Your home for everything artistic

There are any number of things we can do with a good photo editing program.

And while that is always cool, isn’t it generally a good idea to try to do as much as you can to minimize the need for editing? For example, if you can properly adjust your exposure or white balance during the shooting there is no reason you will have to go back and mess around with it on your computer. The same concept applies to the use of depth of field.

If you’re not sure what I mean, think about the images you see of people, animals, plants…that provide a wonderful clear image of the focal point but sort of seem to blur everything else out.

Cameras are built to automatically allow the sensor to take a shot providing the most crisp and sharp clarity as possible to all elements of the image. Sounds good right? Well, not always. When either the background (or in rare occasions the foreground) can actually distract from the main focal point in the image, you may want to blur if you will, the parts of the image that are not the main subject. This is where depth of field comes in.

If you aim for a shallow depth of field, the foreground will be in focus with the background out of focus to some degree, see the second shot below. Conversely, if you use deep depth of field to blur the foreground and showcase the background.

flowers

Take a look at the image of the flowers above as opposed to the one below. The top image is one shot with a camera’s standard settings while the one below blurs the background to emphasize focus on the primary subject by making use of a shallow depth of field.

orchid

 

So, what’s the trick? Well, it’s all about your aperture settings. Basically, the lower the F# (or more widely the opening of the lens) the more you will be able to achieve an effect something like the one above with this stunning pink orchid. So naturally, the higher the F# (or more narrow the opening of the lens) the more you will produce the oppose effect.

For more tips, check out my e-books on digital photography on my official author website.

 

One of my newest poems, this one is dedicated to the female form. I hope you like it.

Nature’s Masterpiece

The masterpiece of nature
Molded for a canvas fair
With piercing eyes enthralling
And flowing locks of hair

Painted with lips to kiss so sweetly
And sing in gentleness
Along with breasts to nurture
As well as to caress

Sculpted with curves so eloquent
And legs so well defined
Leading to the secret garden
Of life and passion combined

The works below are a start of a series here on Creative Dreamers that will feature the art of Amy Oestreicher. Check out her bio below for more information.

Dancing Girl

 Dancing Girl

I love being a scavenger, collecting bits of fabrics, scraps of materials, and v seeing what I can create.  My dancing girl was created from an eclectic mix of whatever I could find!

Tree Thoughts

Tree Thoughts

This was another hospital creation, and an exercise on resourcefulness.  I used toilet paper from the hospital bathroom for texture, some old magazines and fabrics, just to recreate my trees, which give me so much comfort even now.

Bloom

Bloom

I used many different fabrics here to create the polarities I felt when trying to figure out who I was after being suddenly displaced from my “former ” life.  Every surgery seemed to separate a piece of me, and I expressed this with odds and ends of fabric.

Artist bio:

Amy Oestreicher is a 28 year old actress, musician, teacher, composer, dancer, writer, artist, yogi, foodie, and general lover of life. Surviving and thriving through a coma, 27 surgeries and other trauma has inspired Amy to share her story with the world through her passionate desire to create and help others. Piecing her life together after her initial dreams of performing musical theatre took on a beautiful detour into broader horizons. Amy has written, directed and starred in a one woman musical about her life, Gutless & Grateful, has flourished as a mixed media and acrylic artist, with her art in multiple galleries and mounting dozens of solo art shows, and continues to share her story through her art, music, theatre and writings. More information on her unique story, as well as her creative ventures can be found at amyoes.com, and visit her blog for her newest art, music and inspirational musings.

After making a recent music purchase on Amazon.com, I got an email from the site offering me a credit to use for the Amazon App Store. So, I figured, why not take a look.

I came across two apps that I ended up getting and would like to share with my creative readers.

Pencil Sketch Ad-free

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While there are a lot of tools that are meant to allow for the user to convert his or her images into something that looks like a classic pencil sketch. But unlike like a lot of them, this one works easily with a good effect.

Easy Screen Recorder

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This cool app allows you to do a video screen capture of your smart phone’s activity. It’s great for recording all sorts of things including info for art tutorials.

We’ve all seen those photos. You know the ones. They contain essentially an entirely black and white image with the exception of a small amount of color showing through like a beacon of beautiful light. This is called a spot color effect. And while it may seem like something that might be highly complex, that doesn’t have to be the reality in many instances.

Here I will explore two methods to create stunning spot color shots. One for beginners and those with a less demanding color need and the other for more advanced users or ones willing to be a bit adventurous.

Quick saturation adjust

To use this method for spot color, use your editing tool to find the saturation controls. In Photoshop, they are under the IMAGE TAB > ADJUSTMENTS > HUE>SATURATION select the MASTER option and adjust the individual colors to the left on the slider to remove them. This works great for all colors except variations of red being that red is what makes up most of a person’s skin tone and you can’t keep it if you want the body to be in black and white. Other programs should have similar tools.

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Layer and erase

So, if you have any variation of red you want to keep in the shot or want to be a little more picky about the specific locations in the shot that you want to keep in full color, you can start by creating a new layer on top of the original. Then, go to the aforementioned HUE/SATURATION tool while on the top layer and drag it all the way left to remove all color. Next, get your eraser tool and simply go along the areas you want to show through in color. This is harder and more time consuming because you have to be more precise. This can be done is pretty much any decent photo editing program as well.

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Give it a shot for yourself, I bet you’ll like the results.

Ask us about the site Image Aids to access great video tutorials on topics like this and more.

Intrusion – A Poem

By Amy Oestreicher

Whether I am the trespasser, alien
The outcast, the tortoise turned on its side
I can see the stream from here
And I long to dance with the source.

Can I fish for you, blue glimpse?
A glimpse of the word as it was intended to be?
The realism thrills me

In a world of
Perfec
t:
geometricshapes,painted signs,brightredautomobiles,

my hollow shell overflows with relief.
For I have now caught the world in coy disarray, in bashful asymmetry.
(I’m sorry I disturbed you – I had thought you were done changing)

But fair lilies in the stream, let me flatter you:

You are such unperturbed beauty; a beautiful mess
Some divine energy had a penchant for modern art.

This trail I stumble down begs to recount to me, pleads, “Can I tell you a story?”
Of What? What – some kind of archetypal tale to us with its paw prints, bird calls, freaks and daddy long legs crawling under rocks like blue crabs
Moist air
Shadowed filth
rocking trees comforting one another in this dark forest community.
Blue forest glimpse – you are my catch and my soul is your bait.
Here is my glimpse of the world as it was intended to be
Realism thrills me as the wind now thrills your branches.

In a world of perfect geometric shapes, of painted signs, of bright red automobiles…
I’ve wandered, lonely and seeking a friend, and I ask, can I belong?
Crumble-crumble-crumble
I venture down and down further, and down.
I am a lone pebble, but unstranded, moving with the stream of wind that caresses the branches above me.

In each crumble, I breathe in the equalizing power of nature, of burgeoning love that transcends the limitations of being 5’3 when the trees are so tall.

The air sings and swells with a knowing comfort, a tune I have heard my whole life, as constant as the seasons

and now, I look up at the dense ceiling of trees and whisper, “Thanks.”
before even realizing that I had said it.

And now the dance begins! The dance that I can join too!
And the violins play, and there are brass, and winds, and chords, and reeds, and strings, and shrubs, pebbles, rocks, debris and slugs – sound and color and light!
Trees start to rock back and forth
dance with my awe,
They reply, “Yes.” Yes!

I am the lone pebble tymbling and tumbling, being shaped and molded by the ground beneath me, as it has beneath centiures and centures of lava and strata
And then I stop for I am stopped

A large oak tree firmly itself from the others.

I whispered to it, “Tree, sway for me…sway for me please…” it didn’t budge.

I’m lowered from my floating enchantment.

My soul-bait is anchored once again, as a fervent wind dodges
Corner to corner
Boomerang from trunk to trunk
Wind so dynamic it flickers like fire.

Wind so hasty it drenches flimsier trees with its own leaking madness.

All limbs of the forest shake madly now
All limbs of my body petrified with wonderment.

We are all shaking madly! dizzy and startled by the whippings of the delirious wind

Nature restores its internal pulse
The wind’s wrath quickly wearies
Settles
Smaller gusts
Internal pulsing
Regulation
Even nature must sleep
Internal pulsing
prompts a limb of the stubborn oak tree to coyly bob up and down.
And the world was finally in sync.

I thank this forest sanctuary one more time before I leave.
I am a most welcome trespasser, and my shell is filled with burgeoning blue light

Goodnight, forest.

And all I could think about was how wonderful it would be to hold someone’s hand, staring at the trees together, in simultaneous awe, no words in our breath but all winds in our souls.

from your trunk

 

“From Your Trunk”  – Artwork also by Amy Oestreicher

Amy Oestreicher is a 28 year old actress, musician, teacher, composer, dancer, writer, artist, yogi, foodie, and general lover of life.  Surviving and thriving through a coma, 27 surgeries and other trauma has inspired Amy to share her story with the world through her passionate desire to create and help others.  Piecing her life together after her initial dreams of performing musical theatre took on a beautiful detour into broader horizons.  Amy has written, directed and starred in a one woman musical about her life, Gutless & Grateful, has flourished as a mixed media and acrylic artist, with her art in multiple galleries and mounting dozens of solo art shows, and continues to share her story through her art, music, theatre and writings.  More information on her unique story, as well as her creative ventures can be found at amyoes.com, and visit her blog http://www.allspiceandacrylics.blogspot.com/ for her newest art, music and inspirational musings.

 

As this blog owner does every single year, I took some time out to stop buy, and actually make a few purchases too, the annual Three Rivers Arts Festival in Downtown Pittsburgh, PA.

Here are a couple of scenes I would like to share with you.

Artistic trach can

One of the first things I noticed before even entering the main area was the beautiful decorated trash receptacles. How creative is that?

4th River Music Collective

Outside the vending area, a group of musicians calling themselves the 4th River Musical Collective played for the crowd.

Paper cutter

Hou-Tien Cheng, a master paper cutter, is a festival regular. I once bought a silhouette of a wolf off of him.

Quote

I just loved this quote at a vendor’s tent. it says a lot about life.

Dogs in the grass

This collection of public art by Fernando Orellana is called “Confluence” and was located in the waters along the underpass entering the inner section of the city’s Point State Park.

Subway mural

Although not part of the festival, this mural lines the wall of the station in which I caught the subway to ride home. It seemed like a fitting end of the day.

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