Friday, November 25, 2016

Foto Art Friday – November 24, 2016
The Raven
On a recent trip to Joshua Tree National Park, I was lucky enough to capture a wonderful image of a raven soring overhead, with some boulders in the background.  The raven became the focus of this piece, because I just feel like he perfectly illustrated the freedom that everyone loves and craves in their lives.  I complemented him with some CitraSolv background I created, and then used a variety of brushes and other effects to create the final piece. 
The Raven

Monday, November 21, 2016

Artful Views at Joshua Tree National Park
We had two wonderful days at Joshua Tree National Park, and some really lovely photographs were possible there.  Let’s take a look –
Black & White Joshua
As lovely as the Joshua Trees are in living color (see next image), I thought it would be striking to process an image in black and white.  The starkness of the limbs of the trees gave me the idea to try this.  The desert landscape and rocky mountains added to the effect, with only the clouds above to soften things.
Looking Up a Joshua Tree
As interesting as the gnarly limbs of a Joshua Tree are from afar, I thought it might be cool to look up a tree.  I was careful not to get too close (I wasn’t sure if touching the trunk would be a painful experience), but was able to get a good view of a complex structure.  Again, the softness of the clouds offset the roughness of the tree.
Rock Formation
I posted a similar image to my travel blog.  I decided to include it in my art blog because I loved the tonal quality of the formations.  I processed this image in “true” HDR, merging 3 images taken with different exposures, so that the subtle qualities of the colors could be highlighted.  Don’t you just feel like you could reach out and touch the smoothness of the stone?
Taking Wing
There were many ravens around, and I took many images of them soaring overhead.  This image looks like I’m capturing a shadow on a rock wall.  In reality, this is the actual raven with a rock formation as a background.  He was flying around the very large boulders in the area.  This image just has a sort of magical feel to it.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Foto Art Friday – November 18, 2016
Old Friends
I took the image that’s the foundation of this piece a couple of years ago, but I kept thinking about it and decided to create this piece.  Altho new friends are wonderful, and a great way to expand our life and experiences, there’s something that’s also wonderful about old friends.  These are people who “knew you when” and have seen you thru joys and sorrows, your best and worst decisions, helped you thru the toughest times, and celebrated with you in your happiest times. These two older gentlemen were sitting at a bar in a local pub and eatery, and I couldn’t resist capturing their comfortable relationship in this piece.  Just a gentle reminder to celebrate both your new and old friends – both are treasures!
Old Friends

Friday, November 11, 2016

Foto Art Friday – November 11, 2016
Dust Storm Saguaro
On a driving trip through the Southwest, my husband and I happened to get caught in a large dust storm, called a haboob.  As visibility became more and more difficult, I attempted to capture what was happening with my camera.  One of the images I captured were some saguaro cacti on the side of the highway.  When I processed the image, the feeling of the haboob was accentuated by the fact that my view of the cacti were filtered through both the wave of dust we were driving through and the windshield made dirty by the storm.  I decided to feature that image in this piece.  To me, it captures the feeling that I sometimes feel when life hands me a difficult situation.  It feels like the answer is there, but I must look for it through a screen of debris.  Digital collage elements, including a background I created using Citra Solv, a variety of paintbrush effects, and multiple layers merged together created this final product. 
Dust Storm Saguaro

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Napa Back Road
There is a road that cuts thru the hills between Napa and Sonoma at about mid-point of the 2 valleys.  It’s a twisting, turning road, called Trinity Road.  It actually has several names as it passes thru the hills, but in the beginning, on the Sonoma side, it’s called Trinity Road, and that is how I always think of it.  I truly love to drive down this road when we visit this area because it reminds me of what I always picture when I think of driving thru wine country.  A small, winding road that always holds the promise of what lies just ahead.  When processing this image, I decided to convert it to a painting effect, because it seems to soften it, much like our minds do to favorite memories.
Napa Back Road
Misty Mood of Wine Country
This was the first time I had ever been to the Napa/Sonoma wine country when most of the time, it was rainy.  Altho after a while, it did wear on me, I have to admit I truly loved some of the great moody photo opportunities it provided me.
End of Season

The trees have just about lost their leaves for this year.  The crush of the wine grapes is over, and the leaves on the vines are turning glorious fall colors.  Yes, these things I’ve seen on previous visits.  What I hadn’t seen before, and what lent an entirely different feel to the landscape was the fact that I truly felt the hills in wine country this time around.  Why?  Because I seemed to see them more clearly this time, ironically, because they were often covered with misty clouds rolling down them.
Misty Mood
Would I have noticed this small grove of trees had the sun been shining brightly?  Well, if I would have, it would only have been in passing.  Shrouded in mist, they seem to have taken on a mysterious quality, and almost seem like a perfect setting for some sort of tale of mystery.
Green in the Fog
Altho the fog frequently seems to mute colors, in this instance, it made the green sort of stand out, albeit in a soft way.  This lonely little cabin truly left me with a feeling of loneliness, which is why I positioned it where I did in this image.  Surrounded by nothing.
Low Napa Rainbow
What do you get when you mix water with just a bit of light?  The prism effect of a rainbow!  I have to say, tho, this one was a special treat, simply because it was so low to the ground!  I don’t recall ever seeing one that almost seems to want to hug the earth below.  And, after a day of grey shadows, it was truly eye candy to see the bright colors!
Beauty in Nature
Being in wine country in the fall seemed to provide not only the colors one would expect in the fall, but also some bright colors that I would typically expect during the summer.  All of them really showed off Nature’s palette and versatility….
Autumn in Full Glory
Of course – the brilliant colors one would expect in October!  I truly love the way yellow, orange and red blend in the leaves of this tree.  And, in what I find is often the case, I needed to look up to see the beauty just above eye level!
We were in Napa/Sonoma at what was a rainy time for them.  So, just a few steps from the fall brilliance, I felt like I was seeing the result of spring rains.  The colors of these leaves and the rain drops on the petals of the flower reminded me of the old saying about April showers and May flowers!
Interesting Autumn Colors
Let’s shift gears again, but in a much unexpected way – to autumn colors that included purple!  Yes, it’s true!  I can’t recall seeing any purple before in the fall, so I will count this as a first, and a true treat from Nature.  I do love the softness of all the colors – and this time with nary a water drop to be seen.
Autumn Leaf in Sunshine
This would be a somewhat typical expectation of autumn in wine country.  A leaf on the vine in mid-color change, with the warmish autumn sun shining thru it to also reflect a bit of the shadow of the vine.
Raindrops 2
But, I’ll leave you with this taste of false spring.  Roses are very plentiful in wine country, and this one seems to be getting ready to drop on a green rosebush leaf just below it.  I always love when I can capture raindrops on flowers or leaves – the real thing and not something that has just been sprayed or sprinkled on!  I tip my hat to the versatility of Nature.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Foto Art Friday – November 4, 2016
End of Season
This piece was inspired by a happy accident, which can happen with fairly decent regularity if we’re open to that.  In this case, I accidentally merged 3 distinctly different images I took in Napa, California, into 1 high dynamic range image.  I didn’t realize I was doing that, and when I saw the result, I just sort of sat and looked at it.  I knew I needed to make it a photo collage piece, because I had already sort of started down that path by accident.  So, I added another image of a tree with most of its leaves gone, because it’s the end of the growing season in Napa, and fall is quickly upon us there.  The circles in the lower center are of a clock, and several lighter shadows of the clock.  I purposefully did not make it very clear, because, as time passes, when recalling things, the time that they occurred sometimes gets muddled, and fades.  I then added some photographic grunge effects, some other brushes in Photoshop Elements, and the result is what you see. 
End of Season

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Art at Del Mar Beach
We took Miki to a dog beach in Del Mar, California, when we were in California, and I took a couple of images that just really spoke to me about how peaceful it can be on the shore, even when the waves are rolling in.  As I processed these images, I just felt like they should be converted to some other sort of media – or at least look like they have been created in a different medium! 
At the Dog Beach
This image was captured as we walked across a bridge up above the dog beach.  I love the perspective of being up above things looking down on a calm view.  I converted this to a sort of crayon type drawing.  I loved how the messiness of the effect sort of mirrored the way the waves rolled in, and yet had an overall soft feel to it.
Wave Action
This image represents the opposite perspective – up close to the waves.  I converted this to a sort of impasto painting effect.  The shades of blue fading into the sand and white foam colors create a lovely transition.  What I think I like the most about this image/painting are the shadows you can see from the foam of the waves on the sand below the water.  It’s an unexpected depth that almost creates a 3D effect…..except its real!