Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside Pastel Portraits

Most of my life has been spent as a student of the arts, visual, literary and performing.

I don’t write as much as I used to, but then I don’t read as much either.  I was raised in a musical and artistic family so I have played various instruments and sing.  Took dance lessons for many years and used to be a dance teacher into my early thirties.

I have always loved the visual arts and have studied with various artists of my liking rather than taking additional courses in a school.  I never cared for my art classes throughout my student career.  I found the teachers to be to rigid and the class much too structured.  I started going to art shows in the early 70’s and when I found local artists with techniques I liked, I would ask them if they also taught.  Some did and some did not.  One older gentleman sketched beautiful pastel portraits.  I saw him in a few shows and asked him if he taught, he said no and that was that.  I saw him in another show, again he told me he did not want to teach at this time.  Being retired he still had a part-time job and was not interested.  After he was widowed a couple of years later he was at another show and asked me if I was still interested in learning pastels, which I was because there were not many local artists in this medium that were as talented.  He said he had a few other people that were interested and decided to go ahead.  I was so happy!  He was a great teacher and I really learned a lot.  I have not done much pastels lately and wish I had taken pictures of some of my older commissioned work that was given away or sold.  I didn’t used to take my art that seriously, but I would never dream of letting any work go without a number of pictures to add to my portfolio now.

Below is a slide show of a couple of my “homework projects” given when I was first learning.  I have also included a few finished pieces.

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Taking A Bad Sketch to a Whole New Level

I still have the old Photo Draw 2000 software from Microsoft, and love it.  I have since purchased Photoshop Elements, but have yet to use it.

Try something different or creative with any of you art or photos.  My favorite effect is to use the “cut out” by color, then change the search mode from global to local and make sure the “put in new picture” is checked.  Do this effect in various areas of the selected picture and when finished, select to fill from the format tab.  There I selected the gradient fill for the colors but you can replace it with a photo, texture or all one color.  It will only fill in the areas of the sketch that you clicked to cut out, which is the effect I wished to achieve.  I then used “Designer Effects” from the Effects tab to enhance the color and contrast to my taste.  I finished by layering the enhanced picture over a dark purple background color that had to be created from the default picture after the picture setup was changed from landscape to portrait.

Anyone else out there fool around with their photos or art like this?

Po’ Girl Shines Little Bits

A little piece of Calumet Michigan, wishing I was there! Love the Upper Peninsula!
Just a goof-off statement about pollution, that is a very serious matter!

Still missing my little baby Raizen, waiting for me to come home after work.

Can’t believe it is already September, and 2012 yet!  Didn’t even bother to buy any 2013 Calendars, how about you all?

Was featured again on Instructables.   I plan on having much more information on that site in the near future.  Food, sewing and crafts.  My latest featured was Drawstring purse with cubbies inside to put things in.  Again this step by step “how-to” can be found on instructables.com.  Hope to have more info soon on Po’ Girl hand made clothing and will let you know when the etsy store opens!

Coming soon to a forest or woods near you!
Drawstring Purse with Cubbies.
Crafted a fabric bowl with yarn and button trim years ago. Love throwing my jewelry into it after a hard day, then I can hang them back up where they belong When I have more time.

Building a Trellis From a Felled Tree

 A couple of years ago there was a windstorm and I woke to a crashing sound about 5:00 am.  I thought something fell on my house so I looked out the front window and the large oak tree was still standing.  I went back to my room to look in the yard and my initial view were branches and leaves pressed to the window.  I threw on some clothes and ran outside to better view the damage, though completely dark with my outside light being damaged as well.  The first thing I noticed was my rather large mock cherry tree was completely split down the middle.  The initial planters of the tree had not properly pruned it when it was young and it was all gnarled at the crotch of the tree and did not allow proper aeration.  The tree had appeared very healthy in all respects, but the split clearly showed that it had been rotting for sometime in that area.

Tree Split


 What caught my eye was the fact that a number of the tree branches were resting on the power lines going to my 1942 bungalow, phone as well as electric.  I got out my electric chainsaw and was praying the entire time I was cutting the branches off myself.  Everyone was out of town during this time.  I did not try to disturb my neighbors.  I figured if any of them heard my chain saw at about 5:30am and wanted to help me, they were welcome.  None ever showed up.  After I had cut off most of the branches that were resting on the power lines, I was able to see underneath to find a large limb was resting on my deck rail, which prevented the entire weight of the tree to actually knock out my power lines!  I was thanking God like mad for his blessing and help in that it could have been much worse.  Starting with the fact that the only chain saw I had was electric.  Had the power lines been knocked down, I would have just had to call the electric company and let them do all the work.  At least I found out the hard way what I was capable of.  Once everthing was felled and neatened up, I slowly cut all the branches so that I would be able to use most of the wood later.  Nothing was really wasted.  My neighbors look some of the larger pieces of the trunk and the kindling for fireplaces and firepits.  I kept various sizes of the cleaned off branches to use as trellises and fences later.  I have two trellises done at this time and will be making more if I did not spread myself so thin at this time looking for another home I can buy for cash cheap, looking for another job, working on my clothing and jewelry I want to get on etsy.com asap, getting ready for various art shows and fixing up my current home to make it “renter ready.” The following are pictures of the finished trellises made from the branches of that felled tree.  I have also included a short video.  After I layed the various branches to shape and size, I had to verify that the branches also touched one another in the correct places so they could be properly drilled and the screws would hold.  I actually started using my old screws used with Hardibacker, backerboard with I installed ceramic tile around the tub.  They are #10 x 1  1/4.”  I need to get some 1 1/2″ for the thicker branches.  It’s not difficult.  Anyone can do pretty much anything they put their mind to.  If it doesn’t work, then try another way until it does work for you.  You may want to tie the joints together with natural hemp twine either in place of the screws or after screwing together for added strength.  Screws keep the branches in place much better then just twine.

First attempt
First Attempt

Getting fancier each attempt!
                Work in progress.


Fancier still, I painted one of the trellises with Lumiere Paints.