10th anniversary Tree of Life


Yesterpost I was showing you the Tree of Life, the drawing that’s been with me for (still finding this bit hard to believe) ten years.

I’ve photoshopped it through a few variations over this time, and to celebrate it’s tenth birthday I decided to reinvent one more incarnation for 2017.

More vivid, more zingy, the colors are almost an inverse of the one I showed you yesterday. Here they are together side by side.

TOL2017small TOLfullcolor

I’m fascinated by how the mood shifts with the colors.

The underwater-y-ness is amped up with the sharper blues. I like the way that once again it’s completed a circle, as the beginning drawing was in shades of blue, and here we are back in this side of the spectrum.

Here she is in some little detail pieces…

So that the new version isn’t lonely (yes, that is a thing with drawings, didn’t you know?) it’s joined by a newly spruced up version of the original drawing, so a bluer blue version is out there too. TOL_bluesmall.jpg

All three trees of life are all available a prints in Society6 

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 18.03.35


Would you like to get sporadic updates on my thoughts and drawings delivered right to your inbox? Hop onto my email list right here.

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be wrapped up in blankets. I will bring it tea and biscuits as required. (subject to availability)

tree of life


Life often moves in a spiral motion: I’ve been here before, haven’t you?

The view is a little bit different through today’s lens but what I see looks distinctly familiar.

It feels like no time passed, in so many senses, but the numbers tell me it’s approaching 10 years since I drew this.

TOLoriginal

 

I remember so vividly, when this drawing came through me. (Not to me, most definitely through me)

Have you had this happen too?

I had the strongest sense of just being a vehicle through which this drawing wanted to be made real. It could have been anyone.

TOLoriginaldetail.jpg

Of everything I’ve ever drawn, I’ve felt the least able to claim this as ‘mine’. If anything, I am its.

I remember the day it happened, I remember the big pad of watercolor paper, the watercolor pencils and paints, the frenzy of leaves and curves and wispy bits.

I remember watching it happen in front of me: Connected, and separate. Both at once.

TOLdetail2.jpg

The drawing had its own spirit, and was not willing to stay on paper.

It wanted to grow, to have more color, more depth, more vibrancy. What It had me draw was only a skeleton.

TOLfullcolordetail2.jpg

it demanded scanning and tinkering, new layers of color, new detail.

TOLfullcolordetail.jpg

Even all these years later, through it’s many incarnations and variations, it’s the most loved of all my drawings.

It’s me, and it isn’t me.

It’s an enigma.

It is, Tree of Life.

TOLfullcolor.jpg

To celebrate 10 years of Tree of Life I’ve adapted it for printables, so it can manifest itself around the world.

Would you like to give this drawing a space in your world? It’s available from Society6 in many shapes and forms.

tol_framed_S6.jpg
Art prints in many sizes, framed or unframed

Notebooks for musings & doodles, lists & lyrics, poems & plans. Cases, covers & skins for phones/ ipods. Totes & zippy pouches for carrying important things around in! And more! 

 

 All these & more can be found at: society6.com/mixy

 


If you like this, and things like this, you can get sporadic updates on my thoughts and drawings delivered right to your inbox. Hop onto my email list right here.

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

Your email is utterly safe to me. I will ensure it is guarded at all times by dragons. Hungry dragons.

take 5: episode 1


Y’know how I’ve been revisiting my digital art? I’ve also been rooting through my online galleries. Some of those pieces date back almost a decade, and some still hold up well. But some were looking a bit tired, a bit shabby, or just plain meh. So I archived them away.

I’ve still got most of the images from which they were made, so over the next as-long-as-it-takes I plan to re-photoshop some of them into new works: Hybrids of old and new ideas. I love digital for many reasons – the ability to do this is a big one.

So you can guess the plan from the title, right?

I plan to Take Five images, and frankenstein re-imagine them together into a shiny new beautiful something. 

These are the first Five contenders for the project.

At the time of posting I’ve reached a crossroads in the making of the hybrid. I’ll explain later…

seemingly seamless


Since I relaunched my website a little while ago, some folks have commented on the loop of images scrolling round at the top of the home page.

homescroll300hFullW

Loads of sites use scrolling images, and there are umpteen plugins and gizmos to magic up some kind of animated doodad like this. I used Electric Carousel, but there are many others out there.

Like everything, it’s easy if you know how. So I’ve put together this thing on how to prepare the pictures for a seemingly seamless picture-roundy-thing. It will assume a working knowledge of Photoshop.

 So here’s how: 

  • Starting out with one of the images you want to include, open it up in Pshop.
  • Now go Image>Canvas Size… [Alt+Ctrl+C]

endlessLoopSC01

What we’re going to do is put all the images together as a super wide picture like mine up there, then slice them up into separate images again. This’ll make sense again in a few steps time. 

In order to do this we want a much wider canvas to work on. For the sake of the screenshots I’ve done 300% width, but in reality I think I did about 1000%. Eyeball it. Use your best judgment. Or actual pixel numbers, if you’re that way inclined.

endlessLoopSC02

*Be sure to do these things: 

  • Uncheck  ‘Relative’. Otherwise it’ll make it taller as well as wider. We don’t want that.
  • Move the anchor point to Mid-Left. We want all our new canvas area on the RHS

endlessLoopSC03

  • Using the Rectangular Marquee tool you can select the LHS half of this image and copy to a new layer Layer>New…>Layer via copy [Ctrl+J]
  • Drag this new layer over to the RHS.
  • Shuffle your original layer to the left until the raw edges meet up and just touch, so you can’t see the join. Zoom right in. You wanna get this bit pixel-perfect. There will be an annoying hiccup if it isn’t bang on.

endlessLoopSC04

From here you can bring in your other images as new layers and arrange them as you wish. (I haven’t done this, pretend there are more images in the middle of this)

Now to chop it back up into separate images set vertical guides at regular distances across the width of the image. View>New Guide…  

Grab the Slice tool and hit Slice From Guides.

endlessLoopSC05

And finally, File>Save For Web & Devices [Shift+Alt+Ctrl+S]

endlessLoopSC06

Set your settings where you want them and hit Save 

endlessLoopSC07

  • Give it a great name like scrolly_thing.jpg or RoundAndRoundAndRound.jpg or whatever…
  • Be sure it’s showing  Format: Images Only & Slices: All Slices in the options
  • By the magic of Photoshop you’ll now have a set of lovely images, neatly numbered in a file called ‘images’, ready to load into the whizzy-roundy-thing of your choice.

 

 

I hope this is of some use to someone out there – drop me a comment if it is/n’t, or if there’s anything I haven’t explained clearly. 

 

digital art – rewind


In a recent post I was telling you about my early beginnings in digital art.

But guess what – turns out there was earlier stuff that I’d totally forgotten about! Pre-dating that by a good couple of years ago or so, there was stuff like this.

blueDisc

This is like rooting through the loft space of my past, ideas and experiments I packed away  in the back of my mind and old hard drives.

warbled

I look back and remember vividly the delight of discovery in this myriad of new possibility. There was no limit in my mind as to  what could be spun out of this magic.

OF everything I made in these early days, this is the one I loved the most.

I called it Fireglass,  and I was entranced and enchanted by this little image.

fireglass copy

But that was the thing I suddenly came to realise – this was such a little image.

Such a very little image.

At the point I made it – which was by some mental abberation of a puppy in exuberant scampering mode, delirious in uncharted territory so of course I couldn’t accurately back track that one – and I had no grasp of pixel size.

No idea at all that the resolution at which this freakishly gorgeous little gem arrived on my screen meant it would print out at not much more than 1 inch square.

And even then not at especially sharp quality.

This little glowing rectangle of orangy red joy was what really kicked me into the next level: from play and unchanneled driftless clicking, now I wanted to take control over this alchemy. I went from careering about unchallenged by anything to navigating my way toward a more deliberate composition.

I was embarking on a massive adventure.

thinking in digital


I got back into art after a long while away from it. Whilst ‘grown up life’ was busy occupying too much of my time and I pedantically stood in the way of where I wanted to be, I dwelt in a creative famine that lasted for too many years to recall.

The thing that brought me back to life was digital art: I acquired myself a computer with all kinds of glorious programs and bit by bit (ha!) I fathomed out how to make use of them. I began in Adobe Photoshop. And I fell in love with pixel pushing.

At this time I lived in a tiny one-room rented flat. Painting wasn’t viable: This carpet was new when I moved in, I paint messy, I can’t afford to lose the deposit.

sketchery

Digital was my perfect solution.

The ‘desk’ where my computer was homed was a big shelf unit, with the tower on the floor, the ginormous CRT monitor on one shelf, the keyboard and mouse on a piece of board I perched on my lap.

Ideal?

No.

But I was entranced by the magic of what could be done, so comfort and ergonomics were very much secondary.

After all, this is where my soul belongs: in the midst of a multicoloured frenzy of streaming ideas and glory. I Stuff like this began happening…

moreconcentric

And a short while, and on with the addition of digital camera, bits of ‘reality’ entered the mix.
daisies 2

I got massive value from the magazines that were about at the time – we’re looking back about 10-12 years ago now. All my spare money went on anything with Photoshop in the title.

I devoured the tutorials, I dabbled and played.

I was up all night on this stuff. A lot!

lamplight

I got my collaging head on.

And I took my ideas with me down this rabbithole of dreamscape.

(I’ve been there ever since)

Reaching In


For every action, so they say, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
In balancing the outward reach, a degree of reaching inwards naturally follows

As Im exploring my journey of imagination and making, I’m looking through inner worlds as places of thought and reflection, and I’m acknowledging the past to step into the future.

ephemeralGecko

Who is this reaching out? Looking In?

Looking every which way …..
… re-drawn digitally …
….. morphs in and out of a multi-faced abstract

headless1

I’m learning to move out of my shadows, into the light.
I’m learning to nourish and nurture my own light.

Reaching In, Reaching Out…

digtal fings


hey folks, hope you’re all keeping well n keeping warm!

"Circle of Life" doodles & photoshop
“Circle of Life” doodles & photoshop



I’ve just been looking through some pics from last year on my computer, and thought I’d share with you some of my digital doings.

digital collage - this looks familiar from somewhere..!
digital collage – this looks familiar from somewhere..!

For about 10 years, pretty much all the art I made was based in the digital world.


"Golden London", photos and doodles
“Golden London”, photos and doodles

Having a small space in which to play was the reason I got started like this – it’s pretty much impossible to make an actual mess – you can’t spill pixels on the carpet and get in trouble with the grown ups for a start!
"Abstraction" Photos n Photoshop
“Abstraction” Photos n Photoshop

I became entranced, as I learnt new skills I was seduced by the squillions of options, and I poured my spare hours into learning more and more.
"Digital Pond Life", doodles in photoshoppery
“Digital Pond Life”, doodles in photoshoppery

While I still enjoy a good dabble, the world of inks and paints and stained hands (and, ahem, carpets… shh don’t tell!) and all that has, for now, won my heart.

Who knows what comes next! 😀

serendipity


Serendipity [noun] “an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.”

I think this sums up so much of what I do. Yesterday’s post about recycling was a tangent I wandered down when thinking about how the collage pieces I make come into being.

Paper is readily recyclable these days (indeed it’s often recycled when it’s ‘new’) but I like to get every last ounce of use out of it. Once it’s been printed on (both sides) with info that’s no longer needed, it retires to a life in art.

Images and pictures, blocks of color or gradients, maps, poetry, lyrics, photos, scanned doodles and sketchbook pages, mish-mashed up in photoshop, I let fate take over and set the printer running. And if there are gaping spaces left, the page gets turned around and over-printed again. Serendipity occurs!

The ones that don’t happen into something immediately usable cover my work table to take on new nuances with splashed color, and as testing grounds for paints and inks and stampings. Or used to soak up excess color from dying fabrics and threads (I think this must be where the great paper-dying project originated… one idea bears fruit and blossoms into new ideas and schemes and badly mixed metaphors!)