Category Archives: Art

Workflow : ONENESS

Today I’ll be sharing my workflow or process of how I created one of my Oracle Cards, “Oneness”. This is an ongoing Project.

I used the Live Wallpaper App “Elements of Design” to randomly generate a dynamic wallpaper, which I took several screenshots of, as the app did its job. And then I chose at random one of the screenshots and loaded it into PicsArt.

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In PicsArt, I then cropped the top and bottom of the screenshot. I also flipped and rotated the image.

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I layered another image over this in PicsArt, that of a colourfield background. Then I played around with various blending modes and opacities until I found a result that I liked. I really like the smoky, smudged effect here.
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Now the image needs some motif or object. I searched through the vast catalogue of clipart that PicsArt has, trying out one thing after another (it’s obvious that I don’t have a Master Plan!) Until I found one that just clicked. This was a red bird from the Geometric clipart range in PicsArt.

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Three birds later…here I’ve altered the angles, direction and sizes of the bird clipart so they wouldn’t all look identical. I love how they seem to pick up the vibrant reds and orange colours of the background, and yet somehow retain their own presence.

I wanted the overall image to be more cohesive. I added some sprigs to the beaks of the birds. I wanted the viewer to be able to look at the image and intuitively guess what the meanings could be. Here’s a possible explanation:


This Card signifies the idea of Working together harmoniously towards a common goal and for the greater good. The Three Birds belong to the same Family and are united in their mission. In their beak each Bird carries a sprig of Holly Leaves with Holly Berries. These are sacred symbols and the Birds are bringing them to some far off destination to be used as building blocks for the future. The Birds are in commune with their surroundings, their colours blend in with Mother Nature’s glorious sunset. The number 3 signifies the Holy Trinity, a concept prevalent in humanity’s many religions. The Birds symbolise Oneness, they work together as One. Note there is only one set of concentric rings in the picture, at the bottom right corner. This reinforces the idea of Oneness.

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Next, I brought the image into the App Repix. And added a sprinkling of stars. I also tweaked the colours of the background, to create a little more depth to the overall image. I decided to tone down the vibrance a little, to make the image look more painterly and old, like a vintage Christmas card, perhaps.

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Then it was back to PicsArt to put in the text for “Oneness”.
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And finally, for my own reference, I added my digital signature. Very subtly, of course ;). And so here I present “ONENESS” by AlyZen Moonshadow:

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Elements of Design

Have you got 5 minutes free time and don’t know what to do? Why not be creative and make yourself a pictorial quote? I’m not sure what the real term is for these things, but you know the ones I mean…those cute and quirky quotes that go along with equally cute and quirky backgrounds. Memes?? It’s very popular on Facebook at the moment. Instead of commenting in boring old plain text, why not find some quotable quotes online and share them instead? Okay I may have started that trend, shame on me LOL.

Anyway, today I’d like to share a quick and fun tutorial with you. See, with just 2 simple Apps you can create your own pictorial quotes and amaze your friends. Don’t worry if you, like me, can’t draw, it’s all done for you.

Yes, just 2 Apps:
InstaQuote for iOS
InstaQuote for Android

Elements of Design for Android

Note: Elements of Design is a Live Wallpaper. When you load it, it doesn’t show up as an App on your smartphone, but rather in a folder called “Live Wallpaper”. The beauty of this App is that you can set numerous parameters and tweak various elements and then to save, simply take screenshots of the action. (Sorry, iOS Apple users, I don’t think the Live Wallpaper option is available on your device, neither will you find Elements of Design on iTunes. But I’m sure you can find tonnes of other similar Apps on the iTunes store for this purpose).

Here’s the blurb on Elements of Design, taken from the Google Playstore:

Turn your background into a beautiful abstract work of art with this fully customizable, animated live wallpaper! Combine some of the most popular elements of contemporary graphic design into animated eye candy with the touch of a finger! Overwhelmed by the number of options? Choose from one of 16 preset themes!

Watch flowering vines weave across the screen, add an animated honeycomb background, or make elements appear with a single touch. This full version has plenty of beautiful options to keep your phone fresh and your eyes entertained!

Right, so today I came up with a funny quote that I wanted to share with my friends. And, being lazy, I wanted to create something original but which I could do in less than 5 minutes.

To do this, I opened up InstaQuote on my trusty Samsung Galaxy S4. I left the background blank (or defaulting to whatever) while I worked my quote into the text field.

Then, I simply set up Elements of Design, played with the parameters, then took some screen snapshots. I then loaded the screenshot I liked that I thought would work best, and placed it into the background. I didn’t even have to crop my background image, InstaQuote did that for me.

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Et voila! An Instant Quote (well, more or less).

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😄😇😆

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Australian Aboriginal Artist : Paddy Nyunkuny Bedford

Paddy Bedford (1922-2007), like Eastern Anmatjerre artist Emily Kngwarryee, produced paintings for no more than a decade at the end of his life. However unlike Kngwarreye, who produced in excess of 4000 paintings before her death in 1996, Bedford painted only sparingly for most of his late-blooming, artistic career. At their best, his minimal abstracted ochre works have an equal power and strength to those of Rover Thomas, the founder of the East Kimberley style. However Bedford was physically capable of producing major paintings for only a limited period of his life. (Source: http://www.aboriginalartresource.com/aboriginal-artists/paddy-nyunkuny-bedford/)

Paddy Bedford was known by his nickname Goowoomji and also by his Gija name Nyunkuny. As a senior law man Paddy Bedford was involved in painting as a part of ceremony throughout his life. However, he only began painting on canvas for exhibition after the establishment of Jirrawun Aboriginal Art in 1997. In a remarkable career as a painter, that spanned less than ten years, Bedford achieved great critical acclaim in Australia and internationally.

Bedford’s paintings reveal a deep love of his country: the East Kimberley region of Western Australia. Many of his works depict features of this distinctive landscape such as the rivers, stock-yards and roads that were integral to Paddy’s traditional life and that as a well regarded stockman. Much of the subject matter of his paintings are inspired by important events in his life, such as the Bedford Downs Massacre as well as his family dreamings of emu, turkey and cockatoo. Towards the end of his career Paddy declared that he had painted all of his father’s country and his mother’s country and that he was just painting.

A major retrospective of Bedford’s work was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney in 2006.
(Source: http://www.moragalleries.com.au/pbedford-estate.html)

I love the wonderfully abstract nature of Paddy’s paintings. They have the ability to look traditional and modern at the same time. They look deceptively simple, yet speak volumes to me. By keeping his colour palette simple and restricting it to black, white and the rich reds, ochres, browns and yellows of the Australian outback, Paddy manages to evoke a sense of history, to paint a frozen snapshot of his beloved land.

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INCANDESCENCE

She had a way about her
That lit up the room
When she entered it
She did not even have to try

Incandescent
That’s the word for it
She had an Incandescence
About her Being

Pure and simple
Effortless joy
A presence that filled
The heart with pleasure

Not an earthly pleasure
But a higher one
That of lighting the mind
Like a light bulb glowing

She was a being evolved
Like no other human
Therefore, when the time came
She simply shook off her physical form

And so she is Now
Truly Incandescent
And Nascent Everywhere
Now her real work begins

She is the First Light of Dawn
The Last Rays at Sunset
And All that’s in between
Incandescent

image (Google Image : Scarlett Johansson from the film “Lucy”, 2014)

By:
AlyZen Moonshadow

Note:
I was inspired to write this poem after watching the superb movie “Lucy” starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman. In the film, the main character, Lucy’s body gets infused with a synthetic drug called CH4, and her brain starts developing at an exponential rate, from a normal human’s 10% to ultimately, 100%. At that point Lucy has no further need for corporeal form, and transcends humanity into the very fabric of her environment…i.e she becomes Incandescent. She is Everywhere. If humans could ever utilise 100% of our brains, we would all be Gods.

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Australian Aboriginal Artist : Mitjili Napurrula

I’m a big fan of Mitjili Napurrula’s work. When I first saw them at an art gallery in Fremantle, Western Australia, I immediately thought they reminded me of a famous Western artist. At that time I couldn’t put my finger on it, but now I know it was Henri Matisse. And here’s why the main motif that Mitjili Napurrula is so well-known for reminded me so much of Matisse:

Matisse “Oak Leaves” motif:

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Mitjili Napurrula “Bush Medicine Leaves” motif:

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But, while Matisse only used his Oak Leaves motif sometimes, Mitjili Napurrula has taken the simple form of her Bush Medicine Leaves and developed it to the nth degree, coming up with seemingly endless variations of it, from the very simple to huge, complex structures.

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Here is a video showing Mitjili’s creative process. What an amazing artist! I love the beauty in the deceptive simplicity of her paintings. (Note: this is only one of many videos of Mitjili at work, courtesy of DesertArtCentre, who support and sponsor many Australian Aboriginal Artists. If you wish to watch more Aboriginal artists at work, click on the link to go to their YouTube channel).

 

 

MY ORACLE CARDS PROJECT: THE JOURNEY SO FAR

A short while ago I hatched a grand plan to create my own deck of Oracle Cards. I blogged about it here.

Now I’ve created about 20 such virtual cards, so I’ll share them with you. You can see how some work better than others, I’m constantly learning as I go along. Creating the imagery is only part of the whole process. I still haven’t gotten round to writing the explanation or meaning of the imagery. That will come. Also, I have to research the practical logistics of getting my cards into print.

So, here are some of my “Practice” Oracle Cards. They may or may not be the end product…I might add a black border all around each image, or more key words at the bottom.

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Australian Aboriginal Artist: Susie Bootja Bootja

A while back, I started talking about Australian Aboriginal Art and Artists. I pulled together several YouTube videos that I’d found that demonstrated how some of these artists created their works.

Now I’m going to concentrate on one artist at a time. Australia has a wealth of Aboriginal artists, a tradition that goes back millenia. The artists I’ll be showcasing on my blog, however, will be contemporary ones.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art:

“Contemporary Indigenous art of the western desert began when Indigenous men at Papunya began painting in 1971, assisted by teacher Geoffrey Bardon. Their work, which used acrylic paints to create designs representing body painting and ground sculptures, rapidly spread across Indigenous communities of central Australia, particularly following the commencement of a government-sanctioned art program in central Australia in 1983. By the 1980s and 1990s, such work was being exhibited internationally”.

Susie Bootja Bootja has her own Wikipedia entry. You can also find her biography and photos of her work here.

Here are my favourite paintings by Susie Bootja Bootja, that I’ve taken from Google Images and Pinterest.

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image Photo of Susie Bootja Bootja (1935-2003)

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Echinopsis

Echinopsis is the scientific name for a large genus of cacti. I have one small plant in a pot by my swimming pool, which I hardly ever paid attention to until a few months ago, when suddenly I noticed that it had sprouted some rather pretty little flowers. Sadly, the flowers didn’t last very long. But my curiosity was piqued enough for me to search on Google for more information about my little cactus and its relations.

Cactus flowers are really beautiful, is my conclusion. Here are some of my favourites, from Google Images.

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I also found someone online who is obsessed by Echinopsis, to the extent that he calls himself “Echinopsisfreak”.  His name is Greg Krehel and you can read all about his obsession with Echinopsis on his blog here. Be sure to click on his time-lapse videos there showing his Echinopsis plants blooming.  They are truly spectacular!

I feel a new addiction beginning…

Greg Krehel is also the man behind the site dedicated to Echinopsis, http://www.echinopsis.com. Below is an excerpt from that site:

What’s an Echinopsis? A type of cactus originally from South America that features amazing flowers … amazing in at least four ways:

– The flowers of most Echinopsis varieties are incredibly colorful … often featuring two or more hues working in harmony.

– The flowers are often giant … 5″-6″ in diameter … and frequently dwarf the cactus that grows them.

– They frequently appear in flushes of multiple flowers opening at the same time.

– Most types of cacti produce just one flush of flowers each year. But Echinopsis can produce flush after flush of flower for as long as the daytime temperatures remain above 70F/21C.

Echinopsis is pronounced Ech … in … op … sis. But where does the name come from? Once you understand the its Latin roots, you’ll discover the name makes great sense.

“Echin” comes from the Latin word “Ekihnos,” which meant both sea urchin and hedgehog.  (Yes, it does seem like Latin speakers way back when might have come up with distinct words for these two pretty different creatures, but apparently they did not).

The “opsis” at the end of Echinopsis is another Latin word, one which means “resembling” or “appearance.”

So Echinopsis means hedgehog resembling or sea urchin appearance. A very accurate description for this genus of cacti that are often ball shaped growing to about 6” in diameter and, yep, covered with hedgehog-like and sea urchin-esq thorns.

 

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Artist Inspiration : JACKY PARKER

Jacky Parker is another photographer after my own heart. Her beautiful flower photography serves as an inspiration to me. Jacky only took up flower photography in 2005 whilst studying for a diploma in horticulture. By 2008 she had already garnered so much recognition that she was awarded the “RHS Photographer of the year” title.

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Click here to visit Jacky’s website.  Those wishing to license Jacky’s images may do so on these sites:

GETTY Images : http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Search/Search.aspx?assettype=image&artist=Jacky+Parker+Photography

ALAMY STOCK http://www.alamy.com/default.aspx

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A selection of Jacky’s work on canvas can be purchased on these sites:

GOOD EARTH CANVAS: http://www.goodearthcanvas.com/hakusha/

FOTOVIVA ART PRINTS http://www.fotoviva.co.uk/

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Photographic Prints and Canvas of Jacky’s photography are available from:

FINE ART AMERICA : http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/jacky+parker/all

SOCIETY 6 http://society6.com/JackyparkerFloralArt

 

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Artist Inspiration : MAGDA WASICZEK

Those who know me know that I have a passion for flower photography. Especially the dreamy, surreal type, where magic and reality blend seamlessly, leaving the viewer with just a sense of awe and enthrallment. The Polish photographer Magda Wasiczek delivers the goods, and then some. I can never tire of seeing her photographs, and luckily for me she’s very prolific! Magda doesn’t just do flowers, though, her subjects are tied to Mother Nature and include spiders, grasshoppers, ladybirds, caterpillars, butterflies, snails, shells, fungi, dewdrops, rain, snow, etc. She also photographs newborn babies and underwater sea creatures, as well as macro photography.

I wish I had 1/100th of Magda’s talent!

Here’s how Magda describes herself, excerpt taken from her own website:

INTERNATIONAL GARDEN PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2012
Photography raising awareness to the beauty of nature to me, I’ve learned to see things invisible, to enjoy a million small details, which previously did not pay attention. First of all, it became my way of life and the cure for all evils …I do not know who or why, what strength created the world that surrounds us. I know that it is an unusual and fascinating in every smallest detail that is a miracle. It is not my priority showing the world exactly the way it is. There are many other photographers who do it better than me. I want the audience to present my vision of the world, this idyllic paradise of fairy tales. I hope that looking at my pictures, for a while, wake up a child inside of them, because the world in the eyes of children is always more colorfull , fascinating, mysterious and full of surprises.

I came across this article where Magda explains how she got into photography, and what inspires her:

Wasiczek’s photographic story started with a 1998 business trip, from which her husband returned with a Nikon N70 film SLR. A gift celebrating the birth of the first of their three children, the N70 quickly became an expressive tool in Wasiczek’s hands. She captured her child’s first years with such sensitivity that soon other parents were hiring her to photograph their kids, and now she’s made a career of it.
As her camera skills improved, Wasiczek made the journey from children’s nurseries to meadows and gardens near her home, where a more unusual photographic vision evolved. “My photos aren’t literal representations of flowers,” she says, “but are the record of impressions that I experience, impressions of color, light, and shape. I look for visual effects to represent those impressions.”
These effects might be background highlights that will defocus into stars, rings, or moons, as well as colors that can be saturated or otherwise tweaked into something otherworldly.
Instead of individual blossoms or tidy bouquets, Wasiczek is drawn to chaotic meadows and gardens with unkempt wildflowers that live up to their name. These are places that evoke memories of dashing around her grandmother’s garden as a child. “I really miss the old picturesque flower gardens with typical Polish natives like mallows, nasturtiums, sunflowers, poppies, and helleniums,” she says. Now everything is mowed, pruned, aligned, and contained, she laments, within neatly trimmed borders.
“When I go into the meadow or garden, I look around. I often sit there to sharpen my eyes,” Wasiczek says. “Within the jungle of grass and plants, I try to find a theme that will inspire me. I soak up the smells of the meadow, its sounds, its light, and I wait. Maybe a butterfly will flap by, or I’ll notice a ladybug climbing a leaf, or drops of dew will sparkle in a shaft of sunlight.”
When this happens, she picks up her camera and plays. Wasiczek’s favorite time is from late afternoon until sunset, mainly for the light. “By nature I am an owl, not a lark, so for me the perfect time is when the low sun of late afternoon beautifully illuminates the plants and gives them warm, golden colors,” she says. She’s inspired by this light, especially after rain.
“The very low-contrast light created by a cloudy, gray sky is also good, but its effect is different,” she continues. “It’s best for making bright, pastel photos. I don’t like strong sun, and the only thing that will draw me out of the house at noon is a flock of butterflies passing through.” Wasiczek avoids flash, and prefers to reflect ambient light onto backlit or shadowed subjects with a compliment of small reflectors and mirrors.
As much as she likes the golden hour, Wasiczek will also wake before dawn to shoot. In these moments, insects are just stirring and not as likely to fly off, and dew drops put on amazing light shows. “On mornings bathed in dew, the flowers look like they’re studded with diamonds that shine in the first rays of the sun. The views of this spectacular phenomenon can be breathtaking, but they’re not for sleepers. In summer, you have to be up and out on the meadow by 4 a.m. Otherwise, you miss it,” she warns.

Magda’s website is very comprehensive and well laid-out, with her photos arranged according to category. I highly recommend that you pay a visit there to see why I’m so excited about her.

Here are just a few of my favourite photos by Magda Wasiczek, that I’ve taken from Google Images:

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http://www.magdawasiczek.pl

Flower photography. Absolutely fabulous!

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