Sunday, 31 August 2014

Photography this week: Out in the forest

 Our family went for a walk around lake Ngaroto.  It was a beautiful winters day.  Still and crisp.  It was so nice to shake off the cobwebs and to be active.  

Around the lake is a huge variety of vegetation but my favourite part is the Manuka forest.  It reminds me of a fairy land out of a fantasy book.  It is mysterious, still and beautiful

Thursday, 28 August 2014

New art quilt: In his Image

Creative blocks come to all of us.  Some days I just don’t even feel like getting up, never mind going to the studio to work.  A few months ago while going through one of these patches I read an article on how to be a professional artist.  It is a great article It really changed the way I viewed how I work.  One of daily practices discussed in the article was no matter how you feel; go into your studio every day, no matter what.  I have tried to do this every day since.  Some days I only get to sit on my chair and think about my art work but I still manage to get in my studio daily.

One day while I was sitting pondering and thinking, I felt very strongly that I need to do a series of work on ‘The family’ the fabric and centre of our society.  The small details of everyday life often get forgotten about and yet they often are the most important aspects of our lives.  The relationships with our families are the foundations of our lives.

My first quilt in this series is called ‘In his image’.  This art quilt depicts Adam and Eve; the beginning family on our earth, and is based on the scripture……

‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created her them’
Genesis 1:27 KJV

Preliminary sketch

Progress so far

I am really pleased with this art quilt top and I am really excited to start quilting it and adding more definition and shading with line. 

I'll keep you posted on the progress over the next week.


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

How to be a productive person

We all love to have a productive day.  The immense satisfaction of having the things to do list with big ticks next them and to be able to sit at the end of the day with a clear mind and the feeling of a job well done. Being productive  isn't just an automatic skill it takes work and practice.

These are a few things that can help you become that productive person 
you want to be.

1.     Just do: A lot of people think that being productive is being highly motivated and having a strong drive.  It is rare to find anyone who feels motivated all the time.  Motivation is actually just getting up and getting moving.  Not thinking about it just doing.  Thinking about productivity this way makes more people productive.

2.     Have plenty of sleep:  It is so hard to be productive when you’re tired.  Make sure you get enough sleep for your needs every night

3.     Have a Nana nap each day:  20 minutes is all that is needed.  Train yourself to have a rest at the same time each day.  If you can’t sleep just close your eyes it can make such a difference.

4.     Exercise: 15 minutes is all that is needed to rejuvenate your body each day. The key with exercise is to do something you enjoy.  Take a walk, jump rope and run whatever takes your fancy.

5.     Have fun:  Dance, play ball,  play with art supplies, read.  Do something for pure enjoyment

6.     Take breaks:  Productivity increases when you take a break.  Try taking a break every 1-1 ½ hours.

7.     Plan to succeed:  Have a daily plan of what needs to happen and what you would like to have happen.  Planning the day creates good use of time.

8.     Start each day with something positive:  Read a quote book, stretch, pray, meditate.  This is a great habit to get into to have a positive mind and to feel ready for the day ahead.

9.     Be organised:  Think about what needs to be accomplished today, then organise all the belonging for the day;  Lay out the dance clothes, find the shopping bags,  put your shoes at the front door do the dinner prep. 

10.           Celebrate:  Rejoice in your achievements.  Be proud of what you    can get done and don’t dwell on what didn't get done.  We can’t do everything in one day. 

'Your mind is for having ideas not holding them'David Allen

Friday, 22 August 2014

Photography this week: Magnolias

Photographs this week

Spring is around the corner.  The magnolia trees are in full bloom.  It always amazes be how big the Magnolia flowers are on our trees.  They are huge.  2 days ago I saw my youngest climbing the magnolia tree.  He bought me in a beautiful bloom.  It wasn’t quite open and just perfect.  My photos this week are of this beautiful gift J

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Photographing art quilts: Part 3

Photographing your own art work is such a valuable skill to have.  Hiring a photographer can be expensive, time consuming and sometimes quite inconvenient. With a few simple pieces of equipment and a little time and patience you can become a pro at photographing your own art work.

In part one and two we looked at how to set up a temporary photography studio (see article here) with equipment most of us have hanging around the house.  In part two we looked at how to set up your art work and take the photo. (see article here)  Today we are going to look at what happens once the  photo is loaded onto the computer.

Step three:  Down loading the photos and editing

Make sure you have your art work in good light next to you to use as a reference
1.     Download your photos onto a computer. 
2.     Open a copy of the photo of your art in your photo editing software.  I use window live photo gallery for simple editing or Photoshop elements for more advance editing. Windows is sufficient if the photo is well taken. Always use a copy to edit.
3.     Straighten the photo using the straightening tool. 

4.     Crop the art work using the crop tool.  I try and get as close to the edge as possible. 

5.     Manually adjust the exposure.  Windows:  I do this by going into adjust exposure then pull up the left dark pointer on the graph up to where the graph lines begin and bring down the right light pointer down to where the graph lines end.

6.     In Photoshop go into enhance and then into adjust lighting and then into levels.

Then move the left arrow to where the graph line starts.  Then bring the right arrow across to where the right graph line finishes. (below)

Sometimes you need to play around with the middle arrow to get the exposure right. Keep moving it until it looks right.

7.      Adjust the colour settings by pressing adjust the colour automatically or by manually adjusting the colour.  Keep referring to the original art work for a guide.

Windows: Adjust colour temp/tint/saturation.  Just increase and decrease in tiny increments.

Or Photoshop:  Go to Enhance-and then scroll down to adjust colour.  There are quite a few ways to adjust colour on your art work.  Have a play and see which one works the best. I like to use hue and saturation and adjust colour curves.  Keep playing until it looks right

8.     I am happy that my art quilt looks as close as possible to the original. Now it is ready to be saved. 

9.     Save it as JPEG or in the format you need for competition entries.  I generally use JPEG as it such a versatile format. Go into file and scroll down to save.  Then save it under JPEG in the format box.

10.                       The finished photo

Monday, 18 August 2014

No Internet !! No communication?

I have been quiet for the last week, not because of slackness but because we have run out of internet. (I am borrowing someone else's today to write this post). The joys of living in rural communities in New Zealand :)  So until we have our internet up and running on Thursday I'm not going to be able to post any more posts this week.  

It is amazing how much I rely on the internet on a daily basis for communication.  I hadn't realised how much until we didn't have any.  Communication is so important. Interacting with other people is the one of the fundamental parts of being human.  Technology has given us so many more options to communicate with. It is a wonderful tool but I think my favourite way to communicate still is to talk to someone face to face.  I love to chat with friends and to connect with them.  

Art is another form of communication that I love I love seeing people's faces when they look at art work and I love looking at other people's work to see what they are trying to communicate.  It is such an expressive form of communication. 

What does the quilt 'Caught reading" (above) communicate to you?

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Photography for the week: The mountains

The mountains

I had a lovely trip to Palmerston North, North Island, NZ  with my youngest daughter to check out the university down there.  It was a wonderful few days.  On the way down to the university the mountains were all clear.  It was stunning.  These photos were taken my Kelsey and me.  We're not sure who took what but we had so much fun.

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