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Features / Art Universe 19 September 2015 / Photoshop / I combined a Chinese print from the Library of Congress at Flickr with the Beguiling-18 texture from 2 Lil’ Owls, and the bluewatercolor texture from Angie Makes via Design Cuts. • Also buy this artwork on scarves, apparel, stickers, and more.

Source: “The Green, Green Grass of Home” Scarves by Sarah Vernon | Redbubble

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Contemplation Tote Bag by Sarah Vernon. The tote bag is machine washable, available in three different sizes, and includes a black strap for easy carrying on your shoulder. All totes are available for worldwide shipping and include a money-back guarantee.

Source: Contemplation Tote Bag for Sale by Sarah Vernon

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


FROM THE ARCHIVE 15th September 2015

I adore clocks and watches and all things time-related, perhaps because I’m constantly trying to hold back time! I created two circular layers from the centre of the same Chinese print I used in Th…

Source: First Night Design | Behind Time #Art | First Night Design


This is an old book-plate by Ernest Haslehurst of a public house called The Grapes at Limehouse (once The Bunch of Grapes) that I bought from collectors Vintage Views. It would be fun to think this Taylor Walker & Co pub was the inspiration for Dickens and Fagin’s den in Oliver Twist but it certainly makes me think of the narrow cobbled streets of Victorian London where pickpockets and other nefarious persons would ply their trade. It dates from the 16th century but the frontage is Victorian.

Although the original is in good nick, it has a faded quality even though it has not actually faded, so I added a duplicate layer in Overlay to bring out the colour and detail.

Look closely — I can see Nancy on the balcony, and isn’t that Bill Sikes with his Staffy, Bullseye, coming up the ladder? And surely that’s Fagin himself at the curtain. Could this not, in fact, be the very place from which Sikes hanged himself?

The Grapes does have a connection to Dickens, however, since he knew that area of Limehouse well and probably based The Six Jolly Fellowship Porters in Our Mutual Friend on it.

From the research I’ve done, I learn that the lessees are actor Sir Ian McKellen, director Sean Mathias and Evening Standard owner, Evgeny Lebedev, the trio having bought the pub in 2011; it looks as if it’s a charming place to find some excellent beer and food. Let me know if you visit.

Available at the following galleries:
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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


The Sports Pavilion uses a photograph from a store called Clark Street Mercantile who have added what I assume to be their brochure photographs to that great free resource, Unsplash.

In the first instance I used Topaz Impressions’ chiaroscuro effect but I wanted something else. To this end I added 2LO Texture Artists 2 in the Multiply mode and enhanced the brightness and contrast. The image now appears to be a charmingly aged print of an old sports pavilion from, say, the 1920s or ’30s. Well, I like to think so!

Available at the following galleries:
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Fine Art America [14 fulfillment centers in 5 countries]
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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Keep Calm & Then Scream Pillow
Keep Calm & Then Scream Pillow by FirstNightDesign

This is one of my favourite cushions because of the exhortation. I believe it’s very healthy to scream and let go of all those frustrations. Take a leaf out of Sally Bowles’ book and find a railway bridge to stand beneath so that as soon as a train comes along, you can scream your heart out without disturbing anyone — remember the scene in Cabaret with Liza Minnelli and Michael York? Mind you, I’m not sure just how much noise modern overground trains make so be careful. I can’t actually recall if this scene is in Christopher Isherwood’s book, Goodbye To Berlin, on which the musical is based so it’s time to read it again, methinks.

Keep Calm & Then Scream Bicycle Playing Cards
Keep Calm & Then Scream Bicycle Playing Cards by FirstNightDesign

Southwold Pier in the summer sunshine [Wikipedia]

Southwold Pier in the summer sunshine [Wikipedia]

When I worked in weekly rep in the delightful seaside town of Southwold in Suffolk (UK) in the early 1980s, some of us went to the beach in the middle of the night. The wind was immense and the waves frightening. Who would be able to hear us? And boy, did we scream! As we looked around us sheepishly, we saw that several upstairs windows had been wrenched upwards. We skedaddled!

Keep Calm & Then Scream Bag Tag
Keep Calm & Then Scream Bag Tag by FirstNightDesign

Available at the following galleries:
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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Clowns of the Sea © Sarah Vernon at Crated

Clowns of the Sea © Sarah Vernon at Crated

2 Lil’ Owls – 2LO~French Script antique papers 2-13.
Puffin – Biodiversity Library.
Flora & Fauna – Biodiversity Library.

A few tidbits from National Geographic:

1. Nicknamed ‘sea parrots‘ – and sometimes ‘clowns of the sea‘! – Atlantic puffins have black and white feathers and a large parrot-like beak. They are small seabirds measuring around 25cm in length.

2. Puffins spend most of their lives out at sea, resting on the waves when not swimming. Their range spans the eastern coast of Canada and the United States to the western coast of Europe.

3. A puffin’s beak (or bill) changes colour during the year. In winter, the beak has a dull grey colour, but in spring it blooms with an outrageous orange! It’s thought that the bright colour helps puffins assess potential mates.

4. Puffins are carnivores and live off small fish such as herring, hake and sand eels.

5. Puffins are fab flyers, flapping their wings up to 400 times a minute and speeding through the air at up to 88km an hour

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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Texture TanEphemeraKitchenLabels via Design Cuts.
Photo from Unsplash by Ales Krivec.
Photo from Unsplash by Padurariu Alexandru.
Own scrapbook image.


“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero


Windows to the Soul Pillow
Windows to the Soul Pillow by FirstNightDesign at Zazzle


“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.”
Aristotle


Available at the following galleries:
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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Great Easter offer from Redbubble with 20% off everything!
Use code BUNNY20.

HAPPY EASTER MONDAY!

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


I was profoundly moved recently to read about the carbon ‘imprint’ of a man who had been sitting on the stone steps outside the Sumitomo bank in Hiroshima when the bomb fell at 8.15am on 6th August 1945.

The ‘shadow’ left by his body was visible for many years until time and weather all but erased it. “Receiving the rays directly, the victim must have died on the spot from massive burns. The surface of the surrounding stone steps was turned whitish by the intense heat rays. The place where the person was sitting became dark like a shadow.” Google Cultural Institute

When the new bank was built, the steps were taken to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and an etching of the ‘shadow’ was created in memory of that fateful day when so many lives were ruined or — depending on your point of view — many more were potentially saved.

Whether this happenstance was in my subconscious when I decided to do something with Paul Earle’s photograph of deer in Bushy Park, Hampton (near London), I cannot say. If you like to ‘read’ things into other people’s work, you might say it’s my stand against the destruction of nature and wildlife where the planet will soon be a world of just such shadows.

My tongue is slightly in my cheek because I’m always amused by the things the critics read into the work they’re discussing and the ideas they attribute to the creator. I can just imagine the said artist or writer looking down from above and pooh-poohing the symbolism being expounded. “Oh, don’t be ridiculous — I wasn’t thinking anything of the kind!”

The deer in Earle’s original photograph are already in silhouette but putting the image in Linear Burn mode over the Ancient times 20 texture by 2 Lil’ Owls has increased the effect and given the image a rich, vibrant hue that you could say portends future atomic destruction!

Shadow Deer Flasks
Shadow Deer Flasks by FirstNightDesign

Available at the following galleries:
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Fine Art America [14 fulfillment centers in 5 countries]
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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


I’ve been nosing around the autochrome photographs on Wikimedia again and on this occasion I turned up the slightly-dull-but-full-of-possibility ‘Still Life with Ornate Chinese Vase’ by Frederick S Dellenbaugh, an American photographer. There’s no date attached to the image (it’s part of the Google Art Project) but autochromes were patented by the Lumière brothers in 1903 and marketed in 1907; it was the only colour process until superseded by colour film in the 1930s.

Although I haven’t added any painterly textures, the result of adding a texture from Kerstin Frank and another from 2 Lil’ Owls has made it look like a still life painting where the detail is immense, so great that you’re not sure whether it might not be a photograph. I’m thinking particularly of the Christmas Still Life by Eloise Harriet Standard that I put up for sale at Christmas.

People often ask if my work is really ‘accidental’ but I can assure you it is. I didn’t start The Chinese Vase off with the idea of a ’painted’ still life. As ever, I experimented with various textures and modes (‘overlay’, ‘burn’ and so forth) until an effect grabbed my aesthetic eye.

I would never have imagined the two textures above would have brought out the colour of the flowers and the brush strokes of the vase in the way they have nor, indeed, made the background recede to black as it has. It’s all very satisfying.

Available at the following galleries:
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Zazzle US
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Fine Art America [14 fulfillment centers in 5 countries]
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


It’s amazing what you can do with just one vintage theatre curtain. I’m at it again, only this time I’ve made the curtain a sepia pinky green overlaying a tremendous photograph by Didier B of the astronomical clock at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg in France from Wikimedia. Another Wikimedia photograph of arches at the Sonargaon Folk Arts and Craft Museum, Bangladesh, lies over one of my grainy blue textures.


‘There are two kinds of clocks. There is the clock that is always wrong, and that knows it is wrong, and glories in it; and there is the clock that is always right — except when you rely upon it, and then it is more wrong than you would think a clock could be in a civilized country.’ — Jerome K. Jerome


 

Available at the following galleries:
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Fine Art America [14 fulfillment centers in 5 countries]
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


EGRET: ORIGIN Middle English: from Old French aigrette, from Provençal aigreta, from the Germanic base of heron.

Oh, the utter joy of finding the right texture for the right photograph and creating something entirely other. I didn’t have to go far since one of the textures I’ve used for Reflecting Egret is one I created myself. The other is from Kerstin Frank. The photograph I’ve sandwiched between the two is by Laitche and from WikimediaI discovered it when I was looking for a pelican for the most recent Cover Makeover.

Available at the following galleries:
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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


I fell in love a couple of weeks ago. The object of my affection was an autochromatic print of roses from a family garden in New South Wales dated 1909. I knew that I didn’t want to muck about with it in my usual fashion but only to clean up the dust and scratches and enhance the dusty pink with a peach overlay.


“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince


“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”
Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden


Available at the following galleries:
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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


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—

beenfishin

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:
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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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