Wednesday, December 29, 2010

4x4 Friday--New Year

I know, I know, it isn't Friday yet, but the challenge theme was posted early so I took a try at it. New Year's is a strange time of the year, so many different feelings--doors closing, doors opening--endings and new beginnings...thoughts of mortality and the urge to boldly go...

Anyway, I found this lovely quote from TS Eliot, and it brought music to my mind--because it's a universal language and speaks with many voices. And then to children , the new generation, making their own language, and seeing the world with their own eyes as they grow.

The musician image came from Magic Moonlight studios, the bird I found on Google, the clock face is from Dover. The several images that helped make the background are free to use from Brusheezy's collection, as are many of the photoshop brushes I used.

Happy New Year to Everyone!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Take a Word--Music--to her ears

What proud mother does not dream that her child will be a musical prodigy. Alas, we are not all so blessed.

Image from Land of Nod, background bits by mbgrigby & frannie60 at T4L, and Dover and some other bits that I don't remember where I found them. Photoshop brushes, filters and layer styles were applied as well.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

SPA- Open theme-Beauty

Just a pretty little thing for this week's challenge. Papers from Cottage Arts and Graphics Fairy and a gradient for the background; the Beauty overlay is from the Port Au Prince collection from Songbird Arts and the image is from Dover.

4 by 4 Friday--Calm and Bright

Christmas is over! The annual orgy of family, food, presents and overindulgence is done! Don't get me wrong, it was a wonderful, happy Christmas, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. And there's more to come as Emily & Tim (dtr & s-in-l) will be here next weekend to complete our celebration. E & T are candy-makers and it's always a real treat to see what they come up with. They make MARSHMALLOWS! Vanilla, peppermint, eggnog, and this year--cranberry! Crunchy nut brittle and caramel sauce! It will be fun to think of things to dip into warm caramel.

Now that Christmas is behind me and I am looking forward to the New Year and what it might bring, I am feeling the urge once again (Thank You, God)to return to the digital drawing board and do some art.

4x4's challenge this week (I only saw it this morning) is "Calm and Bright" Calm always signifies the ocean to me, so I took my cue from a photo I took of a sunrise at the beach last summer, and it all flowed from there. Thanks to the folks at Textures for Layers who so generously share their creations with us, and to Shadowhouse creations who creates more gorgeous bits for us to use. Lots of filters and layer styles, opacity changes and brushes were applied to set the mood.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Take a Word--Childhood

Christmas Memories

I've been hoping to find a use for this wonderful old photo of children gatheres for their Christmas photo. The annual Christmas photo is a childhood experience that I'm sure most of us remember--fancy clothes, bright lights, Mom fussing with hair and collars...This photo is actually a stereopticon slide. I can remember looking at such slides at my grandmother's house at Christmas during my own childhood.

For those who don't know, a stereopticon is a viewer that takes two copies of the same slide and shows a 3-D image to the viewer--an early incarnation of the old Viewmaster, that I'm sure you all remember.

I found this slide at Wikimedia Commons, in their Christmas collection. I added a couple of gradients, a background texture by UR_2, some sheet music from the Graphics Fairy and some photoshop brushes.

Thanks vor visiting.

Friday, December 3, 2010

4x4 Friday--Winter Tree

This piece was made using an original photo of mine. Background texture with help fron greentea at Textures 4 Layers and brushes by LadyVictoire and Red Lillith. Clock face from

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Take a Word--Man

I chose Leonardo DaVinci for this week's challenge. Honestly, this image just popped into my head and try as I might, I couldn't shake it. The mind and imagination of this man just amazes me. His painting is sublime, his inventions were amazing for his time, his curiosity was insatiable and infinite.

I think he is the perfect embodiment of this quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet:

"What a piece of work is a man,
How noble in reason,
How infinite in faculties,
In form and moving how express and admirable,
In action how like an angel,
In apprehension how like a god! "

The images were Googled, and the background began as a texture piece by UR_2; all were much embellished with filters and brushes.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


For all the gifts we have been given, for all the blessings we enjoy...we are truly thankful.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Take a Word--Moon

I found a free set of Skyline brushes recently and have been looking for a way to use them. The Take a Word challenge, Moon, turned out to be the perfect place. THe moon image is from NASA, courtesy of Wikimedia, the woman is Marcelline Day, an acress from silent movie days, and the background was made with pieces by Sigmaman and Irene2005 at Textures for Layers. The brush set is called Nineteen_Eighty_Seven--Skylines!!, and I found it on

Monday, November 15, 2010

Where might you fly

This image of a cloud filled sky, glowing with the colors of the sun (set, rise, I don't know)was recently posted to one of the Yahoo groups I belong to and we were challenged to use it for an art piece showing our emotional reaponse.

This is what I made.

Images like this move me deeply, and turn my thoughts to eternity and infinity and making leaps into the unknown. Some times it's a creative leap, sometimes it's the fear of NOT moving that makes you leap, sometimes it's desperation--the need to change something-ANYthing--that sends you out there, where there is no ground below your feet anymore.

All we can hope for at these times is that we WILL be given wings--that we WILL be able to soar. That there is more than we know still waiting for us to discover.

Where will you fly...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

three Muses--Black Birds

Here's a piece for this week's challenge. I call it Ravensong. It is said that in old times Ravens and Crows had beautiful singing voices and rainbow colored plumage. When the bird, who was a friend of humankind, traveled to the realm of the gods and stole fire for the people, it returned with its feathers blackened by soot, and its throat burned so that it could only make a raw, cawing sound.

I found the raven at Wikimedia Commons, and the background texture is based on a piece by VancayzeeleOlivier at Textures for Layers. I added a yellow gradient for the warmth of the sun and fire, and blackened the edges with grungy PS brushes.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Art on the Dark Side--Bats

I guess I still have a little Halloween left in me...the Art on the Dark Side challenge, Bats, took me right back to haunted houses and ghosts. Or maybe because it's a dark and dreary day, the leaves are almosy gone from the trees and Winter feels very close. It will be dark before 5:00 today.

Thanks to JoesSistah and Digitalyardsale for the textures I used to make the spooky background. The ghosts are from Art-e-zine and ACF, I think, from and old challenge. The house I found at Wikimedia Commons and the bat was Googled and altered into a digistamp.

SPA-Hats & Crowns

Bunnie got himself a new hat and so wanted to show it off. This Sunday's challenge seemed like the perfect place.
He's SUCH a fashionista...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Snow Angel

My creativity and inspiration are both at ebb tide these days. As the weather grows colder and the light retreats, my energy wanes for a bit. It will equalize itself again,I'm hoping, as we move closer to the bustle of the holidays.

I've been working on ideas for three challenges this week; adding poetry to an image for a Yahoo digital group, the Angel theme for the next Take a Word challenge, and Winter for 4x4 Friday.

Today, finally it all came together into one piece.

The image is from the Graphics Fairy, with wings from Suzee Que. The background started with a texture by JoesSistah and a blue gradient overpainted with watercolor stroke brushes. The snowflakes and tree branches are brushes also.

I couldn't find a line of poetry that suited my feeling, so I wrote this haiku to finish the piece.

Wow, sometimes I even amaze myself...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Digital Montage Challenge-Doorway

Cindy Powell, artist and author, has started a new challenge blog. Cindy is one of the instructors in the Digital Montage Workshops for Photoshop that I've been taking for the last several months. I have learned a lot from these workshops--how to use PS tools in new and different ways, interesting techniques and a lot of " I didn't know this tool could do THAT" moments.

Here's the blog address.

Cindy's challenge is to take the photo prompt she selects and transform it into a digitally altered piece of art.

The first prompt is a photo of a door, taken in Utah, a small portrait of the rustic Americam west. It conjured Native America for me, and here is my interpretation.
I used Cindy's photo, texture overlays from a set by UR_2 that I found on the Brusheezy site, a public domain photograph of a Native American family, and various PS brushes.

Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

soartful challenge and SPA-Day of the Dead

Such a lovely, albeit macabre image this week, I just had to play. She seemed like a woman in love to me, so I gave her a suitor. It's nice to think of love as eternal, isn't it.

This piece does double duty, as Sunday Postcard Art has the same theme this week. I happened to make it postcard size, because I was thinking of printing and sending it next week. Ah, serendipity...

Thanks to Rubyblossom and Digitalyardsale for the background textures; and to Cynthia Powell's blog, which has been offering Halloween-y images all month, for the Skelly.

Collage (Digital) --Time

The 4x4 Friday challenge this week is Collage. I chose one of my favorite themes--Time.
It started with a layer of digitally torn text pieces, dictionary and ledger pages, a train timetable, an old tax stamp from French cigarettes. I overlaid a layer of "gesso" using some photoshop watercolor stroke brushes.
The clocks came next. I love the image I found of a clock face without hands--it appears in a lot of my work; to me it conjures the feelings of timelessness and being beyond time. After that came the doorway- it is bit obscured, but important, as the theme of the piece changed to include memory and the future--both aspects of Time.
The labyrinth and the spiral are the paths that we travel back and forth in time; the key and lock are what is hidden and unknown.
The dragonflies, to me, symbolize the way we all travel in time--touching down briefly and flitting forward and back.

At least that's what I thought when I looked at the finished piece, and traced back the steps to it's completion. DEEP THOUGHTS for a Saturday morning, huh!

Thanks to Dover, the Graphics Fairy, and the artists at Textures for Layers Flickr Group who most kindly offer their wonderful work for our use.

Friday, October 29, 2010


This week's challenge image is to make something with a lovely piece by Alphonse Mucha. Mucha always makes me think of Paris and Art Nouveau, so I set the lady amidst some delicate French ephemera amd a floral art frame from the Victorian era. She looks happy there.

Elements are from the Graphics Fairy and Temari09 at Frames for use Flickr Group

Saturday, October 23, 2010

4 by 4 Friday--Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and by Mexican Americans living in the United States and Canada. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.

The celebration occurs on November 2 in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts.

Due to occurring shortly after Halloween, the Day of the Dead is sometimes thought to be a similar holiday, although the two actually have little in common. The Day of the Dead is a time of celebration, where partying and eating is common.

Scholars trace the origins of the modern holiday to indigenous observances dating back thousands of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to a goddess called Mictecacihuatl.

Also known as "the flower with 400 lives," marigolds were thought by the Aztec Indíans to symbolize death. It is believed that the scent of the petals forms a welcome path for the spirits to return to their altar or grave. (from Wikipedia)

My piece used an overlay of marigolds, one of my favorite flowers, and a paper from Songbird Avenue's Light the Night collection. The black skelly is from Dover, and the red skull is a brush. The green bits are also from a brush set, and filters and layer styles were liberally applied...okay, okay, I got a little carried away, but it is a joyful, colorful holiday!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Three Muses Challenge-Things with Wings

I do find that I enjoy putting wings on people...I don't really see the point of flying cows, or flying toasters...but wings are so--freeing! Wings allow you to go where you otherwise wouldn't-or couldn't. Wings give you breathing room, and a chance to explore.

And, if you don't like where you can just fly away!

Background texture from Rubyblossom, and an overlay I made in a Digital Montage workshop; text from Graphics Fairy--isn't the penmanship beautiful!. The wing is a piece of a challenge element from DIgital Whisper and the lovely child is a Currier ane Ives illustration from a freebie from Elizabeth Golden at the Last Door Down the Hall. Bugs and random flourishes are brushes.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

SPA-Dark Fairie

My dark fairie is a little medieval..the illustraton by Arthur Rackham is from a version of the Mort d'Arthur, the tale of Camelot, Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot and the rest.

Background made with textures from JoesSistah and Termin8tor at T4L, and the text is a brush from a set called Alchemy by JS_Scully. The stamp is my own creation.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

4 by 4 Friday--Skully

Here's my piece for 4x4 Friday, where the theme is skulls. Another serendipidous piece, I started with the skull, from Google Images, and went from there. texture pieces from Pareeerica, Rubyblossom and Boccacino at T4L, some bits from Dover and a lot of playing with the blending modes.

Friday, October 15, 2010

ACF 91--The Water Bringer

This is one of those pieces that grew organically. I had no idea what to do with this lovely idea at all. I started randomly applying background layers to see if anything spoke to me. The doorway seemed to work, so
I moved on to textures. I used the beauty overlay fron the Port Au Prince collection from Songbird Avenue and a texture piece by Pareeerica.

You can't imagine all the bits and embellishments I subjected this very patient lady to...

The wings are a freebie from somewhere, painted and texturized, and more texture was added with brushes. The water fountain was a really lucky find from Google Images, and really completed the piece.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Three Muses Challenge- Vintage

Here's my piece for this week's challenge--Vintage. It's based on the art of Jessie Wilcox Smith, an American illustrator fron the early 20th Century.She wasfamous for her work in magazines such as Ladies Home Journal and for her illustrations for children's books.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1884 Smith attended the School of Design for Women (which is now Moore College of Art & Design) and later studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under Thomas Eakins, graduating in 1888. A year later, she started working in the production department of the Ladies' Home Journal, for five years.

She was a prolific contributor to books and magazines during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, illustrating stories and articles for clients such as Century, Collier's Weekly, Leslie's Weekly, Harper's, McClure's, Scribners, and the Ladies' Home Journal.

Smith may be most well known for her covers on Good Housekeeping, which she painted from December 1917 through March 1933. She also painted posters and portraits. Her twelve illustrations for Charles Kingsley's The Water-Babies (1916) are also well known.(Wikipedia)

The frame is from Frannie60 at Frames for Use Flickr group, and the text is courtesy of the Graphics Fairy.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Must be all those mummies in the Halloween aisles, but Egypt has been popping up in my creative musings of late. A few weeks ago I made a digital stamp of Amenhotep, a technique from the most recent Digital Montage workshop; then I made a brush from the Eye of Horus, another technique touched on in that class. I've been looking for other Egyptian images to make brushes from--soon I'll have a whole set!

THEN, I found this gorgeous texture layer at T4L, by Pareeerica. I am SO pleased with this piece!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

SPA-Scary Clowns

I will admit, I got a little carried away here. I don't like clowns much, they are all a little bit creepy, what with the white face and huge red smile--not to mention those GIANT feet! So even the most benevelolent of clowns scares me a little.

I decided to use a clown doll for my subject--how creepy could a child's toy be? HA!!

I found a few using Google images. The orange one is a tiny vintage cloth doll with a plastic face, no more than 10 inches high--someone in my childhood, a cousin, maybe, had one of these and carried it everywhere--and CHEWED on its pointy head! How's that for creepy! The second you may recognize as Bozo, who hosted a kid's TV show in Boston for many years. I will confess, I watched it. It had great cartoons! The third is a piece I did last Febuary for another Scary Clowns challenge. It's image is a Victorian iron bank--put a coin in the clown's hand, pull the lever, and he EATS it!

Some textures from Witchy 13 and Joessistah were used in the backgrounds; the altering was mostly done with the Distort filter and blending modes; details were added with PS brushes.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

ACF # 90--Travelling Man

A very textured background in cool blues, greens and purples was provided for this challenge--you can see it on the Art Creations Friday website, there's a link in my blog list. I decided to let the colors be the stars here and dove into my file of black & white images. I think the masculine theme and the stark blacks worked out very well. This is a man with places to go and people to see!

Thanks to Cynthia Powell for the car, and Dover for the gentleman, from a vintage raincoat ad. The TTV frame is a freebie from a class I took over at Jessica Sprague's website--she has lots of free tutorials for Photoshop nad some interesting classes. The clock was googled and the bird is a brush from a set by Emma Alvarez.

Friday, October 8, 2010

4 x 4 Friday--Poe--The Telltale Heart

Ah, just wouldn't be Halloween without a few words from the grand master of the horror tale. I just love Poe's stories; so full of histrionics, death, guilt, retribution and vengeance. Who could ask for more on a dark and stormy night.

The Telltale Heart is one of my favorites. You can almost hear the heart beating louder and louder as the tale progresses. And do you remember Bill Cosby's bit about the Chicken Heart...

Thanks to Landofnod Studio for the background texture, to which I added a red and black gradient layer. The images I found on the Edgar Allen Poe Museum website, and the hearts are PS brushes.

da-dum...da DUM...DA DUM!!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Three Muses Challenge- say it with music

I have a long standing love for jazzy blues--there is something about the sound of a jazz sax and the voice of a great singer playing with down and out blues that touches the deep places of the heart and mind. One of my most favorite pieces begins..."my momma done told me..." and ends with "...the blues in the night". It has been sung by such immortals as Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.

With thanks to Textures for Layers and Shabby Chic for the background textures. The main image I found on Google, and embellished with filters, blending modes and PS brushes.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

SPA-Dark Marie

Marie is going to a Halloween party! Can you guess what her costume is?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Asian Postcard & Scary Spider

Just noodling around today. I was in a Haloween-y mood so put together this spider's web piece from textures from Untamed Reflections and Witchy-13, some photoshop brushes and a photo of a brown bat. Don't you wonder who will win this battle!?!

I seem to be in love with ORANGE!!! Who knew?

The other piece is a postcard for one of my Yahoo groups that has a weekly digital challenge. This week it's a postcard, and we may print and swap them if we'd like. It was really hard not to change the posted background to ORANGE adn make a Halloween postcard. The images here are all from Dover, and the calligraphy and bamboo are brushes.

Friday, October 1, 2010


It's October! Here in the Northeast today we are dealing with strong winds and the promise of heavy rain as a tropical storm moves through. It feels like the winds of the changing season are here and the promise of cool, bright days is just ahead. It's a favorite time of mine--the changing of the seasons. You can actually taste the difference in the air.

Here is another tribute to October, for both the 4 x 4 Friday and Art Creations Challenges this week. The Mucha illustration was provided from ACF; the background began with a texture piece from Untamed Reflections, embellished with brushes. Moths from the Graphics Fairy for the wings , and also in the background; the pumpkin and crow are also from GF.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Crazy Amigos Challenge- Birdhouse/Birdcage

I've begun to look around for new (to me, anyway) Challenge sites to see if I can rekindle my creative spirit, which has been struggling of late. This morning I found the Crazy Amigos and thought I'd give their weekly challenge a whirl. The theme is Birdhouse/Birdcage. I immediately thought of "caged bird singing..." and went from there.
Background from textures by Witchy13 at Brusheezy, along with a music tag by Frannie60 that I use all the time, and a piece of penmanship--aptly titled The Power of Song--from Graphics Fairy. The bird is also from there. The cage is from Keron from a Yahoo group I belong to and the quote is by Harry Belafonte.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Three Muses Challenge- Victorian

For this challenge I went straight to the namesake of the era, the Queen herself. I used an etching taken from a portrait of Queen VIctoria painted early in her reign. I think she was 23 here. Amazing to think of someone so young ruling an empire!
Background is Victorian wallpaper from Songbird Avenue, enbellishments are from Scrapbook Flair and the stamps were Googled.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

SPA-Autumn Glory

The leaves are changing here at last. As the nights grow colder the autumn colors are just beginning to emerge. The next few weeks will be glorious as naure paints her annual masterpiece.

I took my inspiration from the humble bittersweet--around here at least it's considered an invasive weed, and is torn out without mercy. I wonder if that is the origin of the name.

The main image was found on Google images and was altered with Photoshop filters; the butterfly is from Dover. The background is a texture from ShironekoEuro at T4L, enhanced with PS text brushes and a music tag by Frannie60 at Totally Free Textures. The French text is from the Graphics Fairy. The large leaf is a brush I made from a botanical sketch I found at the London Museum of Natural History.

Friday, September 24, 2010

4 by 4 Friday--Witch

Witches are in the air these days--a popular theme as the days grow shorter and thoughts turn to spooky things.

My witch this time is a pretty young woman, not the usual old crone. She's out for a stroll under the full moon, perhaps hoping to find someone to bewitch. She has that look in her eye.

The image is from art-e-zine, and the background is made with textures from Shadowhouse (that awesone red) and from Eddi07 and Happysweetmama at Twxtures for Layers. Blending styles, filters and photoshop brushes added the finishing touches.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

More from the Digital Montage Workshop

Here are a few more pieces using the techniques we're learning in the workshop. I the Virginia Woolf piect we experimented with using layer styles--drop shadows, bevels and special effects--on brush layers for dimension and depth.

The Paris piece is my example of a Magritte style piece using a brush I made and laying it out on a grid.

The dancer was created using a technique called "Thowing Paint." and Water Lilies was made using brushes as erasers on a screen layer .

Check out the Digital Montage Studio blog for information about the upcoming classes and also for information abour purchasing the files from the previous sessions when they become available.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Three Muses Challenge- Envelope Art

I went in a Steampunk sort of direction for this challenge. I find mail art very interesting. I wonder what they think of it at the Post Office...

Anyhow, I used a texture that I made a while ago for the background. It's available to download on my Flickr page and is free for your personal use. I used mostly brushes in this piece and some overlays to keep a monotone palette. The handy hand is from the Graphics Fairy. I even made the Steampunk stamp, also with brushes.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

SPA-50's Pin-ups

I spent some time this morning looking at pin-up photos and illustrations from the 1950's. My goodness, compared to the perfect and airbrushed nudity of today, they were so raw and in-your-face sexual. My art is really not ready for that.

So I turned to one of the pin-up icons of the day--the gorgeously sensual, one-of-a-kind screen goddess, Marilyn Monroe. I just love that she never seemed to lose her sense of wide-eyed innocence and amazement for the world.

I used a technique that I learned in the current Digital montage Studio class; how to turn a photo into a digital stamp. She came out pretty well, I think. I know I'll use her over and over again. The background was created using textures from mbgrigby at Textures for Layers, and a piece from Untamed Reflections, whose work I found on the Brusheezy site. Photoshop brushes from Obsidian Dawn and Seleneheart completed the piece.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Darkness Inspiration--Witch

Ah, Halloween, can't you feel it coming? There's a chill in the air (although the weather people tell us the 80's will return next week.) The quality of the daylight is changing. The light is more clear, the shadows more sharp and contrasty. The colors of Nature are beginning to shift to red and gold and rust and brown as the earth prepares to sleep.

And our thoughts turn to Halloween--to ghosts and witches and spooky stories, to vampires and werewolves and all manner of strangeness.

I love it!

I made this witch for the Darkness Inspiration Challenge. She's a witch in the old sense, acquainted with the powers of the earth and sky, and not afraid to use them for her purposes. She's as much about worship as she is about magic.

The image is from E-Vint free images. The background textures are from a great set by Witchy_13 that I found at The owl and moon is from Graphics Fairy, and the trees and arcane symbols are brushes.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Collage Obsession--Cowboys

Here's my entry for this week's challenge --Cowboys. You may have noticed that I have a fascination with the old West...if you look back through my blog or on my Flickr site you'll see both cowboys AND Indians, as well as pieces based on photos from a couple of trips to New Mexico. I just love it.

The photo of this handsome cowpoke was provided for the challenge, and I wanted to raise the level of atmosphere without altering it too much. I used some texture pieces I found as free downloads on the Brusheezy site--there's lots more than free brushes available here-- and a piece of old newsprint I got from Inka. The grungy frame is my own creation, and the rest was done with blending modes and layer styles.