Husband Of Woman

The third image in ‘Daughter Of Woman’ series is finished!

Husband Of Woman

I love the patterns and colours in this image and the contrast between the two.

The lightbulb is original, only cut out and not warped or anything. I hunted down all these unusually shaped lightbulbs in the series.

The wallpaper is a book of scrapbook papers based on designs from the Natural History Museum in London. They resemble more closely the vintage wallpaper I had in mind when I was conceptualising this series.

Many thanks to my almost husband for modelling the shirt!

I’ll post some information on how to get your hands on limited edition prints soon!

Take care,

Michelle

Selling limited edition prints

My ‘Daugter Of Woman’ series is the first time I have created work to sell as a limited edition series.

Wife Of Woman – 20x20cm Limited Edition Giclee print – Artist Proof

So I had to do some research on how to work with limited editions and what mine would look like.

Things to consider when selling work in limited editions:

Size

  • Will you sell one size or different sizes?
  • What sizes will you sell?
  • Will they be printed with a border?

I have created 3 sizes in my Daughter Of Woman series: 20cm; 40cm and 80cm. I’ve written down now, I have too stick with it! It has been so hard to choose sizes. I wanted to offer 3-4 sizes, with one, small affordable print.

Having border is also a consideration. I started out with a 2cm border in my artist proofs. But I think I’m going to change that to 5cm. This is due to framing. After doing some research, I think it will be easier to frame with a thicker border, plus I think it really draws your eye into the image. It’s such a personal decision!

Paper

What paper will you print on?

Generally speaking an archival grade paper is advisable. This means the ink won’t fade over time. A thick paper, above 180gsm gives the print stability, durability and a looks lovely too.

Edition size

How many will be printed in each size?

Each of the sizes in my ‘Daughter of Woman’ series has a different edition number. The 20x20cm images have an edition of 50, this is my affordable size. The 40x40cm have an edition size of 15 and the 80x80cm have an edition size of 5. Generally speaking, the smaller the edition number, the higher the price of the prints.

Edition numbers often reduce as the size of an image increases.

Editions sizes are totally up to the artist, there is an element of personal preference and trial and error to see what works! I’ll let you know how it goes!

Pricing

This is another tough one to think about and get right! Price too high and you risk your work not selling. Plus it doesn’t look good when an artist lowers their prices! Price too low, and you miss out on income, Ahh!

Start lower, if they sell like hot cakes, you know you can up the price of your next edition.

Think about:

  • How much the image cost to make – props, location, models. Will you pay yourself an hourly rate? How many hours did you work on the image?
  • How much it cost to print. Include the border in the print cost calculations, as you pay for the total amount of paper used – that caught me out!
  • How long you have been making fine art for and how well established you are? I am just starting out in the Fine Art world, so I won’t be attaching a premium to the cost of my limited edition prints.
  • Rarity – the smaller the edition, the more value it becomes because of how few there are in the world. An edition of 2, will be more valuable than an edition of 200.

I have been backwards and forwards for weeks and weeks on this. I just to take the plunge and commit to a decision, and see how it goes.

You don’t need to stick to the same edition and pricing structure for every image / series. So if this doesn’t work out, I can change things for my next series of work.

If you have any tips of selling limited edition prints, I would love to hear them!

Take care,

Michelle

Creating shadows in Photoshop

Creating believable shadows in Photoshop is something that elevates composite photography. It is something I have found SO hard, over the years. I have tried different methods, all gleaned from YouTube and gathered a couple of go-to strategies. The same strategy doesn’t always work for every image.

Curves and select and mask

Select the area you want to shadow with the Lasso tool. Click select and mask and then feather. The more you feather, the softer the edge of the shadow. Remember, shows and darker and harder the closer they are to the subject.

Use a curves layer to adjust the depth of the shadow. Often a play in the highlights area is enough.

Painting shadows with the brush tool

Select a new layer below your subject, for shadows behind your subject.

Use the brush tool to paint shadows. Keep the brush fairly hard for shadows that meet the subject. I add a new layer for each part of the shadow as it moves away from the subject – dark, mid, light.

Reduce the hardness of the brush as you move through the three layers of shadow. I use a super soft brush for the mid and light shadows.

Reduce the opacity of the brush to as little as 4%. It’s easy to add more depth. Start light.

Sometimes I have 5 or 6 shadow layers for a subject, or part of a subject, adding a bit at a time. Plus it easier to get rid of mistakes!

Top tip for believable brush shadows! – Colour match the brush colour to the shadows on your original subject using the dropper tool!

How I create my fine art photos

To create my images, I deconstruct my original idea into a number of individual images.

Then I capture those images on camera whenever possible. I prefer to use my own images. But if an idea requires an image I can’t capture, then I use stock photo sites. Unsplash and Pixabay offer some good quality free images.

Next, I use Photoshop to layer, blend and adjust the images to create one perceived photo. Believability is something I work hard on in Photoshop. I like my work to have a sense of realism.

To ensure believability, where the shadows and highlights fall are especially important.

Check back in a few days for a post on adding shadows in photoshop.

Take care, Michelle 🙂

Daughter of Woman

This is the first piece in my new series.

‘Daughter of Woman’, Michelle Tasker


Inspiration

The lightbulb is from my house. I love it’s interesting shape and colour.

A pink gerbera I received in a bunch of flowers.

Credit: Unsplash

The work of Rene Magritte, particularly ‘Son of Man’. I enjoy working in Surrealism, it is liberating.

‘Son of Man’, Rene Magritte.
Credit: masterworksfineart.com

Concept

The concept behind this image alludes to the duality of the ego. The parts of us we show the world and the parts we keep hidden.

The lightbulb

The lightbulb symbolises intelligence and knowledge in western culture. A knowledge based, patriarchal culture, where femininity is weakness. Through this cultural direction, the ego portrays an acceptable character. The lightbulb gives an inhuman quality to our ego. Faceless, transparent yet hiding something.


The flower

The flower symbolises beauty and fragility: the Divine Feminine. It hides through fear of judgement, of not being good enough.

The wall paper and clothing


The clashing patterns of the wallpaper and and shirt are distracting. It shows the war between the masculine and feminine. A war that creates chaos.


The irony of the human condition is it requires both the masculine and the feminine to work in harmony. Human beings and are both Yin and Yang, regardless of gender. The suppression of either, results in chaos.

Fairy stories

I loved fairy stories when I was a child: Enchanted worlds filled with magic; the battle between good and evil; places where anything was possible and my imagination could run free.

I read every fairy story ever written – quite a claim I know – but I’m sure I did.

I went through phase of being obsessed with actual fairies. I loved their miniature worlds, where ordinary objects and places became things of awe and wonder. A walk in the woods or the bottom of my garden became filled with fairy possibilities of how they lived, what they did, who they spent their time with.

When lockdown began, I was seriously ill and just out of hospital. It took a month to be strong enough to venture out for a walk in local woodland. And when I did I was greeted with a sea of bluebells. It was beautiful and enchanting. I was transported back to my childhood, back to fairy stories and fairy gardens, to a place where magical things happened.

These woods inspired me. I was giddy with excitement as I waded through bluebells and foliage, looking for tiny places where fairies might be. There, I was transported back to my childhood, creating miniature worlds with my imagination, surrounded by nature, which was so soothing during such a difficult time.

Being unable to go anywhere beside the woods over the past few months, I have focused on creating these fairy pictures. From capturing the pictures to editing the details, the creative process is always cathartic.

I’ve also learnt new editing skills along the way. Trying a different type of image requires a different creative process and I love learning new tricks.

More to come on editing soon.

The Art of Story Telling

I love books: old ones; new ones; fact; fiction. I love the smell of books and the way they feel. My shelves are full of books. Some I’ve read many times, some I’m waiting to read, some books I may never read, but I want to have them anyway.

We are surrounded by narratives. Stories from our past, unfolding in our present and projected into our futures. Stories of people we know. Stories of people we follow. Stories on TV. Stories seen from our windows.

As Humans, we have been telling stories for millennia. They exist in our DNA, past down from our ancestors.

The Art of Storytelling is the images created by the narratives we hold. Narratives buried deep and often long forgotten, but for an image, or a feeling, which remains.

The stories that touch my soul are the stories of my childhood. Children’s stories. They are pure escapism. A place of solace where my shy, socially anxious inner child can be whoever, and do whatever, she can imagine.

What are the stories that touch your soul and why?

Life with lockdown, a baby and illness

Life has changed so much in the past few months, my days are hardly recognisable.

We had a new addition to our family, becoming a party of 4 🙂

I spent a fortnight in hospital with what doctors think is Chron’s disease and have been back home recovering since then.

The UK went on lockdown to safeguard it’s people and it’s health service against the Corona Virus and I became a person at higher risk of serious health problems should I become infected.

Although I’m at home all the time, there is less time and space to create. Less time and space to think even, with two children at home 24/7! Consequently, art is taking on different forms. Different narratives are unfolding.

I’m still composting, but using stock images more as I can’t get out to take photos. The subject is no longer me, but the people, animals and objects around me. Using stock photos, I find actually opens my up imagination to new possibilities, as I use images I would not have captured myself.

Dandelion and Fox: Composite – images courtesy of Unsplash

Art begins to reflect life, and these creations look and feel different than what has come before, because life looks and feels very different now. And in a good way 🙂