Friday, May 26, 2017

Photographing A Quilt - Off the Wall Friday

So more than once, I've been asked why I haven't monetize my blog.  There are basically two reasons.

 One is because  ** Opinion Alert **  there are entirely enough ads in the world.  I don't need to add to this country's addiction to ads.

 The second is because this blog is my way of giving back.  So many times over the years since the internet explosion, I've learned invaluable information from other bloggers and vloggers.
 We've stolen a saying around this house from my brother in law.  "It's not worth knowing if they're isn't a tutorial on it on Youtube"  Funny but so true!

I say all of this because I spent today learning a skill that I read about on a website.  For years, I've wanted to take decent pictures of my quilts.  Although we have a great fiber photographer close by, I just wanted to save the expense and time (mostly time) and do it myself.  But how?? 

Andy Baird and Holly Knott to the rescue.  Their exceptional tutorial on how to photograph a quilt was not only informative but easy enough to follow that I could do it!  I highly recommend it to anybody who wants to take photos of their own quilts for competitions or their website.

I followed the directions  and bought all the items to build my own shooting set up.    Who knew that Lowe's would cut your two by fours for you right there!! Then I spent the afternoon building it and learning how to use my daughters complicated camera.  In the end, I decided that I could follow Andy's instructions with my Canon Point and Shoot.  The adjustments were simple to make to get decent photos.

My first attempts weren't too shabby.  Really the colors are spot on.  BUT as you can see - obviously the tripod was not centered on the quilt.  It LOOKED centered but alas as usual - looks are deceiving.  I'll take new ones tomorrow since I left everything up just in case.

I can tell you that the whole set up cost me about $60 including the wood and hardware, bulbs, light shades, and background.  I used a precut fleece background that was on sale at Joanne's for cheapie.  That is less than one set of pictures from the photographer.  (Not that she charged me too much - just sayin')

So a big Shout out of Thanks to Andy Baird for his great tutorial and to all the other great bloggers who take time to teach the world something.
The Finished Product - no color adjustment - just cropped to see the Edges

I finally took some time off this holiday weekend to catch up on some binding quilts and maybe get some sewing in before its time to start dyeing in June.  Honestly, I think we shouldn't have quilting bees but binding bees!

So What Have Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Ways to Paint - Off the Wall Friday

As Erie broke a record high of 87 today it suddenly dawned on me that summer is a knocking.  And
what comes with summer??  Yesssssssssss - painting and dyeing fabric.  I've made it a habit of once a year, clearing out my studio and just setting it up to dye and paint enough fabric to get me through to the following summer!

Usually its more hand dyeing than painting BUT this year, I  thought I would make sure I did more painting.  Really what I've had problem with is that once I get all the stuff out, and have all that white fabric in front of me,  I don't know what I want to paint or how.

So this year, I thought I would come up with a plan.  All year long, when I saw a fabric or technique I really liked I kept the image to inspire me.  I've taken images from not only fiber artists, but also mixed media artists, painters, calligraphers etc.

Here are a few.  Over the next weeks, I'll start experimenting  with thicken dyes and paints.  Not to mention get out my hand made stamps that have been sitting on the shelf!!


Jean-Michel Basquiat's 1982 untitled painting of  a skull brought a whooping $110 million dollars at auction Thursday.  It became the 6th most expensive painting ever at auction.  The sale broke an auction record by an American artist beating Andy Warhol.   The buyer was a Japanese Billionaire who obviously had no problem by passing the original $60 million dollar appraisal.

Never heard of Jean-Michel Basquiat??  He went from being a  homeless teenage graffiti artist  to selling paintings for $25,000  in a matter of years.  His work reflected commentary on political, social, and racial views.  Tragically, he over dosed at the age of  27 on heroin.

Since then his work has taken on a mythological and cool factor that is hard to beat.  In recent years, his work has grossed 171 million dollars at auction for 80 works.  Today's auction puts him up with the likes of Picasso. 

So you can decide - would you pay $110 Million Dollars for it?

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?
(Maybe it will be worth $110 million dollars some day!)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Wordless - Off the Wall Friday

Friday, May 5, 2017

Off the Wall Friday

Since we are in the middle of Spring Rush at work and I'm working 10 hr days - I'll just host this week!

So What Have Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, April 28, 2017

7 Ways to Abstract a Photo - Off the Wall Friday

Nina-Marie Sayre
Created by taking A few birdhouses   - Changing Scale,  #2
Have you ever wondered how someone abstracts a perfectly normal photo into something so amazingly wonderful that it puts the original to shame????

Yeah, me too!!!

So since, I've been on this journey of abstract art as of late, I thought I would brainstorm some ideas on how to abstract a photo.  Not all of these will work with every photo, but they definitely will get the ball rolling!

Nina-Marie Sayre

Nina-Marie Sayre
The Curves, Using #1
  1. Trace over main lines in the photo, then repeat those lines once or twice - varying the distance between the lines.  
  2. Chose an interesting part of the photo.  Crop it and Enlarge.  Use that part or Crop and Enlarge again.
  3. Take inspirational photo (or painting) - Crop interesting elements out of it  - changing the size of them at will.  Rearrange into a new composition.  (See my Edward Hopper inspired piece below)
    Nina-Marie Sayare
    Edward Hopper Inspired Collage #3
  4. Take a photo and turn it into grey scale.  Pixilate it into lovely blurriness to create a value study of the photo.  Create from there.  Here are my examples.
  5. Take a Photo - Cut it into squares - Rearrange the squares - trace out the main elements and
    Nina-Marie Sayre
    Photo manipulation on Photo Elements - #6
  6. Take Photo - put it into a Photo Editor - start playing with skewing it, erasing elements, rotating it - add layers - take away layers - then trace the most interesting part
  7. Trace out main shapes of the photo - Exaggerate the shapes - make them into any shape - organic or geometric
Nina-Marie Sayre
Created with #2 - Crop, Enlarge, Crop, Enlarge

Be Warned - Brainstorming abstract ideas is VERY addictive.  At some point, you'll have to stop and evaluate the ideas.  How do you do that?  Well the same way you do any other composition that you've done.  I  usually run it through my Good Keys to Composition Test first and then make sure the pieces is saying what I want it to say and evoking the mood I want it evoke!  If it passes all of that - THEN I start pulling fabric out.  With abstract pieces - its always good start with an unexpected palette.  For once let color start pulling its own weight!

So while I've been playing with photo manipulation. . . . .

What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Simultaneous Contrast - Off the Wall Friday

13 years ago, Cynthia Corbin said to me, "Why are we talking about color choices.  Put some fabric up on that board.  You make Visual decisions Visually".  She was right then and she's still right now. Even though, I'm a planner and I've gotten into the habit of planning out a specific palette, that doesn't mean I truly know how all the colors are going to look together until I see them together.  I mean, the color wheel says they go together -- so they should right?  Well, yes and no.

How colors appear is relative to what's around them.  So yes they all "go together"  but how they appear when you pull them from your stash might not be how they ultimately look when you get it into your piece.

 And THAT's what the topic of Lesson 7 was in Katie P-M's Online course - Simultaneous Contrast.

Actually, I did understand this concept, but never gave it a second thought when I was designing a quilt.  Once I created this piece, I definitely have a better understanding how an awareness of the  simultaneous colors involved can effect the out come of a piece.  Its just one more tool in the toolbox  of color that you can use to set the mood of your piece.

In my latest lesson, I could  see how the cheerful, bright ORANGE I chose for the palette muted out as the values of its complementary BLUE.  Because of that effect I could use it create depth in this piece.  The shapes graduate up from dark to light leading the eye up ..... going from a complex grounded feel to an a more airy simple feel at the top.

For that matter, You can see how orange appears totally different when you put it against other colors.

The second part of this lesson was working on simplicity giving homage to the Modern Quilters Movement.  So the piece had to be simple AND show simultaneous contrast.  Let me tell you - doing something simple - does not mean that getting the composition is easier.  It took me 10 long hours to get this piece done and its not even quilted.  sighhhhhhhhhhh

On to Lesson 8  - the last one!!

So What Have Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, April 14, 2017

FotoJet - A Review - Off the Wall Friday

Focus Function used
The Before
Recently, I was approached by FotoJet to give  a review of their photo editing site. Although the site can be used free,  they graciously gave me a year premium subscription to try out their editor and see what I think.  Since, after upgrading to Windows 10, I have not been able to find a photo editor to my liking, I agreed.  The photo editor that comes with Window 10 is totally useless to me (although I'm sure other's will disagree).

Now first a word about my editing.  I do have Photoshop Elements, but to tell you the truth, I don't find it user friendly enough.  What I was looking for was a good photo editor that you could easily crop a photo, adjust the exposure and coloring of it, and once and while add a special effect or two.  Photoshop Elements was not intuitive enough for my casual use and I was constantly reminding myself where everything was.

Photo Editing and Filters used
The Before
FotoJet is definitely intuitive and really you don't need a tutorial to use it.  It has all the normal cropping abilities as well as  slide scales to adjust exposure.  The color adjustment also works on a sliding scale.  I absolutely love the Sharpen and Dehaze adjustments too.  There are plenty of filters, too (even more with a premium membership).

A couple of weeks ago, I paid a visit to the Erie Art Museum, to see the latest exhibit.  As always, I had my little point and shot camera.  I took some pictures so I used them to play around with editor.

 So far, what I liked
  • Ease of Exposure and Color editing
  • Where the OPEN and SAVE buttons are
  • How easy it is to resize a picture
  • The gorgeous  overlays and filters
  • The many fonts in the TEXT mode
What I don't like
  • No space to save on the site - photos need to saved to your hard drive
  • You have to work on one project at a time from start to finish 
  • the Auto Enhancer wasn't really helpful ( but really are any of them?) 
Color Splash and focus functions used
The Before

This week I only have tested out the Photo Editing Feature.  It also has an extensive collage and design section which I want to play with.  Over the next few weeks, I was thinking of giving my blog
a nice spring makeover.  I hope the results are as good as this week's!!

So if you are looking for an online photo editor that is easy to use, I would recommend FotoJet.

So What Have Been Up to Creatively?