Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nickelodeon Party Store - Painter 8

This is from a photograph taken by my son, Keir M Gatzka of the Nickel-
odeon Party Store and Restaurant
, now closed due to the economy. It started out as a black and white photograph but I turned it into a quadtone in PhotoPaint then converted it back into an RGB 24-bit file. Saving that I proceeded to do my creative work.

I opened the photograph in Painter 8 and cloned the image. I then took a small Sumi-e brush and outlined the structure complete with lights, sign and awnings. After I used that brush I added in color using the Watercolor Dry Bristle brush. I followed the lines of the architecture and surrounding greenery.

I used PhotoPaint again to add a Photo Frame in Filter Forge's Frames.

Listening to: Kirk Mathew Gatzka - Move In Time
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

All Ready to Go - Painter 8

Here is a Painter 8 oil painting of Zeke, my Grandson. A recent outing tired him so he went to sleep. I used the Dry Bristle Brushes for this piece, alternating between the smaller detail and larger detail brushes. I also added to his facial details with the soft cloner brush. I did a Surface texture adjustment and lightened the image as well.

Saving that file I opened it in PhotoPaint and applied Filter Forge's Halftone Frame, I felt the blue tied in nicely with the blue of his outfit.

Listening to: Kirk Mathew Gatzka - Peaceful Tones

Monday, March 29, 2010

My Wife as a Teenager - Painter 8

When you fall in love it can last a long time. Here is an painting of my wife as a teenager. She was in Washington State visiting family when the original photograph was taken.

I opened the photograph in Painter 8 and cloned the image then used some of the Painter 8 Wow! Book's brushes, some colored pencils, and digital watercolor brushes as well for the painting.

We've know each other for 40 years this last February. Quite a long time, I consider myself fortunate to have met her and to still be with her.

I have been listening to some new songs by members of the Acoustic Guitar Community that I belong to, some fantastic players and singers out there! If you play Acoustic Guitar and write songs I recommend this group for you. See the link at the bottom of my blog.

"Twist in the Logic," by Ross Johnson is one of the songs I played today. It has historical references to the loss of a farm to the bankers and a loss of a home to foreclosure and homelessness. Quite a song.

Listening to: Ross Johnson - Twist in the Logic

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Old Ford Sedan - Lightroom 2 Trial

Still trying out my 30 day trial of Adobe's Lightroom 2. I garnered this photograph from as a freebie. As you can see it is an Old Ford Sedan taken slightly at an angle.

I applied many adjustments including Tone Curve and Shadows and Saturation and tried the Vignette as well. All of this deepened the colors and focused the viewer on the car, getting rid of too much white on the right hand side of the image.

I also saved the file and opened it in PhotoPaint to add a Photo Frame using Filter Forge's Frames. A narrow addition to the photograph.

I am enjoying using Lightroom 2 and will continue to experiment with it's features during the trail period. Buying it is another thing as we had car trouble this month that cost us a pretty penny to get it back on the road. It's always something!

Listening to: Eric Clapton - White Room

Friday, March 26, 2010

Trial 30 Days with Adobe Lightroom 2

I downloaded the trial copy of Adobe's Lightroom 2 yesterday and decided to give it a try. What can it hurt? 30 days of trial and error to play creatively with.

Only problem is I don't remember all the settings I changed doing this current vintage Dodge Truck photograph. I know I changed the Tone Curve, and I changed the contrast and saturation but don't ask me how I did it.

Anyway this photograph was taken some time ago and I have many versions of the truck. I like this one because of the light on the foreground. And the depth my changes in Lightroom made to it really takes the viewer there. It was a bright and sunny afternoon, so the truck was partially in shadow and in the light. I tried to enhance the effect in Lightroom. Take a look at the larger image in your browser and I think you'll agree.

I was also finding time for some recording again yesterday. I used my 12-string and the Toneport UX1 with Gearbox and Audacity. I did two instrumentals, one with a drum backbeat, uptempo, and another without. The second song I played is very light and soft for my playing. My wife liked it, so I guess it must be OK. She is my best critic, I am always hard on myself, I hear all the little mistakes. I truly am an amateur! But I enjoy it so much.

I did post a song for critique on The Acoustic Guitar Community I belong to. I don't know if you have to be a member to download the MP3 of "The Last Good Cowboy" or not. But here is a link to the discussion about the song and one of the comments has a link to the song's MP3. If you would like to hear it go HERE.

If you must join to share I don't have anywhere else to place the MP3'S at this time for storage online. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Listening to: Kirk Mathew Gatzka - The Last Good Cowboy

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Painter 8 - Watercolor Portrait

I found this watercolor portrait in my files yesterday. It's my Daughter and Son n Law sometime after their wedding, before they become new parents. They are younger here, which I can attest to being the parent.

I painted this with Painter 8's watercolor brushes. First I had used Painter's Sketch filter to give me a line image to work on. I selected a number of different brushes for this piece.

Using PhotoPaint I also applied Filter Forges Freepack - Frames for the watercolor look to the framing, added a 10pixel dark frame for viewing the larger image in your browser.

Yesterday I go out my 12-string Guitar and plugged it into my Toneport UX1 and suing the Gearbox software I looked up some chord progressions. I used a chord progression of A Bm C#m D E F#m G for some practice. I opened Audacity and began recording.

As with many incidents of recording I exported my tracks to an MP3 and listened to it in Windows Media Player. I kid you not it sounded horrible! I couldn't believe what started out to be a nice tune ended up so wrong! So I deleted it from my library and hard drive.

It may sound harsh but I still have the chord progression to play around with and I may create a more palatable song from it someday. But this one was not good at all. Sometimes that just happens!

Listening to - Blues Run One - by Kirk Mathew Gatzka

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fractals and Guitars - I Love Rock n Roll

Was looking at the Enter-
tainment news when I dis-
covered a movie about Joan Jett. I probably won't go see it as it is for younger persons than myself but the trailer was interesting.

I began this piece with a mirrored Fractal image as the background. I added the guitars and did some cutting and pasting of guitar parts into the collage.

I had looked at an old video of Joan Jett's "I Love Rock n Roll" and decided to add the tabs and lyrics of the refrain in the image. I also added some paint splatters dripping onto the piece. So "put another dime in the jukebox baby!"

This was all accomplished in PhotoPaint, the mirrored fractal began in Apophysis and was mirrored in PhotoPaint as well. I also used Filter Forge's Frames again, which is one of my favorite framing filters at present.

Listening to: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - I Love Rock 'n' Roll

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Grandma and Zeke - Painter 8

This piece began with a photograph I took of my wife with our Grandson Zeke. I opened it in Painter 8 and applied the Color Correction filter to lighten the image. I cloned the image and ran the Auto Clone brush Rain on it to create a textured base.

Using Painter 8 Wow! Books Chalk brushes I painted over the base, I also used the Soft Cloner for details around the eyes and mouth. I wanted it to appear painterly but a bit more realistic than I usually paint.

I saved that file and altered the background in PhotoPaint using the Effects> Custom> Alchemy> filter on it. Then I applied Filter Forge's - Photoframe to the image for a dark frame.

As you can see both Grandparents are happy and pleased to have a new Grandson. We weren't expecting to have any Grandchildren but now we do and we are loving it.

Listening to: B.B. King - Three O'clock Blues

Monday, March 22, 2010

Grandpa and Zeke Together

Here I am with my new Grandson, Zeke. The original photograph was taken by my wife, Laurie G. Gatzka with our Canon Rebel XTi, at my Daughters home.

I opened it in Paint.NET and used the Artistic> Ink Sketch> filter setting both the ink pen size and the color lower than the default settings. Saving the large file I opened it in PhotoPaint and used the masking tool to outline and mask out both Zeke and myself. I used Effects> Custom> Alchemy> on the unmasked portion of the image. I adjusted the second color to a lighter gray.

Still in PhotoPaint I used Image> Papersize> black to enlarge the image. Then I applied Filter Forge's Frames - Photoframe adding the gray framing with a white border.

I kept the Digital Manipulation simple for this piece to leave in as many details as I could, but make it an interesting image.

Zeke is too young to smile just yet but as you can see Grandpa is happy!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

First Day of Spring - Like Every Other Day - But Different

First Day of Spring and it is cold and overcast here in Southeast Michigan. So I looked for a photograph from among previous years gardens. I found this one. One of my favorites, Lilies in full blossom.

I opened this in Paint.NET and applied a filter to simplify the image. Saving that file I opened it in Painter 8 and used the Watercolor brushes to paint it. Flat brush for the background, Wet Camel brush for the foreground.

I also opened this in PhotoPaint and applied Filter Forge's Frames - Watercolor; with some adjustments to the edge size and rounded corners. Then added a 10pixel frame of Murky Green to finish it.

Listening to: The Mamas & The Papas - San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy Dad and Son - Painter 8

Being a Grandparent gives ample opportunity to draw and paint. I took this black and white photograph, taken by my son Keir M Gatzka, and opened it in Paint.NET. Using the Artistic> Pencil Sketch> filter I created a pencil like sketch.

Saving that file I opened it in Painter 8, where I used a Liquid Ink pen at a small size and did some more sketching on the image. I took this and created a watercolor layer and began painting using the Flesh Tone palette. I also selected the light blues to compliment the flesh tones and add a bit more color.

Here we have a watercolor of my Son in Law and my new Grandson, Zeke. I also used Filter Forge's Freepack - Frames again for the framing. Adding a black line frame by using PhotoPaint's Image> Paper Size> 10 pixels.

Last evening I opened up my Gearbox software and my microphone set to a Detroit RnB vocal setting and did some Blues playing. I did three tracks, one for the blues line with flatpicking and the second was a lead track, the third was a rhythm track. It's only about a minute and a half long but it was fun to practice and hear what I came up with. I recorded it in Audacity and created an MP3 using the Lame MP3 extension. Great fun.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Milestone - 5,000+ Pageviews for gatzkART!

A milestone has been made for gatzkART, today we posted over 5,000 Pageviews since March of 2009. Not bad for a relatively unknown Digital Visual Artist and Musicians blog. I have had the blog longer but did not begin using Google Analytics until then. So the number of visitors shows the visits to be closing on 4,000 but the actual Pageviews has been more.

Time to celebrate that milestone! What should I do? Create yet another post to gatzkART, of course.

Today's image is taken from a photograph of unknown origin. I want to give the photographer proper credit so if this photograph is familiar to you and you know who took it please post your comment!

I opened the photograph in Painter 8 and used more of the Painter 8 Wow! Book's brushes to replicate it with a painterly approach. I used oils, chalk, knives for texture, and Painter's own Digital Watercolor brushes for this piece. I was attempting a quick paint approach using the tools fairly fast and not going for a realistic view.

I applied the Filter Forge Freepack - Frames Grunge style frame to the painting in PhotoPaint. I also resized it for the web in PhotoPaint. Making it 1024x683 in size and compressing the jpg by 25 with smoothing set to 12.

I really like the expression on this gal's face and have done other permutations of this using vector art in CorelTRACE and CorelDRAW. The resulting image was striking and visually very different that this one.

I did some blues playing on my guitars yesterday. Using a technique that I garnered from a YouTube video. Very simple addition to my guitar playing. I also looked up the lyrics and chords for Staind's Tangled Up In You. It proved to be a simple chord structure but even with the 12-string I could not do the song justice in my style. They just plain did it better!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Grandson In Gray - Painter 8

Being a new Grandparent is very cool! You get to hold them and give them back if they get too fussy. You also get to photograph and paint them. I turned this photograph into grayscale in Painter 8, then I painted him. I don't always keep notes while painting so I don't remember the brushes used here. Needless to say it was fun to paint Zeke.

I used Filter Forge's Freepack - Frames for the watercolor framing. I am enjoying this Freepack a lot for my recent digital works. No guessing how the frame is going to turn out. You can preview it before hand and make adjustments to the size and style of the framing. I want to thank Filter Forge for providing the Freepacks. This one in particular fits my needs nicely.

Listening to: Alison Krauss - Stick with Me Baby

Monday, March 15, 2010

Painter 8 Wow! Book Brushes - Portrait

Out to try something new I finally loaded up my extra brushes that came with the Painter 8 Wow! Book I bought when I got Painter 8. There are acrylics, chalk, oils, knives, and others I had not yet loaded or tried. So I took the time to finally do so.

Here is a portrait I endeavored to paint using these newer brushes. I used the chalk brushes to begin and then switched around using others. I didn't keep track of all of them, but you can see some grainy, some impasto as well as the chalk brushes.

The photograph came from an online service called Font Type (if I recall it correctly.) I opened the photograph in Painter 8 and began to paint. Having so much fun I did not pay attention to details much, oh yes, I used some of the Wow! blenders as well in the portrait.

I used Filter Forges Freepack - Frames for the grunge matting and the Photo Frame.

Listening to: Kirk Mathew Gatzka - EGAC_Run_Am7_Em_G_D

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Grunge Guitars - Stucco Texture

If you look closely at the image posted today you will see a Face on the right. This face was suggested by the overlaid stucco texture placed upon the guitars. Honest it was there so I just drew what I saw.

It is odd how faces will present themselves in things like textures, wallpaper design, drapery, and other unusual places where you make be looking. On the floor the wall the reflection, if you are looking they look back at you.

I used PhotoPaint for this piece, I opened one of my guitar photographs, adding the texture using object property Multiply. I had to re-size the texture to conform to the photographs dimensions, done by hand eye dragging the corner of the texture.

I added a grunge frame with Filter Forges Freepack - Frames with some adjustments made to the stock grunge frame they give you. For what it does I really am liking using these frame filters. They add some depth and interest to my digital visual art.

I have been playing the guitars a bit and was using the chord progression you see here: Am C G Em F Dm7. I was fingerpicking which I need the practice in as I normally flatpick when I want that other than a strumming pattern. I have one basic fingerpicking pattern and it varies a little. Again having no formal training I do the best I can and have fun.

Listening to: Bob Seager - Simplicity

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pet Painting - Linus - Impressionistic

We have a cat named Linus, who was particularly relaxed the other night so we took a few photographs. He looks like a Maine Coon Cat, but is a mix.

I admire others portrait paintings of pets, so I cropped one of the photographs of Linus and tried my hand using Painter 8's Impressionist brushes. I kept very close to the photograph as I did not want to stray from the appearance of our pet.

The wispy hair was a challenge, which I hope shows well in this portrait. I also used Filter Forge's Freepack - Frames watercolor frame with a small border I added in PhotoPaint. I used the Tone Curve to lighten the image up and increased the saturation a bit, enhancing the colors.

We have had Linus since he was a kitten, found outside. Someone had dropped of a whole group of cats and kittens near our home and we adopted two, one of which ran away when we had my son's Rat Terrier visiting. We guess Misty, the other cat, could not stand the desire that JackJack had to play with her and Linus. As you may know Rat Terrier's have great energy and are very active and playful dogs. He is not very big, but has a abundance of playfulness. I may do a portrait of him based on some photographs taken by my son.

Listening to: Kirk Mathew Gatzka - Norwegian Wood Cover

Monday, March 8, 2010

Seeking Guitars - Fractal Imagery

I found a medium sized fractal collage I had done in Apophysis quite a while ago and immediately coupled it with a crop close up of my two guitars. I combined them in PhotoPaint. The resulting image was very dark so I used Tone Curves and Brightness / Contrast / Intensity to adjust the visibility of the piece.

I added a chord progression and some lyrics from JJ Cale's "After Midnight." I want to give proper credit to Mr. Cale and his well known song. It was very popular with Eric Clapton's version.

I have posted recently that I did a cover version myself of that song using my 12-string guitar. I had a backbeat from Line 6's forum of Acid format wave file that I used as well. It does not sound like the original nor the version on Clapton's Crossroads DVD, done by JJ Cale with a medium beat and Eric Clapton playing some bars.

This image may place my roots in the late 60's psychedelia, but I don't mind being dated at all. Visually using fractals can make one's work up to date in that fractals are computer generated and usually fascinating in their scope. I have enjoyed making fractals since I first began computing years ago, and find them full of depth and interest.

Coupling my interest in music with fractals is not new for me, but has been a recurrent theme for me.

Listening to: Amadou and Mariam - Beaux Dimanches

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Grungy Guitars Over a Treadplate - Digital Collage

Sticking with some grunge background textures I selected another from CGTex-
called a painted treadplate for today's image. I opened a photograph of my 6-string and 12-string guitars and overlaid it on the treadplate in PhotoPaint.

I decided to add some Apophysis fractals to the piece. A colleague on PainterTalk has been sharing fractals made with Ultra Fractal which have been marvelous. I have used Apophysis for quite awhile for my fractal play. It's a good program. Appears that the domain name has expired though, as I just tried to get it for a link here.

I also used the Filter Forge Freepack - Frames again for a frame for this image. See my last entry for a link to them.

Listening to: Kirk Mathew Gatzka - She's My Kind of Rain Cover

Friday, March 5, 2010

Digital Collage - Filter Forge Freepack Frames

Digital collage and framing dominate today's image. I began with a photograph taken by my friend David Benjamin of David Benjamin Photography. I added a rusty paint background from with some aqua paint and rust.

To this I added some Dover Floral clipart using PhotoPaint's object property of Color Burn to deepen the color and make the flowers transparent.

I recently downloaded Filter Forge Freepack 3 - Frames which I used here. I first added a black grunge frame encapsulating the image. Then I added some white edge to the image by using Image> Papersize> in PhotoPaint, and surrounded it in white.

Using the Filter Forge frames I added the textured frame adjusting the inside color to black and framed the whole image in a realistic picture frame.

Listening to: Kirk Mathew Gatzka - Photographs

Thursday, March 4, 2010

More Rust - Some Green - ArtRage 2.5

I've done paintings of this Dodge Truck previously, this time I used ArtRage 2.5 Starter Edition. Using the Oils brush I painted a loose image of the truck. Using PhotoPaint I took a copy of the photograph I used for the painting and added back in some detail of the truck and the overgrown greenery surrounding it. I used the object property Multiply to make the photograph transparent so as to see the Oils brushstrokes.

I resized the image for the web and am sharing the results here. I continued to use the Rust color theme for this old truck is completely rust covered. The greens make for a nice contrast against the Rust colors. You can see the Oil brush especially in the front tire, wobbly and green.

Listening to: Rusty Truck - Everytime

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rust Upon Rust - Digital Collage

I really love the color of rust and this image demon-
strates that. I used a rust back-
ground from and combined a rusty, very old style tractor, a rusted truck, a rusted farm implement, plus some Dover Clipart to create this Rust Upon Rust image.

I used PhotoPaint to combine all the mentioned pieces into this collage of rust. I added some clipart hands with old mechanisms at odd places to add some humor to this piece. Look closely at the larger image for the details.

I also found a bit of time to practice playing the 12-string and 6-string guitar which was so much fun I recorded a couple of covers of tunes. I have always liked JJ Cale's "After Midnight" with its chunk a chunk rhythm so I attempted this one for an enjoyable time. Using Audacity I recorded 3 tracks. Two (guitar and vocals) with my microphone only and a Detroit RNB Vocal setting in Gearbox. I put these opposite each other in the right and left channels. Then using a Heavy Guitar setting I added the third track of my attempt at lead playing, not my strong point. I used the 12-string guitar for this recording.

I have some Kenny Chesney (Live) songs on my PC so I looked for some of them and found "Live Those Songs" Tab and chords and lyrics. After some practice I adapted the song to my style a bit and recorded that using the 12-string and vocals. I used the same vocal setting and put the two tracks in the right and left channels. In the middle I messed up the chord structure, but since I only share this with family and friends I didn't bother to re-record the second channel. I know, I'm lazy!

All in all I had fun doing some digital art and recording which I haven't had time to do in quite a while. It was great fun!

Listening to: Kirk Mathew Gatzka - After Midnight Cover

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Portrait - New Grandson - Zeke - Painter 8

We are new Grandparents! And of course I have plenty of subject matter from now on for portrait work. I cropped this photograph to focus in on my Grandson, Zeke. He was 6lbs 3oz and 20 1/2" at birth.

I opened this photograph in Painter 8 and selected Artists> Sargent> brushes and using the palette from the original photograph I began painting. I chose a fairly realistic style for the painting using varying sizes and differing jitter for the Sargent brushes.

I was happy to get a photograph with his eyes fully open so as to have a good shot to work from. I simplified working on this image by cloning in Painter 8. There is some loss of detail but not much. I zoomed in for the eyes and mouth and used a very small brush for those details. I wanted to show how much he looks like his Dad.

The experience of being a new Grandparent is not dissimilar to being a new parent. A lot of amazement and joy at the birth. Now to learn how to Grandparent! It is fun according to sources I have talked with. So much to look forward to.

Listening to: Kirk Mathew Gatzka - EGDA AE Run