Hi art friends. For today’s post, I’m experimenting with one of the images taken during my recent neighborhood walk in October. This shoot features Riva, my Playful Raindrops Blythe.

As usual, I took a ton of photos but one image stood out.I love the blurred background view of Puget Sound on 8th Avenue West. I wanted to see what I could do with the image to bring it more in line with my style.

For this shoot, I’m using my Canon Rebel T1i, Canon 50 mm lens, and the Lensbaby Omni Creative Filter System with the clear matte filter.

Once in Lightroom, I added a 2 Lil Owls Muse 6 preset.

Omni Filter + 2 Lil Owls Muse 6 preset

Next, I ran the image the PhotographBB SB Illustration action. The second image shows the result, which is fairly subtle.

I took Reva because she’s cute but forgot that I haven’t sprayed her face with Mr. SuperClear to tone down the shine of her face. Illustration toned it down a bit. It was a windy day and I like the flyaway hair. Doll hair can be a problem in photos – some people really dislike out of place hair. I fell like it gives the image a touch of movement. I would, however, consider using the Spot Healing tool to remove that lone stray hair.

“Omni Filter, 2 Lil Owls preset and PhotographyBB Illustration action

The third version of the image has a 2 Lil Owls Harvest Moon overlay. When I was working on the image a couple weeks ago, I thought it needed a grungy vignette (the 4th image), but looking at it today, I wanted to see the version with just the 2 Lil Owls overlay. The overlay took care of that lone stray hair. It is still there but if you hadn’t seen the first 2 images, you probably wouldn’t notice it.

“Omni Filter, 2 Lil Owls preset and overlay

The last version is the full grunge version. I used a 2 Lil Owls Harvest Moon overlay; added a transparent layer and used black to stamp a grungy vignette then masked it off her face.

I don’t know what it is about stamping but I tend to fill the space. It’s the same when I collage. Perhaps it has to do with the mixed media courses I took or it is just my natural tendency to fill space.

All art goes through the ‘ugly stage.’ The trick is to work through that stage. Looking back, I feel my mixed media works rarely moved through the ugly stage. That’s not my inner critic talking. I’ve made thousands of mixed media paintings and art journal pages. I’d say 10-20% of them are really good.

It’s the same with my photography. I take hundreds of photos in a single session and probably 20% of really good. I feel my overall photography skill is improving as is my photo artistry. I certainly don’t share all the images I create. I share the good ones but I also try to share the ones I want to be good but don’t quite get there.

I’m enjoying photography and Photoshop so much more than mixed media art because I have almost immediate feedback on a work as I create and edit layers. The bonus is that I don’t have to wait for paint to dry before I follow my muse down a rabbit hole.

The other important stage in art is to walk away from a piece then look at it with fresh eyes. I originally edited images 1, 2, and 4 a month ago (by the time this post is published). The day I wrote the post, I revisited the image to create image 3.

Looking at all four images in today’s post, I find the stamped vignette is one step too many. The 3rd version with just the 2 Lil Owls overlay provides enough extra complexity to the background to satisfy my need to fill space.

The first and second images are fine, but I feel the overlay adds a certain je ne se quoi.

Next time: shooting Takashima.

Happy creating!

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