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FROM THE ARCHIVE 4th October 2015

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 mo…

Source: First Night Design | And for my next trick… #Art | First Night Design

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FROM THE ARCHIVE 15/11/2013

The other day I was studying an old photograph that I had taken while on holiday in Crete of the Venetian Harbour in Chania. I was wondering what I could do with it.  In fact, I’d been lookin…

Source: Four Works: Digital Art, Master Photographers & Vintage Delights


In the mid-1990s, after a delightful holiday in Crete with a dear friend, she and I decided we wanted to buy a bolt-hole on the island. I planned to spend half the year in Crete to give my health (or lack of it) the warmth it desperately needed.

At the Going Down of the Sun 
At the Going Down of the Sun (coastline, Chania, Crete)

But life, as John Lennon and others before him said, has a way of happening when you’re making other plans and we never did buy that bolt-hole.

Lighthouse in the Mist Post Cards
(Chania) Lighthouse in the Mist

Cut to September 2008 and Mr FND and I went on our first proper holiday after thirteen years together, prompted by my having four TIAs (mini strokes) in the May. We knew we had to change our lives and a holiday was a priority.
We settled on Chania and the rest is history. I think that even before we got on the plane at Gatwick, we knew we would move to this glorious island permanently. It may, at this time in history, be part of Greece, but there is something different about the island and an atmosphere that is quite unlike the mainland.

Lighthouse in Chania iPad Mini Cover
Lighthouse in Chania iPad Mini Cover

DAKOS

Dakos

© Sarah Vernon

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Crete has the healthiest diet in the Mediterranean. The island has the agriculture, the chefs and the recipes to make your stomach and your doctor very happy! The tavernas and cafés in the tourist areas of Chania, the nearest city to the village of Chorafakia — primarily round the Venetian Harbour — are, alas, not the place to find great Greek or Cretan food but venture into the cobbled streets of the Old Town or up into the mountains and you will often find places to eat that can fulfill your every Cretan dream.

We’ve probably all heard of Moussaka and Tzatziki but unless you are partly or wholly Greek or have spent many years having Greek holidays, you may not have heard of many of the staple mezes or snacks. One such are Dakos, which originated in Chania.  These are barley rusks (twice-baked bread) topped with fresh tomatoes, feta or mizithra cheese, olive oil and oregano. Simple but delicious … and healthy!

Details of how to create Dakos at home can be found at Maria Verivaki’s blog, Organically Greek. She writes:

‘This is the healthiest salad snack you can imagine. It has been immortalised all over Greece and is famous for its Hania origins. It is served in practically every single restaurant, taverna, café or kafeneio in the province. It is extremely easy to make. I don’t know why it’s called dackos (or dakos, or dako for that matter); the same name is also used for the troublesome fly that infests olives and ruins olive trees.’

Scorched Earth Greeting Card
Scorched Earth Greeting Card (Chania’s Venetian Harbour)

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


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
Aquileana
Living with Batman

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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Fine Art America
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Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Venetian Harbour, Chania © Sarah Vernon

Venetian Harbour, Chania © Sarah Vernon

This photograph of the Venetian Harbour in Chania, Crete, was taken by me on this occasion and not Mr FND! My idea was to create a watercolour with the gentle lines of a preparatory drawing showing through.

My first layer was the bluewatercolor from Angie Makes in Photoshop’s Normal mode. This I followed with the Beguiling-18 texture from 2 Lil’ Owls in Linear Burn. As you can see, I’m getting a lot of mileage out of those two backgrounds! Next came the Venetian Harbour which I put in Screen mode. To create the line drawing, I used the Trace Contour tool; this is not the best tool in the world but since I wanted the bare minimum showing, I knew it could work. To top it off, I used another 2 Lil’ Owls texture, 2LO Confetti 8. Putting the latter in Multiply mode was the perfect finishing touch.

The original harbour photograph © Sarah Vernon

The original harbour photograph © Sarah Vernon

The last time I tried to create a watercolour effect with this photo — some years ago now — it was disastrous and very obviously ‘Photoshopped’ using their ‘watercoloor’ tool. Not a good idea. I’m much happier this time round!

Incidentally, the mosque in the centre of the picture is the Mosque of the Janissaries, now an art gallery. If you ever find yourself in the harbour, by all means have a drink but don’t, whatever you do, eat a meal. The quality is appalling and you would be better off going up the side streets to find good, authentic food. Most important of all, avoid the taverna that sells very pink and very green cocktails — coloured fizzy water at best! We were each offered one for free having allowed the owner to do a quick run round the harbour on my mobility scooter. Never again!

Here, for your delectation, is a recipe for what looks and sounds like an excellent green cocktail from MyBestCocktails.com:

minttu

Minttu

Ingredients
1 oz Malibu Rum
1 oz Cuban Rum
1 oz Batida de Coco
2/3 oz Midori
1 oz Pineapple Juice
6 leaves Mint Leaves

  1. Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice.
  2. Pour into a tall glass with some ice.
  3. Enjoy!

No, I’ve never come across Midori either!

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

Sarah


Originally posted on First Night Design.

Stormy Weather @ First Night Design

Stormy Weather @ First Night Design

The other day I was studying an old photograph that I had taken while on holiday in Crete of the Venetian Harbour in Chania. I was wondering what I could do with it.  In fact, I’d been looking at it and wondering for some years because it doesn’t stand alone as a photograph.  It wasn’t until I was going through my cache of background textures for another piece that inspiration struck. I chanced upon a photograph of moss-covered rock which,  combined with the harbour, formed the basis of an image I could work on.  A number of tweaks here and several blending changes there (in Photoshop, as usual) enabled me to create this kind of dirty Canaletto-crossed-with-J M W Turner, if you will!

The Gloria Swanson Tattoo was inspired by Edward Steichen‘s well-known headshot of the Hollywood actress covered in lace and held by the Museum of Modern Art. I had remembered it as an image by Man Ray so it is just as well that I checked.  Both photographers were renowned for their Hollywood and fashion photography in the 1920s and 1930s. The Swanson photo (Hello-Tuesday) and the vintage wallpaper (MGB-Stock) image  I used to create the lace effect…

via Four Works: Digital Art, Master Photographers & Vintage Delights | First Night Design.



“Books are carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculations at a standstill. Books are the engines of change, windows on the world, ‘lighthouses’ (as the poet said) ‘erected in the sea of time.’ They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print.” Barbara Tuchman


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

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah



Never talk to a client about architecture. Talk to him about his children. That is simply good politics. He will not understand what you have to say about architecture most of the time. An architect of ability should be able to tell a client what he wants. Most of the time a client never knows what he wants. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe


Romance in Stone Postcard
Romance in Stone Postcard

This is one of my earliest efforts with textures and handwriting over a photograph of a street in Chania. I knew so much less about how to use Photoshop in those days but it still pleases me that it came out as it did. Another of those happy accidents.

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

Sarah



“Gently the waves would break (Lily heard them in her sleep); tenderly the light fell (it seemed to come through her eyelids). And it all looked, Mr. Carmichael thought, shutting his book, falling asleep, much as it used to look years ago.”
― Virginia WoolfTo the Lighthouse

I’ve been at it again with lighthouses. I do love them. If I had my way, I’d live in a lighthouse. Mind you, it would have to have a special lift all the way up to the top. I envy anyone I read about who buys and renovates a lighthouse as a family home. Heaven!

The original photograph is one I took last month when my niece was staying. It’s the lighthouse that juts out from the Venetian Harbour in Chania which is twenty minutes away from our home in Crete. I plan to make this available for sale also.

lighthouseblog


“Man must behave like a lighthouse; he must shine day and night for the goodness of everyman.” ― Mehmet Murat ildan


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

See also:
Lighthouse Impasto
Lighthouse in Chania

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


A direct contrast to the feel of yesterday’s Song for Freedom, Land, Ho! is another design from a few years ago that centres on my photograph of an abandoned fishing boat in Nea Chora in Chania on the island of Crete, and to which I added textures from Shadowhouse Creations.

To say ‘abandoned’ is, perhaps, to stretch the truth since one sees many apparently abandoned boats  (and houses) on this island that have not been abandoned but have been worked on for years without any sign of improvement! When it comes to the dilapidated houses, it can be assumed that the owners are a disparate collection of family members who have inherited the property and who can’t agree on what should be done with it. It is so sad to see them going by the board as they are often three or four hundred years-old and beautiful examples of Venetian or Ottoman Empire architecture.

Land Ho!
If I get my hands on a dollar bill
Gonna buy a bottle and drink my fill.
[Lyrics to Land Ho by The Doors]

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

Sarah


Quick update: We have been given a separate keyboard for the computer on loan and discovered that no one was able to connect to the internet yesterday because of the weather in this part of Crete including rarely-seen snow in Chania!

It will take quite a while to catch up with all the lovely comments you’ve left since the end of November so please bear with me and forgive me if my responses are limited to ‘liking’. I suspect that if I reply to all of you, I will never get back on track!

In the meantime, here are a couple of cushions I sold in the lead-up to Christmas.

Time for Tea #8 Teacup Pillow
Time for Tea #8 Teacup Pillow

The bad news – oh yes, there’s always bad news in my life! – my glasses, which admittedly don’t work brilliantly while I’m waiting for the cataract operation, have gone AWOL so that I’m having to screw up my good eye in order to read. C’est la vie.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


A little something for Saturday morning that I created about four or five years ago from photographs taken while on holiday in Crete. We took a boat trip from the Venetian harbour in Chania, avoiding the modern, glass-bottomed variety in favour of an old wooden fishing vessel — at least I think that was its former use. To our surprise, the windows and portholes were stained glass scenes of fish in the sea and rather delightful they were too.  1930s? I’m not sure. Back home, I layered the photos one upon the other to produce Stained Glass Fish.

Related

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


The other day I was studying an old photograph that I had taken while on holiday in Crete of the Venetian Harbour in Chania. I was wondering what I could do with it.  In fact, I’d been looking at it and wondering for some years because it doesn’t stand alone as a photograph.  It wasn’t until I was going through my cache of background textures for another piece that inspiration struck. I chanced upon a photograph of moss-covered rock which,  combined with the harbour, formed the basis of an image I could work on.  A number of tweaks here and several blending changes there (in Photoshop, as usual) enabled me to create this kind of dirty Canaletto-crossed-with-J M W Turner, if you will!

The Gloria Swanson Tattoo was inspired by Edward Steichen‘s well-known headshot of the Hollywood actress covered in lace and held by the Museum of Modern Art. I had remembered it as an image by Man Ray so it is just as well that I checked.  Both photographers were renowned for their Hollywood and fashion photography in the 1920s and 1930s. The Swanson photo (Hello-Tuesday) and the vintage wallpaper (MGB-Stock) image  I used to create the lace effect are from Deviantart.

There’s a rather marvellous shop in Berlin that sells vintage postcards, a shop I discovered a few years ago. Bartko-Reher-OHG’s site provides hours of delight and I have to be strong not to buy up all their stock in any one day!  I bought the above  Charlie Chaplin postcard about three years ago but it has taken me this long to do anything with it!

This last image is a vintage advertisement from The Graphics Fairy which stars the singer and dancer Mademoiselle Vanoni who was, according to an old cutting from The New York Times, dated 30 March, 1885, an exuberant performer. I have no doubt of it!

Have a lovely weekend.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Original art © First Night Design. Digital painting of the lighthouse in Chania, Crete, using GMX-Photo Painter.

Lighthouse in Chania. Original art © First Night Design. Digital painting of the lighthouse in Chania, Crete, using GMX-Photo Painter.

Lighthouse Impasto Clock © First Night Design

Lighthouse Impasto Clock Original art © First Night Design

I’ve been just a little obsessed with lighthouses recently. It’s not only the classic lighthouse shape that appeals but what it stands for: a light in the dark to help you navigate stormy waters. Mine are particularly stormy now and I can see no lighthouse on the horizon. Nevertheless, as I’ve said before, I’m a survivor, darlings, so I daresay I shall get through one way or another!

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

 

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