Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…

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iPhone Photo Friday…

The cherry hit its glory yesterday and today with a wind picking up it has started to blow pink petal snow everywhere. The cherry blooms never last long enough in my opinion, but it is consistent each year with its abundance and beauty.

This week I had fun capturing the first blooms in the garden with my iPhone and then processing with PicGrunger app (new update) and Blender app for layering with backgrounds I created.

This lilac is not really part of our native plant garden. It is in the front, under an oak and constricted by junipers. Each year it sends up one or two blossoms which I enjoy smelling and sometimes I cut them to bring inside. They are not abundant so if I cut them there is not much left.

Here are the natives:

Apps for this week: Diptic, Blender, Pic Grunger and Impression.

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A few weeks ago, I was going through my iPhoto files. I was scrolling— looking for shots to process in Photoshop and caught a glimpse of photos of student work from years ago. Fond remembrance was in the back of my mind when I visited the Legion of Honor last week. The project had been one of my favorites and highly successful with my 7th and 8th graders (not measured by a bubble test, but by student rubric and teacher observation!) but there had been a struggle on my part to find graphics of hands in order to introduce the project. I do not remember what my solution was at the time, but at the Legion of Honor, I had a do-over. Thank you Rodin. Now, if ever given the chance again, I can introduce the project easily.

I further processed the hand pictures I took last week by putting them in Blender app and layering two of the images together and then into Pic Grunger, which just had an update and now includes some textures to layer, also. (Great update!) Then into Impression app to put my name on the corner. (This also has a new update where you can choose different fonts, colors, and transparencies.) Too cool.

The Project: A “Handbook” for the Art Room

Each student was given a piece of ribbon that they draped around their non-drawing hand. (When they drew on their 5″x7″ piece of paper, the ribbon needed to start and end on the mid-point on the edges of the paper in the landscape direction.) They did a light sketch in pencil and then used black ink, shading with a variety of textures and dividing the background into sections with patterns. I took the finished drawings and made copies of each one and then my students got one copy from each member of the class to attach together into an accordion book. We had made paste papers that were used to cover cardboard for the covers. Each student also used plaster gauze to make a mold of their hands that were painted (including patterns in a contrast color) and attached to the front cover. A ribbon was threaded through the hand to tie the book closed.

The students took the original ink drawing and mounted it in the middle of black tag board with a four-inch border. Then they extended the sections and patterns into the frame using metallic colored pencils and pens.

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iPhone Photo Friday…

Photos taken with the native camera of the iPhone and then cropped. Perfect Photo app was used to heighten some colors. Then into PicGrunger. Finally they were put in Dynamiclight app.

Hummingbird sage (Salvia spathacea) and the cherry tree again (because I can stand on the porch to take the pictures as it continues to rain and rain…)

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Wednesday worktable…

What made an appearance on my work table yesterday?

I do not actually have a work table because the closest thing to a source of water in my house is the top of my washing machine in the laundry room. If I am using wet media that is where I stand. Good news is that sliding doors can hide the mess and supplies. Bad news is that other people in the house have to make an appointment to wash their cloths. The machine vibrates too much for anything to be on top of it during a cycle and I really hate it if things fall behind the washer since they are almost impossible to get out. If you don’t make an appointment or ask me to clear the machine, then you risk my wrath.

On my pseudo work table yesterday were these collages getting some final touches.

I started this collage while I was taking the on-line class with Misty Mawn.

I had always tried making transfers by taking my original photo to Kinko’s and making a color copy of it to use to transfer the image. Misty demonstrated using the image printed on your own inkjet printer. Always hoping to save time and money, I tried, but was not too adept at the method (my inks dissolved and made mud) so in order to save it I took used tea bags, emptied and flattened, and gel-mediumed them on top of the three images of the doll in the back. I did use the image of the same doll (the largest one) printed with my inkjet that I had altered with PicGrunger on my iPhone. The cracks across its face come from that app. I was able to judge how quickly to work before dissolving the ink when I was pasting an image down rather than when trying to transfer an image. Another illustration that there are no mistakes in art, just new opportunities. I was waiting for an opportunity to use those teabags I had dried and emptied a few months ago! My world traveling uncle gave me the doll back when I was in elementary school. This collage done on watercolor paper is quite large for me, 18″ x 22″. Now I have to figure out how to mount it so it can hang.

This collage I had started a long time ago, but the class spurred me to finish it so it was on the washing machine, also. It is on 12″ x 12″ canvas and I used multiple layers of Golden’s tar gel medium to get a really thick coat in order to submerge the yarn. In person it looks like it has many layers and depth and the spots are actually metallic leaf.

I also made two accordion books (each from one piece of paper) in different sizes but haven’t put images in them yet so won’t take pictures until they look more completed. They have internal pockets and are very cute!

Terry went to work on Wednesday so I got a lot done. Otherwise it is two retired people frequently looking at each other with impulsive suggestions for fun excursions to make. Wednesday has now become my official work day so that I can say I accomplished something…

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The streets of…

well, not San Francisco, but close…spent the holiday yesterday catching up on chores and starting the shopping process for a new dishwasher so traveled the streets of Pleasant Hill and environs with the accompaniment of a symphony of clouds, snowy hills and man-made visual treats.

Mt. Diablo with Snow


The Pedestrian Overpass Bridge in Pleasant Hill

The Hill in Lafayette with a Marker for Each Casualty of the Iraq War

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iPhone Photo Friday…

Rain every day since Sunday, but the week before that—gorgeous sun for gardening, trips to Annie’s Annuals for native plants to plant, and a field trip to the Martha Walker Native Habitat Garden in Napa’s Skyline Wilderness Park. We were so enthusiastic that “it might as well be spring” we forgot that if we had waited a couple of weeks we would have seen lots of things in bloom. Even in California it was a little sparse in the middle of February.  A few California gooseberry, a few ceanothus. It was worth the trip, however, because then there was lunch in Napa, the foodie capital of Northern California.

This wonderful gate was the entrance to the garden, and here it is with the Hipstamatic app.

I was worried most about the wild pigs, I guess, never have run across one of them…

Of course there were mighty oaks…

California Gooseberry

and Golden Current…

It is a lovely garden, set up to do lots of nature education with kids and well worth another trip to see everything in bloom. Napa has Model Bakery and Fatted Calf Chacuterie not too far away for picnic supplies. Lovely…

Taken with an iPhone 4, including Hipstamatic app, the gooseberry got some touches of Backgroundz app and Pic Grunger app.

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iPhone Photo Friday…

A day late for Friday (seem to be having trouble with schedules) but I did get a new battery for my watch (that I haven’t looked at since I retired a year and a half ago). I am somewhat conscious of getting things done on time…

I went to get my haircut again and my friend Betty had changed her window display to an antique mannequin that included opera glasses and ballet slippers. She says it is her homage to “Black Swan” and has a little twinge of Valentine’s Day thrown in. I thought the image lent itself to experimentation with a newish app I have call iDarkroom. The app includes nice textures (canvas and sand) and bokeh effects as well as multiple colorizing filters and frames. Betty’s window is very small and there was too much glare from the glass if I was outside. I tried to go all the way from the top of the mannequin to the shoes but there was not much room to maneuver. I loved her concept, though, so I did my best with the room I had.

I thought it needed more cropping, but then I lost the shoes.

This is the canvas texture and grunge effect in the iDarkroom app.

The black frame from iDarkroom and the “faded” filter with canvas and grunge effect.

Bokeh effect…

The vivid filter in iDarkroom.

The Diptic app with its black frame…

and its white frame with a finishing pass through PicGrunger to tone down the white.

My variations on a theme, or maybe theme and variations on an etude or pas de deux across the stage…