Archive | September 2011

Practice, practice, practice!

Candles I read somewhere that you should practice the things you find difficult to do, not those you find easy. Well, up to yesterday I did not know how to do gradients in Inkscape. I knew how to do them in Photoshop, but everytime I tried to do them with the vector program I failed. I looked at several video tutorials on Youtube, but no way!

On the other hand I read a lot of Adobe Illustrator tutorials about using gradients and looking at the amazing results I so wished I were not too daft to learn!

And then yesterday once again I looked at a Youtube tutorial (one, that was new to me) and click! I had that aha experience. i could but try it out, although it got late in the evening. It worked! I did it!

But I knew one thing: Without practice I would lose the new gained knowledge. So I opened my Inkscape today and did these two candles. I know I can only describe them as “work in progress”, but I love the colours and how the gradients go!

And I also learnt something very important: Never ever think you’re too daft to learn something! Often it is the way things are taught which makes difficult to learn something. It just needed that one well designed and organised tutorial to put things into the right place.

Squidoo revisited

Those of you who have been following my blog posts for some time know that two years ago I had set my focus on squidoo and that I managed to write about more than 60 Squidoo articles (to avoid the rather strange sounding word “lenses”). I wrote about classical music, about artists like Michelangelo and Goya. I presented my Zazzle products in several articles and then – I got a kind of Squidoo burnout. The pressure of having to produce one article after another had been just to great, and me and Squidoo went different ways.

After some time I managed to write the one or the other article, but my love and my passion was somewhere else – on the fields of painting, drawing, graphic design and Zazzle. Some days ago, however, things changed. I am on facebook, and a member of several groups which focus on promoting their Zazzle products and supporting each other. Suddenly there was a new group called Squid-Doers – people who wrote articles in order to promote their products. This group is full of supportive, motivating and kind people, and voila – my attitude towards Squidoo – and writing – has changed! I have just thrown a look on some of my “old” articles, and I had to grin and say to myself: “You’ve done a good job there. You could have done better with this or that article, but in general, you’ve done a good job.” And something inside me is prodding me to do it again… I don’t know where to take the time to do it, but ahhh, I’d like be squidoo-ing again…

For anybody who wants to have a look at my articles: Here’s a list of my articles.

Light on Water

Light on Water. Photo: Ulla Hennig, September 2011

Unfortunately my new camera has only got a display and no viewfinder. I could not see what I was taking a photo of, but I had a try. I was interested in the reflection of the sun in the water, not so much in the bridge. I tried to focus more on that by applying a gaussian filter on the upper half of the photo, but was not satisfied with it, so I left it as it came out of the camera.

Mushrooms on Wood

Mushrooms on Wood

Mushrooms on Wood. Photo: Ulla Hennig, September 2011

Two weeks ago our University staff went on a trip to Potsdam, the capital of the federal state of Brandenburg. We visited a very famous building, the Belvedere on the “Pfingstberg”. Of course I took photographs of the building (you will see them later on this blog), but I was also interested in the small things of nature and found this stump with two mushrooms on it.

I like the structure of the cracks in the wood, and how the mushrooms seem to sit on them – they remind me of two white eyes in a brown face. Maybe we should call it the face of fall?

Roses – Photo manipulation

Roses - a photo manipulation

Roses. Photo manipulation with a photo taken in September 2011

Actually I took a photo of two roses in a vase, looked at the photo and discovered that the photo was a failure. Somehow I didn’t have the courage to delete it from my hard drive. Then later I read a blogpost about photo manipulation in photoshop.

I wanted to try that but needed something to manipulate. I returned to the photo, selected one rose, copied it and inserted it into a new image file. It didn’t look too bad, so I returned to the photo, selected the second rose and repeated the steps.

And here is the result! Something new had developed out of the photo failure. And I was glad that I hadn’t removed this photo from my hard disk…



Lily. Photo by Ulla Hennig, taken in September 2011

I could not resist taking a photograph of the lovely liles I got for my birthday this year. They were beautiful to look at, but I knew that they would not last forever in the vase in my living room. Taking a photo of them somehow makes them live forever…

Purple Stars

Purple Stars

Purple Stars. Inkscape and Photoshop, Ulla Hennig September 2011

There’s a tool in Inkscape called “Spray tool”. With this tool you can “spray” the same object over and over again on the canvas, changing the colour and the size afterwards. After importing it into Photoshop I thought of ways to highlight the star in the middle and discovered seveeral photo effects.

The result reminds me of winter – cool colours, and the stars look a bit like ice crystals. But I am also interested in your opinion / impression / feeling: What comes to your mind when you look at the image? Please tell me!

Ribbons and a Foot

Foot and ribbons

Graphic design done with Inkscape and Photoshop. September 2011, Ulla Hennig

What you can see here on the photo has not been planned. It is the result of playing around with the calligraphic tool in Inkscape – I just wanted to find out what it does. Well, I learnt that it does amazing things. I had another go at the gradient tool as well. In the end there was something I was not unhappy about, but I am still far from having control of this tool.

Then I worked on the image in photoshop and noticed that I have far too few patterns. The one I used above is the only wooden pattern I’ve got in my photoshop version, and I think it is far too light. Notice to self: 1. Do some research about useful patterns on the web and 2. Learn how to implement them…

Women Dancers

Women dancers

Women dancers. Created in Inkscape and processed in Photoshop. Ulla Hennig September 2011

This time I created the woman dancer in Inkscape with the pen tool without having done any sketch with pencil and paper. I had a printout from as reference just to have an idea about the dancing pose.

After I had the impression that the pose was about right, I imported the image into Photoshop, duplicated the dancer and worked on the background. There is a very nice filter in photoshop with which you can create a spotlight effect, and I placed around with that.

Autumn Day – A Poem

This is one of my favorite poems by Rainer Maria Rilke, one of the most important poets who wrote in German. I found the translation of the first two verses on the web:

“Lord, it is time.
The summer was very big.
Lay thy shadow on the sundials, and on the meadows let the winds go loose.
Command the last fruits that they shall be full; give them another two more southerly days,
press them on to fulfillment and drive the last sweetness into the heavenly wine.”
–  Rainer Maria Rilke

The German version doesn’t stop here. I am not a professional translator, but I will try to add the third verse in English:

“Who is without home will not build one now
Who lives alone will stay alone
will be awake, will read and write long letters
and will anxiously walk the alleys
and watch the leaves being driven by the storm.

In the German original the language has a wonderful sound, and anybody who can understand and read German should read the German version. In addition to that I feel deeply touched by the poem. Just now here in Germany we are having days of summer and then, one day later, days of autumn. Temperatures go down, it is getting dark early because the sky is grey, and it rains. We had years when September meant late days of summer, and October was the month to get used to autumn. This year I’ve got the feeling that autumn is already knocking at the door, And so Rilke’s poem came into my mind, and it stays there, in an irritating way.