April 18, 2011

First Digital Collage

Posted in Art, Beginner's art, Collage, Digital art, Digital collage, Learning art, Photoshop, Techniques (art) at 12:38 am by amateur-in-art

I recently attempted my first-ever digital collage, and considering it’s my first attempt, I’m pretty satisfied with how it turned out!

copyright 2011, amateur-in-art

I made this using Photoshop Elements 8. Here’s the rundown.

I used several large brushes to create the background, using several different layers, and modified their opacity.

I used a random number generator to get 6 different numbers. I used these numbers to randomly select artwork from 4 different Dover clip art books: Empire Designs; Greek and Roman Designs; Art Nouveau Designs and Motifs; and 1268 Old Time Cuts.

I created a different layer for each image. The first image I used was from the Art Nouveau book – and that image is actually not so obvious in the finished version. It is the large shroud-like area in the center background. I faded it way out so that there was just a hint of the image left.  After that, I added the other images. With the two women, I made a few minor adjustments, filled in their images using the paint bucket tool, and modified each layer’s opacity.

Finally, I added the text, using the Papyrus font.

I am very much a newbie with Photoshop, and just wanted to jump into something, so I’m pretty happy with the way this one turned out. I really liked using the random numbers to select the artwork, because it forced me to figure out ways to unify the work, even if the images were disparate.

It was a good way for me to play with layers and opacity. I really appreciated how changing opacity enabled me to add a lot of depth.  One part that I might change, if I had both more time and expertise, would be to erase the part of the tablecloth that shows through the head of the woman in the lower left. I’m not sure the best way to do something like that, at this point, but I’m sure I will learn. I may come back in the future and try to work on it some more, but for now, I’m leaving it and moving on.

I still have very little time for art making, but I do like doing this, digitally. It certainly keeps my kitchen table clearer, and my fingers cleaner, and is a great way for me to be able to come and go from a project with ease.

© 2011, amateur-in-art

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January 1, 2011

Art word of the Year (2011) – Sparkle!

Posted in Art for beginners, Fun & frivolity, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 8:29 pm by amateur-in-art

Now for my Art Word of the Year

I’ve heard increasingly about people who are choosing to select a “word of the year” rather than make New Year’s Resolutions.  I’ve recently begun doing this, too, over the past couple of years, and I’m doing it again, this year. But in addition to choosing a ‘regular” word of the year, I’ve also decided to choose an Art Word of the Year.

I’m not even sure what it means to choose an Art Word of the Year. To me, it is both an artistic theme as well as a personal ambition. Either way,  it may be too ambitious, considering I hardly have time to make art or post anymore.

But I like this word, I want to use it in my art – and I think I want to use it in my life, as well.

The word is:

**  SPARKLE  **

I have lately been very taken by all things Sparkly.  Shiny rocks and gemstones (real or fake, natural or polished), fake stick-on sparkly things, bead-type sparkles and so-called scrapbook “jewels’, sparkly powders for use on polymer clay, embossing sprinkles, glitter and glitter glue.  ALL THINGS SPARKLY I must have!

Sadly, I’ve not really used any of them, yet, although I did use some incredibly fabulous gold-leaf type paper when I created a Christmas gift for someone.

I like the idea of having a Sparkly Life!   It sounds very S.A.R.K.-ian — and probably is.

I belive that if I make more Sparkly things, then maybe my own life will be more Sparkly too.

“Sparkly is as Sparkly does!”

What I hope for is Sparks of ideas, happiness, and creativity that is electric and energizing and successful, and maybe also starting (eventually) back to work on this blog – which will also by definition mean making more Sparkly Art!

Cheers to 2011!!

And get your Sparkle On!


© 2011, amateur-in-art

July 9, 2010

Fascinated by Scrap Paper

Posted in Art for beginners, Beginner's art, Crafts, Papercrafts, Techniques (art) tagged at 9:41 pm by amateur-in-art

Oh yes, I know I know, it has been months and months since I posted.  I haven’t been idle – just no time to post.

But I caught myself staring once again at some scrap paper that I have made, and thought I would share it here, along with a couple of other items from my miscellaneous pile.

First, the scrap paper.  I had read somewhere, I think online (and my apologies for not keeping better track of where I get my suggestions from) to simply use a scrap of paper – preferably something fairly heavy duty like watercolor paper – and use it as a sort of canvas to be used when you end up with extra paint on your brush, or when you are watering down and cleaning up your brushes.  At first, I thought, oh, no biggie. But now that I have been using it for a few weeks or months, I’m starting to really like the way it looks. I believe the original source also suggested this method as an excellent way to create deeply textured, multi-layered backgrounds for projects. I’m not done with it yet, but I can see how it can be used that way.

It’s really not that visible here, but I have also used several different types of acrylic mediums on this – “Opaque White Flakes” (visible within the turquoise at left); “Lava Gel” (the stuff that looks like pepper on the lower right); and probably one or two others. Don’t think I’m a serious artiste, though, just because I can say “acrylic medium” – I’m the artistic equivalent of a child playing with flour in the kitchen. I may know what flour is, and may even know it goes in a cake, but what to do with it, or how to get it from “flour” to “cake” – I haven’t the foggiest.

That being said, I do like how this piece of scrap paper is shaping up. None of it has been deliberate or intentional – just totally random, most often, as I am cleaning up or changing colors.

Anyhow. I thought I’d also share a couple of scrap papery items that I, on a whim, stamped – and love the result! When saving these images on my computer for posting, I had to call them something, so I called them “Joy Blurts” – and I kind of like the ring of that. Here’s what they look like:

And here’s similar scraps, before stamping.

Wow – these look even cooler after scanning – better even than in real life!  These are super simple.  Just take 2 or 3 crayons, scribble on paper until paper is full of color – no white showing through.  Take watercolors of a similar or contrasting color and wash over the crayon scribbles (visible as specks on the yellow sections above). Voila! You are done!

To stamp, I used black pigment ink and heated with a heat gun to set.  That had an interesting effect as well, as it seemed to get rid of the waxiness from the crayons on the paper, but left colors and everything else unchanged.

The above scraps were originally scribbles on a much larger piece of paper – it was cut up into smaller squares as part of an exercise.

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© amateur-in-art, 2010

November 18, 2009


Posted in Art, Fun & frivolity tagged , , , at 10:37 pm by amateur-in-art

OMG, I just found out about the coolest thing, by way of Thrifty Collage Artist.

It’s called the Art-o-mat and is the very coolest thing! Old cigarette machines have been given new life as art vending machines. And they have a cool retro 50s feel to them, too. Take a look!

September 14, 2009

Candy, or Art?

Posted in Art supplies, Fun & frivolity tagged , , , , at 10:52 pm by amateur-in-art

It’s a sad state of affairs when I decided to purchase a chocolate candy bar just for the art-full possibilities of using its label in some yet-to-be-defined art project.


Chocolate is an important part of my life. But in this case, the label was more important, and was the motivating factor in its purchase. What’s more – it’s imported!

© amateur-in-art, 2009

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