Sunday, 26 February 2012

larking around with Photoshop

I'm slowly getting to grips with some of the aspects of Photoshop Elements.  It's embarrassing, really - I had full Photoshop training a few years ago but because I don't use it that much in my job, I've forgotten most of it and only retained the bits I need.  So I've started slowly with Elements, learning how to select items using the various tools. 

There was one photo in particular which I was extremely keen to get to grips with. It was taken at the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Buxton last summer while PBGS were rehearsing their G&S Sketch Show ahead of the performance in the Paxton Theatre. Tension was mounting, and the chairman, producer and stage manager started larking around to break things up a bit:

larking around at Buxton
© Teresa Newham 2011
As a photo it simply didn't work - it was taken on zoom from the darkened auditorium toward the lighted stage, it was fuzzy, hopeless.  But they were making great shapes and I was really keen to make something of that.  Originally I'd tried to do a silhouetted version in Picasa:

larking around in Picasa
© Teresa Newham 2011
But I was sure that I could do a lot more with it in Elements!  for one thing, I could see on the original photo that our chairman was making some great jazz hands, which were partially obscured by the chap behind - one of the theatre production team - lovely guy but he wasn't really necessary to the picture.  So I decided to have a go at removing him and extracting those hands in the process.  It took a while, and every selection tool that Elements possesses - plus the eraser - but in the end:

Buxton silhouette
© Teresa Newham 2012
So there you have it - three of PBGS's leading lights in silhouette, but to my mind instantly recognisable to those who know and love them.  I reckon this image has still got some way to go - so next I'm going to explore how to put some kind of background on it.  Watch this space . . . !!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Work in Progress 2

Vine lino block and original sketch
© Teresa Newham 2012

I finally found time to produce the third of the four linocuts I started back at Open Studios in September.  This one is the vine, as in "I am the vine, you are the branches" (John 15:5).  Sharp-eyed readers will immediately spot the schoolgirl error I made when cutting the block - the design is the same way round as the original sketch!  Faced with doing all that work again (those grapes took ages), I took a look at the sketch in a mirror and decided it would work just as well in reverse.  So I was holding my breath even more than usual when I pulled the first print:

first vine print
© Teresa Newham 2012

When I saw the result, I was delighted.  Because of the way I intend to display the four prints, I think this one will work even better the 'wrong' way round!  I went on to make six prints in total:

six vine prints
© Teresa Newham 2012

Having completed the third print I'm now keen to get on with the fourth and final one, of which more another time . .  .!