Using the Old Grey Matter

Henrietta in watercolour.
Henrietta in watercolour.

I've been dreaming about vectors, textures and clip art lately. Histograms, layers and grunge brushes are all I can think about!

'Why?' I hear you ask.....well.....because I have recently signed with Painted Planet Licensing Group. They work with artists to help develop their art into designs that can be used on products. So I need to learn how to use Photoshop.

A couple of months ago Jan Draheim from Painted Planet stumbled across my work on Etsy and contacted me via email. I worked with Jan years ago to produce a painting instruction book and when she found me on Etsy she wondered if I was the same person......yep it's me! One of the questions she asked me when we Skyped was 'Do you have any experience using Photoshop?' Hmmm..... umm no....not really.

So, over the last few weeks I have immersed myself in all things digital. I bought a book called 'The Photoshop Bible' and I have spent hours on YouTube watching tutorials. I have been Skyping regularly with Jackie Decker a talented artist who is also represented by Painted Planet. Jackie has been very helpful giving me lots of advice and helpful links.

As a result of all this I now have a new addiction. Instead of using my paints and brushes I have spent entire days playing on Photoshop.

I played around with my painting of Henrietta above and I came up with two designs that I didn't mind.

Henrietta on wood-Louise-DeMasi
Henrietta on wood-Louise-DeMasi

I put her on a wooden background here and I painted some chicken wire to add some interest. At first I used the magnetic lasso tool to select my artwork and paste it on the background but I found a better way to do that by using layer masks and brush tools. It's not great but I was pleased with my efforts at this early stage.

I did another one the same but I added my little baby chicken.

Henrietta with baby chicken-Louise-Demasi
Henrietta with baby chicken-Louise-Demasi

I thought I would see what she looked like on a chalkboard so I painted a chalkboard background on the back of a cereal box. I used black and grey gouache and some pastel. I scanned it and opened it in Photoshop and it looked pretty much like a grungy old chalkboard. I found some fonts that are ok to use commercially and I bought some chalkboard motifs from a shop I found on Etsy. The checked border at the bottom is a pattern I made using a hand painted red watercolour square.

Henrietta on blackboard-Louise-DeMasi
Henrietta on blackboard-Louise-DeMasi

I know they're not masterpieces, but hey, I still have my L plates on.

I also took my Lily painting below and turned it into something that resembles a design for a serviette. I flipped the lilies, erased the hummer and added the borders. Note to self.......always remember that the border must go on the bottom and right side of the serviette (thanks Jackie)!

Hummingbird with lilies Louise De Masi
Hummingbird with lilies Louise De Masi
Lily serviette by Louise Demasi
Lily serviette by Louise Demasi

They say we need to stimulate our brains and learn something new each day to help prevent dementia.  I think I'll be ok as long as I keep learning to use Picshop......Photoplay....... you know what I mean.  :/