mixed media and playing with the results in photoshop 101

Winter Woods, Icy. Vivien Blackburn

Today I wasn't in a 'serious' work mode so I played with watercolour, coloured pencil and oil pastel on Ingres pastel paper.

The original is below - not very exciting, just an experiment to see how the media worked together on the Ingres paper (quite well - it's something worth experimenting more with). Simply an imaginary scene with no reference.

Winter woods, experiment in watercolour, oil pastel and coloured pencil on Ingres pastel paper, about 10 inches, Vivien Blackburn

Digital manipulation of the sketch above

In this one I applied a dry brush effect first, to simplify shapes down and altered the colour balance slightly - more cyan in the highlights and more blue in the shadows.

Then I duplicated the layer and applied a find outlines filter. This creates a layer of scribbly fine lines wherever it finds edges of shapes/colours. I upped the contrast on this layer to make it simply a light background with dark lines. I used a mixture of Levels and Brightness and Contrast to do this.

Next I multiplied the layers and flattened the image - the scribbly lines are now part of the underlying painting layer.

For the image at the top I applied Invert to change the colours and then a Gaussian Blur filter to soften the hard shapes this gave and create a slightly mistier feel. I could work further by applying more Gaussian Blur to the background trees to create a really misty frosty feel, selecting them to adjust without changing the foreground elements.

This is a short and simple idea of the way I begin to play with images in the computer - there are usually many more stages and layers, with erasing, selecting smaller areas to change, cloning .... whatever it takes,

Anyone who hasn't got Photoshop could download Artweaver for free to try experimenting :>) It's really just a matter of finding out what it can do under the various headings and playing. You'll find some surprising and beautiful effects and these can feed back into paintings with more traditional media - I never copy them but the paintings move on again, developing from the experiments.

Does anyone fancy doing a digital manipulation challenge?


Julie Broom said…
Love how the final one you posted came out. Sounds like a fun challenge - count me in!
annie said…
These are fun to follow, Vivien. Watching ALL THE STEPS would have been even more fun. Not that I understand photo shop-- I have no scanner and don't know diddle about any of this (I am waiting for my grandson, who at 4 years was batting The Mouse around like a cat, and pretty soon will be saavy enough to teach me all this stuff). IN THE MEANTIME, I am fascinated by what all of you do. It interested me, especially, to read about your line work, here, and to see the result of it in the final photo manipulation.
Robyn said…
First of all, that is a mighty fine group of trees from your imagination. I'm always fascinated by your digital manipulations, Vivien .

I'd love to be part of a challenge but need more memory in my computer. If you get it going, I'll have a go and see if my Mac can survive the experience.
dinahmow said…
s, perhaps. But I'd need Artweaver first. Might consider that...after breakfast.

Another year full of challenges, right? May it be a good one, Vivien
Rose Welty said…
Sounds like a great idea Vivien! I'd be game.
vivien said…
Ok I'll do another one when I can with more stages

I didn't need a scanner Annie - this was done from a digital photo of the sketch - it was just a little too big to fit my A4 scanner

Robyn you could keep the images smallish and work at no more than 150 dpi. Your computer shouldn't go into meltdown then :>) I have to do that at college or their system crashes constantly.

I'll do a digital challenge then when the new year is a little more underway.
Charlene Brown said…
I don't usually do anything with my Photoshopped paintings (other than occasionally posting them as computer-abstracts on my blog) and do not react nicely to suggestions that I reproduce the result "in watercolour to make a real painting." But I do like your concept -- "I never copy them but the paintings move on again, developing from the experiments" and I think a digital manipulation challenge is a great idea... Count me in, Vivien.
vivien said…
I agree - this one hasn't really been worked on too much but the ones I've put more into, I absolutely see as something in their own right and sell the prints as a limited edition.

Simply reproducing them in paint doesn't interest me at all`. The digital manipulations often spark ideas for future paintings.

One very very quick ink and wash sketch that I played with digitally led on to several oil paintings and 2 series of collage prints that were all very very different - but were sparked off by those manipulations :>)
ian said…
I have scanned in several monoprints - taken from the remaining paint on my palette - then used these as starting steps towards some screenprints, sometimes combining them with photographs or other photomanipulation. I will have to try and record the process sometime.

I really enjoy the way in which images move around and develop in different directions in different media.

PS - I had to sign up to blogger to post. Doesn't it normally allow you to sign in with other accounts or with a URL?

Popular posts from this blog

linoprint fish and digital experiments

playing with watercolours and coloured pencils

Hedges silhouetted agains the snow, winter light: watercolour and Derwent tinted charcoal pencils in Stillmand and Birn Beta Hardback sketchbook