My Passionate Love Affair...

...with paper continues... I've just given myself blisters from cutting hundreds of little paper shapes for a new collage I'm making. Someone needs to invent scissors with fur-lined handles.  Fake fur of course. After cutting (what seemed like) the 40 billionth shape, I started fantasising about buying a digital die-cutter, but for this project at least, part of the fun is in hand-cutting the paper. I really do love paper & ink...I hope my passion for them shows in what I do. The finished collages, which are bases for paintings & prints, are just so tactile & lovely. The blisters are (almost) worth it!

Notice anything different? Take a look at the top of my left sidebar...pretty spiffy, eh? Turns out Julian Lievano (of Heart-o-Matic fame) is not only the Evil Knievel of glass blowing, but the Steve McQueen of coding too. He made this nifty little gallery widget especially for my blog. Thanks Julian, I love it! :)

Anyway, toodle-loo for now! :)

A Collage a Day

In an effort to kick start my creativity for the new year, I'm committing to making a collage a day for at least two weeks. Take a look at my enticing box of papery goodness...old letters, receipts, maps, books, some gocco test prints of mine, & other miscellaneous bits & pieces. I've also cut up a nice little pile of 6x6" card blanks ready for my first collage in the morning. Can't wait to start!

I created a Flickr group that anyone is welcome to join who'd like to get busy with scissors & glue. No need to set strict parameters for yourself if you don't want to - it's all about having fun - so come & play!

I'll post the results in my blog as well as upload them all to the Collage a Day Flickr Group.

Yay!

Endings & Beginnings

Well, yesterday was my birthday & I waved goodbye to my 30s. I also just happened to finish my current sketchbook the same day (I rip through at least one a month) & my new scanner was delivered. So put it all together & what do you get? A blog entry with some scans from my sketchbook. I'm a perfectionist by nature (& I don't mean that in a good way) so I have to approach my sketchbooks with the attitude that they're for my eyes only & it doesn't matter how messy & unfinished they are. If I was too conscious of showing them to other people, it'd defeat the purpose of having a place to scribble down the seeds of ideas that may or may not grow into something. So for that reason, my sketchbooks are not particularly interesting...but here are a couple of the less scribbly pages.

You might recognise the fox from my Fox & Flowers print. The colour samples are gocco inks.

In other news...I've been adding more pages to my blog, including one about my mailing list (there will soon be a link to it in my sidebar). Just wanted to let you know that subscribers to my mailing list will be eligible for monthly giveaways & the first one will be held at the beginning of November, so go join my email list if you'd like to be in the running for regular Magic Jelly freebies!

Before & After

People sometimes ask me about my photo manipulations - how much of them is real, & how much is digital trickery. I thought I'd post a few before & after pics...I don't know about you, but I find them interesting to look at. Firstly is the original photo I used for Gone to Earth: Plate One. As you can see, I even gave the poor boy a new face!

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Although photo manipulation, retouch & restoration aren't my main line of work, I still do some commissions from time to time, & also like to do them sometimes just for enjoyment. I find restoration very relaxing...kind of like unravelling a big ball of tangled string (but rather more creative!), you can zone out & just lose yourself in the painstaking detail of the task.

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It's incredibly difficult to colourise a B & W photo convincingly. Sometimes you want that flat, over-painted look that has a kind of retro quirkiness, but other times you might want to bring the photo to life in a more realistic way. Skin tones are particularly hard to do. No one's skin is uniformly one colour, you have to add those subtle variations like a little redness on the nose & maybe blueish shadows under the eyes.

A friend of mine bought a cardboard folder full of glamour photos from the 1940s & I had a lot of fun messing with them. As you can see from this example, the original has degraded with time; the mid-tones & shadows are quite flat. I've tried to freshen it up, not only with colour, but also bringing back some dimension with tonal adjustments, & painting in some highlights. Her face & arm are quite flat in the original so I've rounded them out in the colourised version with some airbrushing. The hair is still pretty flat & there was not much I could do to bring back the lost detail. I've added a few subtle highlights, but I didn't want to overwork it & make it look too painted.

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