Hi ho art friends. Playing with Photoshop continues. As is my way, I start down a path, my muse distracts me and I end up with something completely other than where I started.

Today’s canvas, “Tennyson” started with one of my photos of Cannon Beach, OR, from November of the Year the Starfish Died. This was at the back of my mind as I re-watched several Photoshop Artistry Grunge videos, with the intention of just noodling about and really working with Photoshop.

In fact, I set out to create a Robert Cornelius-inspired canvas after watching several of his YouTube videos this morning.

Instead, after 6 or so hours of mucking about, I ended up with a more Billa Bozem inspired canvas, “Tennyson,” which features my gorgeous Dollshe Bernard of the same name (face, wig, costume, jewelry and photography by me). Since he’s a broody fellow, I create a broody portrait.

“Tennyson” by L. Anne Thompson

Today’s canvas features my own photo of Tennyson, tree bark and a canvas board I painted with turquoise and white. I also use several Awake and Photoshop Artistry Grunge elements: Dry Ice 12 from Caroline Julia Moore, Vector 13-2 and Vector 12-3 from Sebastian Michaels, 2 Lil Owls background Artist 120.

I tinkered with various adjustment layers, clipping masks, layer masks, color overlays and I’ve finally got my brain to remember how to type The Move (a new layer from all visible layers). As the canvas progressed, I noticed that Tenny’s eyes were getting lost in the grunge. After some fiddling, in the end, I duplicated an early layer of Tennyson, brought it near the top of the layer stack, added a black mask and revealed just his eyes. The dry ice smog also got a bit lost, so I duplicated that layer and brought it up the layer stack as well.

I purposefully set the gradient fill opposite to the light source of Tennyson. Having the subject look directly at the viewer is deliberately bold in itself – the subject is engaged in a staring contest with the viewer and on some level, the viewer knows it’s a contest they can’t win.

It may just be my weird aesthetic, but I enjoy the visual dissonance of the light source as an enhancement to the disturbance the viewer feels when the subject looks directly at the viewer.

At one point, I tinkered with the dispersion technique (which was in the Robert Cornelius videos I watched today). It didn’t give the broody feel I was looking for but the liquify tool is considerably easier to use in Photoshop than it was in Gimp.

I am extremely pleased with “Tennyson.” I put so many hours into this canvas. Twenty three layers in all, again with no slow down. I’m curious what my max number of layers is. This iMac has ridic RAM and storage (compared to my ol’ laptop); it’s possible I won’t hit the max.

Still so many tools to play with, for what’s left of this holiday weekend.

Stay safe and healthy.

Happy creating!