Monday, January 30, 2012

Inspiration from Jo

One of the blogs I follow is One a Day by Jo Reimer. My inspiration for this mosaic came from her post, Piecings, continued. While Jo created her collage with papers, I started from a print I made on fabric. With acrylic paint, I painted the inside of a mailing envelope lined with bubble wrap. Placing the painted bubble wrap on my fabric, I rolled over it with a brayer. This provided the circles for the background. After the fabric was dry I scanned it into Photoshop Elements.

This is composed of several layers over the background. To make the large line in the middle and the rectangles I used brushes and adjusted the opacity. The bird is cut from a photo of mine using the magic extractor of Elements.

I also made some prints on paper. As I was cooking the ground beef for spaghetti sauce, my eye fell on  the styrofoam meat tray. I cut it into shapes and used it like a stamp. My material was a paper grocery bag that I crumpled several times then smoothed out. I will scan those pieces to show another day.

Be sure to check out Jo's blog for a dose of inspiration! Thanks, Jo!  I'm joining Little Red House for Mosaic Monday.

After a critique from Jo, I altered my collage and this is the result. What do you think?

Here you can see the two side by side. Jo suggested the picture would be better with fewer of the circles so they could be an accent. I agreed so I moved up the opacity of the layer with the color blocks to make them solid. I don't like the resulting intensity of color. This could have been done a different way to keep the original color. Jo also suggested moving up the two birds in the lower right.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hearts Project

This is my new mystery project. All I'm saying is that it also involves an empty container of Hershey's Baking Chocolate. I created these hearts on the computer. It was fun making the plaids and other bases then cutting them out with the cookie cutter brush.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fun with Altering

Yes, it is fun to play around with photos. This is shot of the trees in my yard in Virginia. I love the photo but I thought maybe I could do more with it. So I inverted it and then played with the colors. When the vote was taken at my house no one liked it. "Ghostly," was the comment. But I like it - love the lacy look of it. When seen without the original, it becomes almost an abstract.

So what it your vote? Do you like the altered photo? 

Head over to Little Red House and see her new design for this weeks' mosaic at  Mosaic Monday.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A New Look

This is another crop from the Cookie Cutter Tool in Photoshop Elements. I love to play around and experiment like this. You may recognize this photo from my collage for Mosaic Monday. Here is a new and closer look for you. This stream is just off route 6 in Andover, CT. There is an old stone dam and the stream has detoured around the side of the dam.  Don't you love the lichen and colors on this large rock? I was very satisfied with the look of the water in the photo. My goal was to learn how to get that smoothly flowing look to the water.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tiny Mushroom

Isn't this an adorable tiny mushroom? The unusual crop shape is the result of my experimenting with Photoshop Elements. This is created by using the cookie cutter tool. After I cut it out in this unusual shape I put it on a solid colored background. I like it. What do you think?

I'm linking to Outdoor Wednesday. Visit A Southern Daydreamer and see the other outdoor photos. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rushing water and mossy rocks.....

This collage is pictures I took in November and early December of streams near home. I love streams tumbling over rocks - the sounds of the water, the mossy rocks. All my life I have wanted to live on the bank of a stream like these. It hasn't happened yet.

I have been focusing on learning how to get that look of silky flowing water. It required a Natural Density filter and knowing how to set the aperture, shutter speed, exposure and type of light. I sat on the bank of one stream for an hour and a half and took numerous pictures. For the photo on the top left I was standing in the stream wearing my gardening shoes when I stepped in a hole and the water poured into my shoe. It was worth it for this shot.

Go over to Little Red House and see the other photo mosaics. Try one yourself!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cozy and Inviting

Doesn't this look inviting? I suppose no one was home as there is no smoke rising from the chimney. Maybe I could add some! This picture is the result of time spent playing with filters in Elements (cutout, twice) and a texture on top. Then I searched for a quote.

Picture yourself in a rocking chair pulled up close to a woodstove with the doors open. The logs are snapping and crackling. A book is in your lap and you have kicked off your shoes. Do I smell hot chocolate?

What next?

I have really been wanting to work with my fabric now that the monkey (my photo exhibit) is off my back. So am I working with fabric? No! I did a macro photo shoot of a stack of old books and a pair of antique eyeglasses on my coffee table. Those are not finished yet but I did get a few good shots. Then I went into the woods and took pictures of tree stumps. Yes, tree stumps. The grain of the wood is so interesting.

Tonight I have been playing around making wild abstract art on Photoshop Elements. What fun. I'm thinking these can be printed on fabric and they can be stamped, stitched and embellished.

This first one is a collage of two pictures. I'm linking to Little Red House for Mosaic Monday. Join the party!

Take my Heart!

Don't you think the next two should be called Lollipop Trees?

So many possibilities -  I don't know where to start!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Photography Show Opening

It was a successful opening. The food was good and everyone was very complimentary about my work.

I was determined to wear my new red shoes (love them!) even if my feet became numb! I managed just fine. My daughter and son-in-law took family and friends out to dinner afterwards. They toasted me and I thanked them all for their support. And I thanked the family for putting up with the mess in the house as I framed 34 pictures. The son-in-law is cooking dinners for a week to give me a break after all the Christmas cooking I did. My next projects will be fabric and I'm planning to submit works to all the juried shows I can.

Today I will watch football with Mr. B while I try to organize things on my computer. My new book is calling me. Thanks family for the Amazon gift cards!   The Best of Quilting Arts: Your Ultimate Resource for Art Quilt Techniques and Inspiration.  Notice in the sidebar that I follow Melody Johnson's Blog Fibermania. Melody has a section in this book.

Friday, January 6, 2012

"Nature Unscripted" - Solo Exhibit

"Nature Unscripted"
by Nancy Hoffmann
Windham Hospital Gallery
Willimantic, CT
January 7-29, 2012
Opening Reception  Saturday, January 7, 4 pm

An eclectic mix of photographs highlighting the beauty of nature
we sometimes fail to take time to notice. Also included will be fabric sculptures.

Since I agreed to have a solo photography exhibit I have thought of little else. Had I realized how much work was required I would have said no. But all along I knew I would be glad I had done it. January is not the best time of year for such an undertaking unless you are an incredibly organized person.

To make matters more complicated, my son-in-law and I painted some of the kitchen cabinets the first part of December. That involved stripping and sanding and three coats of paint. The kitchen was a mess for a week. Utensils were in boxes in the dining room/studio next to my boxes of framed photos.

I did get all 33 photos framed before I devoted a few days to cleaning the house before the Camera Club Christmas Party was held here on December 13.

Then the family started to arrive and there were numerous trips to Providence and Hartford airports, both a little over an hour away. There was no time to even think about the show until the last guest went home on New Years day.

Suddenly I had to print business cards, name each photo and prepare a list with prices and print info cards for the photos. A Bio had to be printed and mounted on foamcore board as well as a title of show piece. And the bio had to be written! I asked my daughter to do that as I was stumped as to what to write about myself. Boy, did she do a great job. When I read about myself I thought, "Wow, I would love to meet this talented woman." She made me sound wonderful!

 Framing in Progress

Framed photos ready to go

Use what you have, even a laundry basket

Partial view of the Gallery. I have to thank Mr. B for naming most of the photos. 
He has a real knack for it. And he named the show -- "Nature Unscripted."

My Bio mounted. The basket holds business cards. This is first time I ever cut foam
core board. It was not as difficult as I had feared. The secret is a very sharp blade to
get clean cuts. Spray adhesive ( great stuff) was used for mounting. I taped wire
on the back for hanging.


Tomorrow I go and hang my fabric art. I have sent emails through all the organization
I belong to and there are newspaper notices as well. The hospital is providing refreshments
for the opening on Saturday, January 7 at 4 pm. I think I should do some baking to supplement.

Can I call myself an artist now?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Frosty Leaves

Frosty Leaves

Since our disastrous October snowstorm, we have had no snow. Yes, no white Christmas in Connecticut! But we have had some lovely frosts. This photo was made the day after Thanksgiving when everything was white with frost. Every leaf on the ground was lined with white. There is beauty in the most ordinary things.

I'm joining Dear Little Red House for Mosaic Monday. Click on the link and see the other mosaics.

Quick and Easy

This is an ornament I made for my tree a few years ago. For people who love snow, it could hang on the wall year round.

The backing wood is a rough piece of lath. Mr. B and I were completely remodeling a log cabin and exposing the logs inside, so there was plenty of lath as I tore off the old plaster.

The "Let it Snow" was cut from a piece of fabric and fused to another piece of fabric, in this instance a green check. The fused fabric was glued to the lath and two buttons were glued to the corners. Two short pins were driven into the top and a ribbon was tied around the pins as a hanger.

Simple to make! This is a "Nancy Original." Dimensions are 4 1/2  inches W x 1 1/2 H.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Here it is!

I'm certain you have all been waiting to see a picture of MY FAMILY'S TREE.  : )

It is ten feet tall and gorgeous!

My friend in England told me it looked sophisticated. I really appreciate that comment, but if he could see it in person he would see the milk caps with glitter and a five-year-old's picture in the middle. That five year old is now thirty-one and you can see his photo in the side bar. His two brother's pictures are also on the tree.

Somehow their sister does not have her picture there but her handiwork as a child is well represented. She drew angels on pellon, colored them and cut them out. And someone cut a bell out of a styrofoam meat tray and glued fabric squares on it. Maybe I should look for initials on that one. Every year we all come to attention as we hang the two miniature cans of spinach on the tree. My children were Popeye fans and those little cans are a must!

Each ornament is a memory. My Aunt Lucy's knitted bells are there and my mother's crocheted Santa face and little wreaths. And there are so many ornaments I have made. (And keep making!)

Our young friends (our daughter's co-workers) went with us to choose and cut the tree. Three of them had never had a live tree in their house so they were eager to set it up and help decorate. It was a cold windy day, but after a lunch of chili everyone was ready to get to work. The ladder was barely tall enough. The angel on top had to be tossed up and stayed a little crooked. We thought it looked like she was flying. We listened to Christmas music and sang along. And everyone chose to have marshmallows in their hot chocolate.

We go to Allen Hill Farm in Brooklyn, CT to cut our tree. Last year we bought their special tree stand that has a 5 inch peg in the middle. They bore a hole in the tree trunk, then the tree balances on that peg. And it is perfectly straight and secure! It is a miracle! Of course we went there again this year and topped last year's nine foot tree by a foot. Next year I take a tape measure with me - or buy a taller ladder. Really, I think nine feet was tall enough.

The nest is empty again and I miss them all terribly! How nice for Mr. B and me to be sharing a house with our daughter and her husband! We will have a few quiet days before I launch into overdrive to hang my solo photography show.