Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009


As usual, once I'm "finished" a digital collage, I can't help playing around with it to create different looks or concepts. Here are two variations on the collage from the previous post.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Latest Digital Collage

This collage was created using several images from, a site I recently (and very happily) discovered--including the pretty sketch of the gypsy with the crystal ball. I also used paisley images of my own design, and a photo we took of the ocean at the Outer Banks of NC. I also added some lighting effects I hadn't tried before. My tentative title is "What Will The Day Hold in Store?" or something similar. I like her!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pan Pastels

Oh, my...another addictive art supply. I've discovered Pan Pastels, a new type of pastel that is very fine, soft, and low-dust. (Thanks for the birthday money, Ilene! :) They come in individual pans and in sets too, and have little sponge applicators of all shapes and sizes with them. My discovery coincided with the desire to start "daily" art journaling again, just for myself at home. The pastels cover a page so smoothly and quickly, and with such rich color, that when presented with a gift certificate for Jerry's Artarama (thanks for the Chanukah gift, Ryan!) I ordered more colors. Hopefully I'll post something here soon that I've done, although my daily journaling tends to be kind of personal at times. Here's a photo from the Internet in the meantime.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pleasure Before Duty

Am I cleaning the house in preparation for our family Chanukah party next weekend? No, I'm playing with lettering and Photoshop again. Inspired by Martha Lever's blog ( and a book I have called Lettering for Architects and Designers by Martha Sutherland (I bought it used a while ago), I tried my hand at architect-type lettering, which has always appealed to me. I used a quad ruled composition book to practice in, and was delighted to find that when scanned, the grid lines did not show up! So I ended up making a digital brush out of my alphabet, which I then applied in several colors to a background I already had scanned.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Family Photos

I love to look at family photos, and am slowly developing a collection of digital heritage collages (rather than creating a "real" scrapbook, a goal I once had but never achieved). Here's one I'm working on, showing me and my twin sister Ilene being held by our mother's parents, and by each of our parents.

Friday, December 4, 2009


This digital collage is dedicated to Ilene. Thanks, I.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Brightening Up A Gray Day

The background on this digital collage is a doodle I created and then filled with color. The saying is something I lettered awhile ago. I like the challenge of fitting these things together!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Turkey Day

I swear that when I created this doodle in black and white about a week ago, I was not thinking about any particular theme. Today, when I went to add color to it in Photoshop, I decided to use seasonal colors and...well, don't you think it looks turkey-ish? (a turkey on a very bad day, I guess). I don't mean to offend any animal rights activists, but couldn't resist sharing this. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Colorful Mood

I've been playing around with various kinds of doodling. This one is very loosely based on the concept of a zentangle (a repetitive, meditative, somewhat structured type of doodle, usually in black and white). I originally did this one in black and white, but of course Photoshop tempted me into adding color and effects. I seem to be drawn to combinations of reds and blue-greens lately. I'll probably post more designs along the lines of this usual, I'm addicted...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Italic Calligraphy Online Class

I'm currently taking an online class in Italic Calligraphy from Martha Lever on the Creative Workshops ning. I love her teaching style; she makes the subject very accessible. (And her Southern accent is adorable!) This is a page from one of my recent practice sessions.

Poppy Collage

I'm not sure why birds keep showing up in my digital collages--I guess I have quite a few images of them, and they do add some life and movement to the composition. This collage started with a photo that my son Ryan took in China (or maybe Tibet), of a poppy with mountains in the background.(Thanks for the use of the photo, Ryan!) I added the stone wall, more poppy petals, birds, and the nest and spilling eggs. I also applied various special effects, including a "pointillizing" effect as a final touch. I think I need a name for it, but don't have one yet. Suggestions are welcome!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Amazing Effects

This is the same collage shown in the last posting, with some additional effects applied. In the first one, I applied a layer that inverted all the colors. Cool (literally)! In the second one, I took the inverted version and added a translucent layer of an orange-y hue. The result has sort of a vintage postcard effect to me now. This fun never ends...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Playing with Reds and Greens

This is a digital collage I've been playing with lately. I'm not sure if I'm satisfied with it, but maybe seeing it posted here will help me decide.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Architectural Collage

This is a collage I created using a photo I took at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC, and some digital brushes in the form of architectural elements. The curved stripes across the center are the levels of the museum interior as viewed from the lobby; I applied various digital effects to the photo to produce the black-and-white textured design shown.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween

Here's an early Halloween greeting to all my readers (all 3 of them? :)). It's a digital "artist trading card" I made on PE5. I experimented with with creating "erased" holes in various layers, so you can see the colored layer behind them. I used digital brushes to make the swirl and dot patterns. I think it turned out acceptably spooky, considering the fact that I used no overt Halloween images, just color and pattern (and the font, which I believe is called Chiller).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Today is our 37th wedding anniversary. This is one of the first journal pages I ever created, when I started taking the Artful Journaling class. I used one of our favorite wedding photos, and a representation (and translation) of the Hebrew quotation on our wedding rings.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Where's Sherry?

I surprised Nelson while he was taking this photo at Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

This is a photo of the mini-Boston cream pie I ordered for dessert at Legal Seafoods last Wednesday evening (the night of my "significant" birthday). Nelson had requested the candle. The cake was just as delicious as it was adorable. We had a great time there-- wonderful sangria, perfectly cooked and served fish, and a warm and cozy spot with a water view.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Jersey Boys-- Two Different Effects

Last weekend we went to see a production of "Jersey Boys" at the National Theater in DC. I loved it, as I thought I would (especially "my" song :)). This time, instead of doing a paper journal page, I tried a digital collage. The second version you see here is a variation of my basic collage; here I used a "linear light" effect on the Playbill layer, and changed the background color to a dark red to enhance the effect. And then--the best part-- I got to throw away all the little papers, ticket stubs, etc., that I had scanned.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mom, Ilene, and Me

I was thinking of Mom today, and that led to making this digital collage. I'll probably do more of these "heritage" pages from time to time, and post some of them here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

More Experiments with Digital Collage

For the background on this image, I used a copy of an altered photo I had done in Artful Journaling class. It was a photo I took on a nature walk in Hawaii several years ago, which I altered using bleach, sandpaper, and who knows what else. The flowers were "stamped" on the background using the digital brush I made last week from my flower drawing. I then applied a beveled effect to the flowers to make them stand out.

I'm finding that all this Photoshop experimentation is refueling my regular (non-digital) art-journaling creativity. Often, after I tear myself away from the computer, I'm in the mood to cut, paste, glue, and draw. Who knew?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Text Effects

I've been experimenting some more today (in addition to trying to resolve a big problem with my scanner-- no luck on that so far). Here are some neat text effects I got by using the Text Mask (or is it Mask Text?) feature. You can "cut out" the shape of the letters from a patterned or colored background and move them to another document. Here I used an animal print patttern, a scan of French dictionary text, and a photo of the ocean. That's all for today. I'm going to tear myself away from this computer now.

Friday, October 2, 2009

More Brush Play: Coexist

I've been practicing turning my own images (drawn or lettered) into custom PE5 brushes, so I can use them whenever and wherever I want in a digital composition. It occurred to me that I could try making my brush lettering and doodles (learned in Martha Lever's online Calligra-Fun class) into custom brushes. After some trial and error, I started getting pretty good results. For the image shown here, I made a brush out of the lettered word "Coexist" (I think I posted this in its original form some time ago) and stamped it three times in different colors and modes. Wow, I learn something new every day :).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Playing with Paisley Brushes

I've been trying to figure out how to make my own custom PE5 "brushes." This means that I can take any image (e.g., one I've created myself) and make it into a "stamp" that can be placed anywhere I want in a digital collage I'm creating. I've had mixed success with this process. For some reason, some of the brushes keep disappearing. But I managed to create (and save) some brushes made from drawings of paisley patterns that I did a few years ago. I made two PE5 patterns from these brushes, and added a few other small images from a free brush set I'd downloaded. I then layered the patterns and applied a blending mode, to produce the image shown here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Paisley Bird

This is a PE5 collage in which I melded a bird and egg image with some paisley patterns I'd created some time ago. I also added embellishments and color/blending effects. I'm happy with the way it turned out!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Four Corners of the Ocean

This was an interesting experiment. I created a digital collage, using scans of elements from the ocean-themed altered books I've made. I then made several versions of the same collage and applied different blending effects to each one. In several steps, I then combined and layered them into the result you see here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Those Eyes!

A new digital collage based on family photos, and scans of some of my sketches (plus the owl--he's not related to us). The best thing about digital collage is not having to clean up a mess afterward!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New Digital Collage

Here's my latest PE5 attempt, using my own lettering (scanned), and a butterfly wing image from that I altered. The background is an image from These sites have images that can be downloaded- free!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy New Year

May everyone celebrating the Jewish New Year have a happy, healthy, safe, and prosperous year.

Playing with Special Effects

I'm still playing in Photoshop Elements (hereafter referred to as PE5), despite lots of other (more important?) things to do. I discovered ways to create more effects! This is my last experiment for tonight.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ghostly Collage

This is what I created during the first lesson of the Digital Collage class I'm taking online. It's a combination of two images (we chose from those provided by the teacher), with various blending and embellishing effects. I'm learning, but very slowly :).

Monday, September 14, 2009

Layered Art Journaling

This is another Photoshop Elements attempt. I created a digital collage by layering images of two separate art journaling pages, and adding some embellishments. (As you can see, one of the images I used is the banner for this blog.) Challenging and fun!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

More Photoshop Fun

Here's one of my favorite old photos of myself (you've seen it before :)), embellished via Photoshop Elements this weekend. Talk about a learning curve! I finally enrolled in an online class through Creative Workshops.ning, where I hope to pick up some more digital collage skills.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Today's Motto

My lettering practice continues...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Heart Pattern

This is another pattern I created recently in one of my journals, using Pitt brush pens and a Prismacolor Fineliner pen.

Monday, September 7, 2009

One More

On this one, I applied the Photoshop "craquelure" texture to my pattern. I like the 3-D effect.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

More Photoshop Effects

This is a pattern I doodled and colored in using Pitt pens. (My doodling was inspired by my talented sister Ilene--her colorful art journaling blog is at Then I scanned my design and applied the Photoshop "mosaic" texture. Sigh...looks like another obsession in the making :).

Friday, September 4, 2009

I May Never Have to Sketch Again

I've installed Adobe Photoshop Elements on my computer (yes, Ryan, finally :)). Two interesting things to report:
1. While all my photos were loading onto Photoshop, they were displayed before me in quick succession. It was as if my life were being replayed on the screen in front of me--a very weird feeling! Recent photos of family, friends, vacations, art and lettering childhood well as sepia-toned pictures of long-gone ancestors and relatives I never knew.

2. I may never have to do a pen and ink sketch again :)! Because, as everyone who uses Photoshop no doubt knows, there's a neat feature that allows you to make a photo look like a sketch, with a click of the mouse. Thus, I present to you this "sketch" of a black and white version of a great photo Ryan took of me earlier this year.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Something beautiful that I read on a blog today (