Category: Mobile Photography Art


Having completed my previous mixed media Art Abandonment Project (links here and here), here is my next Project. This one is a series of square wrapped canvasses 8×8 inches, featuring images from my current “100 BUTTERFLIES” Project.

The square canvasses came from my local KMart and were $5 for 4. I used a mixture of gesso and acrylic gel medium to adhere my images. The images were printed onto vintage dressmaking pattern tissue paper (see my previous post “The Sartorial Butterfly“). This makes each piece unique, as I only have a fnite number of these vintage dressmaking pattern tissue paper.

Those of you who know my from my writing already know that I am a BIG FAN of RANDOMNESS, so I’m always thrilled to see how my art pieces turn out when printed on random pieces of printed tissue paper. I like to think of this technique as “digital + traditional mixed media photographic collage”.

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I printed off 6 different images, but somehow managed to get a duplicate …because I forgot to delete the previous print job. So I ended up with 7 prints. No matter, the 7th is most welcome to join the others.

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Here are 2 prints adhered to the canvas. I haven’t trimmed off the excess yet in this photo.

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All stuck on and trimmed. The top middle and bottom prints are the duplicates I mentioned earlier. Whilst the original images may be duplicates, the fact that they were printed on different dressmaking pattern tissue paper makes them very different and unique.

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I fingerpainted the edges of each canvas with black acrylic paint. The canvasses are sitting on top of spraycans and containers, to avoid smudging or sticking to my butcher paper groundsheet.

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Close up of the canvas prints, waiting to their black acrylic paint edges to dry.

The canvasses have been varnished and I have adhered an Art Abandonment tag to the back of each. I have also included a business card with each as well, that I created on MOO. The artwork has been sealed in clear plastic ziploc bags to protect them from the elements. These will be going out with me somewhere to be abandoned very soon. I haven’t decided just where yet…probably somewhere in Perth CBD, I hear there’s going to be a winter outdoor skating rink put up near the Library and Museum, that might be just the ideal spot.

I know it’s unlikely that I’ll ever get an a knowledgement or email or even a post to the Art Abandonment Project Facebook page, but one can hope, right? It would be so wonderful to receive notification that someone got my Art and appreciated it enough to let me know, whether directly or indirectly.

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Following on from my post yesterday, here’s what’s developed between then and now. (I try to get ahead of myself by a number of posts, so I don’t always write in sequence, and even if you read 2 posts one after the other, they may have been written a week or more apart, as is the case with this).

I had some stamps that I wanted to use on my cards, however as I’d spray varnished the surface of the artwork already, my stamping inks simply slid off. Ok…now what? I decided to try washi taping the borders of the cards instead, to give them a more handcrafted look.

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Ok, those look good enough to go. I’ve adhered a printed tag on the backs and also on the envelopes, explaining what the Art Abandonment Project is about.

Now all I need is a kick in the proverbial to get out there and start leaving them at random places for people to find!

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A little while back, I wrote about the Art Abandonment Project. And I decided to have a go at abandoning Art myself.

I bought a set of 5 brown blank cards and string envelopes from my local KMart. I think it cost me under $5. I have always loved those envelopes which you secure not by licking a gummed flap but instead twist the attached string in a figure 8 around a circular brad.

I don’t usually create my art in a square format, so I didn’t have any real pieces to fit the square cards. What I did have an abundant supply of, however, were many prints on tissue paper that I had rejected because of imperfections in the printing process itself. Meaning streaks, smudges, incomplete prints, inaccurately lined up prints, prints where the colours of the inks had run, prints where the tissue was torn in places. These are what I would use on the blank cards. Waste not, want not.

Plus, I also had to hand a number of embellishments and stamps that I could use to spice up my handmade cards.

imageFirstly, I spread acrylic gel medium over the front of the card blanks, then adhered my tissue prints to them.

imageI then cut around the card and put aside the cast-offs. I’m sure I’ll be able to find a use for them…as gift tags, perhaps?

imageHere they are, with their extra bits chopped off ;-).

imageAnd here they are with their corresponding envelopes. I’ve put one in and done the figure-8 bit to close the envelope, just to show you. There’s another card inserted halfway into its envelope.

imageThese are the 5 cards I’ll be abandoning. I shall seal them with a coat or two of spray varnish. I’ve already printed off some Art Abandonment tags onto watercolour paper and vellum, which I will use on the envelopes, so that the lucky recipient of my Abandoned Art understands what it is all about.

To be continued in Part II next.

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Once in a while, I feel the urge to conduct some sort of retrospective look at my Art. It’s a way of looking back to the past at what I’ve done, looking at the present at what I’m doing, and hopefully getting an idea of the direction I should be heading next.

By looking at the past, we learn what worked and what didn’t, and if we can learn from our mistakes, then we will know what to do and what not to do in the future. This applies to Life as much as it does to Art.

By looking at the past, I also find new inspiration. Something that I might have tried but didn’t turn out as expected the last time might be more successful this time, now that I have a little, or a lot, more experience and/or technology has advanced enough for my original idea to work. Or, something that Did work but got sideswiped in my rush to try new things might get resurrected for Round Two.

I sometimes look at a favourite piece of mine and marvel at how I managed to create that look or effect. Wow, was I that good? Ha ha ha…I haven’t a clue now how I did it. 😆 Seriously, I don’t!

Anyway, here are some of my own personal favourites, from back when I first started in iPhoneography at the end of 2010, right up to this year, 2014. You may notice that after 2013 I dropped the year from my digital signature, as I felt it dated the artwork…that pun was intentional, by the way ;).

As the words of that famous song go – “These are a few of my favourite things”:

image This is of a bird sitting amongst the branches of a Coral Tree (Erythrina Lysistemon). I love those trees and every year I will cycle around my area looking for their brilliant, scarlet flowers to fuel my next photographic project. The best time to photography Coral trees, in Western Australia anyway, is in July-September. This image reminds of of an Hermès scarf, perhaps it’s the vibrant colours against the white background.

image Gardenia. I love how this turned out looking like the flower at the top has been highlighted. The colours are romantic, the light is soft, and the fact that the flower at the bottom has flaws only makes it more real to life. This image went over to New Zealand for the MINA photography exhibition in 2011.

image I found a stand of huge sunflowers outside a neighbour’s garden in the Summer of 2012, and took over 200 photos of them. At the time, I was experimenting with Macro photography, using my iPhone 4′s native camera, and also some Olloclip-type lenses (I couldn’t afford the real thing so mine was from China on eBay), and my own homemade “Noodle Macro”, which was very simply the lens off a cheap plastic Twin Reflex camera, fixed into a slice of a swimming “noodle” float. I love this photo for its bright, saturated colours, and the fact that it looks like I’ve caught the sunflower in mid-furl.

image These “Hen and Chicks” Sempervivum were in a pot in my garden. I don’t recall which App or filter I used to process the photo on my iPhone 4, but the colours somehow changed and became varied, giving me this almost-floral image. I still have the original plant, only it’s been divided and replanted into several different pots now.

image At the time of creating this image, I was experimenting with combining DSLR photography with mobile photography, using an Olympus E-PM1, my Samsung Galaxy S3 mobile phone, and my iPad2. Between the three devices, I managed to produce this image of fallen frangipanis around a turquoise floral teacup and saucer. I liked how the teacup and saucer came out in the photo…which subsequently led me to experiment with using just teacups and saucers sans flowers, and stacking them…which in turn led to an entire series of images in a project I called “The Madhatter’s Teaparty”.

image I can’t remember the name of these purple trumpet flowers. They are quite small, about an inch long each, growing in clusters off a medium-sized tree. By the time I took this photo, the leaves were quite wilted. I like the old-fashioned, romantic, grunged-up look, and the contrast between the turquoise glass and the purple flowers.

image This was an experiment in 2013, again using my Olympus E-PM1 DSLR camera, my Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPad2. Somehow, the petals at the end of the lefthand-side stems appear to have mysteriously disappeared into the ether. I like the bokeh, colours and textures in this.

image This is one of my favourites…the blue colour of the glass vase really pops. The 3 Chrysanthemums – pink, purple and yellow – contrast well with the blue and turquoise tones of the vase and the background. I love the grunged up textures here too. The title of this one is “A Beautiful Mess”.

image I love the simplicity of this image. Just a few tweaks of colour saturation and contrast, the addition of a multi-coloured background, and a “rainy day” effect filter.

image This one I mistakenly called “Red Poppy” before I did some research and realised those were Anemones, not Poppies. (I’m terrible at identifying plants, just so you know. I once went around telling everyone I had photos of Peonies when in actual fact they were of Parrot Tulips). I wrote a tutorial about how I created this particular image – here.

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Well, winter’s here for sure…in Australia, anyhow. When folks in the Northern Hemisphere are celebrating the arrival of Summer and hot, sunny days, here Down Under we are getting into our spell of wet, cold and dark days. Mind you, in Western Australia it doesn’t rain all that much…but when it does, it pours. No, we never get snow here in WA, our winters are too mild for that.

It’s the rain that, well, puts a dampener on things. I’m usually out and about on my trusty bicycle, but there’s a galeforce wind whipping up, it’s not the best time to be out on a bicycle. I braved the elements the other day, and I swear I nearly blew home in the wind. If I’d been on foot with an umbrella, I reckon I would’ve flown home with my shopping a la Mary Poppins!

So, when skies are grey and winds are a ablowin’ and it looks like rain, that’s when I bring out my Projects Book, for things to do indoors.

Actually, it isn’t a book, per se, but rather a Board on my Pinterest page, where I pin up interesting arty crafty projects that I want to try for myself.

Here are 3 such projects:

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I’m going to cover a cradled wooden panel (click here for instructions on how I create my panels) with Washi tape (click here for ideas I’ve collated on the uses of Washi tape). Then, I’ll create a bird or butterfly silhouette, plus trees/branches, and stick them to the panel.

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This one’s easy peasy. Use a Sharpie marker to draw your design on plain white china for simple yet beautiful decorative art. Then bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. That makes the colours stayfast…but Not dishwasher safe. And definitely Not for table use. Maxwell & Williams has a good range of white tableware that would make excellent canvasses for your Sharpie art.

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This one I’m already currently working on. Only, instead of paper cutouts of butterflies, I’ve made several butterflies from superlight and airy FIMO AIR modelling clay. I just need to decide if I want to stick some printed designs on them, paint them, or simply arrange them in a shadow box, white on black.

Bring it on!

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Feeling creative or artistic but can’t draw to save your life? Join the club! Fear not, though. Here is an App that will entertain as well as educate you at the same time.

It’s called Kinetica. Put simply, it’s an app that plays with shapes and elements of different artists’ techniques and produces random configurations of it that can be saved and used on your mobile device as backgrounds, to create your own arty cards, share with friends etc.

The 12 different styles highlighted by Kinetica are:

(Shapes)
Circles
Spirals
Florals
Glyphs
Science
Palettes
Bulbs
Triangles

(Artists)
Mondrian
Miro
Kandinsky
Calder

Here’s the educational part. While exploring each individual artist’s style, (see above), tapping on the “i” button on the bottom right corner of the page brings you to the Wikipedia page dedicated to that particular artist.

The App developer, Alex Lamb, says this of Kinetica: (screenshot taken from within the App itself)

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Using Kinetica is really easy and intuitive. Across the top and bottom of the page are icons that control various aspects, such as background colour, dots that can be used to rearrange your configuration, a randomization button, a freeze/unfreeze frame icon, a button to change from one style or colourpath to another, a > button to Play or put your configuration in motion.

Here are a few screenshots to show you what playing with Kinetica can result in:

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Now go have fun!

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I’ve been working on “100 Butterflies” for about a month now. I first started this project using PicsArt on my Samsung Galaxy S4 to blend several images together to create the background for my butterfly. Then I discovered the App “Blend Collage” and utilised a different kind of blending. “Blend Collage” sadly went kaput as soon as I updated my mobile phone to Android KitKat 4.4.2. Then I found the App “Photo Tangler” to replace “Blend Collage”, but after just a week it too stopped working and was consigned to my App Cemetery as well.

Fortunately, after testing out and rejecting dozens of wannabe replacement Apps, I discovered I that the answer to my prayers had been under my nose all this time. A favourite App of mine, “AThumb Cut”, which I had previously only been using for cutting out my butterfly images, also has a collage function offering that feathered edges look I require. Happy days again!

So, we are back in business. I never really stopped, even with the App catastrophes I mentioned. I’ve been busy creating my “100 Butterflies” digital mixed media collages, and here are a few of my newest ones, I hope you like them!

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It’s funny how, when you tune into something, you start seeing  connections and correlations wherever you go. For a few months now I’ve been attuned to butterflies, ever since I saw that quirky quote about butterflies and on that same day found that piece of butterfly wall art at my local thrift shop, here: http://wp.me/p3JNYN-SG

Since then, I’ve been led to the Museum in Perth twice, where I spent a couple of hours happily immersed in photographing the Museum’s extensive collection of butterflies. I’ve found an Australian company, Clear Cut Crafts, that makes beautifully realistic acrylic butterflies for cake toppers and displays. I even bought a Buddleia plant just the other day, and quite quickly started attracting butterflies to my humble garden. I even managed to identify a butterfly on a friend’s Facebook page. I’m in the midst of my “100 Butterflies” art project, you’ll have seen some of them already here in previous posts : http://wp.me/p3JNYN-1n6 and http://wp.me/p3JNYN-1nZ and http://wp.me/p3JNYN-1oP.

So the other day, while out window shopping (as one does when feeling pauperish but itching to get out of the house at any cost – haha, pun intended), I happened upon a shop called Thingz in neighbouring Port Kennedy. And saw the inspiration for yet another butterfly-inspired art project.

I can’t wait to get started! My plan is to make abstract tissue paper prints and then transfer the prints to butterfly templates. I can then use them in assemblage, or make up a flatpack that can be easily posted worldwide and assembled by the recipient. For the butterfly shapes, I’ve been considering the use of air-hardening clay, which I will roll out thinly and die-cut or stamp. Then I will adhere my prepared tissue paper prints onto the shapes, and then varnish to seal. Some wire for the antennae and for attaching to other objects, and et voila! Colourful, abstract butterfly sculptures.

Here are some photos I took of the butterfly wall art sculptures that inspired me:

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And, if I do go down the route of creating my own assemblage butterflies, here is the inspiration for that (found on Pinterest):

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Alas, alack! Now that I am on Android KitKat 4.4.2 (ominous drum roll, please), 2 of my must-have Apps for “harmonious blending”, namely Blend Collage and Photo Tangler, have stopped saving my work, rendering themselves essentially useless. I have contacted both App developers, and to date have not gotten any acknowledgement or response. So, all day yesterday and today I have been searching on Android’s Google Play Store for alternatives.

One after another, I discarded all potential replacement Apps for my beloved, newly departed Blend Collage and Photo Tangler. What I wanted was an App with that feathered edges look, so I could collage different backgrounds together seamlessly without any hard edges.

I do have a back-up, thankfully. My Samsung Note 10.1 2014 edition has not been updated to KitKat 4.4.2, so both Blend Collage and Photo Tangler still work on it. Problem is, I don’t tend to carry the Note around with me, and all my photos are on my S4. I have transferred the bulk of my background images over to the Note now, so, if I have no other alternative, I will process my background collages on the Note, then transfer them back to the S4 for further processing. Pain in the proverbial, though!

As I tried and discarded App after App today, something at the back of my mind niggled me. At the last hour, literally, just before midnight last night, I decided to test out my theory…

…which was to utilise an App that I’ve only ever used for one thing – cutting out images. I figured if that App could cut out images for me, it MUST have a collage function somewhere to paste all those cutouts.

Yes!!! My hunch was correct. Face palm I have been so silly to have ignored that little niggling voice in my head all day…The App is my beloved AThumb Cut. And it gives me the all-important feathering of the edges. Hurrah!

Some screenshots to show you the pathway on AThumb Cut. And just so I remember the steps myself. Remember: the key is the Jigsaw icon.

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With AThumb Cut’s “Jigsaw” collage function, I am able to manipulate each component image individually. I am not limited as to how many images I want to cobble together. I can resize, twist or distort up to a complete 360° rotation, freeze/unfreeze in place, I can tweak the opacity or transparency of each individual component image, and most importantly, use the “Edge Transparency” and “Edge Colour” sliders to create the feathering of the edges.

Here are a few more “collaged backgrounds” I’ve created:

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So, who’s a happy bunny again? I shook my fist at the sky and yelled “I’ll never give up!”…and my efforts were rewarded.

This famous Anonymous poem sums it up perfectly:

Everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When they might have won, had they stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit!

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My newest artistic project is called “100 Butterflies”. It’s a series of digital mixed media photography art, (quite a mouthful, I know) around the main theme of butterflies. No, not 100 butterflies all at once, but rather 1 single butterfly on every piece I create, until I have done 100 in total.

At around the same time as my interest was piqued by butterflies, I also happened upon a collage App on the Google Play Store, called “Blend Collage”. I was impressed enough to blog about that App, here: http://wp.me/p3JNYN-1qT

However, my Samsung Galaxy S4 (my weapon of choice) was on Android 4.3 back then, but I very recently upgraded it to Android 4.4.2 KitKat…and now I’m disappointed to report that I can no longer use “Blend Collage”, as it just won’t save my work anymore :-(. I have written to the App developers, but not received a response. Probably a lost cause, SIGH.

However, being the resourceful girl that I am, I soon found a replacement App that offers more or less the same type of harmonious collaging that “Blend Collage” did. It’s a little different, but in some ways it offers more scope and freedom of expression, and it’s called “Photo Tangler”.

“Photo Tangler” is available on both Android and iOS.

On Android’s Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.solideightstudios.phototangler

On the iOS iTunes App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/phototangler-collage-maker/id458169750?mt=8

Now, it may not be the App of choice for iOS users, as there are many other Collage Apps like it available on the App Store. For my own intent and purpose though, it does what it says on the tin, and, there being not many Collage Apps offering “harmonious” blending on the Android platform, I’m very happy with this App.

And so, back to Project “100 Butterflies”. I started this Project by simply blending 2 or more background images using Pics Art, then juxtaposing my butterflies on the resulting image. Then, with the short-lived arrival of “Blend Collage”, I started digitally collaging my backgrounds together, before adding my butterflies. When “Blend Collage” went kaput, I started using “Photo Tangler” instead. And yes, the butterflies are derived from photos of real butterflies that I meticulously turned into clipart on my S4.

Here are some examples from the Project. The ones with the more varied backgrounds are the ones I did using “Blend Collage” or “Photo Tangler”. Some of these images you will soon be able to purchase on my Society 6 page as throw pillows, shower curtains, iPhone/Samsung mobile cases, t-shirts, prints, cards etc : http://society6.com/alyzenmoonshadow

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UPDATE 5th June 2014:
Now I can’t get this App to save my work, either :-(. I have emailed the developers about this problem and if I ever get a response, or if the App gets fixed, I will let you folks know.

The silver lining for me is that I did not update my Galaxy Note, and both Blend Collage and Photo Tangler still work on it. So I guess I will have to transfer my backgrounds to the Note, process my collaging on that, and then transfer the results back to my S4 for further processing. A pain in the proverbial, but needs must, right?!

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