Tag Archives: AlyZen Moonshadow

Artist Inspiration : Ruud Van Empel

Chances are you’ve already seen this wonderfully iconic piece of photographic art:

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I’ll bet anything that you then wondered whether it’s a real photo, or whether it’s the result of meticulous Photoshopping? Well, wonder no more. This is indeed a digitally manipulated photo collage by Dutch artist Ruud Van Empel, whose surrealistic yet entirely plausible photographs straddle the genre between photography and art. A real genre-bender.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruud_van_Empel

http://www.ruudvanempel.nl

The Wikipedia entry on Ruud describes his photographic techniques thus:

“Van Empel’s working method is a complex one. He photographs 4 or 5 professional models in his studio and takes many detailed photographs of leaves, flowers, plants and animals. The models pictures are mixed with these images using the Photoshop program and with clothes photographed separately on a tailor’s dummy. In this way he creates new images of mainly children, in black and white, set in a paradisiacal environment”.

The image above is titled “Fern Forest in Jamaica”. Why this is so, I’m not sure, because those are not ferns. Regardless, this is surely one of the most famous “Is it a photo or a painting?” images around.

I love the crystal-clear clarity and sharpness of Ruud’s images, the almost illustrative look that one might perhaps see in a fantasy comic book, the brilliant contrast between the colours he uses. You know the people are real, yet Ruud has managed to make them look surreal and out-of-this-world. Such is his mastery of his medium, and his genius.

Here are more examples of Ruud’s work, taken from Google Images:

this-World-30 tumblr_mb0vj4dNUY1qz9v0to1_500 world25_l Venus #5 connection-2010 ruud-van-empel-dawn4 rudd-van-empel-2010 processed_b51aa3f2b48a168e97d1b8169d0aa9fe

A couple of examples showing Ruud’s images in situ, just to give you a sense of scale:

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And finally, a photo of the great man himself:

ruud_van_empel

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Pixite’s New Apps : MATTER and UNION

I wrote about 2 of Pixite’s other Apps, FRAGMENT and TANGENT, previously here. Fragment has now been released on the Android market, hurray, but the others are still only available on iOS. Hopefully they’ll follow Fragment onto the Android platform soon.

Rather than creating hyperlinks to Pixite’s Apps, here is the link to Pixite LLC‘s website itself, where you can see ALL of their Apps.

Pixite’s 2 newest additions to their stable of Apps are MATTER and UNION. Both Apps contain all manner of blending, juxtaposing and layering of objects, shapes, colours, textures.

Each of Pixite’s 4 Apps I’ve mentioned above have a facility for transferring your edited images from one App to another easily. Therefore you’ll be able to process your image in one App, move it over to another whilst in-App, process that, then transfer it back to the first App or even to a third App. Very nifty!

The User Interface of all 4 Apps is pretty uniform and intuitive. I was so excited about trying out MATTER and UNION that I didn’t bother to read the instructions or watch any video tutorials. I jumped right in and had a good play. So I won’t tell you what each button does on the Apps, or how to tweak the effects. The fun lies in making it your own hands-on experience. Go play!

Here are some of my experiments. Some were done purely using MATTER, others purely with UNION, but most of them were the product of both Apps. I’ll be experimenting more with these 2 Apps as well as the older 2, so watch this space! ;)

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Fun with FRAGMENT and TANGENT

Fragment and Tangent by the same App developer Pixite, are 2 iOS-only (Apple) Apps that I have on my iPad2. My Samsung Galaxy S4 is my workhorse for artistic creativity. But good what I call “Geometrical Art” Apps are hard to find on the Google Play Store. Fragment and Tangent are 2 of the best in their class. And so sometimes, when I Just have to have some aspect of geometry in my artwork, I turn to my iPad2.

When I do, it’s usually for hour-long sessions, as I must make the most of my time on my iPad2. So I generally use these “random generator” Apps to generate dozens of random images, which I afterwards transfer to my S4 for future use. Did I say already that I love Randomness? :D

Anyhow, this session was particularly fruitful. I’d already got a folder of previously randomly generated images using 2 more of my favourite iOS Apps, AddLib S and AddLib U. So this time, all I had to do was run some of them through Fragment and Tangent.

Et voila! Instant gratification! These are just a few of the images I generated. They will be used in conjunction with other Apps on my S4, to create new pieces of artwork.

Enjoy!

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ADDENDUM:
As of 23rd August 2014, the App “Fragment” is now available on Android. Yay, Happy Days! Also, Pixite have a couple more new Apps that I’m interested in, namely “Union” and “Matter”. I am just playing with these 2 on my iPad2 now, I’ll write about them next.

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Spaces

I stumbled upon Frankie Magazine’s large format 2010 bookzine SPACES – WHERE CREATIVE PEOPLE LIVE, WORK AND PLAY at my local thrift shop. It was a real steal at $2.(RRP $24.95).

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Inside was a cornucopia of delightful photographic images showing well, how creative people live, work and play. The bookzine is divided into 5 sections: The Home & Work Place, The Wall Space, The Studio Space, The Tea & Coffee Space, The Living Space. Each section showcases several individuals’ personal areas, with the owners of each space explaining why or how their space is the way it is.

Sadly, I have been unable to source SPACES online for anyone wanting to purchase it. There are several references to it on booksellers’ sites, however they all seem to indicate its unavailability. So, this is a rare book to have and cherish. If you see it, grab it.

I was drawn to this bookzine as I was curious to see how other artists from around the world live and work. My own “studio” at home is a shared space during the warmer months with baby Japanese Quail chicks. It is also the spare room, the store room, the general let’s-dump-it-there-til-we-can-figure-out-what-to-do-with-it room. My Canon Pixma MX870 and Epson Artisan 1430 printers reside there. So do boxes of books, linen, clothes, scrapbooking paper, canvasses and other substrates for my printing experiments, our sofabed for non-existent guests. My work area is the carpeted floor, where I simply spread out layers of butcher paper and lay my canvasses or wooden frames over. Luckily, my medium being digital and print, there’s no (not much anyway) painting paraphernalia involved, only bottles of acrylic medium which I use as an adhesive, spray cans of car gloss varnish and workable fixative, a brayer, scissors, a tube of black acrylic paint for painting over borders, some foam brushes and a couple of bristle brushes. Nothing to shout about, really. Certainly not worthy of showing off here :-).

This link takes you to a webpage showcasing several famous artists’ studios. Specifically that of Francis Bacon, Henry Moore, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jackson Pollock and Paul Cezanne. This site shows the spaces of more contemporary artists (cheekily throwing in Francis Bacon and Henry Moore too, just to make sure the reader is awake and paying attention!).

Looking at an artist’s workspace or studio is like looking into someone’s refrigerator, or at their bookshelves – very revealing about the person’s tastes in food or books. Some day I hope to visit people’s homes that have magnificent book displays, and make a photo book out of the project, but that is another story.

Meanwhile, feast your eyes on some of these wonderful artist workspaces.

http://www.allworknowplay.com

http://www.resourcemagonline.com

http://www.wejetset.com

http://balzerdesigns.typepad.com

http://www/bundaberg.qld.gov.au

http://www.mmo-champion.com

http://workspaces.tumblr.com

http://potd.pdnonline.com

One thing I’ve learnt from looking through all these studio workspaces – they can be messy, they can be neat, they can be minimal or cluttered, big or small, modern or traditional…but they are all unique and most of all, comfortable to each individual artist. These days, as both my printers are either acting up or have run out of ink, I’m concentrating mainly on creating my artwork…and to me that means working primarily on my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone. Which allows me to work literally everywhere and anywhere. For which I am eternally grateful.

The Kaleidoscope Turns

Light through a prism
Shines through my prison
Of tears and a blanket of sorrow
And with that light
Comes the hope that I might
Find Love again tomorrow

Light that is fractured
And is quite unexpected
Shatters the mirror of my heart
The colours that I see
Hold deep meaning for me
Of the promise of a brand new start

Light that is bright
And full of delight
For the heart that longs and yearns
Shines now the way
To light a new day
For look! The Kaleidoscope turns.

By:
AlyZen Moonshadow

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Quit Liking It! Say Something Instead.

LikeButton

There’s a new thing surfaced on Facebook just now, about how to improve your Facebook experience, by simply NOT hitting the “Like” button. Strange as that may sound, and somewhat illogical, it IS true and it actually works. The premise is that if you DON’T click on the “Like” button, but instead leave comments on posts that interest you, Facebook’s algorithms will actually stop sending you all those annoying links to “Like” this business or that organisation, that celebrity, that political party, that new diet etc. Your feed will instead become more human, with more people entering into actual conversations than never before. All those friends that you’ve  lost into the FB ether may resurface when your feed isn’t top-heavy with news, business, videos etc that your previous clicking on “Like” generated. Try it!

Read these 2 articles about this strategy. The first one by Medium is about NOT clicking on Facebook’s “Like” button and the consequences. The second is by Wired where the writer did the total opposite and clicked “Like” on absolutely everything in their feed.

https://medium.com/@schmutzie/i-quit-liking-things-on-facebook-for-two-weeks-heres-how-it-changed-my-view-of-humanity-29b5102abace

http://www.wired.com/2014/08/i-liked-everything-i-saw-on-facebook-for-two-days-heres-what-it-did-to-me/

So, okay, I’ve only just started this experiment, and right now I’ve no idea how long I’m going to stick to it, or whether it’ll be a lifelong practice.  Even though I actually only started 5 days ago, already I’m seeing a change in my Facebook feed, and I’m feeling way better about myself as a person, as I feel I’ve learnt a great lesson. And that is why I feel prompted to blog about it right away NOW!

Anyway, here are my thoughts on it:

1. It makes me pause and think before I comment. I may be using the 👍 button quite a bit to start with. I have found myself skipping posts that are of no concern to me, instead of simply clicking the “Like” button to acknowledge it because it may have come from a friend. So, my friends who are reading this, apologies if I no longer “like” your comments, posts or images, but rest assured you will instead find a comment from me. 👍 See, I’ve started already! 😄

2. I get more selective about what interests me. The real things that matter get my attention more than updates on who’s cooking or eating what, selfies, who’s on holiday where, online shopping deals, cute kittens (hard one, that). Hopefully, my feed will be more about the things that really matter to the world – like decriminalising cannabis, for one (this will sound strange coming from someone who’s only experience with cannabis was a puff on a joint at a party in Spain 10 years ago. But I have been following Rick Simpson and fellow advocates of the miracle cancer-beating properties of cannabis oil, and I have lost friends and family to cancer in the past and very recently, so the subject is close to my heart).

3. If everyone does this, we’ll be getting many more notifications than before, as more people engage in actual conversation instead of the passive virtual nod which is the “Like” button. As a society, we seem to have somewhat lost the art of conversation. By not clicking on the “Like” button and by saying something instead, we encourage further discussion and communication between friends, which is what Facebook should be about. It’s time to regain control of the true value of Facebook.

4. Funnily enough, with my actively telling Facebook what I “don’t want to see again” re: pages and businesses, it seems to have freed up space in my Wall feed for previously disappeared friends to reappear. So far, around 6 people who quietly vanished from my feed have returned…and without my searching for them to “like” their photos or make comments on their posts yo keep in the loop. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, I can’t be certain.

So, to those of you who have read this, I would kindly ask that you not simply click “Like” on WordPress either, but instead say something about this post. If it moves you to comment, do it. Otherwise, simply share it with your circles in another way. The same goes for every post that you read and like. Quit Liking It! Say something instead. And watch the world unfold before your very eyes. I’m waiting. :-)

 

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Lurking In Graveyards

Yesterday I wrote about Fallen Angel Oracle Cards, and bemoaned the fact that I couldn’t find my old Angels images from 2011. I’ve searched through all my computers and hard-drives, but can only find 3 out of a possible 150 :'(. I think of the 150 I must have processed/edited around 30, using mainly the App Snapseed. Snapseed on iOS. Snapseed on Android.

My Angels had come from the old Guildford Cemetery, near Perth Airport. It’s not easy for me to get there from where I live now. Google Search informed me that my next closest old cemetery was the Fremantle Cemetery. So off I went. I told my son that I was going to be lurking in graveyards, and that if I wasn’t home by the time he got home from school, don’t worry, I’m still at the cemetery. He didn’t bat an eyelid. He knows his crazy old Mum well.

It was raining on and off all day, so some of the photos here are reflective of the grey dullness of the day. Yes, they look like they’re in black and white, but they’re really shot in colour. These are just a few of the Angels I photographed, which I will edit and process as part of another project. Yes, I know…so many projects going on at the same time! 😄

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If you’re ever in Fremantle, Western Australia, and have a couple of hours to spare, I would recommend a visit to the Fremantle Cemetery. It’s old, it’s vast, it’s picturesque, and the residents would love you to visit and perhaps bring them flowers. (I always find myself righting overturned flower vases or fallen statues, or pulling weeds whenever I visit any cemetery). Despite the fact that it’s not terribly quiet, being surrounded on all four sides by road traffic, it is still a lovely place for contemplation and prayer.

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Fallen Angels

In the past, I’ve used Tarot Cards, specifically the traditional and time-tested Rider-Waite cards. However, these did not resonate very much with me, for some reason. I found that Oracle cards held more meaning for me. I’ve already written about Oracle cards in a previous post, please click on the link here to read about that.

My first Oracle card deck that I bought in Australia was the Fallen Angel deck, from a bookshop in Mandurah. I was struck by the artwork. As a visual artist, imagery is very important to me.  And so when I entered the bookshop looking for a likely Oracle card deck to purchase, the Fallen Angel deck literally called out for my attention.

9781907563300_1

You can buy this deck on Amazon, eBay, at any decent New Age store wherever you are.

What attracted me to this deck was the grungy, textured feel to the collaged images. When I saw this deck, I was reminded of an early iPhoneography project of mine, that I’d done when we lived in Ascot, near the Perth Airport in Western Australia.

Here are some images from the Fallen Angel Oracle cards deck, courtesy of Google Images, in case you’re curious and what to see what they are like.

scan0010 fallen angels 2 scan00081

So today, I’ve gone into my vast archive of images stored in my 1TB hard-drive, to actively seek out my own Angels images. Arrghhh! I can only find 3…they may still be on an old computer, which I hope has not been reset to factory settings!

Instead, as a compromise, please take a look at this YouTube video that I choreographed for a musician friend, Brian Vassallo, for his track “I Am Always In Your Heart“, as it contains several of my Angels. This was back in September 2011, nearly 3 years ago.  It’s a great song, and I like to think I’ve done the music justice with my mobile photography art and choreography. At that time I was on my iPhone 4, so this would technically be termed iPhoneography.

Meanwhile, I will continue to search for my Angels on all my computers, as there are unedited photos there that I would like to process for a future project. The cemetery I took the photos in is located in Guildford, which is difficult for me to get to these days, since we moved to Rockingham nearly 40 miles away. The next closest old cemetery to me now is in Fremantle, which I will endeavour to get to on a good day, if I fail to find my old Angels.

Post addendum: Looks like a trip to Fremantle Cemetery is on the cards.

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People Come, People Go

I truly believe that people come into your life for a reason, and sometimes, once that reason is finished, the lesson learnt, the person leaves. Sometimes people only stay for a short while, sometimes for a long time. But in the end, as with Life, everything goes away or changes. It doesn’t mean that you forget that person; if the lesson you’ve learnt from them is of great importance, you will always remember them with gratitude.

Someone remarked to me only recently that I must have been “ascending spiritually” for a long time now. All I can say is that in the past, when such synchronicities or serendipitous events happened to me, I failed to acknowledge them for the lessons that they were, failed to see the bigger picture. So much for being spiritually awake! It’s only very recently that I’ve started to notice patterns in behaviour and events, and recognise them as the Universe trying to tell me something. As you can tell, I’m not terribly clued-up about these things! Maybe in the past I got lulled into a false sense of security by work, marriage and family life, or perhaps my life became too unsettled for me to pay close attention to such metaphysical aspects. Until now.

For the last 20 years of my life, I’ve gravitated towards older women friends. They’re generally 15-20 years older than myself. Perhaps it’s because I am an old soul myself, and that was seeking a similar soul to connect with. Perhaps it’s because I needed to know these women and learn Life’s lessons from them. Maybe I needed a Mother figure. I don’t know. So far, I’ve had 5 such friends – Christine, Beverly, Jan, Yvonne, Sheila. That can’t be a co-incidence, right?

Just the other day, an Event happened that culminated in my latest older woman friend, Sheila, deciding to terminate our friendship of 3 years. Her choice, not mine. I won’t go into too much detail here, but it had to do with her starting to become increasingly critical of me and my son whenever we were out together, over a period of months. I found myself constantly having to tell them to stop picking on each other. The straw that broke the camel’s back was one ridiculous incident where Sheila kept insisting that something that was clearly green was blue. I know, so fickle, right… but then friendships can start out strong and fizzle out with the smallest criticism, or end for the strangest, slightest reasons. Sheila could dish it out alright, but she couldn’t take it. Perhaps she was insecure in herself over events in her own life, and had decided to take it out on me and my son. Certainly many of her criticisms seemed reflective of how she perceived her own upbringing of her children in the past. So I wished her love and light and all the best.

So now I’m wondering if all this means that another older, wiser woman is about to enter my life. Or, whether I’m meant to play the role of the older woman this time. All I know is that recently in the last 2 months, 3 different people have come to me asking for my advice on relationship matters. I certainly am not the best person to lead by example in the relationship stakes…but maybe it’s because I’ve learnt to separate emotions from facts, and have the ability to see the problem objectively from a distance.

Or perhaps my abundance of grey hairs has something to do with appearing wise? 😄

Anyhow, I found some quotes on Google pertaining to how People Come, People Go, and what we’re meant to learn from them. I hope some of these resonate with you, as they do with me. Namaste!

93601e896811f1db8ccfb361838d49c9 a68825a5dcfc005a494abc79f18f2abc georgebernardshaw386923 some People Come Into Your Life Just To Krishna 1-cv-001 d247e76ef5c72426296ea9d36a3fd311 no-goodbye-quote

steve-jobs-quote-21

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My Favourite Tangles

A little while ago, in my Artist Inspiration series, I wrote about a Zentangle artist, DiAnne Ferrer.

If you’re not familiar with the Art of Zentangle, take a look at this webpage which explains what it is, how it started, and how to get started in it yourself.

I’ve read discussions on several Art Forums debating whether Zentangles are considered an Art form or not. To me, there is no need to even consider the question. Of course it is an Art form. It’s still in its infancy, and many established artists may feel threatened by it, and that is only natural, for it’s only human to fear Change.

A similar type of discussion was held only a few years ago, about whether mobile photography should be considered “real” photography, or simply as trick photography for partygoers or for fun.

Today’s post is simply to showcase my favourite Zentangles, that I’ve come across on my travels on Google Images. It just goes to prove how very popular Zentangle is and how many excellent exponents of it there are. Zentangles come in a vast array of variety, from the very simple yet effective to the very complex.

All credit goes to the original Zentangle artists, of which there are too many to name. Enjoy!

And, if you enjoyed looking at Zentangles, why ever not give it a whirl yourself? ;)

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