Category Archives: Art

Pit Bull Art

Photo Artista Oil is an App by Jixipix, available on all platforms (computer, iOS and Android). You don’t have to know how to wield a paintbrush, this App will turn your everyday photos into classical works of art with a few simple pushes of the button.

What I love about Jixipix is how the developers utilise a uniform user interface across most, if not all, of their Apps. If you have already experienced working with one of their Apps, you already know how to use their other Apps.

I woke up one morning and decided on a whim that I’d love to design and wear a t-shirt with my pit bull Shelagh’s photo on it. Perhaps with a funky slogan extolling the virtues of pit bulls. To this end, I’ve been experimenting with Photo Artista Oil. If this works out, I’ll be putting up my designs on my Society 6, Red Bubble and Etsy store pages.

Here are some of the results so far. Enjoy!

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This is the original photo of Shelagh.

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I used Repix to paint out the backgrlund and foreground. I used my favourite brush here – paint drips.

Then, I ran the image through Photo Artista Oil . Here then are several incarnations of Shelagh.

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http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Lenormand moves

…in the right direction, hopefully ;). I’ve been in a creative frenzy lately, creating decks of Lenormand cards. What started out as research rapidly escalated into a full-blown obsession and passion for these seemingly inocuous divination cards which traditionally utilise playing card pips as insets.

And now Bobbie Kelley aka the Rogue Perfumer aka Psychic Twin Bobbie-el, based in Maui, Hawaii, has caught wind of my Lennies (as they are fondly referred to in the Lenormand community), and will be reviewing them on her YouTube channel. Yay, happy days!

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Bobbie asked what my thoughts were or what I’d like attention drawn to, for when she reviewed my decks, beginning with the Moonshadow Lenormand, my very first. So I sat down and wrote about my approach to Lenormand.

Here’s what I wrote, for your ease of reference:

Well, I’m relatively new to Lenormand. I was drawn to Lenormand because the playing card insets intrigued me. My first deck was a Piatnik, followed by a mini Ukrainian deck, a Laura Tuan Dondorf deck, and Ciro Marchetti’s   Gilded Reverie. Then I discovered  artist self-published decks…

I’m a digital photography artist and my “studio” is my Samsung Galaxy S4. I’m also recently a licensed artist with several companies in the US, Canada and the UK. I sell my Art also on Society 6. When I discovered I could create my own physical Lenormand card decks, and not just virtual art, I was inspired to try my hand at making my first Lenormand deck. This rapidly became a passion and obsession, and I’ve since then created 7 Lenormand decks, and am concurrently working on my 8th, 9th and 10th! Yes, I’m very prolific 😄. You can or will soon enough find my Lenormand card decks on my eBay and Etsy pages.

I learn by doing, so with each individual Lenormand card and deck that I create, I’m finding new nuances and perspectives. I’m also learning new aspects of my chosen format (digital mixed media photography art) as I go – freestyle design in one, using frames and templates in another, creating one card at a time, or creating an entire deck one layer at a time. My Lenormand decks utilise my own photos and public domain/copyright free images and clipart. I’ve built up quite an archive of Lenormand archetypal images now, on my Samsung Galaxy S4!

So, my approach towards Lenormand is two-pronged – 1) from wanting to learn a new esoteric language and 2) from an artist’s viewpoint. Now that I’ve created several decks in various styles – eclectic, modern, geometrical, plain and simple, time-worn, half-tone, etc I feel the need to share them with the rest of the Lenormand community. I’m sure that whatever style you prefer, or if you’re a deck collector, you’ll find one or more of my Lenormand decks that suit you!

You can catch Bobbie’s videos on YouTube, under her name “Rogue Perfumer”. http://youtu.be/CIHncKg4Vpg

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http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

The Half-Tone and Altered Half-Tone Lenormand

I was looking for an App that would give me a framework upon which to hang my Lenormand archetypal images. And I found a new (to me, anyway LOL) App on the Android Google Play Store, called Moldiv, that has heaps of cool collage templates. Moldiv is also available on iOS here.

For my Half-Tone Lenormand divination card deck, my initial idea was to create some sort of newspaper/scrapbook effect, as if I’d cut my images out of newspapers and magazines, and stuck them to my template.

Firstly, I collated the images I wished to use, into a folder on my Samsung Galaxy S4. Said images came from my library of my own photographs, public domain/copyright free images and clipart.

Then, I found a simple App that would give me the Half-Tone effect I wanted, called Just Sketch It. Of course, the App does give more than one style of sketching, Half-Tone being merely one.

I ran all 36 images through Just Sketch It, one after the other, and saved them to a new folder. (Thank the Universe for my S4′s expandable memory, I’d be lost without my 64GB memory card).

Then I setup my template in Moldiv, selecting a simple 2 photo frame, accommodating one large and one small photo. The App is versatile in allowing users to change the ratio. For this Lenormand card project, the 2:3 ratio worked a treat. I chose a neutral light grey textured background, and a font that I liked. I already had my 36 playing card inserts, created previously, waiting in another folder on my S4. We were all set to go.

The creation of the Half-Tone Lenormand was relatively straightforward. I did everything in-App in Moldiv – rotating and resizing the images, tweaking the colours, brightness and contrast etc, putting in the playing card inserts.

Here are a few of the completed cards:

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Then I got creative. I stumbled upon a long-lost old friend, an App that had previously been on Apple iOS only. The developers, Jixipix, have at long last made some (but not all) of their iOS photo editing Apps available on the Android platform, so when I came across Grungetastic, I knew my Half-Tone Lenormand project was going to produce not one, but two separate decks. A nice, clean one, if you will, and a dirty, grungy one that looks terribly worn. I adore grunge and texture! I’d already found an App that gives me the effect of torn washi or decorative tape, which I dearly wanted to use. (I will write about that App, as well as Moldiv, Just Sketch It and Grungetastic, in future posts). The App is called Masking Tape.

And so I went to town playing with first sticking on virtual tape over my images with Masking Tape, then grungifying (is that a real word?) them in Grungetastic.

Et voila! The Altered Half-Tone Lenormand deck:

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I had such fun doing this 2-in-1 Lenormand deck! 😄 Both versions will be made available on my eBay and Etsy stores in due course. I shall also post up video slideshows of them on my YouTube channel.

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http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Idle Hands…

What do Kim Kardashian’s recent nude bottom photos and these obviously Photoshopped mutant animals have in common?

Idle hands and creative minds, that’s what.

Never mind the big hooha over KK’s ample backside, we all know every pic that gets into a glossy mag has been Photoshopped and airbrushed to perfection. Take a look at these imaginary mutant animals, and wonder at the inventiveness of their digital creators. They may not be in the tabloids, but they’re certainly more interesting and newsworthy than recent events. (BTW I didn’t see That photo, just a parody of it using a coffee machine. Disgraceful! I don’t even know who KK is, as I don’t read the tabloids, however it IS very hard to escape these things on Facebook!)

Just goes to show you can’t trust what you see with your own eyes these days. (All photo credits and copyrights belong to their rightful owners, there are too many to cite here. You guys and gals are soooo talented!).

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Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

More Videos of my Lenormand decks

Yesterday I posted up videos of 3 of my Lenormand divination card decks. Since then, I have created slideshows of 3 more of rhe decks I’ve made, using the moviemaking App “Videoshow”.

And here they are, for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy! (All rights reserved AlyZen Moonshadow).

1) The Time-Worn Lenormand

2) The Geometrical Lenormand

3) The Eclectic Lenormand

All my Lenormand cards were created using only my Samsung Galaxy S4, Android Apps, and my own photographs or images from the public domain and clipart.

These decks are, or will shortly be, available for you to purchase on my eBay and Etsy store listings. Just search under AlyZen Moonshadow, AlyZenM, or simply type in the names of the decks. :)

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Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Videos of my Lenormand decks

While currently working on my 8th Lenormand divination card deck, I decided also to create a slideshow of some of my previous decks, so viewers can have a better understanding of what they look like.

I’m on the Android platform, so whilst in the past I would’ve created my slideshow using iMovie, I didn’t have that facility now on my Samsung Galaxy S4. So, as I hadn’t created a video in a couple of years (wow, how Time flies!), I now had to cast about searching for a slideshow/movie maker App that was easy to use. I didn’t need any fancy schmancy effects, just a straightforward no frills slideshow.

Turns out there’s a plethora of moviemaking Apps available these days, a far cry from a couple of years ago when there were only a few to choose from. Now they number in the hundreds, all vying to be the best, easiest to use, the one with the most bells and whistles, the fastest, etc etc.

After trying on a few Apps for size, I settled on Videoshow. It was the easiest to use, did what it says on the tin, I could add music to my slideshow if I wished (I didn’t), and it was free.

Videoshow boasts 18 million users worldwide, and claims to the world’s No.1 video editing App on the Android platform.

Now, I know I could create some really fancy videos with this App, if that had been my intention. But my intention was simply to showcase all the cards in my Lenormand decks, no more no less. So, here are the videos of my Lenormand divination card decks:

1) The Moonshadow Lenormand

2) The Modern Lenormand

3) The Olde Worlde Lenormand

All rights reserved AlyZen Moonshadow.

I will post up more videos of my other decks later, when I’ve created them. These Lenormand decks are available to purchase on eBay and Etsy. Just search under the names listed above. I’m there as either AlyZen Moonshadow or AlyZen M. Thanks for looking! :)

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Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Workflow: The “Plain And Simple Lenormand” card deck

This time round, for my 5th deck of Lenormand cards, I wanted to really simplify matters. I wanted archetypal images that were readily recognisable, with as little background distraction as possible. This deck, I figured, would be ideal for people just beginning to learn the Lenormand divination system.

I also wanted to experiment with creating a template to put my images within. Before this, I had created my images without using a framework, the only boundary being the dimensions of the page itself. This time, I wanted there to be a distinct background, then a frame within which my images would go.

I created a simple yellowy beige background using the App iMagic Pro. Then, using the App PicsArt, I chose a simple blue-grey tectured background from within the App, then put in an oval shape and inverted it so the yellowy beige stayed in the framed part, while keeping the background design. I adjusted the shape of the oval so it wasn’t so elongated.

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Now for the images. I used Clker and Clipartlord for royalty-free and public domain images. I wasn’t sure if they would save to my Sansung Galaxy S4 smartphone, as I’d had problems downloading PNG format images before. But luckily, 70% of the images I downloaded showed up correctly on my S4. I don’t know why some did and others didn’t.

I also decided it was high time to get organised, if I was going to continue creating Lenormand decks. So I filed my downloaded images, and other photos I’d taken especially for my Lenormand projects, into individual folders on my S4. That would make finding the archetypal images significantly easier.

And now for the fun part. This was easier than I expected, after having done the groundwork to prepare the background template. I simply had to put in the numbers, keyword and playing card pips, then select a corresponding image from the correct numbered folder, and put it onto the template.

Et voila! I present to you The “Plain And Simple Lenormand”.

I have yet to self-publish this online, as I’m waiting for the actual physical cards to arrive from the printers first. So for now enjoy these examples from the deck:

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Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

A different workflow : The “Geometrical Lenormand”

In the past, I created my Lenormand decks card by card, with no fixed theme. However, I was inspired by the App “Pixlr Express” (available on both iOS and Android platforms) to alter my usual modus operandi and create an entire deck of 36 cards in a different manner.

The way I approached my “Geometrical Lenormand” may be likened to a conveyor belt at a factory. The developers of “Pixlr Express” like to tempt and taunt their users with promotional filters and effects, which stay for a short period in a special folder within the App, before vanishing into thin air. And so, when I noticed that it had just pulled its previous promo filters and introduced its newest – the “Cosmic Geometry”, I knew I had to act promptly.

To say I was inspired is an understatement. My previous Lenormand decks had all taken me around 2 weeks of constant editing, processing and tweaking, from start to finish. My “Geometrical Lenormand” took all of 5 days. I started on a Friday evening, and the project was completed, bar printing, by Wednesday evening.

This time, I kept things very simple. The parameters I set myself were:

1) I would use the simplest images where possible for this project.

2) the images would be from clipart, or come from within the Apps I use, from public domain images, or otherwise cut out from photos I’d taken.

3) I’d use a plain, coloured background for all the cards, instead of creating collaged backgrounds like in my previous Lenormand decks. For this project I generated 12 different coloured backgrounds using the App “iMagic Pro” (available on both iOS and Android platforms).
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4) on the first pass, I’d simply put a geometrical design on a coloured background. This design would be from “Pixlr Express”. The 3 promotional folders within the App are called “Wavelength”, “Bezel” and “Supernova”. Each contains a variety of geometrical designs that can be enlarged, flipped, rotated etc. The Screenshot below shows a collage of the 3 folders.

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Here’s a background with a geometrical design I’ve put on it.

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5) on the second pass, I would stick on a Lenormand archetypal image over the coloured background with the geometrical design already added. I’d do this systematically over the course of all 36 cards, starting from 1 through to 36 in that order. No fancy filters or other special effects. Let’s use the Bear card. This is a public domain image that I’ve cut out digitally using the Android App “AThumb Cut”. I simply pasted it onto my prepared background image, using another universal App, “PicsArt”.

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6) on the third pass, I’d add a simple, subtle background design to each of the 36 cards, using the special filters in “Pixlr Express”. Again, here is the Bear card.
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7) on the fourth pass, I’d add the number and title corresponding to each image. So, again, here is my Bear card.

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8) I then thought hard about whether to put the traditional playing card pips on the cards or not. I wanted this to be a modern Lenormand card deck with ultra clean lines, and debated with myself whether adding the pips would clutter things up. In the end, I compromised by not adding actual card inserts, but a simple number plus ♤♡♢♧ symbols.

So here is the completed Bear card from my “Geometrical Lenormand”.

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I like the simplicity of this Lenormand deck. Not having to create a complex collaged background saves a lot of time, and a simple background makes the archetypal Lenormand images easier to see at a quick glance. Also, adding the effects layer by layer throughout all 36 cards, instead of completing one card at a time, gives a more consistent and uniform look to the deck.

Note: the “Cosmic Geometry” filter effects are part of the App developers’ marketing strategy to get people to sign up to their desktop App. These filters will be removed from the mobile Pixlr Express App, but will remain a permanent feature on the desktop version. Check out their link:

https://pixlr.com/desktop?utm_source=pex&utm_medium=direct&utm_term=ExampleKeyword&utm_content=&utm_campaign=cosmicgeometry?utm_source=pex&utm_medium=direct&utm_term=ExampleKeyword&utm_content=&utm_campaign=cosmicgeometry

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http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Courting Controversy Part II: Elizabeth Durack/Eddie Burrup

We’ve seen what happens when an artist passes off another’s work as his/her own. In my previous post, I wrote about the controversy surrounding Walter Keane and Margaret Keane.

What happens then, when a white woman in her 80s paints in the style of Australian Aboriginal Art, and claims to be an Aboriginal Artist by the name of Eddie Burrup? That is exactly what happened in the 1990s, with Elizabeth Durack (1915-2000).

Early in 1997, 82-year-old painter Elizabeth Durack (now deceased) was reported to have produced a number of paintings under the persona ‘Eddie Burrup’. Under this pseudonym, Durack produced images of some Kimberley country in an Aboriginal style. Many Indigenous artists attach to their paintings a text that talks about their life experiences, their world-view and their relationship to the land. The Burrup works attached similar biographical information to the paintings. Durack had spent decades associating with Aboriginal people in the Kimberley region, as had her family since their arrival in the 1880s, and she believed this ‘gave her the right to paint as one’ (Debelle, 2000).
In response, Wayne Bergmann, acting head of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Cultural Centre, said: ‘…in Aboriginal law, no-one can take another’s work or another’s identity. Miss Durack has failed to respect the very law and culture in which she claims empathy and understanding’ (McCullock, 1997). Another critic of Durack was Doreen Mellor, who was the curator of the 1996 Aboriginal Art Centre Exhibition in Adelaide at the time when the true identity of Eddie Burrup came to light. ‘I was terribly angry,’ Mellor said. ‘At that point she was definitely representing the work as being by an Aboriginal artist’ (Debelle, 2000).
However, other responses were not so condemnatory of Durack’s paintings. There were some senior Nyungar men who backed her, saying she had been possessed by the spirit of an Aboriginal artist. Also in her favour was the fact that she had been painting pictures depicting Aboriginal themes long before the Aboriginal art boom of the 1970s. It could also be said that the Eddie Burrup pictures represented a huge leap in her creativity in the twilight of her career. (Earlier in her career Durack’s paintings used Aboriginal people as subjects in the Western tradition.) That she chose to reveal the truth voluntarily shows that perhaps there was no evil design at work.
Durack claimed that Eddie Burrup was a compilation of several Aboriginal men she had known. In the furore that followed her disclosure of being Burrup, she asserted that she was astonished that it had hurt or offended. Whatever Durack’s intentions were, the consequences served to fuel a debate on the issue of the authenticity of Aboriginal artworks including the question of non-Indigenous artists painting under Aboriginal pseudonyms.

(Source: http://ab-ed.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/go/aboriginal-art/protecting-australian-indigenous-art/background-information/protection-the-issues/case-study-eddie-burrup)

Here’s a website with further information about the Elizabeth Durack/Eddie Burrup impersonation: http://www.elizabethdurack.com/burrup_6_storm.php 

Whatever one’s opinions are, the fact that remains is this: for many years Elizabeth Durack made money selling her Eddie Burrup paintings to unsuspecting members of the public. Collectors parted with their hard-earned money to acquire what they assumed in good faith was the work of a prominent Australian Aboriginal Artist. Despite what Elizabeth Durack’s estate may say to refute this, monetary gain was had as a result of this deception, and no amount of apologising or throwing up of hands can ever change what happened.

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Elizabeth Durack’s daughter, Perpetua Durack Clancy, herself courted controversy this year, when, as judge of an Indigenous Art competition in Broome, Western Australia, she refused to award the prize to ANY of the participating artists. This created a furore amongst the Aboriginal community, many of whom felt that salt was being rubbed into old wounds when they realised Perpetua was the daughter of none other than Elizabeth Durack.  In the 1990s Perpetua ran the Durack Fine Art Gallery in Broome, that promoted and sold the art of Eddie Burrup.

Read here for the full article: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-09/outrage-as-judge-refuses-to-award-indigenous-artists/5730274/?site=indigenous

Courting Controversy Part I: Walter Keane/Margaret Keane

When is it a good idea to pass off someone else’s work as your own? The answer is: Never. The Truth will always come out in the wash. And sometimes that laundry bill comes to millions of dollars.

Some of us may remember seeing these images of big-eyed children, in our own childhood days. I have a vague recollection of seeing some of them on some kitschy wall ornaments when I was around 8. But I never made the connection between them and the huge controversy surrounding Walter Keane and Margaret Keane, until now.

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Walter_Stanley_Keane                                                 Walter Keane

a4cc5c46ce35a28062d61f353bc6468e17                       Margaret Keane

Wikipedia describes Walter Keane as a plagiarist. And that is exactly what he was. He was a clever narcissist with delusions of grandeur, who in the 1950s and 60s passed off his wife Margaret’s work as his own. The only contribution Walter Keane ever made with regards the big-eyed children paintings was to add his signature to the finished works. Margaret Keane was kept in the house as a virtual slave, told to just concentrate on painting. Walter emotionally blackmailed Margaret to stay silent about this fraud for many years, whilst reaping the financial rewards all in his own name. (I have a name for people like him, but I won’t use it here, as we are in polite company).  My heart goes out to Margaret Keane, who suffered under Walter’s abusive tyranny for 10 years, until she decided enough was enough, divorced him in 1965 and took him to court in 1970…Walter had claimed that she only said she was the real artist because she believed he was dead…so Margaret sued him for slander.

A “paint-off” between Walter and Margaret was ordered by the judge in Court, to decide once and for all who the artist of the big-eyed children images was. Margaret painted hers in 53 minutes. Walter claimed he had a sore shoulder and declined the order to paint. The Court found in Margaret’s favour and awarded her $4 million in damages, but Walter never paid up and in fact contested the judgement until the day he died on 27th December 2000.

Margaret, I’m happy to say, moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where she remarried, became a Jehovah’s Witness and continued to paint. She now resides in Napa Valley, California, where she is still active.

Tim Burton (Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, Alice in Wonderland etc) will release his newest film to movie buffs this December 2014, entitled “Big Eyes“. And it’s about the life and times of Walter and Margaret Keane. One of my favourite actresses, Amy Adams, plays Margaret Keane. Walter will be portrayed by Christoph Waltz. I can’t wait!

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