Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Practice Practice Practice

(Tongue in Cheek) Disclaimer: The following post is solely the creation of the owner of this blog and does not in any way reflect the opinions or talents of Photoshop CS5 creators, Fly Paper Textures texture packs, or my photographer/hero/neighbor/sometime coach, Jean Lannen

I recently bought a new camera (Canon EOS Rebel T3i to be specific) and I use Photoshop CS5. The thing is, I'm not an expert at either one, so I'm hesitant to do any tutorials or brag about how I process my photos, because most of the time I'm surprised (sometimes shocked) that my photos come out looking halfway decent!  This is not just false modesty. I probably use about a tenth of the thousands of possible functions in Photoshop.  Back in college, I owned a great (before digital) camera and took photography classes. I was pretty good back then, if I say so myself.  However, a succession of cameras later and moving into the digital age, I slipped further and further into the "automatic" world.  In fact, this Canon camera has more automatic or semi-automatic functions than ever before.  The temptation to fall back into that mode is great! But I'm trying real hard to get back to "manual."

My coach Jean has been generous with advice and, of course, her most valuable instruction is "practice practice practice."  But when I have such a multitude of creative interests, not to mention just the chores of daily living, trying to set aside days upon days to play with the camera is daunting and easily avoided.  The same goes for studying Photoshop!

However, I clipped and brought in a few of my last roses of summer (you know how much I love my roses) and that impelled me to at least spend some time practicing with the camera and with Photoshop.  This is not really a tutorial.  I wouldn't be that presumptuous.  But what I did was explore different exposures and settings with the camera. Then in Photoshop, I cropped photos and adjusted lighting.  I then applied one or more textures from Flypaper Textures Spring Painterly and Summer Painterly packs using blending modes, and sometimes adjusting color and saturation. That's the best I can do with explanations - it didn't occur to me to write down the steps I took.  I'm still practicing, remember?  (smile)

Before (straight out of camera):








I think I prefer the "before" photo of at least one of these. Can you guess which one? And did I tell you I love my roses?

OK, off to practice some more ....

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Where are you?

I have not heard from you, Faithspage!  You are the winner of The Other Jeanie giveaway.

I sent you an email to the address you listed, so please get in touch with me.  If I haven't heard from you by this Thursday,  9/29, I will draw another name for the win.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Key to Collage

Every week, when Inspiration Avenue posts the theme for the week, I write it down, determined not to wait until the last minute to work on something. And every week the days get away from me and I end up in the last minute ... again!!!  The theme this week is "keys" and I especially wanted to create something because I have about a half dozen reproduction antique keys that I have been wanting to use in a collage. 

I love the dimensional collages that other artists create, but I'm not always happy with what I come up with. I end up just puttering and puttering, moving stuff, putting it in, taking it out ... then I usually end up giving it up!  This time I managed to finish it and I'm relatively happy with it, all things considered.  Here's the elements I pulled out to use:

Clip art of the top of a house. I cut out the tree branches and added them to the background. My large key and a few other doodads I thought I might use. A few random clip art and type pieces. I cut down an old piece of wood and left the old layers of paint, cut them into house shapes, and covered the edges with distress ink. Vintage buttons from my collection.  I ended up using most of, but not all, of these pieces.

One piece of clip art gave me the title for this piece: "Unredeemed." 

I love this key ....

Oh yes, I also painted and distressed a frame I had.  Here's the finished piece. 
I think I have to live with it for a while before I decide if I like it. What do you think?  Is it too busy?  
Whew! I'm getting in just under the wire for the Inspiration Avenue challenge!

Friday, September 23, 2011

I Got Caught!

Last week I submitted my Fall Rustic Banner Tutorial to the Link Party at the My Repurposed Life blog and I was "caught" this week.  Thank You!!

I'm hoping to list the banner in my Etsy More Bright Ideas shop today. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

We Have a Winner!

The winner of her choice of print from The Other Jeanie giveaway is:


Congratulations!  I will be in touch for your information.  

Thanks to all of you who visited and commented.  Please come back again - we'll be featuring another talented artist in a few weeks.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Last Chance Giveaway

You have just today and tomorrow until noon EDT to enter the giveaway for your choice of a photographic print from The Other Jeanie.  Here's the link.  Hurry on over!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Autumn Splendor

The theme for this week at Inspiration Avenue is "Autumn Splendor."  The natural beauty of Autumn has to be almost paradise for a photographer, and it also seems to inspire lovely poetry.  Here's a few of my autumn inspirations.

'Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
To give sigh for sigh.
       - Thomas Moore

 In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of 
months of thought and care and toil. And at no season, safe perhaps in Daffodil time, 
do we get such superb color effects as from August to November.
Rose G. Kingsley, The Autumn Garden

Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile.
- William Cullen Bryant

A Giveaway and a Sale

Have you commented yet to be entered in the giveaway for a gorgeous photograph from Jean Lannen, The Other Jeanie?  I have seen her work up close and personal and I can guarantee that it is unique and beautiful!  Go here to enter: In the Michigan Studio with The Other Jeanie

I also put some of my work on sale for a short time in both of my shops. 

In my Another Bright Idea shop, see the Sales section.

In my More Bright Ideas shop, see both the Sales section and the Destash Sales section. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall Rustic Banner Tutorial

 I guess I can't hold on to summer forever; autumn is on its way whether I like it or not. What I do like are the gorgeous colors of fall - brown, rust, yellow, orange.  I also love nature's autumn bounty - brightly colored leaves, pine cones, berries, pumpkins.  What I DO NOT like is that fall is followed by winter. But that's a story for another day.

Wanting to embrace autumn, I created this rustic autumn banner that celebrates nature's bounty and its beautiful colors. 

The best part is that I already had everything I needed to create this banner, much of it left over from previous projects, and some pinecones I always collect during my neighborhood walks.

Here's the supplies I used. 

Silk autumn leaves (softened and darkened around the edges with walnut ink antiquing solution)
Orange, yellow and white artificial berries 
Pinecones (I drilled a small hole and inserted eye hooks for hanging)
Scrapbooking paper in shades of tan, brown, rust, cut into pennant triangles
Quilt fabric in fall colors, left over from a lap quilt my niece created for me
A long fabric strip originally trimmed from the quilt edge
Glue gun, drill, eye screws,Walnut Ink Antiquing Solution

I started by punching two holes at the top of each triangle.
I then layered two leaves,

Then the berries,
I topped it with a bow from the quilt fabric and attached all of it with a glue gun.

I took the long strip of patchwork, folded it over and stitched it the long way, leaving the rough edges to fray.

I then alternated stringing the decorated pennants with the pinecones which I tied on with another strip of quilt fabric.

Because the pennants and the pinecones are strung along the fabric strip, they can be carefully slid along the strip to make the banner as narrow as 30 inches shown here or as wide as up to about 80 inches. 

I hope my description is clear enough; it was quite easy to put together.  My biggest challenge is to find a good spot to take photos when I finish a project.  I had to take it all outside which was fine with me because it was a beautiful day!

Happy creating ... and happy autumn! 

I'm linking this tutorial to My Repurposed Life

Monday, September 12, 2011

In The Michigan Studio with The Other Jeanie and a Giveaway

It has been some time since I interviewed an artist for my “In the Michigan Studio” occasional feature.  Since my March surgery and its long recuperation I have been steadily working into a full schedule. And I’m way overdue to bring you another talented Michigan artist.

A bit of background first. As I was looking through artists on Etsy to feature, one Michigan artist’s work just jumped out at me.  And – surprise – turns out she lives just a mile or two away from me!  I wrote to her and asked if she was interested and she very enthusiastically responded YES. We arranged to meet and as we sat and talked you would have thought we had known each other forever.  It turns out that we have SO many things in common, not the least of which is that we both lived in the San Francisco area and deeply love that city. She was also smart enough to bring some of her work so I could see it up close and personally vouch for her work.  Yep, it’s gorgeous!!  But enough … let’s get to it so you can get a taste of this talented artist and her work. 

FK: Jean, you have your cappuccino (non-fat) and your fruit smoothie (OJ, frozen strawberries and raspberries, and bananas – no dairy) and I have my coffee (Starbucks vanilla flavor, large Winnie the Pooh mug) and my yogurt (Light and Fit Strawberry Cheesecake), so let’s start with the basics. Tell me who you are and where you can be found.



Facebook:  (I have three!!!)

FK: The first thing I have to ask is where the name “theotherjeanie” came from.

At first I was toying around with "The Other Jean" to sort of separate my artist self from my "portraits/events/corporate photography Jean.”  But then I liked the idea of Jeanie in a bottle - making wishes and all the magic it conjured up. So I suppose it is a mix of all that. Being self employed, I'm always wearing different hats: Secretary Jean, Assistant Jean, Real Photographer Jean, Production Jean, Retoucher Jean, Paperwork Jean, PR Jean.  I don't think it's very healthy to keep separating myself into parts, something to do with the negative part of the ego, so I am working on stopping all that splitting up of the parts of me.

FK: I totally know what you mean!  I know you live right here in Bloomfield Hills, but you’re just now getting re-acquainted with Michigan. Tell us about it.

 I was born in New York, and moved around LOTS as a child, teenager and young adult. My dad did such a great job at work that he was constantly promoted and my mother kept improving every house. So that combination lead to moving around the Midwest. It was difficult at the time, but I’m very happy that it all happened the way it did. I love my life and my family. I’m very thankful and very fortunate.

I just moved back to the Metro Detroit area after living in San Francisco for 23 years. I lived in Pacifica, which is a little town right on the Pacific Ocean, about 11 miles south of downtown San Francisco. Even though there was always an incredible amount of FOG, especially during the months of June thru September, I loved living in the Bay Area. I changed so much in every way: artistically, spiritually, socially and physically. I was involved with the artist community in Pacifica – and showed my work in exhibitions and galleries.

The San Francisco Bay Area is all about freedom, being yourself and not being judged. I loved living 3 blocks from the big ocean – such an open, vast energy field of calmness. I had over 85 plant containers in the backyard filled with varieties of plants and flowers. Most of my “flower” photographs were taken in that backyard – and I grew most everything from seed! Nothing ever died there – it was amazing.

FK: Stop-stop!  You’re making me so nostalgic for San Francisco! I still miss it, even though I haven’t lived there for many years. So here you are, back in Michigan. 

After 23 years there, it was time to come back, enjoy my parents and siblings and buy a “real house” with a yard and green grass and trees and blue sky and crickets and birds and thunderstorms and warm nights with stars and full moons (and no fog). My husband and I live in the “lake” district, in Bloomfield Hills, a suburb of Detroit. I don’t know if it’s really called the “lake” district, but that’s what we call it! We exchanged the ocean for a lake across the street. I’m really loving the trees and breeze and weather and green. All these special childhood memories and feelings are surfacing and making me feel at home. I love to sleep with the window open, even when it’s cold out.
 I’m still sussing out the atmosphere and sensibilities of the community; that will take some time. But - I can tell I’m more open and friendly than most people I’m around. Also, I think I may stand out a bit, for whatever reason, but that’s okay. I look forward to meeting more artists and re-discovering downtown Detroit, Royal Oak and Ferndale – and the outer little towns. I do look forward to the leaves turning colors here. Some of my favorite images are of colored leaves and trees. 

FK: Tell me about your education background. You received your degree here, didn’t you?

I graduated from Center For Creative Studies in downtown Detroit, and received my BFA in photography. It was an amazing four-year experience. During that time, I also worked at the coolest commercial photography studio – Ameen Howrani Photography. Back then I wore black, went to art school, was a photo studio manager, freelance photographer and went to tons of rock’n’roll concerts with my camera. I met lots of bands and became friends with a few. To this day, I’m good friends with Todd Rundgren, and even photographed at least 7 of his albums and even shot his and Michele’s wedding in Hawaii.

Todd Rundgren, Body Robe in Blue/White

FK: You have quite an artistic history, Jean! And now here you are – my neighbor! Tell me about your etsy shop. I love your description: “whimsy, wonder, and curiosities.”

I reserved my Etsy shop The Other Jeanie back in 2007, but didn’t get around to actually filling it with art and officially opening till February of 2011 – only 7 months ago! I think I spent a solid 6 weeks 24/7 working on the shop in the beginning. There was so much to learn, and then I had to tie the blog and website and Facebook into it. OH MY!

I definitely have a “creative” brain that is constantly turned on. I love creating something tangible out of a few ingredients or trinkets, and/or creating an actual piece of art that I can hold in my hands, that never existed before. That’s the reason I loved the darkroom and photography. I loved the actual “craft” of it all - the hands-on approach. 

I’m very inspired by light. It’s all about light and shadows, and then, color and composition. It’s all important, but light is the key. On the “shadow” side, I’m very attracted to discarded and left behind objects, vintage toys and the aspects of time. I love abandoned atmospheres.

Then on the “light” side – I like color against color and playing with selective focus. It’s very magical looking thru a macro lens and discovering another world.
The whole black/white, shadow/light side is very Wizard of Oz to me and I think that’s why I was attracted and inspired by the 1939 film. I have been very intertwined with that film since I was a wee little girl. I like playing with the iconic images and love the conceptual ideas.
When I create my one-of-a-kind altered photographs I fuse a print onto stretched canvas and then treat the surface and edges with acrylics and paper. I actually developed my “altered photograph” technique in 2006. I purposely set out trying to come up with a way to create and display my original photography without the use of glass and standard frames. They have magic when you see them in person, because I treat the surface with texture, spot varnishing and finish the edges.

FK: Jean, I have to say that holding a few these altered photographs in my hand is definitely magic.  I’m in love with them, and as excellent as your Etsy photographs are, they still don’t do justice to seeing these dimensional pieces for real! What other magic do you have for us?

I also collect dolls. They have to be unique, old and hold emotional value for me. So when I take photographs of them they are basically my self-portraits.

FK: Jean, where do you create your art?

In my new home I have this dedicated room for my studio. It’s sort of big, in the front of the house, with two windows that look out into the trees and the lake across the street. The windows crank open, and there’s this long porch outside. I want to hang heavy curtains on the entrance so it will feel like a “New Orleans Salon.” I’m not sure what that means yet, but it will magically unfold. I want to be able to invite clients over to see new work on the walls. It will be lovely.

FK: What part of being an artist is the most gratifying to you? What part of being an artist is hardest for you, or that you dislike the most? 

I love finishing a piece and realizing that it came out of thin air. It came through me. It is frustrating when the “technique” holds me back. I love to have all the supplies around me and then I can just create and let it all happen. It’s very hard to stop when I’m in the middle of a project because it’s usually impossible to jump back in and arrive in the same state of mind. 

When I shot my 50/50 Eye Candy series, I was responding to the sun coming thru the west window and how it affected the little trinkets, baubles and balls. The light was constantly changing, so there was this inner pressure to keep shooting till it got too dark. I just kept pushing and pushing and arranging objects and changing the focus till it felt right through the viewfinder. It’s a very instinctive process, and I shoot and shoot.

I love it when a piece connects with another person. Usually, my pieces really connect with people or they don’t connect at all – there usually isn’t any in-between. It’s satisfying when I get letters back from people about how they love the work, and how they see it every day in their house, and how it inspires them.

FK: I know those feelings all too well!  What do you do when you’re not being an artist? What activities do you enjoy?

I love cooking and creating little meals that didn’t exist an hour ago. I love the whole idea of ingredients, chopping, hot pans and cold oil. 

I also love holiday decorating, food styling and gardening. I’m constantly arranging and making displays. One year, while living in Pacifica, I got carried away and really did a great decorating job on the outside of the house and won First Place in the neighborhood’s Outside Holiday Illumination Award. I didn’t even know there was a contest! 

FK: That's funny! Jean, I wish we could go on and on. Your energy and enthusiasm for your art just jumps off the page. But I think it’s time to talk about what your giveaway will be for some lucky – and I mean LUCKY – reader.

The giveaway is:

One 8x10 print of your choice from the following three:

How to Enter
You have several chances to be entered into the random drawing. Each one must be entered as a separate comment.  

First entry: Visit Jean’s shop or blog, come back here, and enter a comment about your favorite piece(s). 

Second entry: Enter a comment if you have signed up to follow Jean’s blog (or comment if you already follow).

Third entry: Enter a comment if you have signed up to follow Jean’s Facebook page. 
Fourth entry: Enter a comment that you signed up to follow my blog (or comment that you already follow).

Fifth entry: Enter a comment that you signed up as a fan on my Facebook page (or comment that you are already a fan).

That's five chances to enter for the random drawing!  Please be sure that your correct email address is in your profile; if it is not, include your email address in your comment.  I will use random generator to pick a winner after 12 noon EDT on 
 Tuesday, September 20

Good luck to all of you!
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