Saturday, August 20, 2016


Slowly coming back from a cardiac event following nearly two years of non stop working for the man. Loving PicMonkey as always and working with that app to create new things. Lots of research and food things happening. Photography has been big this Summer as well as the German Foods.

Sounds like there is a lot going on. But it is mostly trying to come back from a near stroke. Like a stroke but without the brain damaging after effects. I am taking up cheese making (Quark, German farmers cheese) and bread making. So the art is going to be sparse for a bit longer. I am also trying to get my fine motor skills back up to par.

In the mean time this is what I work on when I have to sit down for a bit.

I wrote a post about the folk art styles I've been researching on my other blog. I'm kinda all over the place right now trying to figure out what I want to focus on and what to purge from storage. It's gonna be a long Summer.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Gotta Love Creative Market

I signed on to Creative Market to get free fonts. I am looking forward to making money again so that I can buy some of the font bundles. There are amazing things here for font geeks & foundry freaks. More than fonts, there are digital packs for a huge variety of illustrative elements. I just whipped this up with today's free download.
it's a bit busy bit you get the idea
Haarlems cursive font and Es Kalapa Muda at the border

Every Monday the Market offers 6 free downloads. Last week I hit the jack pot 5 out of 6 offers pertained to my interest. Today's yield gave me three things in my style. Restraint is difficult to achieve with these guys. There are literally thousands of graphic designers making things to make it easier for you to make things. 

And lots of information. 
I linked to the blog page for Creative Market because I have been reading the backlog of articles all week. The information is astounding. And I can not wait to get started on my new ventures. Though productivity is going to be an issue as I keep drooling over all of the goodies that these designers have to offer. 

It's been a hard two years for the art work. I realized this a while back. As with all things though, sometimes you have to step back and find your direction again. I can get crazy making things across a very wide spectrum of mediums. Reigning that in and figuring out what exactly I am going to do with all of the skills I have and which direction is the most fulfilling requires time. And I guess that is what I have been doing for the last two years that the art production has been low. 

It will still be a while before I know how and in which direction to progress. In the meantime I am indulging my love of typeface and enjoying the ease with which Windows lets me install those fonts. And as always, PicMonkey is right there making life so much easier.

Long live Pic Monkey and Creative Market!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


I am so sorry. I scheduled those diorama posts so be spread out over a week. I didn't realize that blogger decided to publish them all at once. It does that sometimes and it is really annoying. I will be working on more photos over the coming weeks.

Also working on food photography again.

A few changes in life being made currently and I am spread a little thinner than I like. But we will get back to the meat and potatoes of art and life in short order.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Little Church Again

It has the quality of looking like it's made of lego plastic. But it doesn't have the play set size. The towering building behind it must confuse the focusing in this one.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Little Church

Still not sure that I got this effect nailed. 

Inspired by Childhood

When we were kids we had gotten a bunch of Fisher Price play sets. When I got the Castle for Christmas my sister got the Village.

The village set opened up to reveal the interiors of each shop on the street sides. The halves could be configured so that they faced each other to create the effect of a real street. The fire station sat at one end of the set and a theater/restaurant stood at another. Back in 1976 those sets had retained a lot of the character of decorating themes that were popular with the parents. The theater retained Victorian charms. It always fascinated me, not enough to want to be a theater major but enough to be enamored of this theater in Grand Rapids the second that I saw it.

It also is the perfect venue for this filter effect.  I just needed to change the wording on the marquee to reflect something closer to the toy than the brick and mortar building.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Turning Photos into Diaramas

So Picmonkey added a new filter feature. Imitating Tilt-shift photography, this filter lets you turn just about anything into a setting inside a diorama. The effect looks like the opening in Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. I'm not sure what practical application there is in turning your town into a toy but it is fun to do.
This is a sample of what I worked on today.

This photo was taken a couple of years ago from the second floor of our city library. The park on the east shore of Boardman Lake is very real and very lush. Here... it looks like bits of plastic trees on a flocked cardboard lawn.

This is the south shore of Betsie Lake in Frankfort. The effect didn't really take here like I wanted it too. I still see too much reality in this one.

The water in this picture of the West Bay marina looks as phony as I could hope. The yacht in focus looks like a borrowed battleship. I think I might have too much effect in this one since the marina itself has become so blurry. But it still looks like a diorama.

This photo, taken from Wayne Hill, started out blurry and diffused because the day was so hazy. The Park Place Hotel stands out here with the same quality as the Mr. Roger's opening. However, I think there is too much scenery to make this work the right way.

The goal in tilt-shift photography is too start out above, but not on top of, your subject. A 45 degree angle is preferred. But that isn't always going to be possible. So long as you are above the subject, you should be able to get a good shot that is easy enough to manipulate. Because you are boosting blurs and colors, you want to make sure that you also have a crisp shot, clear colors and haven't added any other effects before you apply this one. I think this would have better if it had not been such a hazy day.

 Since I am not an expert, I am not certain what I did wrong with this one. The effect seems flat and the little out building that is in focus doesn't quite have the toy quality that I was going for.
This one is of my dad's birthplace. To me it still seems too lifelike and real to be the diorama that I was looking for. Even in the next one, the effect seems diminished compared to what I was looking for. But then, I wasn't above my subject either.

To me it doesn't look all that different than the real life town of Suttons Bay.

This is a picture of down town Grand Rapids from my Urban Hike a few years ago. The hills that Grand Rapids sits on gives enough variations in height to make this work better than it otherwise might have.

Not too bad for a learning experience eh?

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