21 May 2017

Still Shining

Day 6 of the free online photography class I'm taking, hosted by Else Kramer. Today was about using side light to show texture.

In this painting by Jan Steen called “The Sick Woman” you can see how the painter gives you a great image of what the fabrics look like. You can really see the texture of the clothes. I imagine the skirt of the woman must feel very soft and smooth.

Jan_Steen

So today our prompt was to use side light to show texture. Not sure if I succeeded, but at least I got a nice bokeh *smile.

Still_Shining

Teddy has been complaining about an empty food bowl for nearly two hours, so I’m going to take care of him. Have to take care of me too. It’s time for bed. Nighty, nighty everyone!

19 May 2017

Tomato Tomato

It’s day 5 of the free online photography workshop I’m taking, hosted by Else Kramer. Today it’s all about making contrast by using complementary colours. One of the famous painters had an exeptional eye for complementary colours. Of course I’m talking about Vincent van Gogh.

Basicly you take the colourwheel and every colour on one side, has a colour on the exact opposite side. Those two are complementary colours to each other. If you narrow this down to the primary and secundary colours, there are the following three combinations: red-green, yellow-purple, blue-orange. In this painting by Vincent van Gogh  you can see how well his combination of orange and blue works.

Vincent

I love the vibrant colours Vincent van Gogh used in his paintings. Hey what can I say? I really love bright colours! So I went with a subject that also had bright colours and made sure it would really pop.

Usually I start with a subject that's given to me, like something I see in the park or an event I'm visiting. This class teaches me to really think about a photo, because now I'm going for a certain look. In this case, I'd never have thought the tomato would need a blue background to really make it pop.

Tomato

Techinical info for those who like to know:
Pentax K5-II, Vivitar1 105mm macro
settings: Iso 200; 1/20 sec; F8 (I think? Geez, I really have to start writing this stuff down when I shoot, I changed the aperture after this shot, so I can't check it).

Tomorrow will be the final day of this uber fun class. Awww… I’m sure there’ll be more fun things to come on my path. Also, I have this bunch of art journal related stuff I’ve been promising to share with you, so don’t forget to check for new updates!

Taking Care of Myself

Day 4 of the free online photography class I’m taking, hosted by Else Kramer.

It’s been a busy and mainly exhausting day, because Thursdays are for therapy. Going through all the horror of my past is extremely hard, but after two years, it’s already starting to make a difference. I’m able to actually find the beauty in life and sometimes there’s a spark of being happy. I’m not there yet and I’ve got a long way to go and some very hard work needs to be done, but I know I’m a hard worker and I can do this. It’s like the quote I saw on Pinterest “Sometimes I feel like giving up, but then I’ve got a lot of motherfuckers to proove wrong”. Too many people have tried to make my life a living hell, but I’m determined to make my life livable.

Today’s photo challenge was about capturing movement. The Golden Age painter Frans Hals was really great at making his portraits vivid. I absolutely love this one of a drunk man who clearly couldn’t sit still for a second.

FransHals

I experimented with all kinds of things, but ended taking a self portrait again. I actually like it. I didn't even have to crop the photo, which is a major improvement for me.

The photo looked like someone elses hands were gently going over my face in a very caring way. With the therapy session still on my mind, I came up with the title “Taking Care of Myself”, which is one of the things I’m learning.

Taking Care of Me

I don't own any professional studio equipment, so I used the light of the lamp that hangs over my dining table. That gave too much of a shadow behind me, so I took a standing lamp that has 3 spotlights (from Ikea), set it at the side of me with only 1 spot pointed at me. That cleared the shadow.

I only did a few adjustments in post processing (whitebalance, exposure, saturation).

Exif data for who wants to know: Pentax K5-II, Vivitar1 100mm macro lens, F22, ISO 400, 3 sec.

Thank you so much for visiting. There’ll be another challenge in my mailbox tomorrow. I’d love to hear your feedback, so please leave me a comment. Bye for now!

18 May 2017

La Chambre Bohemique

Today is day 3 of the free photography workshop I’m doing this week, hosted by Else Kramer. We got another set of inspiring paintings by the famous painters of the Golden Age. This one by Rembrandt really spoke to me. It’s called “An Old Woman Reading”. The prompt was to take a photo of someone looking at something, just like the woman in this painting is looking at her book.

I was initially thinking about doing a self portrait that would come close to this painting. Later I changed my plan and packed my backpack to take a self portrait in the beautiful Sorgvliet park. Time was not in my favour today. Actually, I have this problem the whole week. Either I am going way slower than usual or time’s going way faster. It takes a quick rational thought to say it’s me being awfully slow. Time has it’s own pace and I don’t think it has ever changed since earth came alive. Long story short, by the time I packed all my things it was 4:30 PM. It takes me an hour to get there and the park closes at 6 PM. That would leave me a short 30 minutes. I wouldn’t be able to make it in that time.

An-Old-Woman-Reading

I set up a very simple kind of home studio, using a white door as a background and covering the floor with a dark piece of fabric. A stool would be my seat. I set up my tripod and camera, adjusted the settings so I was good to go. I was using a wireless remote control to fire the camera. While I had an apple in my hand to use for this shoot, Teddy got very interested in what I was doing. So I decided to pick him up and do some shots with him in my arms.

Looking at Teddy

After choosing my most appropriate photo, I did some basic editing. And that’s when I got wild and lost track of time again. I thought it would be a fun idea to really make this into a picturesque scene. A while ago I purchased several digital kits at Mischief Circus. I used elements from different designers, resulting into this final piece. I’m quite happy the way it turned out!

La_chambre_bohemique

While being so busy and focussed I completely forgot to make and have diner. It’s been quite a warm day in the Netherlands and as usual I don’t have a lot of apetite on such days. So my stomach wasn’t telling me it needed food either. Oh well, I guess one day of poor eating won’t be a problem. I’ll have some extra Greek yoghurt and fruit after I launched this blogpost. I’ll be a good girl tomorrow.

16 May 2017

Dance of the Ferns

My photo for today’s prompt in the free workshop I’m taking is called “Dance of the Ferns”. At least, that’s what they told me. They’re supposed to be ferns. I’m no connaisseur, so I take this for true. If anyone of you know if it’s something else, please let me know. I’d love to learn.

Today’s prompt was about landscape photography, following the 1-2-3 rule. Here’s an example of one of the old masters, Karel Dujardin.

Dujardin

If you look at this painting, you can see it has a lot of depth. You’re able to see the scene has three layers to create depth. The first layer is in the front: the people and animals. The second layer is halfway: the building. The third layer is all in the back: the hills. Besides that, the painter also used a great way of contrast between light and dark, which creates quite some drama.

I have to admit, I didn’t go out to take photos today as I was occupied with appointments in my house and after that I really felt like sleeping. Knowing this would cause me troubles later tonight, I didn’t give in to that desire, but I really didn’t have the energy to go out. Especially not to the places that came to mind when I read the prompt for today. So, instead, I chose to go through some photos that I just uploaded to my computer yesterday and see if there were any 1-2-3 rule photos in there. You see, some years ago I visited the Japanes garden with a professional photographer who was just introduced to me by an aquaintance. When I showed him some of my best shots later that week, he told me my photos looked rather flat. He promised me to show me what he meant the next time we would meet. The onfortunate thing happened and the good guy died shortly after our first and only meeting. For years I’ve been wondering what could be the thing that made my photos look flat and how to improve that. When I read about today’s prompt, it all came clear to me. That’s what I should focus on, when doing landcapes. So I wondered if my last visit to the Japanese garden already provided me with at least one photo that had the 1-2-3 rule in it and nope… apparently I didn’t figure it out on my own yet. At least not with the landscape photos I took. I did find it in a close-up taken in the same garden. So, that’s my contribution for today. And I hope to get another chance to visit the Japanese garden before it closes in three weeks, so I can try to use that 1-2-3 rule and see if that’s the magic my photos were missing.

Dance Of The Verns

Still working on that mixed media blogpost and of course there’ll be another photo prompt for me tomorrow, so stay tuned!

15 May 2017

Clair-Obscur

Today I tried low key photography with my cat as a model. I love the possibilities with this technique and I have a thing for drama. I'm not a drama queen myself, but I love drama in music and visual art.

Shot with my Pentax K5-II and the Vivitar 1 series 105mm

F11, Iso 1600, 1/124 sec, natural light from the window at the side

This photo is part of a free photography workshop I’m doing at the moment, hosted by Else Kramer. If you like to take pictures and own anything to take pictures with, you can join. I’m not sure if the workshop is available in English too, but maybe you can use Google Translate to translate the mails for you. There’s also a Facebook group, where you can share the photos you made following the prompts. If you have questions, I’m sure people will help you there. The workshop is about looking differently at art. Every day you get a new prompt mailed to you. Every prompt is inspired by a famous piece of art. Today the inspiration came from this painting by Rembrandt.

Rembrandt

So the prompt was to take a clair obscur photo, also known as low key photography. I’m so inspired. The possibilities are endless. Here are the photos I took.

Teddy_low_key

Low_Key_02-BW

Low_Key_03=BW

I’m also working on a mixed media and art journal blogpost, so stay tuned!

16 April 2017

Happy Easter – Teddy’s Easter Photoshoot

Happy Easter to you all!

Teddy_Easter_01-2

I did a photoshoot with Teddy for this special occasion. I’ve been gathering all kinds of fun props for the shoot. I even crocheted him some easter bunny ears, but he didn’t like them very much. I managed to shoot a couple of quick photos before releasing him from the bunny ears hat.

Teddy_Easterbunny-3

You can’t really blame me for trying, as it looked uber cute on him. When I do a photoshoot with Teddy, I always try to make it fun and playful for him, because I want him to enjoy it as much as I do. Plus the only way to have a chance at some decent photos is when he’s enjoying himself, because otherwise he starts playing his own game of how to avoid getting on the photo. But the most important reason is I don’t want to cause him any stress. So yes, I did try the bunny ears hat on him, but I took them back off pretty quickly.

Teddy_Easter_03

The plastic easter eggs were big fun to him. He loved it when I started throwing some small ones into the wooden crate. It was a fun way to get his attention, both for him and me.

Teddy_Easter_02

Or maybe he was looking for the real Easter bunny…

Teddy_Easter_05Mine…

Teddy_Easter_04Also mine…

Teddy_Easter_06-2

What’s a photoshoot without some bloopers, caused by Teddy goofing around. He sure looks like the most clever cat in the neighbourhood, don’t you think?

Teddy_Easter_07

Teddy_Easter_08

I hope you have a great day. Fun fact: over here it’s colder outside than it was at Christmas. So I’m staying inside and will watch a movie. It’s a great day for artsy crafty fun too.

20 February 2017

Valentine–Random Act of Kindness

Time goes so fast! I know, the perception of time depends on how you experience the things you’re doing while the clock ticks at it’s usual pace. When you’re bored senseless, time goes ever so slowly. If you’re waiting for a loved one to come home, time seems to hardly be moving at all. On the other hand, when you are having fun or have a lot on your plate, time goes so fast! Valentine’s Day is almost a week ago and I’m still working on some love themed projects. I have to admit, love is such an amazing feeling, I am happy to have found an excuse to put some love into my arts and crafts.

Heart_ornaments

Like I mentioned in my previous blogpost, I don’t have a lover in my life. And even though I still wish and hope to find the right one, I decided the lack of a love life doesn’t have to stop me making Valentine’s Day into a great day. When I was doing the Christmas ornaments drop, it gave me so much joy. So I thought it would be a great idea to do another drop, but this time for Valentine’s Day. Because we all can use love in a world that seems to be dominated by hatred. Don’t be fooled by all the news of nothing but hate and violance and craziness. These things do happen. And they upset me too. But there’s also a lot of people in the world that share love and kindness. Surround yourself with likeminded people, so you can bundle your strength and encourage each other to never stop loving. If you are willing to look, you’ll find there is still a lot of love in the world.

Heart_ornament

I came up with my own plan of giving a bit of love to the people in my neighbourhood. Once again I made a batch of clay ornaments, hearts this time, and dropped them at different locations. Of course time went by too fast again and by the time I was ready to go outside, it was already getting dark. So, in stead of making packages and drop them at park benches and such, I decided  to hang the heart ornaments at well lit places. After a while, I figured out it would be even more fun to just hang them on bicycles when people were inside the gym or the grocery store, so they would find them when they came back to their bicycles to go home

Valentine_RAK_01   Valentine_RAK_02

Two of the hearts went to one of my nurses’ kids. They looked so happy when I gave them my gifts. The youngest had told his mum he wanted to get a Valentine’s gift from a girl, which I didn’t know. I know I’m a bit of an old girl for him, but he was happy nontheless. The next day, his mum told me he hung the heart above his bed. How cute’s that? The older boy overloaded me with gifts in return. He knows I love to play Pokémon Go and he’s been a collector of Pokémon gadgets for years. So he gave me a lot of fun stuff he had duplicates of. So he manged to turn it around, I got spoiled by a kid! It’s been the best Valentine in years.

16 February 2017

Teddy’s First Valentine’s Day

Hi all! Valentine’s Day, being single, has been a sad day for me for years. This year I decided to make it into a party and Teddy was going to be my partner in this party. He was going to get a very special Valentine’s photo shoot.

First lesson learned: don’t wait to buy Valentine props until Valentine’s Day, because everything is sold out! Of course I did manage to find some nice things eventually and ended up buying way more than I needed, I had to look hard and visit a lot more stores than I intended. Well, at least I had something to choose from.

I set up a scenery and then the difficult part began: getting Teddy interested in being a photo model. I’m still learning this together with him. We’re both novices at this. I rubbed a little catnip on the pillow which I wanted him to pose him to try and entice him. I know, I’m a bad cat mommy. At first he got pretty excited, but it looked more like he was trying to murder the pillow. He had fun, which was my priority. He lost attention quickly, so I tried to bring in the treats. He loves his treats, which is actually just his regular food, but somehow if I throw it at him one piece at a time, he seems to think it’s something special. This was good enough for a couple more photos. By the time he really wasn’t interested anymore, and went over to the couch to watch me with this triumphant look which only a cat can, it was getting too dark anyway. After a shoot with Teddy, it’s always exciting to wait untill the photos are uploaded to my computer, so I can see if there is at least one decent picture. I was happily surprised to find a couple of very cute photos.I set up a scenery and then the difficult part began: getting Teddy interested in being a photo model. I’m still learning this together with him. We’re both novice on this. I tried how he would respond if I rubbed a little bit of catnip on the pillow I wanted him to pose at. I know, I’m a bad cat mommy. At first he got pretty excited and it looked more like he was trying to murder the pillow. He had fun, which is my priority. He lost attention soon, so I tried to bring in some treats. He loves his treats, which is actually just his regular food, but somehow if I throw it before him piece by piece, he thinks it’s something special. That was good enough for some more photos. By the time he really wasn’t interested anymore, and went over to the couch to watch me with this triuphant look only a cat can, it was getting too dark anyway. After a shooting with Teddy, it’s always excited to wait untill the photos are uploaded to my computer, so I can see if there is at least one decend picture. I was happily surprised to find a couple of very cute photos.

Teddy_valentine_01-2This one is my absolute favourite. When I look at this photo, my heart is filled with love.

Teddy_valentine_02The pillow says “kiss me”, but I don’t think this looks like kissing. Pretty cute though.

Teddy_valentine_03Blame it on the catnip

Teddy_valentine_08No more kisses, I’m hiding!

Teddy_valentine_05Try me…

Teddy_valentine_04You can kiss my …

Teddy_valentine_06Crazy little thing called love

Teddy_valentine_07This last one is my second favourite. I will use this one in my art journal soon.

I hope you enjoyed your Valentine’s Day. You don’t have to be in love with someone to make this into a great day. There will be another post on Valentine’s Day soon, as I came up with another idea to share some love. So stay tuned. See you soon!

04 February 2017

Sketch A Day

Practice makes perfect, or so they say. I’m not too sure about the perfect part of this saying, but one thing’s for sure: practice makes better! If you want to learn something, you need to practice on a regularly basis. So when I saw the #sketchaday event on Instagram, I thought it would be great to join to see if I could make this into a daily routine. My goal was not to finish a sketch or drawing every day, but to sketch something, anything, everyday for at least 10 minutes. It’s been a fantastic experience and I love it so much. Because of the 10 minute time limit, I don’t have to feel guilty if 10 minutes is all I manage to force myself to work in my sketchbook. And even the sketchbook isn’t a necessity. One day I just grabbed a piece of paper from my art trolly (you know, the fabulous Raskog one by Ikea). I needed something for my art journal and started a sketch of a squirrel on a piece of scrap paper. I’ll add a short video of the finished art journal spread in this post too.

Alpaca

This art practice is so easy to fit in your daily schedule. You only need paper, a pencil and for your convenience an eraser. So, when I had an appointment for a full checkup on my wheelchair, I took the essentials with me and made this sketch of an alpaca. Or is it a lama. I always find it hard to tell the difference.

Baby_squirrel_01

This is the squirrel I made for my art journal.

Baby_Fox_01  Baby_Fox_02

Like I mentioned before, I didn’t intend to finish a sketch every day. This cute little fox baby was done in two days. I had to find some YouTube tutorials on how to draw fur. Once you know the trick, it’s actually not that hard at all. I’m very pleased with the end result.

Polarbear_01  Polarbear_02

This polar bear cub was also done in two days. I love how his expression changed once I added more details. It was quite a challenge to add the texture of the fur, but still give the bear a white appearance

Hedgehogs_01  Hedgehogs_02

The inspiration for this hedgehog mum and baby came from a periscope of someone showing her pet hedgie. I’m totally in love and want a hedgehog for as a pet myself now. I’m realistic though, so I’ll just keep drooling over these cute pictures and videos I see on the internet. My cat isn’t even an adult yet and I’m very happy to have him in my life and take good care of him. The spines on these hedgies may look difficult, but they are just a bunch of V shapes. What I also love about those two photos next to eachother, is how you can see the difference between the first raw lines and the final drawing. Every piece of art has it’s ugly stage and you just have to keep going to make it look better. When I’m drawing sketches, the ugly stage is right at the start and when I see what’s on my paper, I’d rather tear it out of my sketchbook, because how could I ever make that into something not ugly? But as you can see, I kept going, adding details and texture and in the end it’s not that bad at all. And even if the end result isn't what you desire, it’ll still be useful as you always learn from the things you practiced.

Face

And there she is. I really love this hype of making beautiful faces. And as the incredibly talented Dina Wakley says, if you want to learn to draw faces, just go for it. Draw or paint a face for 100 days and you’ll see the amazing improvement between your first face and your 100th. For now, my faces are quite okay. They’re not perfect, but I kind of like them. The real struggle starts when I want to add hair to my girls. I ruin every face sketch as soon as I give her hair. It’s very clear what I need to focus to get better, but I really don’t want to keep drawing nice faces and then ruining them every time. So I thought of a solution. I’ll make a sheet on my computer with just six times this face, print out a bunch of those sheets so I can focus on practicing the hair.

Here’s a short video to show you the spread in my Gelli Printed art journal on which I used the squirrel sketch.

Well, that’s it for now. I’ve already started a new sketch, starring my darling red furr ball, also known as Teddy. So make sure to follow me or check this blog regularly. I always announce a new blogpost on Instagram and Facebook, but that last one doesn’t like me a lot, because it’s algorithm makes my post disappear for most of my FB friends. Instagram is way more reliable. And of course there’s also the following option from Blogger, which you can find in the side bar. Have a great weekend and don’t forget to make some art or anything creative. It’s good for your mind, body and soul!

30 January 2017

Jack Frost Came To Town

We had a visit from Jack Frost. Unfortunately he didn’t stay very long. I’m not a big fan of snow. Not because I don’t like the look. No, quite the opposite. I love those fairytale-esque images. It’s just, since I’m in a wheelchair, I am unable to go outside, which makes life a bit more complicated. This awakens a lot of frustration, because I do want to go out and take pretty pictures outside. So, I’m not a big fan of snow. However, I love frost! As a kid I loved ice skating. My grandpa taught me and I still cherish those warm memories of skating over the frozen water. As a photographer, I love frost too. It has the ability to magically change the world outside too, just like snow, a bit more delicate though. I really do hope we get another visit from Jack Frost and hopefully he’ll stay a little longer then.

The first pictures of the frost were late December, but I hadn’t shared them with you yet. There was only a little bit of frost to capture, so don’t get too excited yet. I say yet, because I promise the photos will get better after this part. Still, I’m not disappointed with this set either.

Frosted_log

Frosted_bark

Frosted_leaves_02

Frosted_leaves_01

Frost_close-up_03

Frost_close-up_01

A week ago we had another visit of Jack Frost and this time he brought some hope and excitement. I live in the Netherlands and we have this ice skating tradition called “De Elfstedentocht”, which translates into “the eleven cities tour”. It’s a tour over natural ice, leading past all eleven historical cities in Friesland. It’s known as the tour of tours and is about 200 km (120 mi). The ice has to be at least 15 cm thick (6 in) and with global warming changing the weather, it’s been a long time since we had our last tour. The last one was in 1997. In 2012 we were so close and everyone was so excited, because this year there would be a tour. And then it stopped freezing and the tour was off. So now that one is officially mentioned as “the tour that didn’t happen”. If you’d like to read more about this event that’s almost part of our genes, you can follow this link.

Every winter, when it starts freezing for more than a week, we get “elfstedenkoorts” (eleven cities fever). People start getting excited, because the question is: will it freeze long enough? There has been a tour on natural ice in the east of the country, so that was a nice present for the diehard skaters (I think only professionals could join the tour, but every skating lover’s heart pounds a little faster during these times), but no chance for an Elfstedentocht so far. Today’s youth doesn't understand the excitement the "older" generation gets, mostly becasue none of them have ever witnessed one of these events. I, myself, have decided that if there’s another Elfstedentocht in the future, I’ll try to book a hotel room and witness the event with my own eyes.

So Jack Frost brought a lot of excitement the week before and I was able to get a new chance to make some nice photos. Unfortunately I missed the best part, as I was still sleeping. When I decided to wake up early the next day to have my opportunity, there was nothing to see. Oh well, going back to my warm bed wasn’t a bad alternative. The day after that, which was last week’s Saturday, I went for a walk in a private park. It’s the same park where I took the previously displayed photos. The park is just gorgeous and because it’s private it’s not as crowded as other parks in the city. I’m quite happy with some of the photos and now I know for sure I really want a real macro lens (I’m using extension tubes instead now).

Frost_on_tree_01

Frost_on_tree_02

Frost_on_tree_03

Frost_on_moss

Frost_macro_02

Frost_macro_01

Which one do you like better? The colour photo above or the black and white below? I can’t decide.

Frost_macro_01_BW

Frost_macro_03

Frozen

Palace_of_peace

When I say the park is gorgeous, I mean really really gorgeous. Look at this last photo. Can you see the castle peeking through the trees? It’s the Peace Palace and I think it’s the most beautiful castle we have in the Netherlands. I find this view very enchanting.

Stay tuned as I will be back with more eye candy! Like a photo impression of the Chinese New Year Parade. And I’ve been making lots of art too, so there will be a new blogpost on that soon.