Saturday, February 28, 2009

By Way of Introduction my Business Card

I have had a number of styles of business cards in the last few years, I needed a makeover. Old information about my previous website Omniartz which is no more due to economics, and I have the new email address too.

I used the Corel Graphics Suite 12 again to make the graphic and the card template for printing on the perforated card stock you can get for simple card making.

I took an image of my Seagull 12-string that I had reworked in Painter 8 and PhotoPaint. I made a soft appearing piece. It's original size is, of course, in color and larger and landscape positioning. I turned it into the grayscale image you see and pasted into CorelDRAW's card template I had made. I made it a portrait position to add it to the basic card structure I already had.

I added the new email address and my blog URL, increasing the type size a bit for easier reading. I tried to keep it simple yet attractive. Now I have printed out some cards and they are ready to use "By Way of Intoduction".

Now playing on Windows Media Player: Kirk Mathew Gatzka - Krackle Snap Pop
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dan and His Epiphone

This is my friend, Dan, playing his Epiphone 6-string guitar. Dan is quite talented but is very modest about his abilities.

He knows how to read tablature and play it, and is willing to help me learn it too. But time constraints plague us all. So I haven't taken advantage of it yet.

We have similar tastes in music (he likes the Eagles) and he also likes to do karaoke singing. When we visit we have a great time singing oldies and laughing it up when we make mistakes and plain goof off with funny songs like 'Elvira', or some other odd songs he has in his collection.

I got this photo of Dan from him. I opened it in PhotoPaint and I masked him out. I did the background usings Harry's filters patterns then adjusted the pattern with PhotoPaint's Custom> Alchemy> filter. I saved the image and opened it in Paint.NET and using the Artistic> Ink> filter I altered it to have this inklike appearance. Oh yes, while in PhotoPaint I adjusted the Saturation by 15 to boost the colors.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Seagull 12-string Tritone

This is my other 'Baby' my Seagull 12-string guitar. I opened the photograph in Photopaint and using the Image> Color Mode> Duotone and selected the Tritone function.

Gave me this nice warm color to the photograph.

I visited Village Guitar today and played an Ampeg Electric 6-string guitar and really enjoyed myself. I tuned down to the Double Drop D and played around with some chording and a little bit of lead. Man, it was a good time!

I would like to add an electric to my paintbrushes of music. It would add so much to it. I did learn a different way of holding the guitar. You cradle it between your legs like a Classical Guitar player, tilting the neck in toward your body, very cool. Being self-taught I suppose I have all sorts of bad habits in my playing style. Always great to learn something new!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Blast from the Past

We were going through some old photos just last night and we found this one of my wife when she was about 16 years old.

Kind of reminds one of Grace Slick, now I am showing my age!

I scanned the photograph into PhotoPaint and altered the Color Hue from black and white to the cool blue seen here.

I now have the photograph up on the shelf were I can see it everyday. I met her when she was 17 and we have known each other for 39 years this month.

I went to the library the other day and was able to get the new CD of Robert Plant and Allison Krauss - Raising Sand which recently won an award. I really like the music, very unexpected and unusual. The tunes are listed as Folk but I think they are more Folk/Rock. Really good stuff! I highly recommend this music. I also got other CD's:

Kenny Chesney Live
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Greatest Hits
Allison Krauss - Now That I've Found You
Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall

Some great listening!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dualing Gibsons

I'd love to own a Gibson guitar, but then again I'd love to own more than one guitar, which includes many styles and types. Original photograph by John Weigel - used by permission.

Here I created a version of dual Gibsons in computer colors, using PhotoPaint. This f-hole hollow body electric is a beauty of a guitar. It reminds me of one of the first guitars I learned on, it looked a lot like these but was a different make.

I remember that the action was terrible, the strings were so high on it that it hurt to play it. I got it from my Uncle who had never gotten the action adjusted. I was really happy except for that, I had a fancy guitar that was all that mattered.

Later my parents bought me a Harmony Acoustic guitar as a gift. That was the first guitar I had brand new. It's action was marginally better and I still had to press down on those strings pretty hard to play legit chords. Only later on did I get a Woody pickup and a tube amplifier. Man did I like feedback and tremolo in those days! Much later I bought my first 12-string, it was a Crestwood, the action was much better. I used to use GHS heavy gauge strings for the big sound, and I think this ultimately ruined the neck because of the stress of those strings.

In those days I did not tune down to a lower pitch, so I was very stupid about guitar care and keeping. I sold that guitar for a few dollars to Elderly Instruments in Lansing, Michigan. I had also purchased a 6-string Fender Acoustic that had been through a fire but was fine to play. I remember that we needed money then as the economy was bad and we were so tight we sold both guitars and a fiddle my wife had. I was sad to see them go and it was quite awhile before I had another guitar.

All in all I have had a few good guitars but the Seagull 12-string I have now is the best of the bunch. My Takamine 6-string acoustic was a good guitar, but I had to sell that one and an amp too, times were tough again. I have been able to keep the Seagull for a long time now. I did have the action adjusted on it. And I now tune it down to a lower pitch even though I don't use those heavy gauge strings anymore. It is a good guitar.

But as I said I'd love to have others. Martin, Fender Electric, Epiphone, etc. I'd like an electric 6-string for learning more about playing lead guitar and blues and slide guitar. Someday maybe I'll win one in those online contests I keep entering.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Clip Art Guitars

Here is a collage of guitar clip art from Corel's Graphic Suite 12. I also included a couple of what appear to be Lutes. This is over a background of a doubled guitar image that I manipulated in PhotoPaint.

I incorporated the Graphic Suite to do various parts of creation of the piece. CorelDRAW, CorelTRACE, and as mentioned PhotoPaint.

The clip art was not designed by me, I just used it in the collage, with few changes if any.

This motif has been of interest to me of late and I continue to scour the web for images that I can get permission to use.

We live not too many miles away from MotorCity Guitars and I have thought of taking my camera to take some pictures of the hundreds of guitars they have there. There is also Pontiac Music and Sound and the Village Guitar shops close by. I may do a series based on these stores if I get permission to do some photography with each of them. Come to think of it, maybe I could do interviews about the stores, too. If I did this what kind of questions might you ask of a vendor of some of the world's finest guitars? Comment on this and you could be included in the blog entry about these fine shops.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Vector - Guitars

I have been enamoured of this way of creating images using Corel's Graphic Suite programs. Here is another Vector / Bitmap collage / montage piece I worked on today.

I love the guitar motif and add pretty girls and you can come up with a large variety of images.

I used CorelTRACE, CorelDRAW, and PhotoPaint to make this piece using similar techniques as I have before. I like the chunky funky feel of this style.

It generally starts with a photograph that I take or was taken by some one I know. At times I use those found on the web and I try to identify the original photographer to credit. I haven't found out who did the photo of the circle of guitars yet. If you recognize it, Please let me know it's origin so I can credit them properly.

I found out that my daughter has been doing some work on her PC in Photoshop 7 and am trying to talk her into sharing some of her work here in the future. She does really well using a mouse! Which is my down falling on the Mac G4 - no tablet from Wacom on it, so I don't use Photoshop 7 that much. I have Iomega's Zip100's on both machines so I can share data between computers. So I may use Photoshop 7 for some adjustments or filters from time to time. But it slows down the workflow so I don't usually do so.

Please feel free to comment on my work.

Vector - Guitars

I have been enamoured of this way of creating images using Corel's Graphic Suite

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rob Sylvain - Guitarist

I have another Vector graphics image done. I did it late last night. I found the photograph of guitarist Rob Sylvain, on Flickr with a Creative Commons license which allowed for derivative work to be done.

The photographer is Chris Darling and the link to the photograph is here. The Creative Commons link is here. I hope I have credited this the correct way. I followed the instructions of the CC.

I used CorelTRACE again and modified the photo to a vector image. Adjusting it to my liking, in CorelDRAW, and adding color as well. Opening it as a bitmap in PhotoPaint I added the lettering, the tools, paint brushes, the bottles and the 'sparkles' with the spray brush tool I had used in a previous work shown here recently.

I resized it and saved it as jpg for sharing on the blog. I used and searched for 'guitar' and found this image which is stored on Flickr. A very useful website for finding photographs that you can use according to their individual CC license. Some have all rights reserved so that places them out of reach. Others have a more open license and you can use them for sharing in an appropriate way as long as you attribute them to the owner.

I for one appreciate the Creative Commons listings, makes it easier to find photographs that you can use for Digital Visual Art. So my thanks to Chris for the generosity!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Vector - Obligatory Warholian

Obligatory Warholian image. Every one needs make one of these kinds of images. She is no Marilyn Monroe but she made for a good subject for this popular style. What a nice smile she has!

I have done a self-portrait like this but it did not turn out as good as this has. Self-portraits make me feel like I am self-centered, and I truly try not to be. Some artist's are self-absorbed, elaborately wordy in explanation of their artwork. I think I just do art for the charge I get out of the creative act.

I do digital art because 1) I like computers, 2) I love the colors you can use on computers, 3) I can do art the more traditional way, 4) but I like the speed and ease and the ability to undo while creating digital art. And one can always incorporate traditional work into digital art works.

I am certain that Andy Warhol had fun with his art, no doubt in my mind that he was a playful artist. But to judge his self-interest, I cannot do, for I lack the credentials of a true art historian. I only know about what I have read (which is quite a bit of art history, from many perspectives) and seen on PBS!

So a touch of humor with today's post.

Thank you for the recent comments. I need the feedback like any artist or creative does, it's good for us to get information from our audience.

Please feel free to comment! And you can tally up the Reactions if you would like to, even though there are only 3 that you are allowed to choose from.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Vector - Music Grafitti

This image is kind of funky. But my wife liked it.

It is a vector experi- ment. I have been having an enjoyable time trying out differing methods of incorporating vector clip art with a traced bitmap image. Find the face? (upper left you can clearly see the eye).

I also tried out a different way of framing the image. I used both the freehand drawing tool in CorelDRAW adding to the width of the pen, and some painting of the jagged lines with PhotoPaint's paint brush.

I used the object multiply option quite a bit on the individual pieces of clip art I added to the picture. This gave them a transparency to allow what was below them to show through.

It is an older piece than the other Vector images I have shared recently here. I liked the way the others turned out better than this one. But I need to show my attempts even when I don't think they measure up to what I am trying to express as well as they could. I am an imperfect artist and some of my work isn't what I'd call my best.

Comments are always welcome. Or your reaction is ok too.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Vector - Digital Gal

Some more Vector work with use of some letters and numbers and symbols, also some painting.

I took one of the more large pieces of vector (on the right) and played with the shape tool to create an odd shape instead of a block like one. Added the curves and changed the color.

I also used the fill tool to alter the colors of the face. And painted around the lips.

In PhotoPaint I used the copy then applied the Effects> Art Strokes> crayon filter, to which I pasted the image back in and as an object I altered the properties to Multiply and laid its transparency over the crayon filtered background. I merged the object to the background.

It became a rather intense piece. I added the purple 1' and 0's as a contrast to the orange in the face highlighting the digital intent of this image.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Vector - Sad Gal

As you can see 'Sad Gal' is another Vector experiment. I used similar techniques as before. But, instead of vector clip art I used PhotoPaint's Spray Brush tool. It allows you to 'spray' on your image differing images like the butterflies and drops and the sparkles and lightning.

I have been practicing some of those new chord progressions on the guitar using differing strumings and finger picking. I only have one style of finger picking so I just vary the speed at which I pick. My wife said it sounded very relaxing as she had gone to bed and was relaxing at the time I was finger picking, in the other room. So maybe a ballad is in the making.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Vector - Spring Gal

Lost electrical power this morning, it has been rainy and windy here yesterday, and windy today. Now it has been restored and I can get on with my works online!

I have made another Vector collage using CorelDRAW and I am sharing it today. (As you can see I am wishfully thinking of Spring again.) I used all the same techniques I mentioned in my last post 'Vector - Fashion Gal', so there is no need to explain them again.

I wanted to post another link, this one to the Artful Blogging magazine at Stampington. It's a great magazine for those of us who are trying to share our art by blogging. I could only hope to be included in one of their issues. The Winter issue was quite marvelous, with a variety of blogs and styles covered.

In passing I would also like to mention FoxyTunes an addon (if that is the proper term, perhaps plugin?) to Firefox browser. It allows you to control your Media player from the browser itself and can add to your email and blog postings a little note about what song you are currently listening to like a signature on your email or posting.

Here it is: displaying a song I wrote I am playing right now in Windows Media Player.

You may find it handy or not, it depends. I think there may be a version for IE but I don't know for sure as I use Firefox almost exclusively for browsing and blogging.

Now playing on Windows Media Player: Kirk Mathew Gatzka - It Might Just Be Me
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Vector - Fashion Gal

I wanted to do some work with vector graphics so I selected a jpg image of a young woman and brought it into CorelTRACE. This program traces all the color segements of any bitmap image, I used the Advanced Trace tool. Then saved the file as a Corel CMX file.

I opened this file in CorelDRAW and 'exploded' it by ungrouping all the segements, selecting only parts of the picture and moved them slightly.

I opened the CorelDRAW Clipart CD and selected some fashion and floral clipart to add to the image. I used the duplicate function to create additional images, also making them smaller as I went. After I placed the clipart, I selected the entire image and grouped all the segments of vectored pieces and converted it to an anti-aliased bitmap.

Opening PhotoPaint I copied and placed this image into it. There I selected white areas with the wand tool and added texture and color from Harry's Filters plugin. I added the sparkles using the Spray Brush tool. And finished off with the copyright symbol and my signature.

Now playing on Windows Media Player: Kirk Mathew Gatzka - EGAC_Run_Am7_Em_G_D
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More Singing and Guitar Playing

More singing more guitar playing more photograph manipulation. I used a variety of tools and filters in Paint.NET and PhotoPaint for this image.

I played with the lines, texture, gamma, saturation in creating this image. I added a small frame to it using the 3D bevel effect tool in PhotoPaint.

I searched my CorelDRAW Cds for photoframes and found some that I haven't used yet. Mainly because they aren't the edging I'm looking for. I'm looking for edges like the polaroid emulsion photographs that were popular a while back. I may try to duplicate that myself but I'm not sure where to start as yet. A challenge for myself!

If you know of a technique for making such frames/backgrounds let me know with a comment here. I would appreciate it. Be it in Photoshop 7 or PhotoPaint I would try it out if you comment about it.

I found some new chord progressions that I am playing on the guitar, hoping to inspire a few new songs. I like what I've found, now comes the melody and lyrics. Sometime that is the hardest part.

I remember a movie with Michael Fox where his character turned on the televison and took a phrase from an old movie and used it as a beginning phrase for a song. Joan Jett was in it with him. I can't seem to remember the name of the movie right now. Brain fog, I'm showing my age again!

Anyway waiting for the ideas to come. I'll play the progessions, sing a little with them, practice that and then wait some time for the lyrics to develop.

Or maybe I'll do what Michael Fox did!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Thinking of Spring and Warmer Weather

Personally I am tired of winter weather. I don't do well in the cold. I guess I am showing my age. Some like the skiing and snowmobiling and other winter sports like ice fishing.

So I did this collage of pictures from our gardens. I took all the photographs at various times during the season. I manipulated only two of them.

I used Picasa 3 for making the collage. It allows you to pick a background image so I selected the yellow iris. The center photograph was taken in the autumn, I took it with the sun behind the flowers ending up with a gold like color of the stems.

The purple iris on the right I painted in Painter 8. And the yellow iris I manipulated in PhotoPaint. The rest of the photographs stand on their own.

The weather is unusually warm for February and the sun is out, so I am thinking Spring!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Two Singers

Two Singers is a music related image that is not about guitars but performance. Two very differing voices sharing a moment in time singing together. Music is not only the instruments one uses but the voice one uses as well.

My voice doesn't have much range and certainly not the force it had when I was a younger man. But I still enjoy singing a great song, an oldie or one of my own making.

Both of these two young men are multi-talented musically and are really good songwriters. One is absolutely a genius with computer recording and is very much the perfectionist. (He is on the right) He started playing piano at 3 or 4 years old. And has programmed an operating system starting at a young age.

He has used Renoise, a computer program for music editing to great success. He is just plain good at it!

The other young man writes and sings his own compositions, too. He has written many really good songs, musically and lyrically. (On the left) His song can be soothing love songs. But I am certain he can rock as well.

This photograph was taken by my son and manipulated by myself. I used Paint.NET and PhotoPaint to make this piece.

Picasa 3 - Guitar Collage

I truly like guitars as a subject, both the playing of them and the way they look. I had taken some photographs of a Takamine 6-string and my Seagull 12-string. I manipulated some of these and others I left alone.

Using Picasa 3's collage building tool I made this collage. I used the grid making tool to separate each image by itself, selecting a basic brown for the grid color. Opening it in PhotoPaint I resized it for display here.

I upped the saturation and adjusted the gamma to highlight the color and deepen the image. I also used the 3D bevel effect for making a frame.

No clip art today, just photographs taken by myself of these two great guitars.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Experiments in Photo Montage

Here is another experiment in digital montage/collage work. I used many of the same methods described in my previous post.

Once again I used a photograph of a young lady and some Dover Publications Clip Art, and a quote from a Gutenberg Press novel.

I have found these types of pieces to be fulfilling to create and enjoyable to look at. The combination of each individual piece of the whole makes for an entertaining image. Each one adds interest and depth to it.

I don't do scrapbooking but if I did I would do it digitally using the same tools I use to create images like this.

I am going to add a link to Picasa 3 for those of you who have an interest in using it to keep track of your photographs and digital images you create. It is a good tool for that and has other functions that make it interesting to use in conjunction with your other image or photo editing software. So look for it and give it a test run to see if you like it as I do.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Montage - Experiments with Clip Art

Working with some Dover Clip Art and a quotation from a book and a photograph of a young lady I created this piece.

I used Paint.NET's Artistic> Sketch filter to make the photograph look like a sketch. Then opened the file in PhotoPaint. I went to my Dover Publications Clip Art folder and found this frame and imported it into PhotoPaint. I combined the two by copying the frame onto the clipboard and pasting it as an object into the sketch. Resized the frame to fit and changed it's property to Multiply to make it transparent. Then merged it with the sketch.

I did the same for the other objects, the cat and the ship and merged those as well. Then using a quote from a Gutenberg Press text novel I added that with copy, paste, Multiply also.

For the background colors I used Harry's filters. Which is a step I did earlier on. I had copied and pasted the sketch on it again using the property Multiply.

Music wise I have been listening to the Greatest hit of 'The Doors' on cassette tape. The tapes I received from a friend with all the 80's music. I also had listened to the Eagles Greatest hits. And a couple of 80's musicians I have never heard of, along with a Jeff Foxworthy comedy tape.

Haven't played the guitar much lately. Still need some new ideas to come to me for some additional songs for 'One Tough Baby'.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dodge Truck Collage

We found this old Dodge Truck on one of our drives last summer. I had just gotten my new Canon XTi and I took dozens of photographs of it.

Many of these I reworked as painterly images. I also had a few forest photographs as well. I did some manipulations on various ones and left some of them untouched.

Using Picasa 3 I created a large collage from these works. I resized it in PhotoPaint for display here.

Take a closer look by opening this image for the details. You will see the painted ones and manipulated pieces mingled with the untouched photographs. The Centerpiece being a painted image using Painter 8.

By the Way, Corel Corp is having it's 20th year anniversary and has a deal on an Intuos Wacom Tablet with their Graphics Suite X4. It is a great deal and I thought that it would be good to pass on. Click on my "Corel" listing below to go to the homepage to read about it.

I recommend Corel products though I am not employed or affiliated with them. It is my many years of experience using their products that are a great alternative to Adobe's price wise. I do own Photoshop 7 but it is on my Mac G4 without a tablet so I don't use it as often as I would if I had a Wacom tablet on the G4. Painting and doing graphics with a mouse is something I am not really good at.

I just added a list of sites that are my favorites. It is just a beginning list so feel free to take a look at the sites listed. I am not affilated with any of them, they all are useful for me in my digital visual artwork and music recording.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Wizz Jones - Bluesman

Concluding my series of Bluesmen from Blue Front Blues Room is a portrait of Wizz Jones. Photographic credit goes to John Anderson.

I am very happy with this series of images. I really enjoyed working on them and I am grateful to John for his kindness in letting me use his photographs to work with.

Each one has it's little quirks and style but pulled together they make a great Picasa 3 collage. I made one just yesterday and I have yet to print it out. All told I did 12 pieces based upon a different Blues person each time.

Digital Visual Art is great to work with. There are so many possibilities and tools and programs to work with. Along with my programs and plugins I use a Wacom tablet for digital pieces. It is like using a pencil/pen/brush/crayon to draw with and create such images. I revel in the creative process and the speed and variety at which I can work given the computer and such tools, and programs.

I hope you have enjoyed the series! Comments are welcome on any one of the images I create and post here. Or just mark your Reaction to a post, that is welcome as well. Please pass on to your Friends my blog URL, I would like to share with as many people as I can, Thank You!

We will now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Perry Foster - Bluesman

Second to the last post of portraits from the Blue Front Blues Room. Photograph credit goes to John Anderson. I have been enjoying this series and I hope you are as well.

Here is Perry Foster performing with his guitar and singing. I used Paint.NET to create the line work using it's Artistic> Sketch filter, I saved it as a separate file. I opened both in PhotoPaint altered the saturation of the original by about 25. I added the line work as an object and changed it's properties to Multiply, dropped it to the background, changed the Gamma to lighten up the dark areas. I saved the file after I added the frame and my copyright, then opened it in Painter 8 to add the texture to it. Each step adding a little something to the finished piece.

I have added my blog to FeedBurner to make it easier to subscribe to for many. I checked my listing in Google's blogsearch and I come up about 4th or 5th in the listings for 'Digital Visual Arts'. Not bad.

I am increasing the blogs I follow, adding art blogs, but I am keeping the number down to keep my time under control. I am very specific as to who I want to follow as well as what my interests are, Art and Music.

I have improved my blog heading. I also added a picture at the end of the my blog which I may change infrequently. It is an image that began as a photograph of Onions grown in our garden on the kitchen counter with a red towel. I altered that image so the colors were predominant. I added images of guitars and a couple of guitar players to make it more of a digital montage/collage.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Paul Cowley - Bluesman

Well, I will soon be wrapping up this series of portraits from the Blue Front Blues Room. Photograph credit to John Anderson.

I like the warm tone of this particular image. I used PhotoPaint's crayon filter for it's softer appearance. Adding the line work from Thredgeholder.

I am slowly coming out of the mid winter blues and am happy it is sunny today. Those overcast days get to you after awhile. I look forward to warmer weather, as many people do.

I have been reviewing my tunes for "One Tough Baby" CD and I have yet to complete the number of songs for it, I have 11 already. I need to do some Rock tunes for it that will really round it out, and maybe a couple more Oldies, interpreted by my style. That should just about do it.