Wednesday, October 29, 2008 Go There! It's Fun!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rill in Alaska

Here is one of my favorite images from Alaska. A rill in the mountains. I love the color of the blue water of this small riverlet flowing down the mountain side. It's indentations shows many 'folds' of land that make it a pleasant photo.

I used the same filter and saturation on it as before. I really like the watercolor effect this give. It also leaves an impression of depth that other filters don't.

I had to crop out part of this photo as it was taken from a stopped vehicle and part of the driver and window showed in it. It cropped very nicely I thought.

I missed getting photographs of the local autumn color here. I was busy with other things and the time flew by and rains knocked the leaves down before I had a chance to get any good photographs. Maybe next year.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Gravel Beach and Mountains

More mountains! I have many differing images of them. They were so impressive in person, I have to say that it is hard to have a representation of them that do them justice.

I heavily cropped this photo as the gravel river beach was taking up a third of it. I again was using PhotoPaint to make my adjustments. I used KPT's Collection Pyramid Paint filter and increased the saturation by about 7 to boost the colors.

I decided to do a couple of covers of songs from songwriters that impressed me for my CD Beginnings. So I added two Beatles songs Norwegian Wood and Eleanor Rigby and John Sebastian's Daydream and, of course, Mr. Tambourine Man by Bob Dylan. I really enjoyed doing these songs as they hold many memories.

Many of the 60's and early 70's songwriters are my favorites as they helped me learn how to play guitar as I imitated them and played their songs over and over again to impress on my mind the chord progressions and the lyrics. All of course 'unplugged' on a Harmony acoustic guitar. My parents, you see, did not want to buy me an electric guitar. So I saved my money and got a Woody Seymour Duncan pickup for the acoustic and a small amplifier and had fun using tremelo and feedback, when they weren't home!

I remember one summer day when no one was home I opened the garage door and plugged in. I had all the dogs in the area howling! This disturbed the neighbors and they called the police on me.

So I received a visit from the local police who politely asked me to turn it down. So much for trying out feedback with tremelo on the amp! Back then the police were very sympathetic and nice about it. Today I doubt that they are as things have gotten worse in society. So I counted myself fortunate to have only a brief encounter and a good result from that day. It's actually a good memory.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Rivers Wide

I used Corel's PhotoPaint once again in conjunction with KPT's Collection to create this image of a river.

I upped the saturation about 15 and then used KPT's Pyramid Paint filter to get the watercolor appearance.

I have also been reading some forum posts about songwriting at Guitar Tab Universe where I have found some interesting discussions on how to write songs. As well as guitar tablature of many songs.

I found some good chord progressions to try out and also a great chart of the major keys and minor keys chords for use in writing using guitar.

I have started to create some songs that have a theme of Beginnings and have found it quite the challange.

I really enjoy the use of online rhyming dictionaries, they really come in handy. I have been trying lyrics with AA BB type of rhyme and AB AB also, along with some structures not mentioned in the reading I've done. But the ideas from the forums have been helpful.

One of the best things a songwriter can do is listen to other songwriters works to see how they build their songs from scratch to a full blown song structure. I have been listening to Gordon Lightfoot some more and JJ Cale with Eric Clapton, also Sheryl Crow. I plan to broaden out on my listening soon as I take a trip to the public library and pickup some CD's of writers I haven't listened to before.

PBS had on it's Austin City Limits series a group of 4 (5?) songwriters last time I watched and they were amazing! I really like it when that series does present a group of songwriters together like that. It's not only enjoyable to watch and hear the songs but inspiring as well.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Centered Peaks

I worked on a Cover of the Beatles "Norwegian Wood"; I found in an older Guitar magazine "Acoustic Guitar". Using the Toneport UX1 and a drum track that I slowed down in Audacity I sang a dual vocal and played the 12-string. I used a guitar tone and style patterned after George Harrison for the rhythm guitar.

Try as hard as I did I still could not duplicate the Lead Guitar. It was beyond my capability for now anyway. So it is drums, rhythm guitar, first vocal, and second vocal. Singing is enjoyable and playing a classic song was really fun.

Gearbox allows so many choices that sometimes you have to be selective in order to get a balanced sound. Making covers of Beatles' songs is really fun as you add your own style to it.

I also wanted to share another one of my manipulated photographs from Alaska. I used Corel's PhotoPaint and KPT'c Collection Pyramid Paint filter. I upped the saturation a bit and lightened up the gamma slightly. I also had cropped out a fence in the right had corner which made for a better overall image.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Just a quick stop by the blog to post. I have been looking through my photographs of mountains and I found this one of an old bridge with the mountains in the background.

I opened the image in Corel's PhotoPaint and I made some adjustments to it. First I upped the saturation by 11 keeping the hue and lightness the same.

I then used KPT' Collection Pyramid Paint filter on it to give it a watercolor appearance.

I like the way the old bridge gives the eye a way to move around the image, at a slight angle. But the horizon is level as you move beyond the bridge to the mountains and river behind.

I have other mountain photographs I may post here as well.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Two Trees with Mountains

Here is a photograph taken with my Canon Rebel XTi while visiting Alaska. I used the AF with Landscape selected. I am still learning this camera so many of my current photos are an automatic setting, changing only from portrait to macro to landscape, etc.

It's versatility amazes me and I am very content with it's quality and the images I get from it.

I have been using my Toneport UX1 quite a bit for writing and recording songs and doing some covers. It really pushes the envelope of my musical abilities. I haven't played much in groups so it is really interesting to get some real drum loops off of the net and play along with them to create songs with a backbeat.

I have been able to download some free drum loops from Jim Dooley's site at Using Audacity the free recording program I import the loop and create a string of them of up to 3-4 minutes or so and then try my best to match the beat, like using a metronome of a real drum sound. It is really enjoyable and a challenge for me. Jim offers all his drum loops and samples for about $29.99, which I hope to purchase some time. In the mean time - Thanks, Jim Dooley!

Toneport offers so many preset guitar styles that it is so much fun to select various types and explore what my acoustic 12-string guitar can sound like electronically. The accompanying software Gearbox has many presets of styles and mix and match amplifier presets that you can create some really wayout sounds with an acoustic guitar with a Woody Seymour Duncan pickup stuck in the soundhole.

It is really just plain fun!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Culvert Bridge

I've taken this photograph of a Culvert Bridge and brought it into Painter 8. I used some of the cloner brushes, watercolor, soft cloner, also liquid ink brushes to make the image.

The original piece was darker than I wanted so I loaded the image into PhotoPaint and adjusted the gamma to about 1.20 to lighten it up a bit.

Nearby were some salmon that were guarding their eggs from predators. I did get some photographs of them but they are fairly uninteresting, one had to really be there to appreciate the scene.

Interesting fact about salmon is as they guard their eggs, they are dying as part of the cycle. As they get closer to death, I was told, they turn a darker red. So the reddish ones we saw were closer to death than the others that were more grayish.

Hope you enjoy the 'painting' I did from the photograph. I enjoyed doing it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A quick bit of art

WetCanvas an artists forum I belong to had an October challenge for Digital Art. I selected a portrait by Joycleynsart, it was one of the challenge images.

I brought it into Corel's PhotoPaint and used the Image>Transform>Threshold to make the black portion of the image. Emphasizing the light on the face was the theme.

I made a duplicate and filled it with black, then using Harry's filters plug in I added a color gradient to the filled duplicate.

I switched back to the original and copied it. Then I pasted the copy into the filled color gradient. Using it as an object I then adjusted the Properties to Multiply, which gave me the black only. I then flattened the image to add the blackened areas.

I ended up with the piece shown here.