Archives for posts with tag: digital imaging

mum-comp copy

This is the very last composite I did in Photoshop and it is a very personal and painful one. I think I did this one in late 2014 or early 2015. (I haven’t even dated it, as I am not sure whether it is finished). It is a reflection of my mother who was an enigma to me all her life. I think you have to be German and of a certain age to understand.

That is enough about my art and from tomorrow I will write about the puppets again :)

Modern Man

Tony, who is not only a puppet maker but also an x-ray artist (visit his blog: xraygraphics), commented on my post yesterday that the artwork I put up is very tactile. He put his finger right on the core of my art. To explain where it comes from I have to dive down into my personal history. In a nutshell: back in the day I took to Photoshop like a duck to water and have been teaching digital imaging for 20 years. In the beginning I really enjoyed working with blend modes and masks to create amazing textures. But along the way, I realised how much our brain tricks us into perceiving surface properties. When you touch a print it is always flat. The appearance of texture is created by our brain interpreting what we expect to be there. So we see texture that really isn’t there.  Over the years my yearning for honest textures grew stronger and stronger.

I created the picture I’ve put up today in 2007. This is one of my favourites from my Photoshop era. In this triptych I used 4 different background photographs (a wooden door with flaky paint, a stone wall with a window, an iron watch tower in a forest, and a 200-year-old lace curtain) and combined them in different ways to bring different properties to the fore. My work is generally about relationships. This one describes that in a good relationship you should be allowed to be strong or weak at times.


May I introduce: Dipstick! The new puppet, that’s me – I admit it!… For all my second language readers: no need to look the word up in the dictionary,  once you have read the post you will know what it means.

It was one of those days yesterday – you know what I am talking about – absolutely nothing goes right. Okay, this is not entirely true as “those days” don’t really exist. There are just days, when the negative is unfairly pronounced while the positive fades into the background. I call “those days” puppet days now. The first client set me off…. Never a good start to the day. And it continued until seven at night, when it was time to go home. As it was such a frustrating day, I decided to take some work home… Doh…, How is that for punishment? No really, I wanted to take home one of the projects  where I have free reign creatively. For me that is the best way to relax.

And here the story starts: To take work home I needed to transfer a few files onto – I am a bit of a fossil – a memory stick. The only one I could find had a fault. It still could be read and as the info on it was unimportant I thought I would quickly format it… That will do the trick.

Format… Done!

Oh, You haven’t….!

Yes, I have…

I have formatted my 300 odd Gigabyte external hard drive on which I keep all my personal art projects. It is  a virtual studio and as big a creative mess as the physical one, oh dear! You might not believe me but that is a real account of what happened. I was so exhausted from the day that I didn’t even have the energy to explode – what use would this be anyway?

So, phone call to good mate: “How do I get my files back on a formatted hard drive?”

“You can’t”

“Yes I can, it only renders the FAT unreadable” Thanks to my elephant memory (usually more of a curse than a blessing ), this info was stored away somewhere in the grey matter…

Phone call to hubby: “Dinner will be late!”

So I go on the Internet and luckily find a program on the first try.

Ha, ha – Note! Luck on a puppet day! I have to point this out so not to despair.

So I download and start the program. It takes over 3 hours to collate the information. I let it run, go home, cook dinner, watch a bit of brainless TV, go back to work. Program is just finishing collecting the info. Six more minutes, I can wait for that…

Then it needs to build the file tree and tells me it can take hours. Luckily it is finished in under ten minutes….  All I need to do now is click the “Restore” button. But what does the program tell me after I have done that? “Yes there are files, but the free version of the software can only recover 100 MB.” That’s laughable…100 MB is not even one of my high res layered photoshop files.

So basically it works. I see the file names on screen, but I have to download the full version. 100 NZ$ is a small price to pay for being a Dipstick. So I obtain a code to continue. Shouldn’t take long… Wait for the email…. Code arrives….Copy into box on screen.

Code doesn’t work. The instructions say it can take a few minutes before it is active. So wait….

I try again… It still doesn’t work… Wait…. Try again… Still doesn’t work… Wait…. Try again…. You get the picture. I feel like Homer S – Doooh!

I find a few spelling mistakes in the program while I wait. This doesn’t bode well. Spelling mistakes, in my opinion, are a sign of sloppiness. I hope they took more care of the coding, but now I have paid my $100 can’t do much about it! In the end I download the program again via a link from the code email. Copy the code in here – it works – but it has to re-read the entire hard drive. It tells me this will take over 3 hours. Sounds familiar… I am at Square 1.

I haven’t been in to work yet. I write my posts before breakfast. If you hear a scream in an hour or so, that would be me!

Should any of my students read this post: Yes, guys it happens to me too :)

Needless to say the puppets kept a low profile. They are masters in reading my moods!

I use my art to dissect ideas that float around my head. It relaxes me tremendously and helps to solve any difficult issues I have to deal with.

When I was at school, my doodling habits drove my teachers absolutely bonkers. I never finished a period with any sort of usable notes and therefore couldn’t revise at home. In the end I got kicked out of school because my English and French weren’t up to scratch…  Ah well, as time goes by… I wish my English teacher could hear me now.

I am still doodling when I am in meetings, some habits never die! Funnily enough, I can take in conversations much better when I do this. I am pretty sure all the other doodlers out there will agree :)


It takes twenty-one days of hard work to form a good habit. Why does it only take three to slip back into bad ones?

This image here I took six years ago. I like the juxtaposition of the lines with the round crater. For obvious reasons I originally called it “Square peg in a round hole.” It is just a close-up of some rocks we were climbing over at the time.

When I accidentally came across this image today, a totally different interpretation jumped out at me.

There is a little story to go with it: A friend of mine, a school teacher, was once asked by one of her pupils: “Tell me Miss, what was the world like when it was still black and white?” I just love this story. The pupil was of course referring to black & white photography and TV.  When I first heard the story, I thought it was so cute I laughed. Today, my answer would be: “The world was more colourful then…” as there must have been so much more room for imagination.

Today, when I glanced at the photograph, I instantly saw a smiling face with a rock hurled at it from a giant fist. When I showed my discovery to a friend,  he couldn’t quite follow. So I coloured it in for him in Photoshop. Now the image is called: “Honestly, I didn’t see this coming!”

However this is a very disturbing interpretation, and I went looking for another image. It took me a while, but this time it is called: “Life is beautiful!” It shows two playful figures in the sun.

Thank God you always remember what you saw last. I have difficulties seeing the giant fist now when I look at the black and white original.

Further to my Easter post (Up to your imagination) – now see what happend!

Magic lamp

This is an image from my Memory Pictures Series: When I bought my macro lens, I started to photograph some rather tatty looking mementos I kept for donkey’s years in a box in the spare room. The idea was to finally part with the real objects. I guess this work has helped to move on a few skeletons, though the items are still in the box.

This particular one was an oil lamp, hand-crafted by a very very dear, but of course, long lost friend. I don’t have the urge to rub the lamp, I know the Genie has gone forever. In all the images one can see the settled dust.

CarefulThe book launch is exactly one week away now.

Last night I worked on even more new puppets. I really shouldn’t… there is still so much other stuff to do… I haven’t even build the puppet theatre yet! It’s only in my mind.  I wonder if I will start freaking out at one stage (that might not be a pretty sight for the people around me!). I haven’t asked for RSVP on the invitation, so I have no idea how many people will come. I have heard from a few people who won’t be able to make it, though.

Not a beautiful postcard

This was the first of my postcard series I did 5 years ago. The photograph of the wall of a partially demolished house triggered that project then. Postcards are pretty much a dying breed.

Thinking about it now, it is not too dissimilar to writing a blog. I sent one postcard every week and had to come up with an idea, print it and find some words to go with it. A bit of a slower pace though.