Tag Archives: Adobe Photoshop

Slicing And Dicing

20 Jul

Postcard 1a

I’m slicing and dicing my ancestral stones!

I’ve put my drawings of Neolithic monuments into Adobe Photoshop and I’m designing some merchandise for my solo show at The Worker’s Gallery in September. I’ll have original drawings, lino prints and etchings for the exhibition but not everyone can afford original art – or may not have room for it – so I want to offer a range of reproductions. I don’t just want to slavishly copy the originals though. I may choose one or two to be reproduced onto canvas or heavyweight art paper, but I also want to play with the drawings I’ve made and create some new digital imagery with them so they can be printed as postcards or magnets or greetings cards. I’ve not used Photoshop for design before, I normally use it for storing photos and cataloguing my work so this is new for me and I’m having fun seeing what it can do.

I have been travelling across South Wales with Rhondda-born archaeologist Dewi Bowen and Swansea film maker Melvyn Williams, hunting the wild megalith, accompanied by my portable drawing board, portfolio of Fabriano paper and a bag full of assorted artist’s materials.  Dewi is researching his latest book on Neolithic monuments and Melvyn is making a documentary film of our literary and artistic adventures.

If you want to know more about my solo show in The Worker’s Gallery in the Rhondda Valley in September, please click here.

And if you want to see some of my other artwork, please click on the image below.



Bob’s Your Uncle!

2 Dec

scribble 5 dark strokes

A while back, I was walking along the street in the city centre and noticed a load of strange squiggles on the pavement.

scribble 4 dark strokes

It’s handy having a decent camera on my phone – how times have changed – so I took a few snaps.

scribble 1 ink spatter

The squiggles had been made by a machine that scrubs chewing gum off the pavement – ychafi! I downloaded them when I got home and had a bit of a play in Photoshop and Bob’s Your Uncle!


Blue Birds

17 Nov


I carried on with my cyanotype experiments. I have always used an ultraviolet unit to expose them in the past, which takes about 6 minutes. I wanted to see if I could expose them with natural light so I sandwiched two negatives between pieces of chemically treated paper and a sheet of glass and left them for 1 hour 45 minutes in a window in the afternoon sun. I’ve been told that it’s quicker in summer, around an hour.


I developed them in cold water in the sink and I’m quite pleased with the results. The original images were small sketchbook drawings I did of pigeons some years ago. I scanned them and using Adobe Photoshop, reversed the image horizontally, inverted it into a negative and resized.

Process, Process, Process

5 Mar

Artists make art, well most of us do anyway. And making art is all about process, starting with a germ of an idea and ending up with something on a wall, or a plinth. And that’s what I’ve been doing for a few days now, as well as fending of a nasty lurgi. I’m planning a group of small lino-block portraits. I’m starting from photographs but I want to work quickly so I’m Photoshopping them to speed up the process. Here’s one, starting with the original photo, then turning it to black and white, reversing it (so it transfers to the block properly), then finding a Filter that will minimise the tonal values. That’s as far as I’ve got today but I’ve been working on 25 of them. Eventually they’ll be printed as 4″ squares and mounted in a 5×5 square format.

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Tomorrow I’ll be transferring them to blocks for cutting.



13 Jan


Having a play with my Samsung Galaxy Tablet this evening, sketching from photos. I’m working in the free Magic Marker app and I quite like how I’m getting on with it. I don’t like the ‘Gallery’ on the Tablet though. The drawings get saved to the ‘Gallery’ but the edit function is extremely temperamental and it wouldn’t let me rotate this drawing, which was originally on its end. Try as I might, the ‘Rotate’ function kept refusing to work. So I emailed it to myself but then it wouldn’t open in anything! So Husb had a go for ages and just as he was about to throw the computer across the room, the darn thing opened up in Adobe Photoshop. Which is what we tried to do first!!!! I hate computers. Frustration doesn’t come into it!

Pavement Scribbles

16 Dec

man with hands

This is another piece currently in an exhibition, one of the drawings I’ve overlaid on top of solvent transfer prints. The image in the background started as a digital photograph of some strange markings on the city’s pavements. Every so often, a machine goes around the city, scrubbling chewing gum off the paving stones. This leaves odd patterns and I was there with my camera to record some of them. Then I zipped them through Adobe Photoshop Elements: Filter: Adjustments: Posterise. Once they’d been transferred using acetone and an etching press, they give an ethereal look. It’s odd sometimes where artists get imagery from.


Faffing About With Photoshop

3 Apr

Digital image.


Had a rotten cold today so I worked from home and caught up with loads of admin stuff – so boring but needed to be done. I didn’t feel like drawing so I had a play around with Adobe Photoshop. I don’t know why, but I don’t really think of it as art. The innate snobbery of a ‘fine’ artist maybe? Yet it still involves using tools, techniques and making artistic judgements so I shouldn’t think that way. I had a few digital photos of Husb to faff around with and I tried out some of the functions I’m less familiar with. I like this one and although I wasn’t aiming to do anything with the images, I think I’ll try this out as a cyanotype print next time I’m at Swansea Print Workshop.

The Pavement People

12 Oct

Ink drawing: Pavement People.


Working from photographs can be controversial for many artists and causes a lot of lively discussion in our local Life Drawing group. I take a pragmatic view – I do whatever needs to be done to get the image I want and that sometimes means using a photograph as my starting point. This ink drawing started life as a digital photograph taken outside our local ‘soup kitchen’ where the Pavement People gather around 8.30 am for breakfast. I wanted an image to incorporate into a much larger mixed-media piece. I used Adobe Photoshop to turn the colour image to black and white, then I passed it through an Artistic Filter, the Cutout one. This reduced the amount of grey tones and gave a slightly abstract edge to the figures. The process also blurred some of the faces, which I like because the Pavement People tend to slip into the background and become faceless members of society.

I printed it out and drew a grid over it, scaling it up onto a sheet of tracing parchment in pencil. I then drew it it ink, using mainly Faber Castell Pitt pens and Indian ink and brush. I emphasised the blurred, faceless quality of the figures. The next stage is to rub out the grid marks and transfer the image to a photographic silkscreen to print over the mixed media piece I’m currently working on. I might also print it up as part of a series I’m planning, using a number of photos I have of the Pavement People,  along the lines of William Hogarth’s serial engravings.

Enter Rocky The Dragon and The Suicide Method.

5 Oct

Reduction Lino Print: Rocky The Bearded Dragon.


This is a very geeky blog today. I was chatting to some printmakers on LinkedIn earlier about the ‘suicide’ method of block printing [we love talking technique], where you produce a multi-coloured print using the same block, by progressively cutting away each colour. You end up totally destroying the block, so there’s little room for error and there’s no chance of ever doing a reprinted edition. I started this reduction lino block of family pet Rocky, a bearded dragon, by putting a digital photo through the Artistic: Cutout filter on Adobe Photoshop and printing out an image to the size of the block I was using. I also reversed the image and after transferring it, cut out the fragments of white and printed a pale orangey-yellow. Next I removed the orangey-yellow areas and overprinted in a Rhodamine Red mixed with white to give a rich pink. I use Intaglio Printmakers Oil Relief inks. I printed wet on wet to get a slightly ‘fizzy’ surface texture and to encourage some slight colour mixing. Then I removed the pink areaas and printed a rich brown, then grey and finally black. Lots of work! I ended up with an edition of 18 perfect prints, each about 15cms x 10cms.  He’s a real cuteypie.

Archaic Blue Photography [very artgeek stuff]

29 Aug

Cyanotype portrait: Melvyn, Lahore.

I don’t always work from drawings although 90% of my work, or more, is based on sketches. Sometimes I have a bit of a play with photographic imagery and translate it into various forms of printmaking – monotype, block, screen, photogravure and cyanotype.


Cyan is the colour blue and also the first four letters of cyanide and it’s this combined with ferric compounds that form the chemical basis for cyanotype, one of the earliest forms of photography. I start by shoving a digital photo through Adobe Photoshop Elements, changing to black and white and inverting it to get a negative. Then I either put it through a Cutout filter to reduce it to four or five greytones, or into Threshold to make it a very stark black and white image, like Pop Art. Then I print it out onto acetate through an inkjet printer so I have a contact negative.


The next step is to coat a sheet of Bockingford or Somerset, at least 250gsm, with the cyanotype solution, leaving some brushstrokes around the edges, and dry it off in the darkroom, then into the UV Unit with the negative for 6 minutes [it can be done in daylight but takes a lot longer]. The development is easy; pop it into running cold water until the print turns blue and white and the water runs clear. Leave it to drain for a while then between tissue-lined drying boards while it’s still damp.


I took this photo of my husband at night in a rooftop restaurant in Lahore, Pakistan and gave him the cyanotype treatment.


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