Once a year the Roanoke Valley SPCA holds a fund-raiser that is particular fun for the artist of the group. The 2013 Best in Show is fast approaching. This has always been one of my favorites of the year. They hold an animal centric art show at the local museum. It is very well attended and is a super fun event for all those involved. In the past I have been a spectator and very much enjoyed looking at the different art styles. The only theme is that the art features animals: pets, dogs, cats, fish, birds, lamas, or any other animal that might be the object of your attention. It can be in the form of painting, photography, collage, furniture and sculpture.
This year I will be entering and not just watching from the sidelines. I am entering a special photo that has been one of my favorite for a long time. The prices are set by the Best in Show committee members and the proceeds go to the shelter. Several of the big name local artist enter every year. I do admit I am a bit shy about entering but it is good for me to stretch out of my comfort zone. I hope the finish piece brings joy to someone and a few bucks to the RVSPCA. The format for the show is a 12″x12″, 1 1/2″ deep canvas. The stylized photo will be transferred to the canvas. Here is a look at that process.
First deciding on one photo was tough. I have so many that I just love and convey a sense of hope and joy in so many of the animals. Then in looking at the photo I wanted something just a little more artistic for this photo. So I took the photo through a series of edits within Photoshop. Is this still art? I believe it is, my medium is photography and Photoshop. I love both elements that combine together to create a unique piece of art. This isn’t being created using any canned presets or macro set of preloaded commands to get a certain “look”. These are popular with the instagram crowd. All of the actions are my own. The photo on its own merit is lovely, however I hope to transform it into something special when it is complete.
First there was the size, since I want to wrap the image all the way around the canvas including the 1 1/2 inch sides the 12″ x 12″ now became plus 1 1/2 inches for each side. Now at a 15″ x 15″ the image had to have a bit of cloning to extend the sides. I went back tot he original picture for this. The whiskers were fully intact and long on the sides but I had to extend one of the top ones a bit. Luckily the background is blurred folds of fleece so they are relatively easy to recreate through cloning.
Getting the size is right and the image (Pearl) centered (in this case) was the first order of Photoshop business. The guides in Photoshop really helped me here. I was able to set them up to determine just where the 15 inches would fall over the sides. the 1 1/2 inches is a bit bigger than I realized. I wouldn’t want any of the ears to be lost but just a wisp of the whiskers will fall over. I think that will work out lovely.
Cleaning the darkness from eye boogers and various little imperfections is easy enough again with the clone tool. Then the big move and my favorite the filter. I “experimented” with several of the filters. And the one I liked the best was the cut out. It is suppose to represent as if you made the image with bits of construction paper cut out. It simplifies the lines and creates a stylized image. Here is where I spent a good deal of time working through the different levels of the filter. Experimenting is fun but time consuming. I have a pretty fast computer and it still took 20 to 30 seconds for each level to render through. Just be patient the end result will be worth it. So here is the preview of my Best in Show entry, it will change in appearance once the transfer to canvas is complete. To me it has a hint of shabby chic & Hollywood glam.
The last step before I head to the printers is to reverse the image. Even though it is a symmetrical image there are slight differences in the left and right side that I will notice so I want to print it in reverse in order to make the transfer. This will be explained in Part 2 about transferring the image to canvas.