Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Inspiration in the Ordinary, links and sites

Saturday, January 27th, 2018

Hi everyone!   Thanks so much to those of you who were able to attend my new lecture, Inspiration in the Ordinary.  Thank you so much to the many guest artists who allowed me to share their work in my lecture.  You’ll find them below, along with links to a couple apps that I mentioned in the lecture as well as website links to two exhibits and several books, including The Art of Sarah Ann Smith…so far.  

Street shots from Lowell, Massachusetts. All images (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Inspiration in the Ordinary                   A lecture by Sarah Ann Smith

 

Guest artists, apps and websites

 

Deborah Boschert

http://deborahsstudio.com

 

Kathy (Kate) Daniels

 

Louisa Enright

http://louisaenright.com

 

Bonnie K Hunter

http://www.quiltville.com

 

Kristin La Flamme

http://kristinlaflamme.com

 

Heather Pregger

http://www.heatherquiltz.com

 

Wendy Caton

http://theconstantquilter.blogspot.com

 

Teri Sontra

Purple Moose Designs  https://www.purplemoosedesigns.com

  • Sandy Toes pattern is here https://www.purplemoosedesigns.com/product/sandy-toes/

 

Timna Tarr

http://www.timnatarr.com

 

Jim Vander Noot

https://www.jimvandernoot.com

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TidewaterStudio?ref=search_shop_redirect

 

Angela Walters

http://www.quiltingismytherapy.com

 

Websites and apps:

 

Pantone  app

Pic-Collage app

PicStitch app

 

The Art of Sarah Ann Smith, so far

http://www.blurb.com/b/8193077-the-art-of-sarah-ann-smith

 

Inspired by the National Parks

http://www.npscentennialquilts.com

https://www.amazon.com/Inspired-National-Parks-Landscapes-Perspectives/dp/0764351192/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1445953799&sr=8-5&keywords=inspired+by+the+national+parks

 

Threads of Resistance

http://threadsofresistance.org/home.html

http://threadsofresistance.blogspot.com

 

Here’s a downloadable Inspiration in the Ordinary PDF of the information above.  Thanks again to all my visiting artists!

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Inspiration in the Ordinary Lecture on Saturday, January 27 in Waterville, ME

Friday, January 26th, 2018

Hi all…quickly popping in to say HI!  I’m debuting my new lecture, Inspiration in the Ordinary, tomorrow at the Pine Tree Quilt Guild quarterly meeting in Waterville, ME.  To get directions, click here for more information.  Note, however, that the meeting has been moved down the hill to the auditorium.  Just look for where there are more cars parked!

From Sarah’s new lecture, Inspiration in the Ordinary. Many of you have seen my “dog walkies” photos…this is what inspires me, and a I’d like to inspire YOU.

Tomorrow I’ll have a follow up post with a PDF and links to the “visiting artists” websites, pattern links, information about apps, and the books mentioned in the lecture.   Hope to see many of you there!

And the last slide in the lecture

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Winter in Maine

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

So as the frenetic 2017 winds down to a close, I thought I’d share some photographic inspiration from a recent dog walkies.  I’ve been largely absent from my blog, mostly because I’ve (a) been too busy and (b) been posting on Facebook, which is faster and easier than the blog.   But I figured I need to do at least a little bit of blogging.  Maybe I’ll ease in with a post a month, and see if I can get it up to two a month by spring?   Anyway, please enjoy the beauty of my world!

Let’s start with one of the most seasonal images. I love the shallow depth of focus. For non-photographers, that means adjusting the aperture, how far the lens opens, so that the berries are sharp and the woods are not.

A fence near the pond where I take sunset pictures during warmer times of the year. Sunset is now about 4 pm, so I don’t get over there at that time of day.

Selected for my photo challenge–this week’s theme was round. Mother Nature’s ornaments! Round is more than a circle or a ball. The apples, the tree trunk, the seasons going ‘round…. not to mention my obsession with lichen spreading out. Minor adjustments to clarity, shadows and red hue saturation to get it to look like the eye sees it.

My obsession with lichens continues… look at these subtle colors and textures and intricate shapes!

Another view of the berries. This run-off creek(shrouded in snow, trust me, there’s a creek under there) is at the back of our property if you were to walk up it a quarter mile or so into the woods. There it is flat and almost not there, but it picks up water from the two folds of the hill that border it on the way down to the road.

My friend Jenny Lyon loves grasses and has made some stunning art quilts of them. I think I’ve been channeling Jenny a bit, especially with the next photo. My friend Jacquie has teased me that I am doing a series of art quilts on weeds. She’s right–I love the wild bits of nature that creep into my world.

This photo is the one that most makes me think of Jenny’s work and her beautiful California garden (seen only in photos as we live about 2800 miles apart). This clump was transplanted when we built the garage because it was where they needed to trench for electricity. It has limped along since 2012, but finally this year is showing signs of perking up. Plus, just this year I finally learned what it is called (and it is written SOMEwhere…hope I can find it), so I plant to put in more. The fluffy tops cast the most glorious shadows on the snow when it is next to the porch and lit up at night.

Not the most riveting shot, but it is the beauty of my world as I see it from the house–at this angle I’d be in the kitchen at the sink though this was taken outside as immense snowflakes began to drift down.

And another scenic shot of a barn down on the street, about a half mile walking, perhaps 2/10 as the crow flies over the woods and neighbor’s lots. Appleton Ridge is in the distance, barely visible as the snow moves in.

Enjoy the season. Tomorrow is Solstice, when the sun begins to return and the days lengthen.  We will light candles to celebrate the return and look forward to a family weekend together!

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Speak Up, Speak Out

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Emerging briefly from the production tunnel to share my latest piece which, thankfully, I CAN share despite the fact I’ve entered it in the Threads of Resistance Call for Entries (Deadline in about 2-3 days)!  As many of you who have known me for a while know, I haven’t usually been politically involved or spoken out.  This is, in part, the legacy of being a federal employee, when you were not allowed to be political (there were ways you could do it, but it was such a fuss that it was easier just to NOT).   However, the last election cycle aggravated me so much I began making political posts and comments on Facebook and getting involved.   Even though I didn’t really have the time, when a group of art quilters got together with this exhibit concept and called for entries, I knew I wanted to try to make a piece.

Speak Up, Speak Out © Sarah Ann Smith 2017. Although the Women’s March imagery has become ubiquitous since the March, I decided to proceed with my concept because it was my experience.

It began during one of the debates last autumn (2016).  The then-Republican-candidate (I *refuse* to use his name) kept saying “Make America Great Again,” as if it weren’t great already!   I will be the first to say that we are an imperfect union, this great nation of ours, but that is part of why we are a great nation….or were and must recover from the collective idiocy currently gripping the country.  I started sketching during the debate and came up with two ideas for art quilts, one about Maine, one about our nation.  The latter was to have a border of hands, holding hands, and phrases and words that represented the US, but the center wasn’t yet clear to me.

With my soon-to-be daughter-in-law Ashley G., I traveled to the Women’s March on Washington on an overnight bus (overnight going and returning…LONG nights sitting up!).   I bought a cheap spiral notebook and asked riders on the bus, if they wished, to trace their hands so I could use them as the border in this piece.  Every hand traced is here (one twice, because I needed one more hand to make things fit properly).

At the March, I took many many photos and as the day wore on I knew that being in this sea of humanity, most in some sort of pink hat or cat ears (reference to the-one-who-shall-not-be-named joking that he would grab a woman by the pussy–slimeball! that’s sexual assault you jerk!) I had found my image for the center of the quilt.  The images of women and men marching, protesting peacefully (not a single arrest!), has since become ubiquitous.  So much so that I considered NOT doing this view because it has been seen.  But I decided that since I conceived of the quilt before the march and finalized during the day of the March as the images had barely first been seen on the internet, I decided that since it was also “my” March, I would proceed.

This photo became my starting point–it is the only photo I didn’t take (since I’m in it..someone on the street offered to snap pics for us):

Some of the ladies from the bus. We are on East Capitol Street heading toward the Capitol. Mainers were to wear blaze / hunter’s orange. I’m on the far right standing next to Ashley, who has her orange scarf on, and we’re wearing the hats I made us.  There is an odd aberration in the photo, but so it goes.  I printed this photo on the label.

Usually when you see photos of protest marches, so many of the signs are manufactured, a printed graphic done by someone professional (ish).  What impressed me about this March is that almost all–upwards of 95 percent–of the signs were homemade and many were clever and/or inspiring.   I selected my favorite ones and used them.  One of the signs in the quilt is the actual sign that I made and wore on my jacket during the March.

Left side of the quilt. I loved the sign calling for a return to civility, courtesy, charity and compassion.

In the sky above the marchers, surrounding the capitol dome, I quilted the Preamble to the US Constitution on the left.   Brief signs/slogans are under the hands at the top.  On the right I quilted the First Amendment’s four freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, and right to redress the government for grievances (which is what we were doing!  Democracy living and in action!), as well as more slogans and thoughts.

There were three huge signs in the shape of cats, maybe 4 feet tall, so I appropriated one of them to use.

Center left. I LOVED the quote attributed to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (I think I am falling in love with that woman!) and made sure she really did say it before including “Better bitch than mouse” as one of the signs.

By the way, I used Fabrico felt tip pens and Pitt Artist pens (brush and bullet tip) for the signs.

When I graduated from Georgetown University (in DC) in 1979, a t-shirt was popular that said “A woman’s place is in the House, and in the Senate.”  At the time, no woman had been elected (or maybe just one or two…I’m thinking Margaret Chase Smith and Nancy Landon) to the Senate that had not gotten there by taking her late husband’s seat.  It was still common to be told that a woman’s place was in the home and the kitchen, not the office.  Now I’ve said “A Woman’s place is in the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court and the Oval Office!”

Center of the quilt. I was really pleased at how the dome turned out. I used my photo as my guide and sketched out the pattern, cut the shape (as usual I am using Mistyfuse on fabric and raw edge collage; the dome is a rare case of me using a print fabric instead of a batik. The peach-yellow hand on the left is my dyed fabric, the salmon-pink-purple on the right is Laura Wasilowski’s, from a fat quarter from a class I took with her.  The fabrics in the signs are mostly my hand-dyes.

The coat hanger sign is a combination of two such signs that I saw.   I loathe the idea of abortions. But when I was in my 20s, I was a US visa officer.   I was processing the paperwork for a British man’s visa based on his marriage to a US citizen.  When you do that, you need to establish that the marriage is legal and valid, so you need to see if there were any prior marriages and, if so, that they ended legally.  He was a widower.  To break the tedium, I used to look at cause of deaths when these cases came across my desk.  His first wife died of septicemia (blood poisoning) from a self-induced abortion (because it was illegal in the UK at that time). Ever since, I have stood for freedom of choice because there will ALWAYS be women who are that desperate, no matter how awful I or others believe abortion to be.  Moving on…back to the quilt.

Center right. I loved the take on the Don’t Tread on Me flag from revolutionary war times that turned the snake into a uterus and says Don’t Tread On Me (on left, on Laura Wasilowski’s fabric).  The big pink sign with Michelle Obama’s mantra is what I wore at the January 21, 2017 March on Washington.  That’s my DIL Ashley on the left in this photo, me on the right. I modified a sign carried by a Vermonter to read (in the sky writing) One Maine snowflake in a storm.

Center bottom right. A bit sharper photo.  In the bottom left, under the copyright, you can see a “ribbon.”  The center woman I think of as “Everywoman.”  Then there is Ashley (DIL) in braids, and me on the far right.  Ashley’s hand is the purple one at her right shoulder, mine is the blue one next to Ashley, one in from the corner.

Some generous unknown-to-me person who couldn’t go to DC made and gave away these ribbons to those from Maine who marched. It was done in the Mainer’s blaze/hunter orange. That was pretty bright for the front of my quilt, and I didn’t want it to distract from the imagery. So I scanned the ribbon into the computer, then in Photoshop darkened the color so that it would work visually on the front. THANK YOU whoever made these!

Far right. My friend Gail Galloway-Nicholson used to be the Curator for the Supreme Court so is as familiar with Capitol Hill as I am, if not more so from having worked there for a good bit of  her career..  I worked for a US Congressman for two years, and we also lived just two blocks behind the capitol (yes, I got to see our old house).  She asked me to carry her name in my pocket since she couldn’t go to the March. I did, and added the names of more friends (some I’ve only known via the internet and quilty stuff).  Thank you all for being there with me!   I love knowing you and that you wanted to be there in spirit and on the cloth!

So that is all the details, well, most of them, of what went into this quilt.  Don’t know if it will get juried in–I know there is some awesome art being made for this that doesn’t use the ubiquitous image–but I am glad I made it!

And I have decided to get involved volunteering for my Town of Hope, Maine.  I decided that one needs to put your time where your mouth is, and as the saying goes, all politics is local.   Here’s to giving back to my adopted-shoulda-been-born-here home state of Maine!

 

 

 

 

Photoshop–Finding the Stamp Tool, Thermofax screens

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

WAHOOOO!   I’ve discovered something almost as cool as the holy grail!  At least if you want to make thermofax screens…..and yes, you may liberally share the link to this blogpost so that others may learn and play with paint.

If you want to find out how to do this the easy way, keep reading!

So I was on a quest for my next project:  creating thermofax screens using my new (to me) thermofax machine.  I remembered a tool I loved in Photoshop Elements (PSE), but it wasn’t in Photoshop (PS–full thing).  How could that be?  So I opened up my 2010 PSE software and discovered the tools I liked were called Stamp and Photocopy, in Sketches under Filters.   So I googled around to find out how to create actions in full PS to do what those tools did.  Turned out I didn’t need to–Adobe included those tools but then HID THEM.   So here is how to find and use these awesome tools.

Note:  I realize this will sound like gibberish unless you are into PSE or PS….if you aren’t, just skip!  But this is SO AWESOMELY COOL AND USEFUL for those of us who want to make Thermofax screens and use Photoshop! So if you are interested, read on!

First, you need to install all of the Filters in the Filter Gallery.  Yeah right.  Not as hard as it sounds.  Under Photoshop, find and click on Preferences.

First you need to find Plug-Ins and load the Sketching filters.

That will cause a pop-out to appear; look for and click on Plug-Ins:

The flip-out widow reveals Plug-Ins. Click on it.

When you click on Plug Ins this window opens up.  Check the box to show ALL Filter Gallery Groups and names.  Sheesh….why was this not the default?????

This window will pop up. The box at the bottom of the arrow will be blank. WHY Adobe? WHY? Check it and the wonder and joy of more filters will appear in your PS workspace.

Here’s a colorful photo I use in my Quilting the Garden workshops.  NOTICE the COLORS in the Foreground and Background boxes on the bottom left corner.

Let’s pretend I want to convert this image to black and white to create a Thermofax screen.  Take note of the little Foreground/Background boxes at the bottom left.  They are important.

Boxes are important!   The next step is to USE the Stamp tool.  Look across the top of your PS window.  Click on Filter, then Sketch, then Stamp.

To use the Stamp tool, go to Filters (on the menu across the top), select Sketch, Then Stamp (see arrow).

When you click on Stamp, the following window opens.  But I ended up with Grey and Black.  WHY?  It used to be black and WHITE, right?  So what was I messing up?

This was not what I had in mind. Then I had a lightbulb moment (who me? I know, rare, but it does happen sometimes). Remember those BOXES?

YEP…..the Foreground color, due to something I’d done not so long ago, was dark grey, not white.  Aha!  A glimmer of light (pun totally intended).  Groan.  Remember, Boxes are Important!  I switched the foreground color from dark gray (above) to WHITE.  And lookit what I got!

Drum roll……stamp is once again black and white!  Notice the arrows on the right:  use the sliders or the number boxes to adjust the level of black/white and the degree of detail.  Now isn’t it a whole lot easier to get to this point in a hurry, THEN fine tune with the eraser tool to clear out extraneous yuck?

Those arrows on the right point to fun things to play with to adjust the amount of black, white, detail, etc.  But the realization that the foreground/background colors could make a mess make me think….hmmmm……COLOR!  What would happen if….

BUT, one more tidbit about what you see in the window.  The one below looks like a lot of nothin’, right?  That’s because is it at 100 percent, which doesn’t fit.

Then I realized I could play with COLOR. When you open this window, however, it opens at 100 percent. I prefer the “Fit In View” option, so check out the arrow once again.

If you click on the little down arrow to the right of 100%, you can switch it to Fit In View or whatever you like to use.  For my pea-brain, it’s a whole lot easier to figure out what I’m doing when I can see the entire picture, like this:

Then you can create a really bizarre two-tone hot pink and green image. Just what you always wanted, right? Not! But you can see the potential, right?

Let’s just say I am ridiculously happy.   I asked for help on FB today and got it…THANK YOU Lynn Krawczyk, Lyric Kinard and Leslie Tucker Jenison among others.   Then I — having learned this lesson before — googled around for online information, including the forum at Adobe, which is where I found the clue that the Sketch filters WERE in full PS.   But I didn’t know the terminology (like where to find the Line tool to create an arrow to illustrate these screen shots), so YouTube search box to the rescue.

SQUEEEEE!     I don’t need to use my antique PSE, I can use full PS and not have to move between the two, AND (best of all) I have my easy-peasy Stamp tool back!   Time to CELEBRATE!  Lynn, I may just have to fling some paint!  And now that I have written this up to share ASAP in thanks, I am going to celebrate, perhaps with chocolate! Or maybe Talenti.  Or some culinary Venn diagram that involves the intersection of Talenti, banana and chocolate.  SQUEEE!

And a PS, thanks Whiskers for asking the questions:  Hi Whiskers!  Yes, I will do a blogpost eventually on thermofax screens.   Not sure when, so the quick response is the Thermofax machine is the predecessor to today’s photocopier.  They were used in the 50s/60s in the office to copy stuff.  They are no longer made (consequently they cost a fortune, it has taken me a decade to save up and make the purchase, $1350! If you buy one be sure you get one that works with the mesh, not just the purple ditto masters!)…but folks have figured out if you use an image with carbon in the ink (laser printer, some inkjet printers, carbon ink, lead pencil) and you run it through the machine with a plastic-backed mesh, the plastic melts where there is carbon.  When you separate the two sheets (paper and plastic mesh) you end up with a screen.  Tape up the edges, then push the paint through.  I actually just taped a segment for Quilting Arts TV on this!