The studio is a brown building with a white door and trellis in the front, and is to the right of the white brick ranch-style house at 4640 139th St.

From downtown savage (Savage Art Studios)  take 123rd east to Lynn Ave. Take a right on Lynn and continue on Lynn (which becomes Glendale) until to come to county road 42 (Egan Drive). Follow the directions for WEST listed above.

Here are several maps. The top map shows the location of my studio and you can zoom around to get a large view. The lower maps show the locations of the Savage Art Studios, my studio, and the studio of Chuck Burton another local glass artist.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pseudo Triptych

The wonders of Photoshop.
Needed to see what three of my digital art pieces would look like together. So why not make a digital display of my digital art... digital lighting and all. Couldn't resist using a heavily textured digital wall to go along with my recent texture posts.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Abstraction Distraction

One of my ongoing themes as of late is determining just what level of abstraction I'm comfortable with in the process of downplaying illustrative or representational imagery. The image above is a macro shot of a white rose. Just the tips of some petals are in focus, and some softening was added too. This image is almost the opposite of what I have been exploring. There is almost no color and texture, and maybe that is why it intrigued me. Softness is a texture, and the warmness and softness together would make a nice background for a cosmetic ad or some such.

Having nearly no detail I put the image into the Topaz Adjust filter just to see what would happen. I choose all the controls to bring as much detail into the image as possible and created this sandstone-like interpretation of the rose. Of course this is the other extreme being all about texture now.

I didn't want to totally lose the softness so a mixture of both is what I went for in the image below. A little bit of Photoshop layer combinations, masks, and other adjustments resulted in this dark dreamy landscape. Kind of nightmarish I think and far removed from the original clich├ęd cosmetic ad background.

Funny what will be created if you just let impulses guide you. I'm attracted to this image, but afraid of it too on some level. I certainly wouldn't want to turn into another HR Giger. A nice diversion at this point. If more of these dark specters appear I'll have to pray to Monet to save me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Color & Texture Part Two

I put away my pastels. I was making a real mess of my studio with pastel powder flying everywhere leaving a layer of dust thick enough to write your name. At $5 a stick there has to a cheaper way to experiment with color so I'm back to Photoshop.

The image to the left is a study of color contrasts. It's was hard to keep the screaming yellow in the background. It wanted to jump forward and overtake the subject, but in this case the strongly silhouetted petunias do seem to stand firm against the yellow onslaught. It helps that I down-keyed the yellow to yellow-orange somewhat (do you remember 'Screaming Yellow Zonkers'?).

Equally important for me is visual texture which is not visible in these reduced size images.  In the enlargement to the left I'm please by the harmony and balance of color. The more you enlarge a section of the image the more abstract it becomes. The interplay of shape and positive and negative spaces begin to replace 'flowers' as the subject, and that too pleases me since I don't like the portrayal of a 'thing' getting in the way of the color and texture which is the true subject.

In this next enlargement the texture of the 'painting' begins to appear especially if you click on the image to enlarge it further. It is only at this point that I begin to feel comfortable with the work. I spent a lot of time getting the digital brushes and filters to produce this naturalistic texturing. I actually spent more time working the texture than composing and coloring the image. The image started as a photo. The yellow in the background is a field of Black-eyed Susans. I couldn't resist the color contrast with the petunias and had to stop to shot them. Shooting at a high ISO begins the process of abstraction along with a shallow depth of field which creates a yellow backdrop for the purple flowers. The graininess of the ISO setting is the underlying 'cause' of the texture that I develop further with my digital tools.

The finish print will be 20x30 and the full detail of the texture will become evident as the viewer moves increasingly closer. The final image below is closer to the desired overall style. In future work I need to further abstract the coincidental subject (flowers) to bring the actual subject (color and texture) more to the fore even when viewed from a distance. I may finally be pleased with the overall style once the coincidental subject has been subjugated (so to speak) by the actual subject.