Archive for August, 2007

heArt #56 Santa Fe: Holy Faith

Sometimes I just start out with a design and it just grows from there. I had no idea I’d end up in Santa Fe when I started this. Nor did I know that Santa Fe means “holy faith”. My Second Life partner built a very southwestern styled house in Second Life this week, so that’s probably a large part of the influence here. The heart reminds me of an amulet.

I started out with some free vector shapes I downloaded. My intent was to make a design like the graphic t-shirts that are so popular. I love those. My muse went off in it’s usual direction, however. At any rate, entirely done in Photoshop with vector shapes and layer styles.


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This heart is inspired by some of the new folk art themed quilt fabrics I saw in a catalog yesterday, as well as a book I have called Paint Happy! by Cristina Acosta. If you’re an artist and have ever struggled with perfectionism, this book is liberating. The author was a professional billboard painter and college art teacher who had all but lost her enthusiasm until her eighteen-month-old daughter started painting with her. From that evolved her new painting method which I think is wonderfully colorful and whimsical. I’m still learning to loosen up as much as she has, but being able to paint in Photoshop helps tremendously because I’m not wasting paint or paper. And I don’t have to look at the result physically and wonder what to do with it if I don’t like it.

I DO like how today’s painting turned out, though. One of these days soon I will try it again with “real” pastels and paint as Ms. Acosta recommends, rather than Photoshop and a graphic tablet. I’m still surprised at how much working digitally feels and acts like paint.

All Rights Reserved Gretchen Little

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I’ve been reading about how some shamans use the image of a tree in order to access different levels of awareness. The power of trees shows up in many of the world’s ancient religions, from the Bodhi Tree that the Buddha sat under; to the World Tree, Yggdrasil, of the Norse myths (which resonates the most for me); to the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Trees have always seemed sentient and magical to me. It seems it’s time to start bringing them into my art.

This tree, in particular, is inspired by Idunna, the Norse goddess who is the keeper of the tree of golden apples which bestows immortality on those who eat from it. It was also inspired by the artist Klimt.

Painted in Photoshop using a graphic tablet, then adjusted with filters.

#54 “Love Apples”

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This is another one of the series of the digital reworkings of my Wunjo Rune collage. I suppose I am being very Warhol-esque. See heArt #52 for more.

heArt #53 “Viking Rune Art Card”

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I originally posted this painted viking rune heArt collage on my heArt #24 entry. This morning I was “leveraging” my art, as Traci Bautista advocates in her book Collage Unleashed. Although the original piece of art is a “real life” collage ACEO I took it into Photoshop and started messing around with filters and the hue and saturation bar. Playing around with that brought out the hidden x factor in the original piece of art for me. I could literally feel a little zing! in my physical heart when the colors and filters hit the sweet spot.

Also, although altered art is a huge trend these days in the paper arts world and really all I’ve read about, I think digitally altering your own art pieces (instead of just photoshopping up photos) could be the Next Big Thing. I think it’s very exciting and fun to do. To me art is meant to be about experimentation and pushing the conventions of tradition. It may not seem valid to some that making a few clicks is all you need for a new piece of art, but even the most traditional artists who are masters at their craft have shortcuts the rest of the world doesn’t know about.

heArt #52 : “Viking Rune Wunjo Variation #1″

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“Painted” in Photoshop with the posterize filter added at the end. I created my own Photoshop brushes to make the quilt stitches.

Update 12/22/07:  Take a look at how this piece became a logo for Non-Runner Nancy’s blog about training for a marathon.

heArt #51″  “Nine Patch Heart Quilt”

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This is the second of the digital paintings I did that led to Rick building me “The Little Shops” in Second Life. (See my blog entry about that here.) Painted in Photoshop with the posterize filter added. I guess you could say this is digital altered art because the original piece had no filter on it.

heArt #50 “Crayon Heart Village”

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