Abstraction and Other Distractions

Original photo - purple leavesleaves with “glowing edges” filter.leaves with “cut-out” filter.I have discovered a new toy. I had to give a talk on Abstracting an Image to my art group in April. I found the whole process of researching and learning about it incredible. For an artist who has very little formal art training, this was huge. I know, no formal art training is a little like re-inventing the wheel but I like to think it gives me a fresh approach. Works for me 😉

I just happen to have Adobe PhotShop, perhaps you’ve hear of it (snort). Abstracting an image is simply taking an image of anything and reducing it to its simplest form. But distorting it also qualifies in the real world. I took this photo (top left – click to bigify any of these photos) of a plant with purple leaves (a bit boring) and put it in PhotoShop to play with. I tried a few of the filters that come with the program; like the “cut-out” filter (top middle), or the “glowing edges” filter (top left). This quickly became addictive as I started to see the potential here as a design tool.

leaves with “note paper” filter.leaves with “sumi” filter.leaves with “palette knife” filter.“liquify” distortion added to the “palette knife” filter.

“Sumi” leaves filter topped with the “cut-out” filterAbove left is the “note paper” filter, then the “Sumi” filter. I then used the “palette knife filter and, unable to stop myself, I applied the “liquefy” distortion tool. Cool, huh? Left is the “Sumi” filter topped with a “cut-out” filter. This could keep me entertained all summer!

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The Painted Quilt Book

But then… I was cruising Borders last Sunday – I do this every Sunday, but what made last Sunday so special was the book I found. The Painted Quilt: Paint and Print Techniques for Colour on Quilts by Linda & Laura Kemshall. Once I got my hands on this thing, it was going home with me. No negotiation. The book is fabulous and my sketch pad is filling up with some really great ideas. Its just too inspirational and fabulous!

Just some of the things it gets into; finding inspiration, dyeing techniques, dye painting techniques, stenciling, rubbings, block printing, screen printing, mono-printing, discharging, painted fusible webs, gel and other fabric pens, dimensional paints, text, ink-jet printing, photocopy transfers, and fabric painting. Then, to top it all off with a chocolate covered cherry, it gets into applying pastels and paints after the quilting is done.But the best part is the really wonderful artwork that fills the pages of this book — I didn’t sleep with it under my pillow, honest I didn’t.

And then… I have been busy with the yard, now that its warm enough for things to grow, they are really growing! Oy! I’ve also been making progress on the “scary” room. Since it isn’t quite so scary anymore, I guess I can start calling it the “Art” room. It’s still just a giant supply cupboard but at least it will be tidy and organized and I will be able to find things. Here is the finished paint job and the beginnings of the organizing phase.

Art Room Update

The left wall is light aqua, the right wall is just as bright a chartreuse as it looks (I love it) and its all trimmed in medium teal. The painting is done, praise the paint Gods, I hate to paint! Well, walls anyway. I have been organizing and putting away. This has involved a lot of stuff going out! How many boxes of cut up magazines can one woman accumulate? More than your wildest night mares can imagine. Trust me. And there is other stuff that I cannot figure out why I have it, or kept it. It’s gone. But still many, many boxes to sort… But I have motivation! I leave for QSDS in 16 days and I have to have my supplies and studio unburied so I can pack what I will need for my 5 day workshop. I also know that when I return, I will want my studio in full working order so I can continue to work on the things I will have started. So, I’m highly motivated and by blogging about it, I’ve made myself accountable to the world at large.

Or, at least my Mom, who reads this. Hi Mom!

Updated to add the title – oops!!! 

Deb H

Abstraction and Other Distractions

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