Category Archives: Design

FREEBIES! When PicsArt met Pixlr Express

I’d originally intended to use some geometrical backgrounds found in the app PicsArt, along with geometrical effects found in the app Pixlr Express, as the backdrop of a new Lenormand project. However, these backgrounds took on a life of their own and proved too distracting and so that idea had to be shelved.

Not wanting to just let the images go to waste, though, I’ve decided to share them here with you. All I’ve done is blend the PicsArt backgrounds with some colourfield backgrounds I created, or with other random images I’d created in the past. Remember, these were just building blocks for a project that got shelved.

Feel free to save them perhaps as your smartphone’s wallpaper. Enjoy!

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P/s: I’ve since created my Le Geometrical Lenormand deck, however utilising only the effects found in Pixlr Express.

My favourite artist Lenormand deck

I just received in the post what has to be my favourite Lenormand deck. This one’s by Lauren Forestell and it’s aptly called the “Destroyed Dondorf”. The Dondorf design is perhaps the most recognisable design of all traditional Lenormand cards. It is readily available online through the usual suspects, and there are many variants of it as well.

Lauren’s story on how the”Destroyed Dondorf”, or, more precisely “Le Fanu’s Destroyed Dondorf” came to be is intriguing. Basically, a tatty old deck of Dondorf Lenormand cards fell into the hands of a chap called Le Fanu, who then showed it to Lauren, who then proceeded to restore the cards digitally. Read about it on Le Fanu’s blog My Curious Cabinet.

I have taken some photos of my newest acquisition, for posterity. They really are the most intriguing, meaningful and enchanting deck of Lenormand cards I own. I’m inspired to create my own tattered well-worn deck, which should be fun, as I’m a big afficionado of grunge and texture in my own artistic endeavours.

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Posted from WordPress for Android.

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

The Story of the Mongrel Lenormand

A girl can change her mind as many times as she likes, right? A week ago, when I wrote about my Half-Tone Lenormand and Altered Half-Tone Lenormand here, I thought I’d be happy enough with the end results of my experimentation with various Apps.

Not so, apparently. Since then, I’ve decided that the Half-Tone Lenormand is too squeaky clean for my own liking. Boring, even. So That deck will be shelved and won’t see the light of day. Vanilla is nice and has its place, but just not for me today, thanks. 

The Altered Half-Tone Lenormand, on the other hand, I thought was not grunged up or aged enough. I wanted more wear and tear. I wanted Destruction. Yes, that was more of the effect I wanted. What happened next took on a life of its own.

The official story now goes like this:

Once upon a time there was a little girl who cut out images from newspapers. She glued these clippings to paper, then added some numbers and writing. She had an old deck of playing cards, and decided it would be fun to stick them to her paper too, one card for each newspaper clipping, like a collage.

After she had done all that, the little girl put her project away in a shoebox under her bed, and went out to play. By bedtime, she had forgotten all about her artwork. Such are the minds of little girls.

So the 36 collages that the little girl had made one afternoon languished in their shoebox under her bed for almost a year. Then one day, the little girl lost her sewing thimble under her bed. When she went to retrieve it, her hands drew out the shoebox, which of course she had completely forgotten.

When she opened the box, the little girl found that Time had not been kind to her projects. The glue had come off parts of her stuck on images. (That would happen quite often if you crammed A4-sized collages into a childsized shoebox). The little girl had quite a collection of colourful Washi tape, so she decided it would be a great idea to use them to tape her newspaper clippings back onto their backing paper. Alas, while she may have been creative, she was not the neatest of tapers. Nor did she think to use her scissors to cut the tape ends tidily.

The little girl’s cousin came to visit later that afternoon, so she decided that was a great opportunity to show off her artwork. The shoebox with the 36 papers was brought outside to the back porch, where the two girls sat on the swing admiring the collages.

Then it was time for dinner. Alas, the little girl was forgetful and left the 36 collages out on the porch swing when the two girls went indoors. Soon enough, a gust of wind picked up the papers and blew them all over the yard. Some landed under the newly watered rose bushes. Some ended up in muddy puddles. A few fetched up in the drain.

As usual, by the time dinner was over, the little girl and her cousin had quite forgotten about the 36 collages now lying scattered about the backyard. That night, there was a thunderstorm.

The next morning, the little girl’s mother noticed the collages outside, and gathered them up. She was about to throw the sodden pieces of paper away, most of them were by now torn around the edges. But the little girl saw and then remembered how much pleasure she had gotten from sharing them with her cousin, and implored her mother to save them, please.

So the little girl’s mother used her hair dryer on the papers to try to dry them. But that only made them curl up round the edges. She then used her clothes iron to iron them flat again. But that left singe marks on some of the paper.

Finally, the little girl’s mother sat her down and told her that the only way to salvage her artwork would be to scan them and save them to her computer, and then have them printed out on fresh new paper. That was the only way to preserve the newspaper cuttings, Washi tape, numbers and letters and playing card inserts. The little girl agreed, and asked if her mother could then perhaps shrink the artwork to the size of playing cards, so she could play with them the next time her cousin came to visit.

And so the Mongrel Lenormand was born.

True story, that. Well, not really. Just much more interesting when told that way ;). I actually redid most of the Altered Half-Tone Lenormand deck, as I wasn’t satisfied with the placement of the numbers and text, and also some of the images didn’t quite gel with me so I changed them. By the time I’d added more grunge and torn paper effects, it had turned into a different deck altogether. Hence the name the “Mongrel Lenormand”.

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Available soon on eBay and Etsy. Copyright AlyZen Moonshadow.

Posted from WordPress for Android.

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

Artist Inspiration : Sonja Hinrichsen

I saw Sonja Hinrichsen‘s amazing large-scale snow drawings on Facebook today and went WOW!

Drawings on such a large scale would be impossible for one lone woman to achieve on her own, so Sonja gets dozens of volunteers to help her create these colossal works. The drawings have a cohesiveness because Sonja sets strict parameters for her volunteers to follow.

Click on the link for This Is Colossal’s article about Sonja’s snow drawings in Colorado:
http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2014/11/an-expansive-swirling-snow-drawing-atop-a-frozen-lake-by-sonja-hinrichsen/

(For more interesting articles, check out This Is Colossal’s site)!

Here are some aerial shots of Sonja’s most recent offering “Snow Drawings At Catamount Lake”, taken from her site:

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What first caught my attention was the similarities between Sonja’s concentric circles and connecting lines, and the “watering hole” or “campsite” circles and squiggly lines depicted in Australian Aboriginal Art. (For a short lesson on Australian Aboriginal Art symbols, click here for one of my previous posts). The powerful naivete of such symbols is very potent indeed.

Sonja’s Artist Statement explains the ethos behind her Art:

In my artwork I examine environments – urban, industrial as well as natural environments. I am interested in the intersection between place (city or nature) and human perception and utilization thereof, throughout history. Some of my works rely on photo-and video mappings, sound recordings, note-taking, and research about these places and their historical, societal and ecological circumstances. I am especially drawn to environments that may seem inhospitable, such as wastelands, deserts, high mountains and snow/ice landscapes. Mythology and local legends play a particular role in my research, as they bear invaluable information about places and how people(s) have lived in and with them in past eras. Despite an overall documentary character, these projects have a very personal focus, as they draw from my experiences and perceptions. While the attention may sometimes reach beyond the reality observed, and venture into hypothesis/fantasy, my pieces usually relate to issues pertinent in our modern, consume-oriented world. With the summary of the audio-visual materials and information collected I create immersive media installations with multiple video projections, sound collages and narrative (spoken or text within the projections).

Other projects are subtle expressions created directly in the environment. Typically these are simple performances or rituals that result in ephemeral art pieces. While nature erases them within a short time, they live on only in their documentation and are later used in video installations or become photographic pieces. One such project is “Snow Drawings”, large designs that I have been walking into pristine snow surfaces with snowshoes. These works correspond with and accentuate the landscape, and I hope that they help arouse appreciation and consciousness for the natural world. Modern society is becoming increasingly more disconnected from nature. I believe, however, that for a successful future of humanity it is essential that we re-gain a greater awareness of our planet’s nature.

As an artist I feel the responsibility to address subject matters our society tends to neglect or deny, including adverse impacts to the natural environment, social inequality and injustice, and human exploitation. While I am interested in provoking thought and in engaging my audiences intellectually, I am not interested in creating lasting artworks, as I believe that our world is over-saturated with man-made products. I like to unfold my work into large immersive experiences, however I prefer that it live on in its documentation only, and – hopefully – in the memories of my audiences.

Trimaginator

Trimaginator is an App I stumbled upon recently. It’s available on both iOS and Android platforms.

Trimaginator for iOS

Trimaginator for Android

Here’s a video showing how it works:
http://vimeo.com/m/99873058

Trimaginator is the brainchild of Paul Ollivier. On the Trimaginator Facebook page, Paul says:

Make your pictures stand out from the same old thing that you typically post or share! Trimaginator allows you to unleash your creativity and turn your photos into unique and captivating works of art!

Just press one of the top right buttons for automatic point generation and tweak the result with your fingers by adding [ + ] or removing [ – ] points, or start from scratch [ x ] if you’re feeling wild!

Trimaginator also features different rendering styles that change the look of your triangles : how cool is that?

So I went and had a good old play with the App, just for fun and to see if it offered me anything new by way of creative ideas.

I had some photos of our Koi and Goldfish, that I hadn’t made any plans to use in any projects. So I figured this would be the ideal opportunity to utilise them.

Like Paul Ollivier suggested, I just pressed buttons at random and saved the results that I liked.

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What do you think? I love how well my Koi and Goldfish translate into geometric shapes. The App certainly has potential. Well, I’m off to experiment more with the + and – buttons, and the different filter effects.

Life Imitating Art…

…or is it the other way round?

I watched the pilot episode of the new Showtime television series “Penny Dreadful” the other day, and was smitten by a number of things. Least of all the actress Eva Green, who first caught my eye as the haughty Queen Sibylla in Ridley Scott’s “Kingdom Of Heaven”, and later as an eccentric teacher in “Cracks”. She was also Vesper Lynd in the Daniel Craig Bond movie “Casino Royale”.

(Images are sourced from Google Images)

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She’s been a Queen

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…a Teacher

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…a Femme Fatale

…as well as many other varied characters, in a range of diverse films over the years.

And now Eva Green stars as Vanessa Ives in the Goth/Steampunk/Horror/Supernatural/League of Extraordinary Gentlemen/Sherlock Holmes/Frankenstein series “Penny Dreadful“. Her character, Vanessa Ives, is a beautiful, enigmatic young lady who is also psychic and clairvoyant. And extremely fetching in tight-laced Victorian garb oooo errr! ;)

Anyhow, in one scene, Vanessa is sitting at a table with a deck of dark purple Tarot cards, which she spreads out in a semi-circle. We don’t actually get to see any details of those cards right then. After some suggestive banter with Josh Hartnett’s American gunslinger dude character Ethan Chandler, she invites him to pick a card. She turns over the card Ethan’s selected. It’s The Lovers.

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My interest piqued, I searched online to see if these cards really existed, or were they just a stage prop (like those newspapers you see in movies where only the front and backs have actual newsprint and the rest is just blank paper). The artwork of the Lovers card that viewers get to see on screen is minimalistic yet macabre. If this deck was real, it would shoot to the top of my Must Have Wishlist. (Yes, unfortunately in my quest to be as spiritually enlightened as Yoda, light sabers divination cards still get me all excited).

Well, what do you know, the Penny Dreadful Tarot IS a real deck. And it can be bought from Showtime’s own website through this link http://store.sho.com/penny-dreadful-tarot-cards/detail.php?p=523695

The price is reasonable too, at USD$14.95. Only, after heading to the checkout, I was greatly disappointed to see that postage to Australia would be a staggering $34.95?? WTF, excuse my French…was the deck gold-foiled and dipped in caviar, then wrapped in platinum paper covered in diamond dust, or something? Put it back on the shelf, girl, right now!

I next looked at the Penny Dreadful Tarot deck listed on Amazon.com. US readers will be pleased to know the deck is available to purchase from there too. Only, for me once again, my efforts to secure this deck were thwarted…Amazon.com just would not post the deck to Australia. Amazon.co.uk did not even have the deck listed. SIGH…

Anyhow, undaunted, I searched for other sites online. And then I just happened upon this site Popcultcha that not only had the Penny Dreadful Tarot at a great price, AUD$18.99, but also somehow managed to discount the price of postage too…meaning when I got past the checkout the postage was Freeeee…Here’s the link.

I also went searching for the artist who created this deck. She’s Anaïs Chareyre aka “Irio” from Ireland, and here is her deviantArt page showing the full Penny Dreadful Tarot deck http://irio.deviantart.com/art/Penny-Dreadful-Tarot-Cards-449642001

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What are you waiting for? Run, don’t walk! 😄

Posted from WordPress for Android.

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

FREEBIES! Happiness posters

I’ve been playing with the App Moldiv, which offers just 2 things – Collage templates and Magazine mock layouts. I’ve already used one of its collage frames to create a deck of Lenormand cards. Now I’m experimenting with Moldiv’s Magazine layout templates.

Moldiv on Android

Moldiv on iOS

Here’s what I’ve done so far. The layouts come with text embedded in them, which can’t be changed. Which is a pity, in some ways, as there are a few grammatical and spelling errors in them. If I wanted to, I could easily create a worded poster of my own in Phonto and stick it over Moldiv’s text.

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Feel free to save or share these with your friends and loved ones. Happiness is Free, as is Peace, Joy, Kindness and Love. Let’s spread the word!

Posted from WordPress for Android.

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

Posted from WordPress for Android.

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 set up 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

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