Sunday, November 5, 2017

Fortune wheel - One cent, no springs!

This one went thru quite a metamorphosis, it started out as a digital sketch:

Made w/ this neg: 

and a Nevada landscape.

I printed this (as a sandwich), scanned it, and then went to work on it digitally:

Then i did an about-face, and combined the fortune wheel w/ another neg., a cactus close-up:

Once again, a darkroom sandwich. It's got a mysterious shimmering quality to it, the viewer is focused on two things simultaneously, each struggle to command our attention.
Yes, i did some detail coloring before i went full tilt into digital color overall.

Here's where you can go to see the screen shot larger, and download a small PSD file, this one is not complicated at all:

Why do i like the fortune wheel?

..... i like thinking about the questions on the wheel, and the answers to them.

"What is my main talent?
What will my wife be like?
How will I get rich?
Will I be happy in marriage?
Will I have a family??"

And contrasted against a vast barren desert landscape?
Life is a blank slate, it can be harsh and unforgiving... or it can be rich, varied, and sometimes hard to decipher, as the second cactus sandwich image is - 'now you see it, now you don't'...

Are you ready for 'more than a few words on the difference between digital coloring and good ol' cotton balls and Q'tips?'
There now, i have already tipped my hand, haven't I?
I have found plenty of images that work... well... pretty well digitally.
And there's the balance that just don't/wouldn't.
Digital is just pixels, 'information' delivered as RGB (red green blue) channels.
Seems to me like the old stuff has a much more subtle palette.
I can't get anything like umber, sienna, ochre, alizarin crimson... out of RGB.
But that won't stop me from tryin' :-)
And every once in a while, I'll search thru the stacks of prints i have, and choose a few to hit with Q-tips and cotton balls.

After many years of making darkroom photomontage (since the late 80's), and not being able to get arrested for it except for a few appearances in competitive group shows, and some assignment illustrations in various magazines ....I am designing & publishing books I make at Blurb with 'Bookify' - two of them are on Amazon, one is at Blurb.

'California Beach Trip':
On Amazon:

'Desert Trip'
On Amazon:

'Seeking the Vibe'
On Blurb:

Previews of all at:

Saturday, October 21, 2017

One thing leads to another....

Here's how one thing leads to another, Even after many years of dormancy.

Over 20 years ago, i did this darkroom montage, one of my most fantastical efforts of all time:

The main part of it is the abandoned storefront in the lower left.

These frames were taken in a desert town that had obviously seen better times. I rounded the corner to this block, and immediately came to a halt - the subject matter was great, the light was damn near perfect, i shot these four frames knowing they would end up in something good.
I never hand-colored the print - it was one that was perfect as monochrome, i left it that way.

Then a few years ago I came cross the contact sheet again, and thought "hey, i could do something with that storefront that i shot dead on, top left".
What could i montage it with?.... Hmmm........

I seem to have found that what makes a montage interesting is to combine two images that are very different, contrasting.
So i chose this rock wall from Joshua Tree:

Here's the B&W print that came out of it:

This time round, i went for color - digital color, since the print was on a paper that doesn't take coloring well. And i thought gradients would work well here, and P'shop does *grrrr-eat*gradients.
I started w/ basic large areas coloring - a HS layer for an overall sepia tone.  
But i erased the effect from a couple of boarded up windows.

OK, that's a start - what next? The image works horizontally - the edge of town dissolves into the rocky desert. I erased the color selectively from the boarded up windows, one at a time, each time i wanted to continue that idea to the next window.
Then a blue gradient for the sky, that i erased from the buildings, but left in the windows.

Since the image flows from left to right, the small narrow sliver of the building at the left seemed to call for some 'brick' color. And then the tree at lower rt. balanced that, becoming green.
Last but not least, the shade in the door needed some red, and the gull, top lft,  needed to pop a bit.
I also added a SC layer to the rocks, affecting only the black, making the shadows blue. Now i've an image that keeps your eyes moving around, all the various colorings bounce off each other, it's a far cry from the B&W.

To see the images and the layer palette larger:

Next post, a fortune telling wheel, an old fashioned thing, i had a good time with it!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Phoenix - A knock-out!

Can't believe i haven't posted this one yet - it's one of the best of the last five or so years, not just the darkroom print, but the hand-coloring too.
Yes, ladies and gents, this is darkroom, not digital.

I did a scan, and went after that in P'shop, it didn't take long to see how much potential this one had.


So i did some detail coloring w/ watercolors,


.........and then went full tilt w/ oils. Fortunately this was on Ilford's fiber based matte paper, which takes color very, very well. It speaks for itself, and the much richer result that comes from analog / real colors on real paper, cotton balls and Q-tips. The blending is much subtler. I've spent plenty of time doing digital colorizing, and folks, it just ain't the same. I can't get the same sky blue out of P'shop that i can out of a tube.

The final 'Phoenix' - though perhaps that's a contradiction in terms. 
A phoenix isn't final, it's a new beginning.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Window to soul

Note to readers:
I've been doing this blog w/ wordpress for years:

.... but now they have changed their code and i can no longer use them w/ my old Mac Mini, OS 10.4, pre-intel chips, browsers that i can only update to a certain point.
Soooo... Blogspot to the rescue! I plan on 'keepin' on keepin on'!!

This was another one that went thru quite a metamorphosis from beginning to end.
It's a sandwich, two negs together in the enlarger neg holder, exposed at the same time.
Or it's equivalent done w/ photoshop, i did both.
The P'shop sketch looked pretty interesting, however the darkroom print just got too muddy.
No problemo, P'shop to the rescue :-)
Here's the sequence, first the negs.

The Cloud:

The Window:

The Photoshop 'sketch' of the sandwich:

Now the darkroom print:

Then the digital color variations:

The screen shot, w/ the layers/color:

From Btm up:

SC4 - K/+K
HueSat - window clouds, + blue
SC 1 - K/-Y
SC2 - deals w/ warm brown orange hi-lites on the wall.
SC3 - just window, better blue, +M


I particularly like this one in spite of the fact that the darkroom print needed some serious recusitation.
How it gets handcolored?... 'artist's choice' = do what ever you want.