Where The Magic Happens

I'm still trying to see if this blogging thing is going to stick.

Always thinking and researching for an interesting topic, I thought I would continue on this path of sharing a little sneak peak of my world (note, I tried this last year as well).  

I try to go out with my camera at least once a week.  I like to shoot outside.  I have a thing for natural light, a) it's free, b) it's really hard to duplicate inside and c) it's free.  This of course limits my creativity to when the weather is nice.  

I shoot a lot.

I figure it's the law of averages.

Something will certainly be worthy.  

I dump all my photos into Lightroom and start processing from there.

Lightroom

Lightroom

I go through the photos I like, decide what I want to work on, and save the rest for later.  My next step is to open up Adobe Photoshop and start working on the images I like.

Unedited shot

Unedited shot

I usually start at the image for awhile and decide where I want to go from here.  What is the feeling I want to convey?  What was it about this shot that I liked?  Where do I see the finish?  Actually that is way deeper than I ever get.  I loved the contrast of the yellow on the red.  I liked the point of view I chose and I thought I could really do some cool techniques to enhance this.  

The first thing I did was remove the background and crop it in.  I just want to focus on the flower.

Background removed

Background removed

I like to work in layers.  I usually create multiple layers and import each layer in to different Topaz programs to create textures.

In Topaz Glow2

In Topaz Glow2

I have a "favorites" panel of all the techniques I like the most and try different ones until I get the look I want.

After putting everything back together in Photoshop, I play with the transparency levels of each layer.  I make a few more adjustments, and...

decide where I'm going with it.

Clock

Clock

I think it's kind of fun on a clock.  What about you?

Do you love it?  Clocks are available in my online boutique at Society6.  https://society6.com/jessicamanelis 

How It All Started.

If you follow my blog posts (and don't worry if you haven't, because truth be told I've spent about the last year and half debating if I should be blogging in the first place), you would have read my post about that awkward moment when I tell people what I "do".  Once that moment is over, the next question is usually, "when did you start doing that?"

Exploring my creative side

Exploring my creative side

Let me explain.

As with most college students, when I was getting ready to graduate, my plan was to take over the world...with my art of course.  I set out to be a freelance illustrator.  I made countless appointments and schlepped my portfolio to art directors upon art directors; anyone within a 50 mile radius of Philadelphia.  Although I got a few jobs here and there, I found most art directors didn't really understand my work at the time.  And, if steady work wasn't going to come in soon, I was going to have to go in to survival mode.  So, I got a full-time job as a graphic designer.  I worked an agency for a few years, and while there, I got married, moved to New jersey and my 90 minute commute turned in to a three hour commute.

That got old fast.

So I quit.

My husband and I started a family and I started doing odd jobs on a part-time basis to help ease finances, fitting things in around nap times and when I could conveniently get a sitter.  As my kids got older and my time freer, there of getting back in to "my art" was whispering min my ear.

Since I had been out of the loop for a little while, I knew I had to spruce up my portfolio.  I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures of anything and everything I thought I could use for reference photos for future art projects.  You know, what does a kid eating ice cream look like, or a chair with a pillow on it taken in every conceivable angle.

The things is, I realized I liked taking the pictures more than trying to reproduce them in another media. I found myself composing, cropping and enhancing, and a new art form was born.

Over the years, probably about 10 or so, I've experimented with different subjects and different techniques.  I like where I am now, but I never stop learning.  So stick around, because you never know when something new and unusual is going to pop up!

 

Behind The Scenes: The Making Of A Flower

I'm mostly a private person.  I don't like to put myself out there.  I think it's mostly because I am a little embarrassed, lack some self confidence and feel that people are just going to think I am an idiot for thinking I have any talent.

So, this is about as out of my comfort zone as I can get.  A behind the scenes look at part of what makes me, me.

my office space

my office space

I have a little room downstairs in my basement where the magic happens (just kidding, but not really).  To the left is my art table.  It was a really big deal when I bought this.  It was a bit expensive, but I had to have it because I thought it would make me feel more like an artist.   It mostly houses a variety of art supplies I also had to have, but actually never use, because I thought it would make me feel more like an artist.  I do create mosaics.  You can see my completed mosaic mirror/planter sitting on top.  Mosaics are my therapy.  

At the end of the room is my filing cabinet that contains the picture file I started in college.  What's a picture file you ask?  Well boys and girls, back in the olden days, PI (pre-internet), we had to actually cut pictures out of magazines to use as reference photos.  For some reason I can't seem to let go of them.  It must be the hoarder in me.

You can see my computer.  I have an enormous screen and I love it!  It is surrounded by a calendar, a note pad and a bunch a random pieces of paper with lists and ideas, that I will eventually look through to find what I was thinking about last week, but won't find because I probably threw it away.

work in progress

work in progress

I have two printers, a Wacom tablet a fax machine and as you can see on the right several framed photographs from previous gallery exhibitions stacked against the wall.  

They are all for sale.  (plug, plug, plug)

Today I am updating my website, looking for exhibitions to enter, balancing my check book, laundry and writing a press release.

What's on your plate?