Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Mixed Bag Of Tricks

I finally finished that macro flower. It's bold and kind of daring in coloration. I darkened the shadows and brightened the highlights until it matched what was in my head. In other words, I used my artistic eye to flesh out the details instead of just following what the photograph "told" me. I'm trying to develop my artistic eye and allow myself the freedom to interpret what I see, not just try and copy a photo of a subject. It's all about building confidence in what I see and how I allow that to be translated through my hand, onto the paper.

That confidence is hard won. It's taken me a few years to get as far as I have with my belief in my own artistic abilities. The past couple of months have shown the most progress in this journey. I have recently realized that it not only is through my own personal inner work & struggle but the growth also relies on the input from friends through blogging.

Making art is mostly a solitary process, a relationship between the artist and her medium that shuts out all interlopers. In fact, if someone interrupts me when I'm painting it's the only time in my life where I become aggressive at all. I'm protective of my process as it occurs. I actually have found myself growling under my breath if someone "joggles my proverbial elbow" by being just too intrusive or inquisitive. But a connection to readers and fellow artists alike can happen after the art is completed and an interesting thing happens. A circle of encouragement forms around each piece of art and this virtual love-fest really bolsters the insecure artist.

It's such a strange thing that occurs with blogging. Instead of feeling that pressure from others saying, "you're so good, you're so good!" and you think, "am I really?", the artist is allowed to watch as her art is praised as wonderful, extraordinary and beautiful. She then gets to be the "Mother" of that piece, which allows her to be proud of her creation but not pressured to perform. This is why I'm growing in my confidence instead of shrinking from the pressure. 

Now that I've said my soliloquy, lets get onto the purty part, lol. Here's my piece, it has no name yet, fell free to suggest one. A bookmark goes to the person who suggests the best name!

Please Name Me!!
Since I did say today's post was a mixed bag of tricks, I'll also show you something I made using a very cool new tool a blogger friend wrote about and urged her readers to try. The site is Tagxedo and it allows you to make word clouds! I always wondered how those were made, where were these people going to make this fun visual? Now I know! The cool thing is that you can put in your blog URL and the program will go and pick main words from your words minus the common ones like "the" and "is" etcetera. You can then go and tell the program to eliminate that word and emphasize other words. It does take a little learning to get how to tweak your cloud but when you "get it" then you're off to the proverbial races! Two things that will REALLY help you using this tool (before I show you what I made and you get all distracted by the pretty words...).
  1. When you pick a "THEME" color palette click the lock to lock it down so it won't inadvertently change as you fool around with the other controls.
  2. When I picked a shape (I picked the rectangle) it put the background as a grey color and no matter what I did I couldn't change it. But when I downloaded the picture I discovered that the background color was to show me where the boundaries were and now downloaded, the background was white. So don't panic if this happens to you when you use it!

Just think of the possibilities! You could pick a heart and fill that heart with love words for your husband for Valentine's day... or for your child's birthday you could frame the print out of your word cloud created using all the words that come to mind when you think of that child. Go try it out, you'll have a blast, I did. Ok, carry on peoples. Nothing more to see here. My bag of tricks is empty.

Until next time,
Love from up here in Canada.

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  1. Your painting is beautiful! I'm horrible at choosing name so I won't be attempting that lol!


  2. Jenn:

    Your painting technique is quite accomplished. I think the next step in your pictorial evolution is to focus on a more direct light source. The reason we tend to love the work of the old masters is because of their designated light source, usually a candle or light coming in from a window. It takes five tones to make something look real--that is to say the way our eyes register things. The tone that is usually omitted is reflective light. This falls between the shadow on an object and the cast shadow. I really like your pictures and look forward to seeing more.

  3. It's quite lovely- from one who always wanted to paint but has no talent and stuck to photography...I'm full of envy:)

    Nice to meet you- stopped over from the Blog Farm.

  4. Hey girl! another fab post Jenn!! I like the way you are developing your "artistic eye"! I've been trying to do this for about 8 months now, it was a HUGE struggle for me at first, but it's getting easier and i'm loving the "freedom" it brings.
    Also, i have often wondered about word clouds.... thanks so much so tell us how to do it!! Great posting Jenn!!! :D


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