Watercolour and ink

I’ve been experimenting with watercolours and fine liners lately.

With the lockdowns and fading light, photography has become more and more difficult. I love being creative and wanted something I can do in my house, on my own, whenever I have a spare moment.

I’ve been exploring these two media, both very new to me. There is so much variety in the art store – it’s difficult to know where to start!

Experimentation

So I started by drawing and painting the same thing, over again, using different pens, brushes and paint mixtures, to see what I liked.

Once happy with a technique, I then reproduced it on watercolour paper (more expensive than the cartridge paper I was using, so not for experimenting!)

I used a size 4 brush for this. It has a lovely fine point so I can use it for some finer details as well

Digital art

I first created the dandelion in Procreate on my iPad. I then wanted to see what it would look like painted.

That’s what I’ve been up to lately, and some drawing.

Have you learnt any new creatives skills lately?

Take care,

Michelle

Photo review from Rise International Photography Awards – Family

The RISE International Photography Awards is a unique, online photography awards system aimed at seeing entrants elevate their work from one award year to the next.

The judges gave written feedback to all entrants on all photos entered. I entered three images into three categories: Maternity, Family and Creative.

I love this photo

This photo is a self-portrait of myself and my daughter, when she was two. I used a tripod and a remote shutter release to take it, and processed the colours in Photoshop.

It was originally part of an exhibition titled ‘Skin’, and represents the mother-child bond between us. For me, it’s about love, and I’ll always cherish it.

Feedback

Judge 1: I love the organic lines and shapes through this composition. The hint of the fingers at the top of the frame is a little distracting. I would either like to see more or less. The same goes for the cropped ankle at the bottom of the frame. An interesting and brave approach to colour toning which really grabs the viewer’s eye.

Judge 2: This is a unique and great portrait – honest and with a lovely sense of flow. The colour palette is different and good. Only two little things to watch. There’s the slightest of yellow-tinged haloes where the bodies meet the background, interrupting that block colour background. There’s just the tiniest hint of a hand coming around at the top right of the frame; it would have been wonderful to see more of that hand, to give symmetry with the mother’s hand mid-left of frame. Well done, this is excellent.

Judge 3: Nice softness and feel but i feel we need more of the subject to get the story. We have a little hair top left that makes me want more of the story. More contrast or even black & white would help visually.

I take all of these comments on board. I think I may need to recreate this image or similar to include the judges’ advice.

Take care,

Michelle

Photo review from Rise International Photography Awards – Creative

The RISE International Photography Awards is a unique, online photography awards system aimed at seeing entrants elevate their work from one award year to the next.

The judges gave written feedback to all entrants on all photos entered. I entered three images into three categories: Maternity, Family and Creative.

Better than expected

My entry for the creative category was the first image from my ‘Daughter of Woman’ series, entitled –Daughter of Woman.

I hadn’t created any other images in the series at the time of entering the competition.
I had no idea how the judges would respond to this type of image, but the early bird entry fees weren’t expensive and I was curious as to what they would say about it.

The feedback

This is quirky and very cool; I love the repetition between the flower-head and the pattern on the shirt, and it’s even echoed in the background. To improve it, be careful on the masking for the glass dome-thing; there are some portions where the masking could be cleaner. It’s easiest to see the masking issues along the top left edge of the glass where it is in front of a shadowed bit of wall. The focus control on the shirt, the glass, and the background is really good, well done.

The image has great impact that grabs your attention.
A well developed and executed creative concept.

Overall a very interesting concept. Lovely use of patterns to create an intriguing composition.

I’m so cross with myself for not spotting the masking issue! It just goes to show how useful a second pair of eyes and professional review can be!

I’m going to post the feedback from my family entry soon.

Take care,

Michelle

Photo review from Rise International Photography Awards – Maternity

The RISE International Photography Awards is a unique, online photography awards system aimed at seeing entrants elevate their work from one award year to the next.

The judges gave written feedback to all entrants on all photos entered. I entered three images into three categories: Maternity, Family and Creative.

I received a bronze award for two categories – Family and Creative. But my image for the the Maternity category got a bit of a roasting!

The not so good

I decided to take a gamble and enter an experimental image, where I played round with the processing and tried some new techniques.

It didn’t go down well… but I’ve learnt to leave the experimental techniques out of future competitions!

Entry ID: E-18524

Feedback

Judge 1: Congratulations for exploring a concept which is a little more unique for a maternity portrait. For the Silhouette to have great impact lighting needs to be a little more consistent so that we can see cleaner lines from the subject’s neck down to her breasts. It looks like highlights have been blown out in the initial capture, creating some jagged lines through her chest, as well as her hair. Posing could be refined, such as a bend in one of her legs to see more shape and separation. You may need to check the brightness of your monitor as there are quite a few banding and postproduction issues through the whites where we can some oddities and patches.

Judge 2: The impact of your image lacks the creative & technical skills needed to convey the overall message.

Judge 3: The post-production treatment has created some unflattering lines and areas of the image are broken up. Great to explore new ideas and work to refine this.

Judge 4: Nice start to high key image
With a silhouette image lines needs to be clean, consistent and flattering
Back of body from arm down is inconsistent, shadow on top of breast, hair line

As you can read – I needed to do a lot more refinement on this techniques before I hit send!

I’ll post the feedback for my Family entry and bronze award photo next.

Take care,

Michelle

Rise International Photography Awards

Rise International Photography Awards - Alana Lee Photography

The RISE International Photography Awards is a unique, online photography awards system aimed at seeing entrants elevate their work from one award year to the next. Every entry receives feedback from a panel of highly trained international judges.
to elevate the entire photography industry,

The overall objectives of the awards are:

  • to elevate the entire photography industry,
  • to create an industry of highly skilled photographers with a passion to grow and learn, and
  • to give them the tools they need to develop a sustainable business for years to come.

My entries

I entered into three categories in the Rise International Photography Awards: Maternity, Family and Creative.

I won Bronze in two categories! I didn’t expect to achieve in any category as the standard of previous winners was so high.

The written feedback on every image entered and that was worth the entry fee alone. Constructive criticism is super valuable for artistic development.

I have never had any professional feedback on my images before and I was nervous to receive it. Creating art is very personal and I find it hard not to take criticism negatively – always working on this!

I’ll post the feedback on the images in my next post. I figured if it’s good for my development, it could be helpful for others too 🙂

Take care,

Michelle

Selling your artwork on online galleries

My ‘Daughter of Woman’ series is for sale on Saatchi Art. Saatchi Art is an online gallery where artists can sell their work globally. The gallery commission in 35%, which isn’t bad, some galleries take 50% +.

Creating an account.

Creating an account and uploading my work was simple and the website was easy to navigate. Be ready with all the details of your work, including descriptions and your artist bio. Ensure the photos of your work are high res 300dpi and at least 1500 pixels on the long edge. Photos are extremely important, make sure they are evenly lit, high quality and sharp.

Keywords are important

Think of keywords which buyers might search for and attach them to each artwork listing. You can use up to 12, try and use them all – the more links to your profile the better!

The cons

There are a thousands of artists on the site and hundreds of thousands of artworks.

The only way I could find my work was by searching my name. Keyword searches brought more than 50 pages of artworks (I stopped scrolling at page 50!)

Getting noticed by buyers seems to be very challenging, unless you get featured. Saatchi feature artists regularly, but with the thousands of artists to choose from, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd.

Other galleries

Other galleries require you to apply and be selected. I have applied to two other online galleries: Drool and Artfinder.

For bot, I had to fill in an application form, with links to my work and reasons I think I would be a good fit for their gallery. A reply could take weeks or months – Artfinder said 6-8 weeks.

Multiple revenue streams.

What this process has taught me so far, is that I won’t earn my living from one gallery or even a few. Being able to see your art across multiple revenue streams, multiple places is a must.

I don’t know what they all are yet – but I learning new stuff each day!!

If you have any tips or advice for selling your art, please leave them in the comments!

Take care,

Michelle

Child of Woman

Child of Woman

The latest and penultimate image in my #daughterofwoman series – Child of Woman! 

Yes, he is my baby, minus his head 🤪, and he was a bit of a wriggler to photograph! 

I wanted to keep the colours more harmonious in this image and less chaotic to represent the lack of cognitive dissonance in babies and young children compared with adults. 

Image details

I love the calmer feeling  in this one and the beautiful butterflies in the background. The background image is part of a scrapbooking paper booklet I found titled ‘Natural History Museum – From the Archives’.

All the papers in it are beautiful works of art and like old wallpaper or fabric designs. I had originally wanted to photograph vintage wallpapers to use as the backgrounds for this series. Unfortunately, Covid-19 meant I couldn’t go to the national heritage sites and stately homes to take the photos. It was such a stroke of luck to come across this book!

Lightbulb or not?

I toyed with the idea of not having a lightbulb for this image. I don’t believe babies are aware of cultural / societal expectations and pressures like older children and adults are, so perhaps the lightbulb was not needed.

But I loved the shape of the lightbulb and knew I wanted use it. I thought the shape was more child-like. This is the original lightbulb, no warp of distort!

Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments. Are there any scrap bookers out there? 🙂

Take care,

Michelle