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September 16, 2008

From Point A to Point B: Making Art Again

Thanks, Lacey!

I think my recently passed dog Lacey wants to see her Mama doing something she loves. I knew when I heard her ghostly dog tags mysteriously jingling that she was telling me "Get on with things you love- I know you haven't forgotten me".

It's still lonesome here in my computer room/quasi art studio because she always laid under my desk. Still I feel her presence strongly in here, and it keeps me good company, as my other dog Smokey is as quiet as a church mouse. He's feeling the loss too.

As far as getting from Point A to Point B, I joined a collage group seven weeks ago and make a collage a week. I also joined a mandala group a few weeks later. How on earth are those two things related? Well, both involve art, and both are ways I've been expressing my creative urges and my emotions. And recent events have brought the emotions to the forefront.

This week my collage was about art and the spirit it evokes in me, the urge to play. Our animals teach us about this important part of life every day but we often ignore it as silly or childish or foolish. But we really need it. It keeps us balanced and healthy. The animals know it but we forget. So the collage was called "The Point Is Play, Play, Play" and here it is:

I got some good feedback on it and was pleased with it. I had been playing with some new filters for my graphics program today so when I got a challenge to create a mandala with an Autumn feel to it, remembering Lacey and Smokey's past antics, I decided to play.

I got out the central image of the collage, the woman in orange, and used a new kaleidescope filter on it that had all kinds of settings to play with. I dialed away, moved sliders and just had fun, till I finally came up with this image.

I cropped it into a circle, and voila, instant flame medicine wheel. I wanted to do more though. I brought in a second image, a photo I took of some faded yellow Ixoras, seen here.

I cropped that to get the best bits of the flowers. Then I got brave enough to try making a mask with an alpha channel - my first ever - and was successful. I loaded in the flowers as partially transparent and moved them around to look the best with the medicine wheel, using the mask to get rid of the unwanted parts of the flowers.

Last I played with the color and added an edge and a drop shadow, as well as a background. One final cropping and I was done. Here it is, Autumn Medicine Wheel:

You'd never believe one picture would lead to another, would you?

It just goes to show, we have an innate need to play. So go outside (or inside) and do it!