art


A few months ago, I decided to stop uploading duplicate blog content to this account (to appease the almighty Google gods). Although WordPress.com was my initial launching pad into blogging, I transferred my attention to TaraFlyArt.com once the WordPress platform was up and running… and I didn’t have enough spare creative energy to write original posts for both sites.

However, I feel badly for abandoning the remaining subscribers of this blog… and while I encourage anyone who is interested in my work to pop over to my “Other” blog and re-subscribe (for semi-timely updates)… I have, in fact, come up with a solution for this albatross blog as well.

Taking a cue from one of my favorite bloggers, Kathleen Basi, who writes a weekly summary of her recent posts called “Sunday Snippets”…. I’ve decided to write monthly summaries for my content on TaraFlyArt.com. ๐Ÿ™‚

So here is a recap for October….

Regency Cat Art Prints and Greeting Cards

5 Tips From a Procrastinating Cat Artist

October 11th, 2011 – I shared some awesome news regarding a wholesale order for my Regency Cat greeting cards and prints. MuttsandFrutts of Ontario, Canada is an upscale pet boutique located in the popular tourist area of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The owner, Lisa, contacted me about ordering a large quantity of my cards (which I print and fold individually at home)… and my work load went into overdrive.
Through the stress, excitement, and the unexpected, I learned some lessons about Being Prepared… including:

  1. Purchase More Supplies Than You’ll Need
  2. Always Have Inventory On-Hand
  3. Have Every Size, Shape, Color, and Available Option Listed

Serious lessons for a gal who always waits until she’s down to 3 sheets of paper and 1/8 of a yellow ink cartridge before re-ordering supplies.
I wouldn’t have lasted long as a Girl Scout. ๐Ÿ˜›

TaraFly with AfriCat Painting for charity

Picture of me standing under my AfriCat painting, top center.

AfriCat – An Art Auction for Charity

October 17th, 2011ย – I stopped by the local art supply store, Howards’ Arts and Frames on Dual Highway, on October 1st, after seeing their announcement for the 6th annual “Art for the Animals” charity fundraiser.

Each year, they’ve asked area artists to donate artwork (which Howards’ will frame) for a silent auction to benefit animal charity organizations. The last couple of years they’ve supported the local Humane Society. This year, they chose to assist Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

I missed the deadline to enter last year, and didn’t want to miss out on this year’s opportunity to showcase my work locally (and help animals too!)…. but I was almost too late!
The original deadline for entries was Oct. 1st – the same day that I inquired, and I had nothing to offer (as they were accepting only 5″x7″ portraits on canvas panels). However, they generously extended the deadline a couple of days, and I rushed home to work on a fresh new painting… specifically for the auction.

My resulting piece was titled “AfriCat”, inspired by National Geographic photos of African tribal women wearing hundreds of brightly beaded necklaces.

[Update: The final night of bidding ended with AfriCat being sold for $40.00, and announced as 1st runner-up for People’s Choice in her category]

Art for the Animals, hosted by Howards' Arts and Frames

AfriCat Painting Video

October 24th, 2011ย – With the charity auction ending on the 26th, I gave everyone a brief update on AfriCat’s bidding status (she was holding steady at $26.00 on Monday night, and sold for $40 on Wednesday).

I also edited 3 hours worth of video that I’d taped of myself in the studio, painting AfriCat… condensed it down to approximately 20 minutes, split between 2 videos which I’ve uploaded to YouTube.

AfriCat Painting Video: Part One

AfriCat Painting Video: Part Two

And there you have it! All three of my blog posts for October, in an easily digestible format.
Let me know if you found this summary helpful, okay?

But once again, if you want to catch my blog posts when they’re still alive and kicking, I encourage you to visit my “real” blog on TaraFlyArt.com….
Thank you for lending me your eyes! ๐Ÿ˜‰

A parody of my ACEO Gypsy Cat listing on Etsy

I apologize in advance for a post that will probably come across as complaining at best, bitter at worst…. but I do have a message for you to hear, if you shop online. Or sell online for that matter. ๐Ÿ˜‰

There seems to be a great deal of “Photoshopping” going on with product photography.

It has probably been happening since the dawn of the internet, or the birth of Photoshop, whichever came first ~ hehehe …. but lately I’ve been noticing it quite a bit on Etsy, and it’s bugging the crap out of me.

I do want to defend Photoshop, which has an unfair bad rap.
It’s a very useful tool when used correctly (to edit out stray marks & unwanted objects, brighten under-exposed photos, correct ugly color tints from incandescent light, and more)….

Artists can also create stunning photomanipulations (“photo collages”) using various images blended together, and you can even digitally paint with Photoshop… although a program like Corel Painter has better tools for creating the look of realistic oil or watercolor paintings.

I love Photoshop and use it daily. I cringe whenever I hear people speak of something as “being photoshopped” in a negative connotation.

But I’ll be honest… Photoshop can cover a multitude of sins, and actually allow online sellers to create deceptive photo listings for products that do not exist and/or need to be seriously enhanced to attract customers.

Whenever I find an Etsy listing that is obviously a photomanipulated product, I have to question the quality of the item:
Why isn’t the seller comfortable taking a real photo of it?
Are the colors of the print inferior to the digital scan?
Are there flaws? Cracks?

I’m not a professional product photographer, and my earliest Etsy listings look like cat poop to me now.
I seriously wonder why my first customers ever purchased from me, except that they must have seen some potential, and were willing to give me a chance.
Thank you guys!!

But I spend a lot of time staging and taking photos of my artwork, framed on the wall and lying flat, so that customers can see the real prints and judge their quality.

Shopping online is hard enough, without a tangible product to examine… we don’t need to muddy the waters, confuse, and deceive our customers with smoke and mirrors.

Take for example: a listing for an 8″x10″ photo print. The accompanying image looks like this:

Parody listing, Photoshopping a digital file on the wall

(Using Anne Elliot Cat, I created this parody of an actual item listing I saw on Etsy… an enormous 8″x10″ photo hanging on the wall)

I will confess to having occasionally used an image I’ve taken of an 8″x10″ print for a 5″x7″ listing, and vise versa, if there was no obvious point of reference in the photo to compare sizes…
But I wouldn’t dream of listing an ACEO mini print using a poster sized image on the wall. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Another item that gets Photoshopped frequently is the infamous “art pendant”. Whether they are selling Scrabble tile pendants or “vintage” lockets, I’ll come across 130 copies of one generic photograph of a blank pendant with artwork digitally pasted onto it.

The trouble with this lazy habit is that the quality of the real printed image may not meet customers’ expectations; depending on the printer, paper, and type of resin/glue used, the print might not retain the beautiful, vivid colors and small details of the original digital file.

The only companies that might be able to get away with this are professional print-on-demand labs, and websites like Zazzle.com who have a solid reputation and stellar customer service.

Otherwise, can you really trust a shop full of digital clones??

Using Photoshop to paste photos onto blank pendants.

And while you may be thinking that customer feedback would highlight the poor quality items being sold, thus separating the wheat from the chaff… remember that feedback can be deceptive, too. It’s always best to read the comments.

For instance, in the case of one faux-photo-happy pendant seller… with thousands of sales, and 100% positive feedback… there were some obvious incidents of poor quality and misrepresented photos, that actually inspired me to write this blog post.

Last night, I stumbled upon a beautiful pendant while browsing a friend’s recent Etsy favorites, and was tempted to buy one.
When I visited the seller’s shop, however, I noticed that ALL the product listings were created using Photoshop… which made me curious:
What do these pendants really look like?
With thousands of sales, people must be pleased with them. Right??

But did you realize that 100% feedback doesn’t mean every customer is happy…
that, in fact, a negative review on Etsy will be cancelled out by a couple hundred positives, restoring a seller’s ‘perfect’ score?

I didn’t think it was possible to claim something was 100% if it wasn’t entirely true. 99.99% maybe. ๐Ÿ˜‰

In addition to a few negatives ( 2>10 ), and neutral ratings in the double digits, many of their positive reviews weren’t entirely positive….
For whatever reason, these customers chose to give a good rating, but the accompanying written feedback tells a different story:

“….not as bright and vibrantly colored as what you see on website…”

“… I just expected something different from the picture…”

“…They are a bit darker than shown in the pictures…”

“…I thought they would be metallic and basically prettier, but they’re not.”

Sharing my opinion that feedback scores should accurately reflect the buyers’ experience doesn’t always make me popular in Etsy forums.
Sellers are happy to get ‘second chances’ to reclaim their 100% status, especially if they felt a negative was undeserved.

I get it. Really. Sometimes satisfaction is truly beyond a seller’s control.
A customer could potentially leave a negative because they waited until Dec. 22nd to order a custom gift, and were upset because it didn’t arrive in the mail the following day.

I’ve worked with the public enough to know that pleasing people is an art form all to itself, and very few of us have completely mastered it.
Mistakes happen, too.

In my first year on Etsy, I started selling journals with my artwork on the cover.
My friend and fellow Etsian, Lily, from TwoStrayCats, purchased one… and unfortunately I didn’t ensure its rigidity in the mailer.

The postal worker folded it in half, and shoved it into her mailbox.

Ouch. When she contacted me, I was horrified and embarrassed…. I offered a replacement and a refund, but she benevolently refused both, saying that after a bit of ironing, it was almost flat.
And the crease gave it character.
Bless her heart.

It would’ve been reasonable to chew me out, demand her money back, and perhaps even leave negative feedback.
Instead she wrote:
“The dashing Mr Darcy is now officially residing in Alberta ~ Canada
and I must say that I am very happy to have made his acquaintance…

(while ironing out his wrinkles)”

I added that last bit. heehee ๐Ÿ˜‰

However, the close encounter has stuck with me, and with each package that I carefully support with thick cardboard, conducting my various “Bend Tests”… I’m continually learning from my previous mistakes.

Apparently after a year’s worth of disappointed customers’ comments, this paper collage jewelry seller still uses Photoshop rather than taking accurate photographs of his/her real pendants. And obviously hasn’t learned a thing.

But I have. And hopefully you have as well.

When you’re shopping online, take a few extra minutes to read the entire listing – pay attention to size, color, and materials – and look carefully at the photos. All the photos. Are any of them unnecessarily duplicated?

Read the feedback comments, even the positive ones. Especially the positive ones.
Some of them may be negatives in disguise.

(And yes, you can typically tell which negatives are undeserved, too, if you read the whole story.
Or if they don’t bother to explain a poor rating at all.)

And lastly give props to those sellers who value integrity, and don’t use Photoshop as an excuse for laziness, or worse… blatant deception.

Artisans who spend hours ~ (hundreds of hours) ~ brushing up on their photography skills, or hiring a professional to shoot their products, to give you a faithful representation of their work.

So that “what you see is what you get”.
Even on the internet. ๐Ÿ™‚

Regency Cat Bookmarks, original artwork by TaraFly

My Regency Cat portraits are now available as bookmarks, trimmed in ribbon and lace, for sale in both my Etsy shop and locally in Funkstown, Maryland ~ at The Guten Tag, a family owned gift-shop in Historic Town Center.

I mentioned The Guten Tag back in April, when I began selling my framed prints of Mr. Darcy Cat and Redcoat Soldier Cat there.

I’ve been thinking of ways to expand my selection of goods, and Michelle from TrueBookAddict on Blogspot suggested bookmarks as the purrfect compliment to cat characters inspired by classic novels! ๐Ÿ˜‰

These are created with reproduction prints of my artwork – the same quality prints I sell in my shop, using K3 UltraChrome pigment ink and Ultra Premium Presentation paper.
I’ve taken decorative cardstock found in scrapbooking stores and adhered it to the backside of each art print, using Modge Podge decoupage glue.

I applied a couple thick coats of acrylic varnish, let it dry, and punched a hole in the top for threading a bit of lace or ribbon.

Creating bookmarks featuring my Regency Cat artwork, Mr Darcy Cat bookmark

When I stopped by The Guten Tag to visit Jessica Synder, the shoppe’s owner, to deliver my bookmarks and chat a bit… we discussed upcoming holiday merchandising ideas.
She loves to deck the store floor to ceiling with ornaments, so I’ve decided to begin a special portrait series based on Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Ballet, which will be featured on Christmas ornaments! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I thought it would be fitting for Clara Cat and the feline Nutcracker Prince to battle an evil Mouse King! Bwahaha

They will most likely begin as original paintings, which I’ll reproduce onto the ornaments, allowing people to collect the full set. They will be available during the holidays both in my Etsy shop and locally at The Guten Tag.

I brought my camera along during this visit, and Jess graciously allowed me to wander the shop and take photographs of all the treasures!

iron metal dressform with crochet snowflakes and tags

I drooled over the wire dressforms, stone urns, statuary, garden obelisks, and bird-cages. I also loved the creative ways in which she showcases her items, arranging random finds into beautiful and elegantly coordinated collections.

Golden goblet, obelisk, light, mirror reflection, photograph by TaraFly.

My Flickr slideshow of photographs will give you a taste of what you might find inside The Guten Tag gift-shoppe; it’s definitely worth checking out in person!

And of course, remember to ask “How much for that Darcy in the window?”…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Wooden book shaped box, painted by Tara Fly

“One does not love a place the less for having suffered in it, unless it has been all suffering, nothing but suffering.”
~ Jane Austen’s Persuasion

This sad, little portrait of Anne Elliot that I’ve been teasing you about is finished at last!

This is a sanded pine box, shaped to resemble a book, with a “spine” drawer which completely pulls out, and you can store all sorts of things inside: greeting cards, stationary, photographs, letters, crayons, pressed flowers, recipe cards, and so much more…

Jane Austen's Persuasion Anne Elliot Cat, Mr Darcy Cat cards

The book is 1.5″ deep, with the drawer being slightly over 1.25″ deep… plenty of room for markers, colored pencils, a small stack of notecards….

I painted the entire surface, inside and out… once I started, it became my obsession not to leave any unfinished pine wood exposed.

The “pages” have been given a faux treatment that fooled my husband! hehe
I had the box partially hidden within a stack of real books, and he didn’t recognize the imposter.

Wooden box painted as faux book, hiding on bookshelf

Where am I? Come and find me....

I decided to paint a scene from Cobb Harbor at Lyme Regis, one of the pivotal settings from Jane Austen’s Persuasion, on the book’s cover. In my feline portrait, Anne Elliot is still mourning the decision she made to break off her engagement to naval commander Captain Frederick Wentworth…. whom I imagine as a grey tabby.

I didn’t add Jane Austen’s name to the book, as none of her novels were published with her name on them. This was quite common for female writers in the 19th century, or in the cases of the Bronte sisters, who wrote under male pseudonyms.

I’ve had a marvelous time in the last couple of years, reacquainting myself with Miss Austen and her works… as I continue on this journey to portray her characters as cats. ๐Ÿ™‚

“Persuasion” and “Mansfield Park” are two of my favorites, and I encourage you to meet Miss Anne and Captain Wentworth for yourself.

reproduction print of Tara Fly's Anne Elliot Cat from Persuasion

Archival prints of Anne are also available...

If you prefer renting movies over books, I might suggest the 1995 BBC version with Amanda Root and Ciarรกn Hinds first. ๐Ÿ™‚

I found the characters more genuine in that adaptation, than those in the 2007 BBC film… who I think were cast mainly for their physical attractiveness.

Well, at least in the case of Rupert Penry-Jones, who in my humble opinion didn’t suit the character of a rugged naval captain at all… a little too “pretty-boy” for my tastes. Many other ladies would beg to differ with me, however, by claiming he was easier on the eyes than Hinds.
Eh… can’t please everybody. ๐Ÿ˜›

So just watch them both! And tell me what you think…

My hand painted Persausion box is available on Etsy, and I’ve made a few archival prints of Anne Elliot’s portrait as well.

If you really like her, tell your entire social network, so an awesome friend might buy her for you as a gift! ๐Ÿ˜‰

This is a video of a recent afternoon I spent in the studio with my three young children… a juggling act between trying to paint my “Persuasion” book-shaped box, and entertaining them with sketches and prints to color.
Although the video was originally 1.5 hours long, edited down to just under six minutes (by yours truly)… you can easily guess how much actual work was accomplished. ๐Ÿ˜›

Here is the “official” blog post, where I shared my thoughts on the video, and its purpose.

Why not just post the blog here on WordPress.com?
Well, I’m glad you asked!
(Even though you didn’t… I was attempting to read your mind)

In case you’ve never visited my official website before – and you should! Just to say you’ve been there – I have another blog up and running, where I’ve been sharing the same posts.

*gasp* For shame! Breaking the Cardinal Rule of Google…. didn’t I realize it’s a mortal sin to duplicate my content?
Well…. yes and no.

I seriously doubt Google is banishing me to the depths of Shayolย Ghul, although it may choose to favor this particular blog, and ignore the other.
As I get far more traffic here… little of it being relevant to my work. LOL
(Entirely my fault for rambling so often about non-work-related things! Mea culpa!)

If you’ve “discovered” me while searching for a vinegar solution to pour over your head, I’m still honored to make your acquaintance.
Really! ๐Ÿ™‚

But trying to manage two blogs, which are virtually the same, is tedious and silly. And I don’t plan to increase the number of hours I sit at the computer, trying to compose “original content” for both blogs.

I have too many things requiring my attention in the 24 hours that God has deigned to give us…
And three things always looking to distract me…
[See above video]

So despite the insane amounts of traffic I will undoubtedly lose by abandoning this blog on WordPress…. I would like to encourage everyone who truly wants to follow my work (and my ramblings) – to hop over to my Official blog on TaraFlyArt.com and sign yourselves up.

I’m not quitting the blogosphere…
just relocating my energy to The Website where my presence is needed most. ๐Ÿ˜‰
And I’d love for you to join me!

acrylic painting on wood book shaped box by Tara Fly.

As you might have suspected from my recent posts, I’ve stepped momentarily away from “Pride and Prejudice” …

Many months of pouring over a book I’ve practically memorized, and obsessing over the feline portrayals of each major character, has left me with something almost kin to resentfulness of Darcy and Elizabeth.

I almost loathe them now…

I needed a break, if not from Austen herself, then certainly a respite from her immortal words: “In vain, I have struggled, it will not do…”

I spent one weekend flipping through “Sense and Sensibility” and “Emma” – hunting down humorous or heartwarming quotes for greeting cards… but finally found inspiration and solace in “Persuasion”.

Jane Austen's Persuasion, original acrylic painting by Tara Fly

I think what I love most about the characters, and their gradual romance, is how identifiable they are…
Anne and Frederick were young childhood sweethearts; however she decided to reject his proposal, and has spent the last eight years wondering whether she made the right decision.

When he returns to the neighborhood, she discovers he has grown into a successful, handsome man – most popular with the ladies. (LOL, good ol’ Austen… and her wealthy young men always in want of a wife…)

Ah, such a sweet revenge to warm the hearts of all jilted lovers out there….

Who among us hasn’t made the difficult decision to break off a relationship, and questioned our judgement later?
How many of us have accidentally bumped into an old flame and felt that twinge of regret?

Especially if they seem to have flourished in our absence, as if we somehow were holding back their potential.

Jane Austen's Persuasion, portrait of Anne Elliot Cat, art by Tara Fly.

Okay, I don’t usually pine over lost opportunities – it isn’t my philosophy – rather, my belief in destiny and romantic outlook on life tends to mirror Jane’s writings, inasmuch as everything ultimately works itself out for the best…

But there have been fleeting “what if” moments, and I can definitely relate to the self-doubting Anne experiences.


Desiring to paint something new and different – onto some thing new and different – a melancholy vision of Anne (at the Cobb Harbor), gazing out at the distant ships… picturing Captain Wentworth in his naval uniform aboard one of them, sprung to mind.

And I chose to paint her portrait in acrylics onto this wooden box designed to resemble a book…

wooden book shaped box painted in acrylics by TaraFly.

You can find these unfinished wood boxes at local craft stores, like Michael’s and A.C.Moore.
I picked up a couple of them to practice a couple of ideas, because I recognized how appropriately purrfect they were for showcasing my literary cat portraits.

I’ve already commissioned Joe to buildย similar book boxes, with a couple changes that I made to the design, and hopefully will have some fully handcrafted pieces to introduce as a featured line in my shop(s).

When Anne Eliot is finished, I’ll scan her into the computer for reproduction prints as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

birds flying to and from birdhouse

It’s always humbling (and often amusing) to check my blog stats, which admittedly don’t get checked as frequently as they should… I tend to rant and rave with little regard for whether or not anyone is listening.

In fact, I was beginning to grow complacent in the solitude… like the liberation one feels after moving to the country, miles away from civilization, unable to even see or hear one’s neighbors!

As if the entire world was your own – just you and nature – so you strip off your clothes, running naked through the field and singing to yourself.

Uninhibited and free! Rolling in the buttercups… La-de-dah …La la la….

Until the UPS truck pulls into the gravel driveway…

…with a belated Christmas package from your mother; one that requires your signature, because she’s obsessed with lost packages.
And you realize, with equal parts horror and sadness, that you aren’t alone on the planet after all. *blush*

Thanks to Google and a few followers, my solitary ramblings are occasionally chanced upon (usually in awkward moments)… such as when I’m having a bad hair month week: my experience using homemade shampoo bars has been my top-viewed blog post to date!
Other high-ranking posts included my infamous Question of Ethics, and Twitter’s humorous take on Super Bowl Madness.

bird feeder house on tall post

Ranked 5th on the list of Top Posts, and one that Google tends to favor with daily traffic, is my Anti-Tutorial for Photoshop. Despite the thousands upon thousands of PS tutorials running wild and mating out there in cyberspace, people can’t seem to get enough of them!

I spend a fair chunk of time using Photoshop… more time than I ought, considering I’ve changed my artistic direction in favor of traditional acrylics. But PS will always be my guilty pleasure – a chance to reinvent my world into something altogether surreal and magical.

Last weekend, Joe and I were both fascinated by this ginormously, tall birdhouseย at Carolyn’s farm. (This image wasn’t Photoshopped… it really is leaning!)

He captured a dozen really cool shots of birds in flight, making trips to and from the house…. as I scrolled through the nearly identical images, it occurred to me: these photographs would look even better if we incorporated more birds!

I decided to use these two:
two birdhouse images with flying birds, photos by Joe Teach

โ€ข I decided my background image would be the photo on the left. I cropped out some of the excess to frame it better, which downsized it from an image measuring 10″ x 6″, to an image measuring 6″ x 8″ (at 300 dpi).

โ€ข I used the Spot Healing tool to remove some dust orbs, and stray marks which came from the camera lens. Probably cat fur, LOL

Using Spot Healing tool in Photoshop to remove marks

โ€ข Next, I adjusted the lighting with Levels. There is an excellent article here on the blog – Cambridge In Colour, that discusses Levels in-depth, if you’re interested in using the tool properly.
I just play around with the white, grey, and black sliders until I like what I see. ๐Ÿ˜‰

adjusting the grey value Level sliders in Photoshop

Now it’s time for the birds!

โ€ข I opened the other photo, and dragged the rectangular Marquee Tool (with the dotted lines) across the flying bird to select and copy him.

Selecting the flying bird with Marquee Tool in Photoshop

โ€ข I clicked Edit>Copy and toggled back to my working image. Edit>Paste plopped him down next to the birdhouse.
I opened up Levels again to adjust his color to match other photo… and then began erasing the block of sky around him with the Eraser tool, because there was foliage underneath.

Erasing part of a layer in Photoshop to reveal layer underneath.

When he looked indistinguishable from his surroundings, I right-clicked on his layer in the right column, and he “merged down” to join the sky.
Then I repeated the above steps to include the bird perched on the railing…

Adjusting image layers in Photoshop

Except in this case, I had a birdhouse to deal with as well….
In hindsight, I should’ve just erased everything else, save the bird, just as I did with the previous image… that would be the easiest thing to do. I don’t do things the easy way, however, so ignore the following steps….

โ€ข I decided to line up the birdhouse with its counterpart underneath – choosing the Layer Screen Blending mode, and later Hard Light, so that I could see both layers together in order to match them.

Using Blending mode in Photoshop to line up images

I dragged the upper layer slowly back and forth, and even tugged at the corners to resize it, until the image underneath was directly in line with my birdie layer.
See how both images lined up appear darker and solid?

Then I reset the Blending mode of the layer back to “Normal”, and merged it down into place.

Birdhouse photograph with flying birds, by Tara Fly.

At this point, I could say the image of our birdhouse was finished. It looks realistic enough…. however, I wanted to play with it a bit more, adding some textures and lighting effects. So I saved it first, just in case I made a huge mess. LOL

At the moment, I’m obsessed with sparkles and bokeh…. and my favorite photographer for all-things sparkly and textured is Night-Fate-Stock on Deviantart.com.
One of these days, I’m gonna experiment with photographing my own sparkles… as Julia claims to create hers by pouring glitter onto the pavement (on a sunny day, with clear skies), and using an unfocused lens – the glitter reflects everywhere. ๐Ÿ™‚

Adding sparkle bokeh texture to birdhouse image in Photoshop

โ€ข I used Night-Fate-Stock’s Texture 26, (which is stored in my Go-To stock folder), and set the Blending mode to Screen and Opacity to 97%.

I also removed a few of the sparkles because they were distracting from the birds…. I picked up some of the orange color from her background, and brushed it across the sparkles to “erase” them.

Using gradient tool to add color to image in Photoshop

โ€ข Next, I created a gradient by selecting two colors – butter yellow and light pink – and using the Gradient tool on a new layer to create a diagonal sweep of color.
I set the Blending mode to Color Burn, at 100% Opacity.

This gradient gave the sky a warm, pinkish glow and increased the saturation of the leaves.

โ€ข The last thing I do, after playing with textures: I create a duplicate layer of the background, drag it into the top position, and select “Multiply” from the Blending options. It softens the overall effect, tying everything together…

Using Multiply Blending mode to soften effects in Photoshop

And now you think I’m finished! Right?!

Well…. sorta….

I thought so, too. But I wasn’t quite satisfied, and kept looking at it, wondering: “Something’s missing…..”
What if…?

How about adding one final texture – a linen fabric weave – to give the entire photograph the “look” of a fine art painting on canvas. I found the perfect swatch of fabric – here in DameOdessaStock’s gallery. โ™ฅ

Adding a linen fabric weave texture to a photograph in PS

I shared my finished image on my Facebook fanpage on Sunday, and sure enough, someone commented on the lovely details of my painting. *snicker* I did confess that it was a photograph… but see?! Fabric textures do make all the difference. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I also couldn’t wait to print this lovely creation on my Epson R2880 (I used matte photo paper)…. and with an inch border on each side, it looks gorgeous and can easily be framed with or without a mat.

birdhouse photo on matte paper with archival inks, TaraFly Art

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