Blossom smile some sunshine down my way, lately I’ve been lonesome. Blossom it’s been much too long a day, seems my dreams have frozen. Melt my cares away…. James Taylor
When I wrote the piece called The Muse a few weeks ago, I spoke about setting out to do one piece of work and losing all track of time and space. This has happened to me a few times and it’s almost like coming out of a dream and finding my work has found a life of it’s own and it’s not what I had planned but better than I expected. It’s like my muse has allowed my conscious brain to rest for a while and taken my unconscious mind for a spin. I never mind when this happens. In fact I love it.
I think maybe sometimes as artists, we think about our work too much and try to bring a modicum of logic to it rather than letting it take a shape of it’s own. There is pressure to produce work that is commercially viable rather than what we feel. We have to try to fight that urge or we are at risk of losing the passion to create soul work. Art is extremely subjective and what one person does or doesn’t like really shouldn’t influence the way we work. We need to let our artistic soul have free reign.
This piece I’m showing you today was one of those ones that took on a life all of it’s own. I had been experimenting with double exposure images and as I had taken a series of silhouettes of my friend Amy in studio, I decided to play with them to create the look I wanted.
To do this, I bought the original silhouette into Photoshop and made sure I cleaned up all unwanted spots on the photo. Then I added a levels layer and played with the sliders until the white area was reasonably bright and the dark was dark but still with a tiny bit of detail, especially around the neck area.
Then I chose a photo I had taken of a beautiful bunch of flowers I had been sent and dragged that photo into the project. Then I changed the mode to screen (lighten works well too – try which suits your photo the best). What this does is blows the colour out on the white area leaving the photo only filling in your silhouette. This is the photo I started with and how it looked with the floral photo layered onto it. You can see I left the tiniest bit of detail in the silhouette just to give the finished photo more depth. I moved the photo around until the large leaf fitted perfectly onto her face to define it and the eyes and cheeks were highlighted with the yellow. This added more definition and gave the photo less of a flat look.
I then decided that I wanted to give her a set of angel’s wings and found a set on a graphics site and purchased them. I adjusted them to look like they were attached and then set the blend mode to pin light. Next, I added some rustic looking sheet music on a new layer and using a layer mask, brushed most of it off my model and then changing the opacity, brushed around to make it a bit softer in some places and bolder in others.
After that was all done, I started to play with textures and added quite a few on top, again using a low opacity brush to soften them here and there. Every texture you add may need a different blend mode so while I always start on soft light, sometimes screen works best or even multiply. This is the time to really have a play with blend modes.
I’ve actually had to go back to the original PSD file to tell you what I did after the wings went on as I really can’t remember doing most of it. It just happened and I’m so glad Blossom came to life the way she did. Blossom was a name I used to call my daughter when she was young and also the name of a beautiful James Taylor song. I seemed to type it before I knew what she should be called. I think Blossom named herself. She is very dear to me.