Thursday, February 24, 2011

What a Week

Where to start....Monday the computer was down for over 3 hours while the PC was getting cleaned up.  Then Tuesday was a rough start because of the computer and just getting out of bed on the wrong side.  Tuesday afternoon I signed up on Fine Art America to sell more photography and see if I get more sales through them than my own website.  Signing up was easy and once I figured everything out,  then I started the process of customizing a website and uploading photographs.  So come Wednesday evening all the photographs I was uploading were done.  It was just a matter of tweaking the site now, which I decided I would do Thursday morning.  And as of now I am somewhat pleased.  Not 100% yet, I'll do more tweaking later.  I have already received many comments on my work from Fine Art America viewers.

I have made changes to my Facebook fan page which now has a "Welcome" page which is from my website and a "Shop" page is from my Fine Art America site which now makes it possible to shop on Facebook.  I am really hoping this works out. 
I have made changes to my blog too.  I have added a couple of tabs.  One is for "The BlackHorse Cookie Company" which has the cookie menu and pricing and I also created a tab for "2011 Events" which I am updating alot lately.  In fact I will be adding 2 more shows as soon as I finish here.  Check out both tabs and let me know your thoughts.
I have done alittle snow shoeing after I have been taught by my neighbor's son Bobby who also helps with the my dogs after school and will be helping me out at the Rockland Farmers Market this summer.  He is a good kid, but need a little guidance and I hope I can give that to him.

Speaking of the Rockland Farmers Market, the meeting went well.  I have been elected Secretary.  Which I think I will do okay with, I will have a voice recorder with me being that I am terrible at taking notes and asking me to remember anything...well that won't happen.  I seem to be limited on what I will store in this brain of mine.  Looks like I need to master my fruit pies, there were no new members that applied that make pies.  So I will conquer the fruit pie!

I have applied at another Farmers Market in Brewer it is closer to home and I can do up to 5 market days with them, but I will only be doing 3 if they allow me, and when I'm doing an Art Show I will miss some days too.  Hopefully I'll know in the next few weeks if I am in.

So this afternoon I will finish tweaking my Fine Art America website and doing some social media stuff.  Tomorrow during the snow storm YUCK!!!!!! The weatherman is saying 6-12 inches of the white stuff.  When will it end!  Is it Spring yet!  Anyway I will start hand coloring again getting some ready for shows.  The photos I am hand coloring will remind me of Spring.  Spring....gentle breezes, the sweet sound of the songbirds, the budding trees, flowers blooming and the sweet fragrance of lilacs in the garden.  Oh that reminds me I need to plan out my garden.  Can't wait for Spring and the digging in the dirt and getting dirty!  Yeah!

Double Bloom Lilac

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Some Minor Changes to My Blog

German Chocolate Sandwich Cookie
I have decided to incorporate my Cookie Business blog with my Photography Business blog.  Since the reason I started the Cookie Business to help support the Photography Business so I thought it appropriate to converge them together as one blog. 

With that said.  Let me tell you about my day thus far.  I have a meeting Thursday with the Rockland Farmers Market.  This is a regular meeting to get things ready for market which starts May 19th.  At a previous meeting I had mentioned that I was going to bake pies for market this year since the vendor who would normally sell them won't be there this year, and I figured since I can make a killer Apple Pie with a flaky buttery crust, I thought I could also add Blueberry and Strawberry Rhubarb Pies.  So I told the group I would bring in samples to the meeting.  Okay I am so not a fruit pie maker.  Just Apple Pie.  So I got my crust ready and it's in the refrigerator.  Now for the filling.  I added all the necessary ingredients sugar, cornstarch (thickener) lemon juice.  Now in the past when I have made Blueberry pies they were always too runny, this time it was thick, but the flavor was off.  I think maybe it might have been because the blueberries were in the freezer too long.   So I think I'm on the right track and with more practice perhaps I could come up with a great Blueberry pie.  But for now no go.  The crust was great though! 

So on to the next experiment.  Peanut Butter Granola Bars.  I did everything as planned, crunchy peanut butter, brown sugar, honey, almonds and of course dark chocolate chips.  The bars have great flavor, but are not forming the bars like they are suppose to.  Maybe more cooking time next time.  At this point I am thinking that this isn't my day to be in the kitchen. 

So I am down to my final recipe that was a backup in case the other 2 didn't work out.  Whoopie Pies!  I absolutely love these!  This recipe is from my Gram and I cherish this recipe and the memories that go with it dearly.  At one point making the filling in the past it always seemed thin, but I followed the recipe to the letter.  I mentioned to Mom what was going on and she asked if I was whipping it until stiff.  That isn't on the recipe, but when I did it, it worked.  So what happened today?  I'm telling you it's not my day in the kitchen.  Anyway I may not have let my milk and flour thicken enough or I got carried away with the Marshmallow Fluff.  The cookies are great!  So tomorrow after groceries I will make the filling again. 

You know there are just some days that I shouldn't be in the kitchen and today is one of them.  I have also realized that maybe I should stick with just cookies.  I have a good assortment of them and they were enjoyed my many last year.  Kind of the saying "Don't fix it if it isn't broke", "Stick to what you know".  I know cookies and I am sticking to it.  So there!

After dinner I plan to do some hand coloring.  Waiting for some ink to arrive so I can do more printing in preparation of shows.

So Chow for Now!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My 3 Season Coastal Maine Adventure

Iron Stairs

Morning Fog

Portland Lighthouse

As I have mentioned in previous posts that I am exploring different techniques that I have grown very interested in.  To name a few HDR (High Dynamic Range), Texturing, Hand Coloring, Infrared, and more Black & White.  I also want to try different photographic compositions like, landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes, more reflections, more city abstracts.  Just to name a few.  The photographs seen here are some of the concepts I want to improve upon.
So I got to thinking of where to go to get these photos.  I have a couple of shows in Connecticut where I grew up and I know lots of locations there, but I really wanted to get more locations here in Maine since this is where I live and most of my art shows are here.  Have to say that I don't know Maine as well as I should.  So that is why I came up with My 3 Season Coastal Maine Adventure.  I choose 3 seasons, because frankly I am not a winter person, and I spend most of the winter catching up on things.  So March through October I have chosen 10 coastal towns and cities that I will be visiting with the March through October time frame.  I will be scouting out locations in March and regularly visiting these places on Sundays or Mondays when traffic is lowest.  The anticipated towns and cities I plan to visit are Machiasport, Bar Harbor, Stonington, Belfast, Camden, Rockland, Boothbay, Bath, Freeport, Portland.  I will be visiting locations in and around these towns and cities.  This will build my collection of photographs with the objectives above in mind.  And I will also get to know the coastal area of Maine.  If this goes well then next year I go inland to explore. 
This year is all about exploration of my skills as a photographer, myself too and exploring this great state of Maine.  Through my adventure I will be tweeting, posting on facebook and of course blogging.  And as always keep an eye on my website for new photos.
Just some added mentions:  I will be attending both the Rockland Farmers Market and the Newport Farmers Market where I will be selling my cookies and photography. My second job and more avenues to market my photography.

Monarch on Globe Thistle

Original Monarch Butterfly on Globe Thistle

Textured Version

Black & White Version

Hand Colored Version
Well here is my second attempt at hand coloring.  Actually have tried many photographs, but this one and the Blueberries so far are my favorites.  With the Monarch Butterfly for textures I used:  Beowulf, Muscatel and Fly textures 30.   In Photoshop Elements I used the black and white conversion with the vivid tool to lighten up the photograph.  I had to lighten the shadows even more by about 10%.  I still of course need lots of practice, but I believe I am on the right track.  Both the Blueberries and the Monarch were hand colored in a 5x7 size.  I will enlarge them to 8x10 and 11x17 and sell them at those sizes too.  I have another Monarch I want to try and a Cosmos flower.  And I think that will be a good starting point for me to master the hand coloring techniques for hopefully the 4 photographs.  Until I can get some new photographs.  I mentioned in the last blog that I was going to hand color my Ivy Door.  I did and at first I didn't like it.  It wasn't as nice as the traditional hand colored one I did on fiber paper using colored pencils.  I know I am using a whole new technique, but I had to compare and of course I was very disappointed.  So I set it aside and now the more I look at it and once I enlarge it to at least an 8x10 (it too was a 5x7) maybe I can make it work out better.  Again I have to practice and not compare.  Because it won't be the same.  Before long I will get it.  As they say practice, practice, practice!  Practice makes almost Perfect.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

From Original To Textured To Black & White To Hand Colored

Original Blueberries
 This is the Original photograph before any thing was done to it.  These blueberries where from my own garden.  Which where quite tasty and my dog Ben thought so too.

Textured Blueberries
This photograph was textured using Flypaper Textures.
The textures I used were:
Colbalt Clouds
Evening Veil
Nuriel Clouds.
I am really liking the textures and how they look in black & white then to hand color.

Black and White Blueberries

I converted the textured photograph to black and white in Photoshop Elements 8. I convert it to black & white then used the infrared tool to lighten so I could keep all the textures details and then lighten up the shadows quite a bit.
I do want to point out that after I had sprayed the photo with the Premier Art Spray it darken up the photo a bit.

Hand Colored Blueberries

This is my first attempt at hand coloring using techniques that were taught to me by Dianne Poinski.  Unfortunately I don't have a flatbed scanner yet. So I had photographed the photo which I am not really good at, but this is the closest to the original photograph I could get.  It is very close just there is a little more green in the light colored berries and more green in the background, but the blue is pretty right on.  Some of the tools I used were q-tips for mixing my colors and the cotton balls were used to dab over the background and used blending sponges to blend.  It isn't perfect nor is it ready for sale, but I think I am on the right track and with more practice I will soon be almost as good as Dianne.
Over the next few days I will be doing some butterflies, sunflower, and ivy door and others.  Which I will post in future posts.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Sebasticook Lake, Newport, Maine

Monarch Butterfly
I am in love with Textures!  I have added a Textures Gallery to my website which I would love for everyone to check out.  I had a great time this week going through old photographs and seeing which photographs would work and which wouldn't.  I had to really look at each photograph and figure out which texture and which colors would work well together.   I have Photoshop Elements so I am limited to what I can do, but when I get Photoshop CS5 (I think that is the current version) I imagine the sky may be the limit.  So I have learn something new and challenged myself to see my photos in a different way.  I am pleased with the out come and I hope they will do well at the Festivals this year.  I have printed some black & white photos that I textured and I will be trying some hand coloring.  I am not sure which way will look better.  To hand color a textured black & white or to hand color a regular black and white then add texture.  I will try both ways to see which will work.
I will be sending out 4 more festival applications on Monday and I will be adding some samples of the textured photographs. 
Have a wonderful Day!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New Life to Un usable Photos

I have found a wonderful new technique to revive some of my photos that would normally end up in the junk pile.  I am using textures from Flypaper Textures.  It is alot of fun and I can really get creative.  I love the new look and I want to add them to my website.  I would love your opinions. 
I have actually discovered alot of new techniques in the past few months that I will be trying out.  Of course my hand coloring which I am working on and I hope to incorporate some textures to those hand colored photos.
I have also found an interest in HDR (high dynamic range). Thanks to Rob Hanson who recommended Captain Kimo e-book which I found very helpful, I will be playing around with HDR.  Unfortunately I don't have some of the software needed and I will have to invest in that later in the season.  I expect to be adding a lot of new works during course of the year.  Both in textures, HDR and hand coloring.  I am looking forward to a bunch of new photos and adding some kick to my collection.