Last night…

…this wondrous storm came rolling in slowly from the west.

21JUL2013 Storm NW

You can see a heavy rain falling at lower camera right, such a heavy rain that the view of downtown Evanston was almost not there at all!

21JUL2013 Storm N Downtown Evanston

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Many of you know I am also a painter, and I have been spending some amount of time in the studio, working on a project dedicated to my deceased younger son.

I’ve had his business card for all these seventeen years, and needed to do something with the Chinese characters which translate to:

Gold(en)

Silent

Man

Its progress was interrupted last year by my nine days in the hospital and a fairly long recuperation time.

Recently, I pulled it out, and struggled to find a ‘good’ direction…of course, it’s not finished yet, as I have many other projects going on, but I feel you’ll get the idea?

The border was taped off, then stippled in with a mixture of regular joint compound mixed with flexible white glue (SOBO brand), a combination I've used for many years, beginning way back when I was a Scenic Artist.

The border was taped off, then stippled in with a mixture of regular joint compound mixed with flexible white glue (SOBO brand), a combination I’ve used for many years, beginning way back when I was a Scenic Artist.

The characters are painted in a pointillistic manner with Liquitex Deep Hooker’s Green Heavy Body acrylic…it took four passes to get this texture.

The border was then given several coats of acrylic polyurethane, which, while still wet, I sifted some variegated gold leaf pieces over.

The border was then given several coats of acrylic polyurethane, onto which, while still wet, I sifted some variegated gold leaf pieces.

I then carefully washed with a thin Venetian red, but still was not getting what I wanted to see…so I brushed on an oil-based deep gold, then sponged it off–NOW I was getting somewhere!

The last step (I hope!) will be washing in shadows along each edge of the border in the Deep Hooker's Green...I may or may not also add a drop shadow of the same to the characters.

The last step (I hope!) will be washing in shadows along each edge of the border in the Deep Hooker’s Green…I may or may not also add a drop shadow of the same to the characters, which need a bit of touch-up…and possibly add a bit more selectively-placed gold leaf to the border.

Here’s the entire 12″ x 16″ work in its current state:

I know my dear friend Ng Tom in Hong Kong has been patiently waiting to see this ouevre...it shall be finished soon, Tom, and of course I'll post it, completely framed!

I know my dear friend Ng Tom in Hong Kong has been patiently waiting to see this ouevre…it shall be finished soon, Tom, and of course I’ll post it, completely framed!

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You might also want to visit Tom’s blog, that’s how I see the world, just to understand a bit more of the beauty in Hong Kong.

I suppose I should have been doing laundry…

…but I can put that off until tomorrow, can’t I?

It was much more fun to ‘play’ in Photoshop (TM) on this relatively quiet Sunday afternoon!

First are the originals taken later yesterday afternoon, followed by the final images.

Bright Pink Peony-1, the original

Bright Pink Peony-1, the original

Bright Pink Peony-1, with the Glass filter

Bright Pink Peony-1, with the Glass filter

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Bright Pink Peony-2, the original

Bright Pink Peony-2, the original

Bright Pink Peony-2, with the Watercolor filter

Bright Pink Peony-2, with the Watercolor filter

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Fading Purple and Yellow Iris-1, the original

Fading Purple and Yellow Iris-1, the original

Fading Purple and Yellow Iris-1, with the Plastic Wrap filter

Fading Purple and Yellow Iris-1, with the Plastic Wrap filter

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Fading Purple and Yellow Iris-2, the original

Fading Purple and Yellow Iris-2, the original

Fading Purple and Yellow Iris-2, with the Ink Outlines filter

Fading Purple and Yellow Iris-2, with the Ink Outlines filter

Believe it or not, some still find it ‘scandalous’ to turn a photograph into a graphic presentation, utilizing software such as Photoshop (TM) or Corel (TM).

In my opinion, I haven’t spent almost eight years working in Photoshop (TM) and over eight years doing video graphics and animation to sit around and be satisfied with what the camera sees!

I see differently, and every electronic image needs to be ‘tweaked’, one way or another!

Enjoy the Day!

It’s not quite 6:30 AM (CDT) here in Chicago, and this is my last post of the day…something to ponder.

Inside the AppleA Photoshop (TM) Watercolor

Inside the Apple
A Photoshop (TM) Watercolor

This one is definitely “worthy of the wall”!

My wonderful world of glass

When Spring cleaning, I also tear into my glass gemstones, rocks and shells, giving everything a complete wash.

Here are some macro images, after I dried everything and rearranged it all in crystal vases.

NOTE: it was a dull-gray day when I photographed these…if we ever get a bright, sunny day, I’ll re-do them!

This one-of-a-kind was gifted to me some years back; I've placed it on elongated bean-shaped clear glass gemstones.

This one-of-a-kind was gifted to me some years back; I’ve placed it on elongated bean-shaped clear glass gemstones.

Here's the same glass ball, a bit more close up and in a different position.

Here’s the same glass ball, a bit more close up and in a different position.

These are glass rocks I purchased at Smith and Hawken garden shop about eight years ago.  I applied variegated gold leaf sparingly and painted the bottoms with several coats of Modern Masters metallic acrylics.  Each rock has its own little 'universe'; they are mixed with opalescent, clear glass gemstones.

These are glass rocks I purchased at Smith and Hawken garden shop about eight years ago. I applied variegated gold leaf sparingly and painted the bottoms with several coats of Modern Masters metallic acrylics. Each rock has its own little ‘universe’; they are mixed with opalescent, clear glass gemstones.

More of the same as above; the mystical green contrasted well with the gold/copper/ gree variegated leaf...I thought!

More of the same as above; the mystical metallic green contrasted well with the gold/copper/ gree variegated leaf…I thought!

Every once in awhile, I get the urge to create something a bit different…there are a number of others painted with a cranberry metallic…I’ll photo those when some ‘full’ sunlight finally comes to Chicago!

I would be lying if…

…I said I spent hours working on this charcoal drawing of a pigeon I saw the other day while waiting for the “L”.

Pigeon-Charcoal Plus Dark Strokes

A nice almost-abstract, isn’t it?

But…it is totally Photoshop (TM), every bit of it, from this image I took the other day in Evanston:

Pigeon-CPDS Original

I liked the softness of the colors, and the fact the pigeon was blurred (it was moving very quickly).

The more I adjusted, the more I ‘played’, finally changing it to black and white, then ‘playing’ even more!

Here are a few other pigeons I ‘played’ with earlier today:

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Pigeon-2

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Pigeon-3

Love Begets Love: The Tablecloth Project

One of the gifts I received when I graduated from 8th grade was from my Grandma Martha, my Dad’s mother–a hand-crocheted tablecloth. Though I wasn’t exactly thrilled (being a typical teenager then), I packed it away, to be used after marriage…I don’t think I’ve used it but once for its intended purpose.

Martha was 69 years old when she lovingly began crocheting each 3-inch floret–there are 616!–which had to be joined by over 600 more florets, so you can imagine how long she worked on this magnificent piece.

Back at the beginning of November, as I was unpacking Christmas things to make new decorations, I pulled out the tablecloth…and that ‘little voice’ said, “It’s time to wash this and repair it!”–which I did!

Here are some of the repairs I encountered, and mind you, I do not crochet, so I had to carefully join the original loops with some older white thread I had kept–as the tablecloth is now going on 53 years old!

Tablecloth-1

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Tablecloth-2

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Tablecloth-3

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Tablecloth-4

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Tablecloth-5

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Tablecloth-6

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Finally, this project has come to an end…though I somehow ‘felt’ my Grandma looking over my shoulder, as I struggled to join loops properly.

When I began, it was difficult to figure out what loop went where, but each time I picked up the project again, I got the same feeling of love…that I was doing things the right way.

It was almost as if Grandma was guiding the needle for me, because the task became very easy.

Twice, I laid the tablecloth over my bed, and found even more repairs needed, which should have been frustrating–but were not, you see, because I could picture myself as a child, sitting on her carpet, looking up and watching her pray her rosary and crochet at the same time!  What a multitasker, eh?

In fact, the very first oil painting I did back in 1975 was that very memory!  (Sorry, no image available)

About a week and a half ago, I finished!

Tablecloth-7

The tablecloth is now packed away in a plastic carrier, because it’s too large for my table!

I may hang it at the window, but it will get dusty and dirty, and I really don’t know how many more washings it can take.

What I do know is:  this gift was made out of  love, and when I repaired it, I gained more love, not only for my Grandma, but for all those who persevere and achieve a goal, no matter what their circumstances!

After yesterday’s appointment with my wonderful doctor…

…(who is very happy I am doing so well while taking the blood thinning medication!), I hopped on the Red Line “L”, and ventured to the south side of Chicago–Chinatown to be exact!

Chinatown is about two and a half miles south of the Loop.  This is the view when you get off the "L" and look back toward downtown.


Chinatown is about two and a half miles south of the Loop. This is the view when you get off the “L” at Cermak Road and look back toward downtown.

I haven’t been here in almost ten years!  In 2002, I was working about four miles west, just off of Cermak Road, for a theatrical rigging company, and would come through Chinatown every evening I could.  Things have changed a bit; the entrance to the “L” is now enclosed (thank you!) and upon exiting, there is this lovely, huge piece of glazed terra-cotta construction:

The 9 Dragons Wall erected in 2003

The Nine Dragon Wall, erected in 2003

Here are the first three dragons...

Here are the first three dragons…

...and here are the rest.  The 9 Dragons Wall looks to be about twenty-five feet long and about twelve feet high!  Gorgeous craftsmanship, isn't it?

…and here are the rest. The Nine Dragon Wall looks to be about twenty-five feet long and about twelve feet (or more) high! Gorgeous craftsmanship, isn’t it?

This plaque on a pedestal in front of the wall explains everything; thankfully, and English translation is provided!

This plaque on a pedestal in front of the wall explains everything; thankfully, an English translation is provided!

This is just a tease!  I’ll be posting more of Chinatown over the next week, as I took over 85 shots in just under an hour (the other half hour I spent shopping in a great little store–you’ll be seeing that, too)!

Word Association: Wall…

…Paper!

I found this elegant little sketch attached to the wall of a building, just across the alleyway from the Berwyn Red Line “L” Station here in Chicago…and thought you might like it!

He’s only about nine inches tall…and I wondered, “Now,  just where he could be heading?”

Wall-Paper

N.B.:  The Photoshop filter used here was Surface Blur.  I felt it enhanced the texture of the peeling paint and shadows of a bright, sunny day.

Some may be wondering…

…what a former Holiday Designer might use to decorate her own space…so I took a few shots.  As you approach my apartment door, you’ll find this spray, which is new this year:

I've incorporated a few of the 'faux' leaves I created.

I’ve incorporated a few of the ‘faux’ leaves I created.  Silver, ivory, and champagne-color, with three red jingle bells!

On the inside of the door, I’ve placed a copper and silver spray which I put together in 2007:

Those little things at center are not pine cones, but some sort of seed pod, which I gilded with copper leaf.

Those little things at center are not pine cones, but some sort of seed pod, which I gilded with copper leaf.

I really have no room for a tree, but I do have two large, 36″ wreaths, which I change every few years…next year, I’ll tear them apart, wash them down, and design something new and different!

This is the Blue and Silver, with some large silver leaf-gilded pears and silver balls (from the Dollar Store, no less!).

This is the Blue and Silver, with some large silver leaf-gilded pears and silver balls (from the Dollar Store, no less!).

And...here's the Red and Green on another wall.

And…here’s the Red and Green on another wall.

I have several glass vases filled with glass gemstones...this one also contains gilded glass rocks.  Iadded some miniature gold gilded fruit, and a few pine boughs I found after the Christmas Tree Lot people shut down.

I have several glass vases filled with glass gemstones…this one also contains gilded glass rocks. I added some miniature gold gilded fruit, large partially-gilded seed pods, and a few pine branches I found after the Christmas Tree Lot people shut down.

Here’s the other vase:

Glass gemstones, gilded river rock, and a pear ornament I gilded Christmas Day morning with blue variegated leaf...plus a few small pine branches.

Glass gemstones, gilded river rock, and a pear ornament I gilded Christmas Day morning with blue variegated leaf…plus a few small pine branches.

Here’s what the pear ornament really looks like, as I had to ‘play’ to get some color in the image above:

I bought about two and a half dozen of these six years ago at Renaissance Works for a dollar a piece...some silver/gilded and most gold/gilded!  I got tired of the 'commercial' gilding, and covered this one with blue variegated leaf.  The little leaf at the top has also been painted with a metallic pale, soft light green.

I bought about two and a half-dozen of these six years ago at Renaissance Works for a dollar a piece…some silver/gilded and most gold/gilded! I got tired of the ‘commercial’ gilding, and covered this one with blue variegated leaf. The little leaf at the top has also been painted with a metallic pale, soft light green.

I think I’ve had to make ‘Christmas’ every month of the year in the past…whether it was decorating hotels and restaurants, painting and designing store and mall displays, or designing television commercials (in March!)…it’s normal for me to celebrate with decorations all year ’round (and to be forever vacuuming up little pieces of glitter!)!