Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Two Experiments - A Nebula - Pastel Floral

I recently was on the Hubble Telescope site [click here] and was admiring the color photo-
graphs there. I then was working with Apophysis the fractal generator and I created a fractal that looked like the Nebulae I saw on that site.

Doing a print screen I opened it in PhotoPaint and using the Clone tool I created this fractal Nebula. Adding a couple of star like Lens Flares from KPT's Collection I emphasized the other worldliness of the image. It was an enjoyable experiment in fractal imaging and the use of cloning. I really liked the palette of the fractal as well.

I haven't done much painting lately so I fired up Painter 8 and decided to do a floral piece in chalk and pastels with a bit of corrugated texture and watercolor.

I started from scratch thinking about our reddish June lilies which I then did using the chalk and pastels. I added some watercolors to the background and framed the image using Filter Forge's Freepack 3 - Frames.

Listening to: Kenny Chesney - Back Where I Come From

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

More Greenhouse Images - Full - Closeup

Using Picasa 3 I was browsing my greenhouse photographs of flowers and came across this one of Lilies. I love the uniform greenery of these flowers and they make a great background

I used Paint.NET, PhotoPaint, Painter 8 for these images using many of the same techniques as I have recently so I won't repeat them here today.

I am also sharing a closeup of the yellow lilies to show the details of these lovely flowers and the texture I added to the image.

As you can see the curls of the petals and the delicate pistils and the coloring of the shadows and highlights are of much interest in the closeup.

Music wise I receive news letters from TC Electronics/TC Helicon about their products for electronically enhancing your vocals or instruments [click here] for a video about "Have you Heard This Before?" You'll enjoy it if you record music on your computer or play live.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Stacks of Hanging Baskets - Colasanti's Greenhouse

I really liked these hanging baskets stored in the back area of Colasanti's green-
house. The variety and the shapes, textures and colors caught my eye and I shot a couple of photographs of them.

I opened the photograph in Paint.NET and used Curves on it as well as boosting the colors with an increase in saturation. I used Effects> Artistic> Ink Sketch> on it with the color full and a slight increase in line work.

Saving that file I opened it in Painter 8 and then used the Apply Surface Texture> Image Luminance> for additional textures. In PhotoPaint I used Filter Forge for the halftone frame altering the color to emphasize the aqua tints of the photograph.

Listening --- Danger --- JJ Cale and Eric Clapton

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Shards of Glass - Sun Catcher

At Colasanti's Gift Shop I was able to photograph a couple of sun catchers made of shards of glass placed together into a composition.

I opened this photograph in PhotoPaint and adjusted it with the Tone Curve and a slight boost of saturation. I used the Effects> Texture> Plastic> to add more of a 3D impression to it. To this I added a film frame using Filter Forge, which gave it a dark finish.

All in all the composition held so much interest of its own I did not manipulate it further. The disparate shards of glass have a wonderful way of capturing the light and the Plastic texture I used emphasized this well for the finished piece.

Listening --- Lonely Too --- Country/Americana

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Return to Grunge Guitar

I haven't done a grunge piece in quite awhile so I worked on one for today's post. It's a close up of my 12-string Seagull guitar and if you look closely you can make out some etching I did on the pick guard.

I added a snippet of chords and lyrics as well as paint splatters and drippings. I used a grunge frame from Filter Forge.

I can't remember where I got the metal with peeling paint texture from but I used that as a background.

I opened the texture background in PhotoPaint and then did a search in Picasa 3 for guitar photographs. Finding the one I wanted I copied it to the clipboard and returning to PhotoPaint I pasted it and resized it to fit the background image. I used the Object properties> Subtract> to make the guitar transparent.

I opened a text file of a song I have been working on and cut and pasted it into the PhotoPaint piece. Here is the snippet I used, makes for easier reading. It is based on a photograph I have of my wife as a little girl riding a Carousel. Only her name isn't Lillian. That is a family name I chose as my wife reminds me of her.

Am D7
Lil' Miss Lillian decides
Am D7
Over on the East side
Am D7
Round and Round, Its been said
Am D7
Up and down, No one's ahead
Am D7
The Carousel rides
Am D7
You are alongside
of me.

Listening --- Lil' Miss Lillian Decides --- Kirk Mathew Gatzka

Friday, June 25, 2010

Golden Red - Floral

I took this photograph at WoJo's greenhouse this spring during a trip to get some vegetable plants for our garden. I did a crop of the photograph to get closer to these wonderful golden red flowers. I did not have to use the Tone Curve or upped saturation as this image was popping with color!

Opening in Paint.NET I applied my favorite painterly filter for the effect it gives the photograph. I used PhotoPaint and the Filter Forge to crop and add a watercolor frame.

Saving that file I opened it in Painter 8 to Apply Surface Texture> Image Luminance> for a brushstrokes look and feel. I reopened in PhotoPaint to add the black and white borders.

Listening --- I Walk Along, the Lakes Song --- Kirk Mathew Gatzka

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Digital Self - Portrait - Charcoals - Tritone

This is a scanned in photograph of me just after I woke up from a nap with my Grandson, Zeke. He slept on my chest. I opened the image in PhotoPaint and used Tune Blur on it as my scanner is older and left some scan lines in it.

After I did that I applied Effects> Art Strokes> Charcoal> to the picture. I upped the coarseness, and the size of the charcoal a bit for details.

I made it a Tritone also in PhotoPaint, getting this deep brown color. And framed it with a Walnut brown 10 pixel border. I converted it back to an RGB 24-bit image and saved it as a JPG file for display here.

I rarely do self-portraits so I had some fun doing one for a change of pace.

Listening --- Hey, Hey Mr. Geography --- Kirk Mathew Gatzka

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Basket of Purple - Floral

A return to photo-
graphs taken at Colasanti's Market and green-house. Here I have cropped to a close view of another floral, purple flowers.

I opened the original photograph in Paint.NET and applied that painterly filter I like so much, lost a bit of detail but the results were satisfactory. I used Curves to add depth to the piece and upped the saturation by 10 to boost the colors.

Saving the large file I opened it in PhotoPaint where I added the watercolor frame from Filter Forge again. I adjusted the border to show more of the image. I resampled the image for web size here as well.

Saving that file I opened it in Painter 8 to Apply Surface Texture> Image Luminance> for added interest. Back in PhotoPaint I added the 10 pixel black border with the additional white border.

I found an assignment to write a song based on the worst Teacher you ever had. So I wrote a song titled, "Hey, Hey Mr. Geography," about the teacher who gave me my first "E" a failing grade for one Marking Period. Here are the Lyrics:

Hey, Hey Mr. Geography ©2010 Kirk Mathew Gatzka

He sat there sleeping at his desk
He'd given a lecture, thought he did his best
We were assigned to do class work
He slept right there, I thought he was a big jerk

Hey, Hey Mr. Geography
You are the reason
That I got my first "E"

Hey, Hey Mr. Geography
You are the reason
That I got my first "E"

He thought he was something else
Don't know what, I waited for the bell
He hardly had any hair
He had the gall to sleep right there

Hey, Hey Mr. Geography
You are the reason
That I got my first "E"

Hey, Hey Mr. Geography
You are the reason
That I got my first "E"

If he wasn't sleeping, he read magazines
He wasn't helping us with care or ideas
He left us all on our own
He's the laziest Teacher I'd ever known

Hey, Hey Mr. Geography
You are the reason
That I got my first "E"

Hey, Hey Mr. Geography
You are the reason
That I got my first "E"

If he would not work
Why should I try
I would emulate him
And let the work slide

My Parents were very angry at me
When they saw that I'd gotten an "E"
I told them the truth, it was not my fault
I did as the Teacher did by default

Hey, Hey Mr. Geography
Wake up and teach me
I'm used to "A's and B's"
You are the reason
I got my first "E"

Hey, Hey Mr. Geography
You are the reason
That I got my first "E"

Hey, Hey Mr. Geography
You are the reason
That I got my first "E"

It's a Rock song with a good vibe going. I had a lot of fun writing this one!

Listening --- Smile Again --- Kirk Mathew Gatzka

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

All Tuckered Out - But Alert!

Here is a sepia toned charcoal image of my Grandson, Zeke. I love the expression on his face in this piece.

I scanned in the photograph at 300 dpi for plenty of detail. Using PhotoPaint I applied Effects> Artistic> Charcoal> to it for the look and feel. I used the Duotone feature to create the sepia toning. Then had to convert back to RGB 24-bit to work the rest of the image.

I used a watercolor frame from Filter Forge's Freepack 3 - Frames. I then added the additional brown 10pixel border and some additional white.

Listening --- The World Is An Oyster --- Jon Durham

Monday, June 21, 2010

Glass Shards Sun Catcher

During our visit to Colasanti's Gift Shop I shot a couple of photo-
graphs of Glass Shards Sun Catchers. This has great tone and a unique composition made up of shards of colored glass.

I used PhotoPaint to crop out an unwanted wood frame. Resampling it for display online. I lightened it with the Tone Curve and upped the saturation to boost the colors.

I then applied Effects> Texture> Plastic> to emphasize the 3D look of the glass pieces. To this I added a black film frame in Filter Forge's Freepack 3 - Frames.

All in all a simple manipulation to keep the over all feel of the original Sun Catcher.

In the area of music I have joined the two Groups for Acoustic Guitar and Songwriting [see below on the right hand column.] I have had the privilege of downloading some great songs from both sites for enjoyment and critiquing. I have uploaded them to my MP3 Player and have been listening to them for my pleasure.

There are many unique songs of varying types and it allows me some exposure to what others are writing and presenting. It is very rewarding to listen to them and get a feel for songwriting done by others.

Listening --- You Remind Me of Me --- Wes Casto

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tiger Lilies are Out! Also Known as Ditch Lilies

Hot and Sunny with beautiful clouds in the blue sky, the boats and jetskis and pontoons are out on the Lake. Summer is creeping up on us. The Tiger Lilies, also known as Ditch Lilies, are out and are showing their wonderful color.

I employed Paint.NET, Painter 8, Picasa 3, and PhotoPaint for today's Tiger Lilies image. I used my usual suspects of filters and adjustments to create this image. Ink Sketch, Framing, Surface Texture, Tone Curves and what Picasa called "Warmify" for warmer colors. And a bit of upped saturation for an additional boost to the colors.

Many love these June lilies, as they crop up everywhere around. They love ditches and are seen in many a yard as well.

Listening --- Rich Woman --- Allison Krause and Robert Plant

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Grandson Ezekiel - Smiles

Who doesn't love a smiling baby! Maybe a few cynics, but most of us will respond with a smile ourselves. Here is a photograph taken by myself, of my Grandson, Ezekiel or "Zeke."

I used Paint.NET to apply a painterly appearance and also the Ink Sketch filter for the lines. I had the color set full, and the lines limited.

In PhotoPaint I applied Filter Forge's Freepack 3 - Frames watercolor frame and added the 10 pixel black frame surrounded by white using Paper Size.

If that didn't make you smile check out Zeke's expression in this next image. Using Apophysis I created a fractal for the background, which I tiled and using the Wand in PhotoPaint I selected all the black areas and filled with the tile. I left the rest of the photograph alone because I loved his expression!

What a delight to be a Grandparent and get such photographs as these as he grows so quickly. I wonder what he was surprised about, but the face is an amazing expression.

Listening --- I Go Back --- Kenny Chesney

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fleur de Rust - Digital Collage - Audio Journal

A rusty flower, a spiral, four corners, Gibson Girls, and a beggar make up today's image, a digital collage.

In PhotoPaint I began with a photograph of a rusty outdoor fixture in the shape of a flower. I sharpened the image a bit, used the Tone Curves on it for some depth. Due to the rust coloring I did not use saturation for this piece.

I have begun receiving Dover Clip Art samples in my email again and so I sorted through them for some collage pieces. I found the ones I mentioned above and added them to the image. I applied Effects> Texture> Plastic> to the collage which gives it a peculiar 3D effect. I adjusted the Tone Curve again for lightening the collage.

Musically I was reading an article with helpful steps to take to guide one to better songwriting. It encourages keeping a Journal of lyrics or poetry or imagery to assist the process. I suddenly realized that I keep an audio Journal by writing a potential tune and recording it. It's not the same as a written one, but I do keep the lyrics and chord progressions in written format using Notepad or Microsoft Word. So I do keep a Journal but it is of ideas formulated, adjusted, written and recorded.

Though the song I keep may not be the best song in it's recorded and written form it is kept as one might in a regular journal. So I felt better about that step in songwriting.

I was recently working on a song about the dirt roads I walked along in my youth. I lived near many lakes so many of the road names were lake name based. I titled the Audio Journal entry, "I Walked Along or the Lakes Song." I recorded it with rhythm, vocals and some improvised lead playing. It may not be a completed song but it is a completed entry into the Audio Journal.

Listening --- I Walked Along or the Lakes Song --- Kirk Mathew Gatzka

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Colasanti's Gift Shop II

A brief post today, rushing in a busy schedule for the day.

Colasanti's Gift Shop is the subject matter for this image. I used two Photo-
graphs and merged them together in PhotoPaint.

I also adjusted the Tone Curve and upped the Saturation for depth and color. I opened this in Paint.NET and applied the Ink Sketch filter. Then back in PhotoPaint I applied a film frame.

Listening --- I Walked Along --- Kirk Mathew Gatzka

Monday, June 14, 2010

Gift Shop - Colasanti's - Milford, Michigan

While at Colasanti's they allowed me to take some photographs in their gift shop. I really like this trio of lamps and the surrounding merchandise.

I kept my approach simple today to the manipulation of this image. In PhotoPaint I adjusted the Tone Curve to bring out the depth and the Saturation for a color boost.

I opened the photograph in Paint.NET and applied Effects> Artistic> Ink Sketch> with little line work and color up full.

I added a Film Frame using Filter Forges' Freepack 3 - Frames while in PhotoPaint. Here I also saved the large file and them resampled for sharing here saving a separate file.

I've added a badge to my blog pages, towards the bottom right hand side, to "Billy Dean's Writers Block." Here is a group of great songwriters who support one another in the craft of songwriting. I've been working on the song, "She Let Me In," and have received a lot of help doing rewriting of the original song.

I'll tell you, rewrite's are hard to do. You pare down a song to it's bare minimum and storyline. It is really a learning experience! A good one to be sure. [click here] for My Page on the "Block" and you can scroll down to the music player on the left hand side, and take a listen to some of my tunes. I have yet to re-record "She Let Me In," to add to the list.

I am more of a hobbyist than many of these successful writers so to just rub elbows with them is an honor.

Listening --- The Last Good Cowboy --- Kirk Mathew Gatzka

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Black Swan - Colasanti's Pond

One of my photo-
graph's taken in Milford, Michigan at Colasanti's Pond. A black swan with other geese in the surrounding area.

I cropped this photograph for a closer look at the black swan, they only had this one on display the day we went.

I adjusted this crop with PhotoPaint using the Tone Curve and Saturation to boost the depth and color. I used Paint.NET to apply Effects> Artistic> Oil Painting> to it and gained a painterly feel.

Back in PhotoPaint I added the Halftone framing using Filter Forges' Freepack 3 - Frames to add a colored border.

Listening --- Dust My Blues --- Elmore James

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Grandson - Ezekiel - Watercolor - Painter 8

We were at my son's home for a meal with him and my daughter and son in law and our Grandson Zeke. I had brought my camera and my son Keir M. Gatzka took a few photographs of Zeke. I selected this one for a watercolor portrait.

I first of all brought it into CorrectPhoto [click here] to adjust the color and to bring in more warmth. The flash was a bit bright and had left a blueish cast on the photograph. CorrectPhoto's filter for skin color correction was applied and it warmed up the image just right.

I saved the file and opened it in Painter 8. There I turned on the Tracing Paper and cleared the photograph. I began by making a ballpoint pen sketch of the portrait using as few lines as possible. Then I selected the Watercolor brushes and laid down an underpainting. Using varying sizes of the camel brush I added more details.

I created another layer and selected the Digital Watercolor runny bleach to add a background. The I chose another brush and added the yellow watercolor to background and image for a unifying color.

I selected Cloners> Soft Cloner> to add back in other detail while keeping a watercolor feel to the piece. I concluded with the merged layers in PhotoPaint where I added framing and resampled the image saving a smaller file for sharing here.

Listening --- Lie Low --- Kirk Mathew Gatzka

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Goose and Young - Change of pace

We took a day trip to Milford, Michigan and an amazing shopping and greenhouse site named, "Colasanti's," [click here] Here they have the greenhouse, a gift shop, a grocery store filled with interesting items, including a bird sanctuary complete with swans and geese and peacocks.

I shot this photograph near their pond which was filled with water fowl. I kept the approach to adjusting this image simple. In Paint.NET I used Effects> Artistic> Ink Sketch> keeping the lines prominent and full color. I also lightened the image with Curves for depth and Saturation for a color boost.

In PhotoPaint I resampled the piece for display here and added a film frame. I like the trio of birds in this image, the one so alert and the young ones sleeping. And I liked the rocks along with the greenery.

I also opened the larger file in Painter 8 and applied Surface Texture> Image Luminance for a touch of texture.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Irises - Lily pads - Rocks - Pond

Rushing to get a post in today. Here is a photograph I took that I applied a creative touch to. Using a similar workflow of my previous posts, I choose a different film frame for this image.

In Paint.NET I applied Curves and also upped the saturation for color and depth and a painterly filter, then using the Effects> Artistic> Ink Sketch> I turned up the color and lightened the ink lines.

I brought that file into Painter 8 to use the Apply Surface Texture> Image Luminance> for a bit of texture.

Using PhotoPaint I applied the black Film frame for a finished touch. Here I resampled the file for the web.

I have been working on a rewrite of my tune "She Let Me In," and a second song for this week "Smile Again." Both are a challenge to be sure. But I thoroughly enjoy the making of music. Both these songs are Country tunes, a little departure for me as I write mostly Folk/Rock songs. So it is a bigger challenge to make them not sound too much the same. Different lyrics, but similar chord progressions. I am using C F G in the one song and G D C in the other with some departure in the bridges.

All in all an enjoyable pastime.

Listening --- Smile Again --- Kirk Mathew Gatzka

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pink Tipped Lilies - Floral

I took a couple of photo-
graphs of these Pink tipped lilies at the "WoJo's," green-
house. I was intrigued by this one because of all the buds about to open, along with the wonderful colors.

I applied my workflow very much like my recent posts. First Paint.NET for the painterly filter. Then PhotoPaint for the framing and Painter 8 for the texture.

I resampled the larger image in PhotoPaint for display here on the web.

I have been applying myself to some song rewriting with advice from multiple sources. I am finding that when I please one source I get a conflicting idea from another source. So it is frustrating to make a song more commercial.

I am contemplating just keeping to myself and family and friends my songwriting efforts. It's just easier and I have no one to please with a change of the songs. My efforts were never meant to be for commercial use anyway. Just for the fun of it and the sharing with a small but appreciative audience. Conflicting ideas just confuse me. I need to remember I am not a professional more of a hobbyist.

I may continue to post to Acoustic Guitar Community to allow readers a place where they can go and listen to my songs. That remains to be seen.

Listening --- We Are No Longer --- Kirk Mathew Gatzka

Saturday, June 5, 2010

White Floral Extreme

Continuing with the floral motif I took today's photograph and manip-
ulated it in various programs, Paint.NET, Painter 8, and PhotoPaint.

I began by opening in Paint.NET and applied Effects> Artistic> Oil Painting> to the entire image. Secondly I applied the Effects> Artistic> Ink Sketch> filter with full color and less ink lines.

This gave me the details I wanted for this piece. I proceeded to open the saved file in Painter 8 and applied Effects> Apply Surface Texture> Image Luminance> for the texture I desired.

In PhotoPaint I created the frame using Filter Forge's Freepack 3 - frames using a watercolor frame. I used Image> Papersize> to add both the 10 pixel black line and the additional white framing.

I recently joined a Songwriters group: Billy Dean's Writers Block [click here] for MyPage. I have placed two songs on the forum for critique and have gotten some really good feedback. I have only added one song to MyPage as of yet, "Art for Arts Sake" ©2010 Kirk Mathew Gatzka, but I plan on adding others to the Page as I have time.

This is a group of professional songwriters and I am getting some very good help as to the weaknesses and strengths of my own songs there. I should be able to improve my craft of songwriting as I take in the counsel given.

Listening --- She Let Me In --- Kirk Mathew Gatzka

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Yellow Orange Day Lilies - Oil Paint

A quick and short post today as Time is running away with me. This image is from another of my photographs taken by me at "WoJo's" greenhouse, near our home.

Some beautiful yellow orange day lilies. I used Paint.NET to give it a painterly feel, somewhat like an oil painting. In PhotoPaint I added the watercolor frame and 10 pixel black line with more white surrounding the whole image. I again used the Filter Forge's Freepack 3 - Frames for this.

As I am rushed today I ask your pardon for it is one busy day for me, I'd like to add more but the time is rushing by! Hope you enjoy the image posted as I enjoyed creating it.

Listening --- I Feel Free --- Eric Clapton

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Red is My Love's Favorite Color

Yes, it is true, red is my wife's favorite color. So, of course, I took some photo-
graphs of differing red flowers. This piece is a close up or macro shot of some wonderfully red flowers.

I used Paint.NET to apply a painterly filter once again, one of my favorite plugins. I took a screen shot of this enlarged on my screen in slide show mode with Picasa 3, which gave me a wonderful view of these flowers.

I cropped it in PhotoPaint and added the grunge reddish frame from Filter Forge's Freepack 3 - Frames. I resampled for the web at a slightly larger size than usual. I opened this file in Painter 8 and added Apply Surface Texture> Image Luminance> to add texture to the piece.

Listening --- Art for Arts Sake -- Kirk Mathew Gatzka

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Daisy Day - Paint.NET - Painter 8 - PhotoPaint

I often write about my wife's gardens around our home. Here is a photograph taken by my wife, Laurie G. Gatzka, of her front garden of daisies and a portion of the porch and stone walkway.

I opened this photograph in Paint.NET and applied a painterly filter to it that simplifies the brushstroke appearance.

I then opened the file in PhotoPaint to adjust the Tone Curve to lighten it a bit and upped the saturation by 7. This boosted the color and depth. I added a watercolor frame using Filter Forge's Freepack 3 - Frames. And I resampled it for the web.

Saving that file I opened it in Painter 8 to Apply Surface Texture - Image Luminance for additional painterly texture of brushstrokes.

This is mostly digital manipulation for a desired effect. A Painterly piece, altered using differing digital tools and programs and features. It gives you a nice feel for what our front garden looks like right now as Summer approaches.

Listening --- No One Else --- Kirk Mathew Gatzka