Decaying Light © Sarah Vernon

Decaying Light © Sarah Vernon

After the success of Scorched Earth both here and in my galleries, I couldn’t resist trying the same process with the 2 Lil’ Owls texture—2LO Distressed 21—on my Chania lighthouse photograph. However, instead of Photoshop’s Overlay mode, I used Soft Light. I tweaked the tones of both the photograph and the texture so that the overall effect had more red than in Scorched Earth, or a Titian tone as I like to call it: such a lovely word.

Regular readers will know I do a lot of tweaking but I haven’t mentioned it for a while. I’m saying this just in case you experiment with the same processes I describe using similar photos or textures and discover you end up with something that doesn’t come close! For exact descriptions of what you can achieve in Photoshop, do visit Syd at DigitalLady. I don’t like to give away all my secrets!

I dedicate this post to the friends who commented on The Magic Lighthouse by saying how fond they were of lighthouses, a passion I share, as I think you may have guessed. Do visit these lovely blogs, all very different to each other. In no particular order I give you:

Beetley Pete
Yesterday After
Just Olga
Living with Batman

Available at the following galleries:
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America
Fine Art England
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!


First Night Design:


Originally posted on First Night Design:

Seagull Sonata © First Night DesignSeagull Sonata © First Night Design

I created Seagull Sonata with a photograph from Wikimedia and applied several textures, including one by Kerstin Frank, to produce a digital watercolour.

Hark to the whimper of the seagull.
He weeps because he’s not an ea-gull.
Suppose you were, you silly seagull.
Could you explain it to your she-gull?

Ogden Nash

Take care and keep laughing!


View original

The Magic Lighthouse © Sarah Vernon

The Magic Lighthouse © Sarah Vernon

The original photograph is by Joshua Hibbert at Unsplash and I had enormous fun changing the dimensions of each element and layering the result with a couple of my textures, one orange and one a grungy yellowy cream. The outsize marigold is from The Graphics Fairy. I guess you might call it a cross between surrealism and magic realism.

Using exactly the same combination of photo and textures, Mr FND created his own surrealistic take.

Lighthouse © Mr FND

Lighthouse © Mr FND

“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
Roald Dahl


Available at the following galleries:
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America
Fine Art England
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!


#photorehabcovermakeover Week 14; The Incident at Montebello by Patti Moed

#photorehabcovermakeover Week 14; The Incident at Montebello by Patti Moed

It’s Week 14 of the Photo Rehab Cover Makeover run by Desley Jane of Musings of a Frequent Flying Scientist and Lucile of Lucile de Goday. They have chosen another book by a fellow blogger—The Incident at Montebello by Patti Moed of Pilotfish. Ms Moed is an award-winning creative artist who’s worked as a university professor, writer, textbook editor, photographer, corporate trainer, educational consultant, and instructional designer; that’s some CV!

I have used a family photo which you might recognise from my treatment of it for When Worlds Collide. I can’t pretend the vehicles are spot-on for 1930 but I consider them close enough to give a flavour of Patti’s book (which I have already bought for Kindle and am very much looking forward to). The strap line I’ve used is my invention!

The Incident at Montebello is a historical novel based on a true event— In 1930, Italian Premier Benito Mussolini was driving through the Italian countryside with Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr. when his car struck and killed a little girl, Sofia Buonomano. The Buonomano family is torn apart by Sofia’s death and is caught in a political firestorm that spreads from their village to Rome and across America and Europe. One family member, 16-year-old Isolina, witnesses the accident and recognizes Mussolini as the driver.’

Click here for instructions if you would like to take part in future challenges.

Take care and keep laughing!


First Night Design:

Utterly absorbing video in which famous paintings are animated. Thank you, James, for posting.

Originally posted on Just add pictures:

I was shown the video below earlier today. It is constructed by animating well-known and beautiful paintings. The result is stunning, and really rather moving. It is well worth a look.

View original

Originally posted on Victorian Paris.
Jean Béraud was born in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, where his father worked as a sculptor.  In 1853, after Jean Béraud Senior died, his wife Eugénie took Jean and his three siblings back to France. Jean studied at the Lycée Bonaparte then became a pupil of Léon Bonnat at the School of Fine Arts in Paris. He started at the Salon of 1872 and in 1876 he enjoyed success with his painting After the Funeral.

He became one of the leading painters of Parisian life. From the sweeping views of the boulevards to the intimate twosome at a bistro table, Béraud knows his Parisians. He paints with acuity and often with…

Source: Jean Béraud: The most Parisian of the Paris painters | Victorian Paris

Originally posted on The Silent Eye.

Megaloceros, Lascaux

Smoke from the torches stings his eyes, making it difficult to see. The dancing flames bring the animals to life, a magical hunt galloping across the walls of the cavern. It is warm here, sheltered from the icy blast of the wind. Here he will spend the dark time when the sun is weak in the sky. Not for him the warmth of the hearth and the laughter of children, he is alone in the dark womb of earth.

They bring him meat from the home place, the caves that look out onto the grasslands. They bring him water and wood for the flames. And the old one brings him tales of magic to weave on the walls, gratitude for survival and a plea for good hunting and rich life as the seasons turn.

They bring him the clay and stones that make the colour and he turns the earth into hope on the walls of the cavern… the place of the gods.Bison stream across the painted plain, horses and aurochs, lions and bears…even the old one, the shaman in his feathered mask and his staff. The walls run with game and magic…

Source: A Landscape of Images | The Silent Eye

Scorched Earth © Sarah Vernon

Scorched Earth © Sarah Vernon

And for my next trick, I have used the same Venetian Harbour in Chania photograph (Overlay mode in Photoshop) to show baking hot, sand-encrusted houses overlooking the sea.  The underlay (Normal mode) is a texture from 2 Lil’ Owls (2LO Distressed 21).

And oh boy, does that red desert dust cover everything. The Libyan Desert may be closer to South Crete but those pesky winds sweep it up and over. Every morning our beaten-up car is caked in the stuff.

That’s not even taking the henna-red earth of our garden into consideration. In the early days, I considered how it could be pressed into service. Might we be able to sieve it and press it into jars with some magic ingredient that would serve as hair dye? Would it work as a tanning agent? Was I ever seriously going to do any such thing? A resounding no! But it was fun to think about.

Which reminds me of our Greek friend ‘Panioyotis’. He was born in mainland Greece but brought up in Germany. He works mainly in the tourist industry but is constantly dreaming up ideas to make money, none of which he ever follows through, though not before he has brought me on board as his website designer and general factotum.

There were the rape alarms that are illegal in Greece but that he planned to order and dispatch from Germany. There were the lighthouses he hoped Mr FND would make out of abandoned wooden palettes.  There was the time he saw one of my images—


Been Fishin’ (US) Been Fishin’ (UK)

—and wanted to start an online business selling my Crete-based designs, whether straight photographs or digitally adapted.

Eventually, we realised these were pipe dreams that were never going to amount to anything. How much money he wasted on research—ordering the alarms and so forth—we’ll never know.

‘Panioyotis’ is now working back in Germany. He visits occasionally and although it’s lovely to see him, we have one problem: our dog, Pisch, has never liked him and barks constantly when he’s around. This activity is usually a good indicator of the decency of another human being but not in this case for ‘Panioyotis’ is a sweetheart!

Available at the following galleries:
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America
Fine Art England
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!


Originally posted on Eclectic odds n sods.
This is such a super easy chicken meal, I’ve cooked it a few times now and it got the thumbs up from my mother in law, so it must be good :D  It also hits the button with the Low FodMAP eaters.

Succulent Sweet, Lemon Chicken


3 juicy lemons
50g butter
3 tbsp clear honey
leaves from 4 rosemary sprigs…

Source: Succulent Sweet, Lemon Chicken | Eclectic odds n sods

First Night Design:

Some exquisite watercolour work from my artist friend, Janet Weight-Reed.

Originally posted on My Life as an Artist (2):

On Monday evening I gave a demonstration which was all about the spontaneity of watercolour painting at The Hurlingham Club, London.

I laid out four large sheets of watercolour paper – two of which I had prepared with a cadmium orange ground.

The demonstration was completed within twenty minutes…..

I used flowers as my jumping off point….allowing the brush to dance across the paper.

When working off the ground, I added some gouache to the mix…..





A magical hummingbird for the weekend…..


A Bientôt

View original

#photorehabcovermakeover Week 13 Golden Valley Silver Flowers

#photorehabcovermakeover Week 13 Golden Valley Silver Flowers

It’s Week 13 of the Photo Rehab Cover Makeover run by Desley Jane of Musings of a Frequent Flying Scientist and Lucile of Lucile de Goday, and I should be in time for the challenge!

I’ve kept it simple and used a marigold image from The Graphics Fairy.

The gals have chosen a book by a fellow blogger, Becky, who is donating 100% of her book royalties to help the refugees arriving in Europe.

In Becky’s own words:

I am a 28 year old PhD student in the field of neurovirology, freelance author and blogger. I’m much more besides that, but those are my professions.

I am a war survivor and former refugee and mostly I write real-life stories that happened to me or my close ones. I’ve seen a lot in my life and want to share my experience, hoping that someone out there might open his eyes and see it all in a different light.

I am a fighter for human rights, peaceful coexisting and a green planet. I’m against war – no matter where it takes place -, against trauma, post-traumatic stress disorders, pain, loss, hunger, injustice.

I dedicate all my stories to those who have suffered and lost and I donate from my author’s salaries to help people who are going through hell.

Feel free to join me and become a soldier of peace by following, liking, sharing or buying my recently published book (“Golden Valley Silver Flowers” by SB Selimovic).

Click here for instructions if you would like to take part in future challenges.

Take care and keep laughing!


my_secret_garden_business_card-reea658432d1545b3a390610460839b0e_i579t_8byvr_325 My Secret Garden Double-Sided Standard Business Cards (Pack Of 100)

I’ve recently sold several packets of these business cards, though before Zazzle brought in their special offer. Zazzle are now offering 50% Off Business Cards & 20% Off Everything Else. Ends Tonight!



Business cards available at the following galleries:
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK

Take care and keep laughing!


There are two versions available, one that says ‘What was I – just a number’ and ‘So I have a number of faults!’ The original vintage skeletons are from…

Source: So I Have a Number of Faults, said the Skeleton | First Night Design

ORIGINALLY POSTED on stuartshieldgardendesign.

Roger Eliot Fry (14 December 1866 – 9 September 1934) was an English painter and critic, and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Establishing his reputation as a scholar of the Old Masters, he became an advocate of more recent developments in French painting, to which he gave the name Post-Impressionism. He was the first figure to raise public awareness of modern art in Britain, and emphasised the formal properties of paintings over the “associated ideas” conjured in the viewer by their representational content. He was described by the art historian Kenneth Clark as “incomparably the greatest influence on taste since Ruskin … In so far as taste can be changed by one man, it was changed by Roger Fry”.‪


Born in London, the son of the judge Edward Fry, he grew up in a wealthy Quaker family in Highgate. Fry was educated at Clifton College and King’s College, Cambridge,‬ where he was a member of the Cambridge Apostles. After taking a first in the Natural Science tripos, he went to Paris and then Italy to study art. Eventually he specialised in landscape painting.

In 1896, he married the artist…

Source: Bloomsbury : Roger Fry. | stuartshieldgardendesign.

My favourite mouse silhouette! The dinky little thing has done good and sold herself several times over as address labels.

And for my next post, I shall tell you that a global hotel conglomerate has ordered a million cushions, and a well-known stationery chain has requested countless boxes of notebooks. In which case, the world is my oyster!

'Twas the Night Before Christmas Spiral Notebook
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Spiral Notebook

Available at the following galleries:
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK

Take care and keep laughing!


Award-Free Blog

Sarah Vernon

Sarah Vernon

Artist, Actress, Writer

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© Sarah Vernon and First Night Design 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Vernon and First Night Design with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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