Monthly Archives: July 2013

“Photoshopping” can be fun and frustrating!

Slide1I just went to my Mom’s 100th birthday and got to see 16 of my 22 first cousins (three are my sisters) and we even had some second cousins from all over the country come to Laguna for the occasion. Because there were so many of us there, I decided to create one picture and add the other cousins to it.

Slide3So I took the one above with the 16 of us and looked for pictures of those who did not come. This photo had room on the sides to add people. I isolated my cousins and in Photoshop, inserted them on top of the original after resizing the people. It took several revisions and I also noticed the colorations were different. I tried to make them even, but I wasn’t going to spend hours on this because it wasn’t meant to be printed. After using the magnifying glass, you can see where you have to erase the background. Slide6I see where I made some sizing errors and colors, but my Mom was thrilled that this photo had all her brothers and sisters kids in one picture. Try this and if you have questions, write. I have fun doing it and Mom thinks I am a genious! thank you Photodshop! Couldn’t have gotten all these people in the same room, ever!

There was another one that I did, but my cousin Liz and her husband were in their good clothes (from the wedding the night before) for the brunch the next morning with the cuz’s club where we had 12 of the cousins attending in June (in Denver)! This was a shot we tried to get everyone into, haha, very hard to capture this many on one photo and of course I was in the center and couldn’t grab my camera to try it. FYI- no one is Photoshopped in this!Slide2

Light can do some amazing things & light up your life!

Slide3Since I have been talking about whites, let’s take it into photography now.

Capturing light is one thing, depending on the time of day or even night. Back lighting brings an interest to photos.



Slide2Light can also add things where there is nothing. I always look for weird shapes projected on walls or little peeks of contrast on leaves that make it way more interesting to look at.


Slide4When shadows are there for the taking, capturing the repeated shapes within the picture plane is exciting. Look at the length of the shadow from the gate and the shape of the tree on the wall. None of these are there but the casted shadows are so cool.When the sun peeks through it adds shapes, or you can use an archway to enhance the light. The time of day can create a mood if you can cepture it. Night time can also add drama and go back to my post about moving your camera when your batteries are low. Create your own abstracts.

So, go towards the light and light up your life. You might produce some light harded smiles gleam!Slide1

Painting a stucco wall with glazes helps to create interest & depth.

mission5This is the Mission in San Diego done in three art mediums. In  the photo in the bottom left, it shows how difficult it can be to portray a stucco wall in paint. As you can see, the white changes within the shadows so to paint it efficiently, you have to adjust the way you think.

Slide1Many painters in San Diego spend hours trying to show the true colors of the mission. Here is my California plein air group several years ago who share their talents every Wednesday. We have gone to this spot over and over again, and always come up with something interesting and different.

Slide2Click on one of the collages to enlarge them, then use the left arrow to go back. May all your missions be accomplished.



stuccowalls1These are my some of my older paintings and I can see where I started to understand how to deal with stucco walls and whites. A lesson every watercolorist needs to know because we have to save the whites (that’s the paper!) and going back means having to use Chinese White or acrylic paint to cover our mishaps!

These San Diego scenes are fun places to visit. Some are in Balboa Park where all the museums are located.

Up up and Away

Slide2Well, for getting straight A’s on her report card, Ms B, my grand daughter, who is eleven now, got to come with me on my Mother’s Day gift – a Hot Air Balloon ride. This is my third trip but this one went above the clouds.

This is a picture of her before and after as she was adamant that she wasn’t going! My daughter and I had our suspicions that she might not want to go so Melanie took her motion sickness pill ahead of time just in case. Slide1Well, Ms B said she changed her mind and decided she would go but was going to figure out how to get even with us for tricking her!

We actually went above the clouds on this trip and it was fun to see the other balloons pop through them. There were three others but we were not very close.

Here Ms B has her head in the clouds and had her hand on one.Slide3If you have ever thought you were too chicken to do this, I have to say, you become the wind, honestly, and have no clue how high up you are. There is no sense of height - and I am afraid of it - but this is the most serene thing you could ever treat yourself to.

Oh, by the way, forgot to tell you, my husband Richard had always sworn he would never go up and would always be in the chase truck. At the last second, he decided since his grand-daughter got brave, he also would. He cried and got so choked up, but we got him a ticket and he enjoyed it even tough he kept asking our pilot Farrell - ”We aren’t going above tree top level, right?? Right?”  Slide4Well, he loved it and we all reccommend a family bonding experience like this and go up up and away.

Farrell, our pilot, let Ms B pull the propane torch at the end and she was telling him how awesome the trip was.



Watercolor: how and why we save “whites”

In watercolor, the paper is the whitest thing (unless you paint acrylic or Chinese white paint over your work). You have to leave the white places showing until you decide where you want your main “accent”, focus, or center of interest. Your lights should wiggle in and out of the picture plane but not be a deterrent and take away from other more interesting features.

mission5How white is white? I know that is a strange question, but whites can have glazes of  paler colored washes so the whitest thing will become more white (if that makes any sense).


Especially when painting boats, of course you want to have them Slide2white, but choose which one you want to be the whitest and drop washes of watered down colors into the others. Back painting darker shades will also make things lighter in front (negative space). Paint a darker shade between the grass blades or flowers to bring them forward and brighter and lighter.


Look at these boats, they are white but the contrast and the shadows bring out different places. You can’t really adjust the whites in a picture, but taking them on sunny days provides the opportunity to capture the whites with shadows. Look at the deep shadows below. They are essential in paintings.

Slide3I have noticed that some new painters do not ground objects with a shadow. Use a light source and see where the shadows lay. It is great to show a color or two reflected in a shiny surface (like metal or glass) even in a window, a touch of a color repeated from somewhere else adds Photos 237interest.

Shadows can create angles to bring the eye into the picture. So do clouds coming in on an angle instead of white little puff balls. (Go out and look at clouds, I take pictures all the time to remind myself that all clouds are not the same.) The problem when painting from a photograph is that in the 125th of a second, a real shape gets snapped. If you watch clouds, they are constantly changing so soften the edges to make them fluffy, do the same with shadows. Wet the edges as you paint them in to create this effect.

Have fun painting or shooting for the whites and don’t forget your shadows.