Friday, December 27, 2013

Learning from Other Artists and Preparing for the New Year

On December 21st, I participated in the Fantasy Art Land Show at JoMar Visions in Houston. I really enjoyed the day, met some great artists and learned a lot that I can use at future shows.

The first thing I learned - I need more inventory.  I had been concerned about keeping in the theme of the show and so only took the new fantasy art I've created recently - amounting to three framed prints and some unframed prints of the same images.  They did look rather lonely in my display area.

Chatting with the other artists, I asked about this and they told me that generally it's fine to have other types of art available as unframed prints in your print rack, just as long as your main display adheres to the theme of the show.

One of the photographers at the show shared a resource with us that I am definitely going to use in the future - - a division of Circle Graphics, Inc., the largest producer of digital large-format prints. They bring together world-class manufacturing expertise, engineering, and materials science to produce amazing products at very low prices, which is perfect for artists building a body of work for sale or exhibition, like me :-)

We also discussed our marketing materials, business cards etc.  I think I'm on the right track with my business cards. I got lots of compliments on it :-)

Another of the artists had something I thought was a good idea.  In among her framed art and canvases on her wall, she had a 10 x 8 canvas with her name, web address and some decorative accents.  So I played around a bit and created three different images that I am getting printed on 10 x 8 canvas to use when I go to more shows.

Here is the first one, which matches my business cards and rack cards, with the web address of my artist website and my email address.

And then I did another one, specifically for my fantasy art, which goes with the postcards I already had printed. It includes the web address of my new store on Zazzle which I opened recently.

And finally, I did a sign for my 3D Designs by Jayne store on Zazzle, with the tag line "Because art doesn't just belong on walls."  The coloring and design match the header for the store and also for my 3DDesignsbyJayne Google + page.

So I think I'm ready for the New Year.  I'll be able to order canvases to take to shows and sales without breaking the bank, and my marketing materials are coming together. 

Here's to a Happy, Creative and Prosperous New Year!

What have you been doing to prepare for the New Year?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

"Snap to Grid"

The following is from the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art's Gallery Statement.

Every year for 50 years the L.A. Municipal Gallery has held its "Open Call" exhibit where any artist can show up with their art and an entry fee (to benefit gallery programs) and the piece is shown. The Los Angeles Center For Digital Art decided to launch an international experiment of the same nature where the artists upload images that are printed and hung by the gallery. The hundreds of works are displayed in a grid like installation (reminiscent of postcard art shows of the 1980's) where every work submitted is exhibited.

The usual (less than democratic) selection process where only the precious few are chosen is turned on its head in a curatorial anarchy where everyone gets to participate and the viewer is literally left to be the judge. The show represents a snapshot of a current moment in art history when digital imaging has reached the hands of the many, an age where culture belongs to the "mobblogers" around the globe. From Thailand to Texas, amateur to academic, beautiful to banal and beyond the monumental quantity and variety of "Snap to Grid" becomes an aesthetic experience where each individual piece adds to an agglomerative effect that has a life of its own.


I was rather intrigued when I read this and decided to enter three of my artworks to the show. I don't know if anything will come of it, but I think it looks good on my artist's "resume" to be able to say that my work has been show at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art.

The show runs from December 12, 2013 to January 4, 2014, with an Opening Reception on December 12 from 7 pm - 9 pm, in conjunction with the Los Angeles Downtown Art Walk.

Here's one of the pieces I entered, that I don't think I have shown in my blog before.

Now if I could just get off work for a few days and make my way to the West Coast for the Opening Reception....

For more information on Snap to Grid, visit

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Artsy Cats

I've always been an artsy, crafty type. Going back to when I was single and living at home with my parents, I loved painting, sewing and macrame etc. Even when I moved to the U.S., I enjoyed working with my hands and being creative.

Through circumstances beyond my control, I eventually ended up sharing my living space with a number of furry felines. And cats do kind of get into stuff...

I couldn't paint because things would get knocked over, or a furry body would brush up against the canvas, or pieces would disappear.

Because of this, my artistic side took a back seat for several years, until my then fiance introduced me to the 3D graphics program, Bryce in 2004.

I was excited that I would once again be able to get creative and the cats wouldn't be able to get into it and since then the rest, as they say, is history.

But wouldn't you know, the cats started working themselves into my creative side again.  But not in a bad way this time.

My husband got me an awesome camera with which I've been able to capture some nice photos of the cats. And recently I've been playing around in Photoshop Elements 11, adding textures and using different blending modes to come up with some artistic, painterly images.

I thought I'd show you a couple of my favorites here:

This first photograph shows one of our younger cats, a black and white "Tuxedo" cat named Jester.

Jester is a real character and when we were thinking of names, we realized that he was as entertaining as a court jester, and so he got his name.

We rescued Jester, his siblings and his mother, after they were abandoned in our neighborhood. They have enhanced our lives so much, we can't imagine life without them, even if it does mean our house is chock full of cats.

The second photo is of Missy.

Missy is a grey and white domestic long-haired cat. She was the runt of her litter and had to be hand fed every two hours for the first week of her life until she was able to hold her own among her rambunctious siblings and nurse for herself. She grew up into a beautiful cat even though she is still tiny, compared to most of our other cats, who are all big honkers. I love how she is looking directly into the camera in this photo.

Remember in the first paragraph I mentioned I used to do macrame?  Didn't it seem like back in the 70's macrame was everywhere?  Well it's back!  At least in my house it is.  I've designed and made several macrame plant hangers for our patio, as well as an owl wall hanging.

I'll have to show you those on another day :-)

I hope everyone had a great weekend, now it's back to the grindstone.  Work really does get in the way of art... grumble, grumble...

Friday, November 1, 2013

"Lazy River" Wins Special Merit Award

When my husband and I first delved in to Vue, by E-On Software, we downloaded the freebie "Personal Learning Edition" which offered all the features of the full version, but with some restrictions.

First of all, it limited the size of your render. and second it put a large logo in the corner of the image.

But it allowed us to see the possibilities of the software and to start playing around with it enough to discuss purchasing the full version.

When, after a certain amount of time, every single render with the "PLE" had multiple watermarks checkered across the image, we finally decided to go ahead and make our purchases. That was sometime in 2011.

Vue comes in several editions, from the Extreme (all bells and whistles and then some - the sort of program used to work on CGI movies like Avatar) down to a stripped down version that I forget the name of.

We went for the Esprit version, which is somewhere in the middle price range, and we added on a couple of modules for increased functionality -- the Ecosystem and Ecopainter modules, (in my mind, probably THE most impressive feature of Vue which allows you to populate your scenes with vegetation - grasses, plants, trees etc.) and also the Botanica module, which allows you to edit plants and trees.

The very first scene I worked on once I had my new software installed was a scene with a quiet stream with reeds and trees along the banks.  I played around with several different atmospheres until I found just the right serene misty look I was after.

And just for good measure I added a family of ducks that were created and posed in DAZ 3D and then imported as a Wavefront Object into Vue.

I named the piece "Lazy River" and it has remained one of my favorite artworks.

A month or so ago, I decided to enter it, among some other pieces, into an International Juried Art Competition organized by the Light, Space Time, Jupiter, Florida.

I just found out today that it earned a Special Merit Award! Apparently, the gallery received 673 entries from 24 different countries and from 36 different states and the District of Columbia, so to earn a Special Merit award is a huge honor!

Excuse me while I pat myself on the back :-)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I love all things Halloween -- I love the scary movies, I love decorating, I love dressing up. 

Here's a Halloween card that I created in Vue last year.  I love how it came out with the spooky haunted house in the background and the grinning Jack o'Lantern in the foreground and I really like the sky, which took quite a bit of tweaking to get the way I wanted it. 


Please note: the following images are not by me. 

I was thrilled when I found this collection of public domain vintage Halloween postcards and knew I had to share them in my blog.  I added a few little verses too, to complete the Halloween theme of this post :-)

A pumpkin head I would like to be,
If in your arms you would take me


This is the nicht o' Hallowe'en
When a' the witchie may be seen 


By pumpkins fat and witches lean
By coal black cats with eyes of green
By all the magic ever seen...
I wish you luck this HALLOWEEN
~Author Unknown


When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam,
May luck be yours on Halloween.
~ Author Unknown


Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Making of Country Lane in Fall

Fall is my favorite season. I love fall colors, even though we really don't get much in the way of fall color here in Texas.  It seems to me that the leaves stay green until they just drop off the trees here.

That could be why I enjoy creating artwork which features fall colors.

A couple of weeks ago I started working on a new artwork which I entitled "Country Lane in Fall".

What follows is a little detail about how I created it in Vue.  I'll show you the actual image at the end of the post :-)  As always, you can click on the images to see a larger version.


I had an idea of what I wanted, but creating it in Vue was a bit of a challenge as my technical skills are still lacking in some areas.  I'm just not very good at sculpting terrains yet.  Usually, I load a standard heightfield terrain and squish it almost flat.

That creates a nice enough base for many scenes.  I often use something like that for the foreground and then add hills in the background.

But for the scene I had in mind, I wanted a country lane, complete with cart tracks, or tractor tracks in the dirt.

Some time ago I watched a video tutorial which showed something similar to what I wanted, and it used a "heightmap", basically a greyscale image that Vue would blend with it's own fractal terrain to modify it.

So first, here is the standard heightfield terrain in Vue.  There are all sorts of tools for tweaking it and creating impressive terrains but I'm still learning how to use them.

Next, in Photoshop Elements, I created a new file and "painted" a country lane.  I used a fuzzy edged brush in grey to create the lane and then a darker color to create the deeper tracks.  (lighter colors create higher terrains, darker colors are lower)

Within the "Terrain Editor" in Vue, you import your jpeg file and specify the proportions you want to use - i.e. do you want more of the default terrain or do you want more of your jpeg image?

I selected roughly 50/50 between the two.  It gives you a rough (and I do mean rough) preview of what it will look like before you hit ok.

It was still way too deep for my taste - I wanted cart tracks, not WW I trenches, so I flattened the whole terrain down considerably until it looked something like this:

Next came the fun part of adding in the texture, the trees, grasses, weeds etc. placing the fence and getting the atmosphere the way I wanted it.

This took me literally days.  I would think I had it done and would render it, which involved leaving it to run on its own for three hours. Then I would come back and look at the render and decide I didn't like something, or discover some glaring error which couldn't be fixed in post work.

At least twice I just left the computer rendering while I went to bed, so I wasn't able to get back to the piece until I got home from work the next day.  (Work really does get in the way sometimes)

But finally, I had something I was happy with:- "Country Lane in Fall"

While I really like the original version above, this evening, I played around with it in Photoshop Elements, applying filters. (I don't have Filter Forge, like many digital artists, although if they have a version that will work with Elements on a Mac, I may shell out the bucks for it).  Instead I used the Paint Daubs filter and really love the Impressionist feel it gives the image.

I'm not sure if the Paint Daub effect is even visible at this size, but on a full size 26 " x 15" original, it looks great.  Or at least I think it does, I'd love to hear what others think, if you can even see it at this resolution and size.

I'm now in a quandry as to which version to use as my final image that I post on Fine Art America and that I use to create products for my Zazzle store.  I *think* I'm leaning toward the Impressionist version.  What do you think?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Easels and Diesels Art Festival

We live to the north of Houston, Texas, in the small town of Tomball. We love the atmosphere of a small town, and are very happy here.  Near the big city, but not IN it.

Each year Tomball hosts a number of outdoor festivals, such as the German Heritage Festival and "Bugs, Brew and Barbecue", Tomball's own version of Oktoberfest. Always lots of great entertainment, food, beer and lots of stalls selling all manner of stuff.

Earlier this year, I was excited to hear that a new festival, Easels and Diesels Art Festival was open for registration. The "Diesels" part of the name stems from the fact Tomball is right on a railroad track and the entire train depot area has been revitalized and now hosts a multitude of events.

The Easels and Diesels Art Festival is a juried art festival with music, food and beverages, and of course, ART.

I wanted to be part of it this year and sent in an email to get the information.

THEN I started thinking about the logistics about participating in this show...

First, since it is juried, I would have to be accepted, that's the first hurdle.  I'm thinking it may not be much of a hurdle since I've already been to two other live shows and online competition as well.

BUT, this wouldn't just be a case of hanging a painting on a wall in a gallery.  Since this is an outdoor show, I would need to provide my own 10 x 10 tent such as the one below.

Then I started thinking about how I would need INVENTORY.  The one good thing about making my art available through Print On Demand sites like Zazzle and Fine Art America is that I don't have to maintain an inventory.  But if I want to have my own stall in a festival, I'm going to need inventory, which I would have to pay for up front. 

In addition to a few nice display prints, I would need smaller prints, postcards, greeting cards and other items such as ceramic tiles with my art on.

Deductible business expenses all, but I mustn't over extend myself.

So.... the plan is to go along to this year's festival and see how it's all set up, how it's run etc. and get a feel of "could I actually DO this?" 

(I'll let you in on a secret - I am painfully shy and tend to keep myself to myself.  I would probably sit in the back of my tent and try to hide under the table if someone looked like they were going to approach me!)

THEN, if I feel like it's something I could do and would enjoy, I've got a whole year to get my act together and get the tent, the inventory etc.

Then perhaps I could take the whole show on the road and participate in other outdoor art shows.

In the meantime, I've been accepted to another event, the Jomar Visions Art Excellence Juried Open Competion

I'll let you know how it goes...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Peek Inside the Studio and the Making of "The High Country" (or "Do Keep Up, Tonto!")

It was my birthday last week. We won't go in to details, like how old I am, but I wanted to give a shout out to my wonderful husband, Eric, who willingly parted with a hefty chunk of change to replace my three year old iMac with a new 27 inch iMac.

So I thought I'd give you a peek inside "Mockingbird Studio" and give you an idea of where I work on my art projects.

The fact that the new monitor is much bigger than the one I had before (a mere 21 inch) caused me to have to rearrange my studio.  I used to have my computer on a small desk to the left of this photo, facing over a half wall into the living room and the garden beyond.

The configuration of the desk, with a little printer stand on the side, really didn't work with the bigger monitor.  So I decided to move my new computer over to my former craft desk, which hasn't actually been used for anything other than lounging cats, in the five years we have lived here.  Well that's not quite true -- I sewed some window valances three years ago, but that's about it.

I love this layout already.  There's more actual desktop, so I've got room for some desk accessories and when I want to pay bills, I don't have to shuffle things between my lap, the desk and the drawer.

So what am I working on with my new iMac?

Well, at the art show last weekend, I was talking with one of the other artists and we talked about a scene where a cowboy would be up on a ridge, surveying the scene below, perhaps with a herd of cattle or bison or something.

The thing is, when I started playing around in DAZ and started working on posing the Genesis figure on the DAZ horse, I ended up with the cowboy looking back behind him, and leaning his hand on his horse's rump, like he's waiting for the rest of the riders (or perhaps his trusty sidekick, Tonto) to catch up!  (Thank you to Judy Adamson, a fellow artist who lives in Wales, who came up with the subtitle when I first posted the finished render on Facebook, asking for suggestions for titles)

Once I had the horse and rider the way I wanted them, I saved them as a wavefront object which I would then be able to import into a variety of other 3D graphic software.

Then I opened up Vue, the software I use for creating landscapes and scenery.  I created a foreground terrain and added some weeds and grass to it and placed the horse and rider in the scene, being sure to make sure they weren't either floating three inches above the ground, or sinking down into it.  Then I grouped horse and rider together with the foreground terrain and camera and raised everything up above the ground plane and tilted it forward slightly, to give the illusion of standing on the edge of the ridge looking into the valley. (You can see that grouping in the top right hand segment of the photo below).

Vue gives you four different views at once, so you can see your scene from the front, from the side, from the top and finally, the "camera view".   This will be what you see in the final render - it's the view on the bottom right.

Once I had the horse and rider standing on the ridge, with the valley spread out below, I set about finding a suitable atmosphere for the scene. Vue has a multitude of atmospheres built in, or you can set about creating your own by manually adding layers of cloud, positioning the sun, setting the lighting model and many other functions.

For this scene, I selected one of the atmosphere presets and the moved the sun around until it appears that horse and rider are being highlighted from the side by the sun as it moves lower in the western sky.

I adjusted the levels in Photoshop Elements 11 as the shadows were just too dark in the original render that came out of Vue.  I'm very happy with the result.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Digital Artists Who Inspire Me

There are a number of online communities for digital artists: Deviant Art, Renderosity, Cornucopia 3D to name but three.

Each site has hundreds, if not thousands of member artists, many of whom inspire others and give of themselves by creating tutorials for other artists, and also providing content, such as materials and backgrounds, for others to use in their own work. 

This week, I thought I would share with you three of my favorite digital artists.

Gill Brooks  
Digital artists not only have to have the normal artistic skills such as composition and a sense of proportion and perspective, but they also have to learn the technical aspects of working with which ever program they use.  Gill, who hails from England, has been working in Vue since 2002, long before I had ever heard of it.

I love her work, some of which is fantasy art, such as the image I have shown above, called "Follow Me" and some is inspired by the scenery and landscapes of England.

I have some materials created by Gill in my own "digital toolbox", in the form of some very realistic water textures that I have used in a number of my own pieces.

You can view Gill's portfolio on Cornucopia here.
You can view her gallery on Renderosity here.

Dominic Davison
Another English artist I admire is Dominic Davison.  His works make me think of a digital version of Thomas Kinkade.  His attention to the smallest detail and the quality of his lighting make every one of his images picture perfect.

Even when I use the exact same 3D models in my own art, I can't get anywhere near this quality yet, but I'll keep trying!

You can view Dominic's portfolio on Cornucopia here.
You can view his gallery on Renderosity here.

I don't know what Flint_Hawk's real name is, just the "handle" they go by on Renderosity.  I'm not even sure if it's a he or a she!!

Flint_Hawk does some wonderful fantasy art in Poser, and a lot of it includes horses - my favorite subject!.

As with many of the artists on Renderosity, Flint-Hawk helpfully posts details of how they composed their image, which textures they use, details of any extra models they have used and where one can get them.

Renderosity members can view Flint-Hawks's gallery by searching for Flint_Hawk at  The artist asked me not to post a direct link.

Each of these artists, as well as many others, have inspired me in my art.  Which could be why I don't seem to have my own unique style... but that's another blog post.

Which artists have inspired you?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Making of Dance With Me

When Light, Space and Time Gallery announced their 3rd annual "Figurative" competition, I was hesitant to enter.  I wasn't sure that anything in my portfolio would fit the criteria, but then I remembered "Dance with Me", which I did in 2010.

I had fallen in love with Jack Vettriano's "Dance me to the End of Love" and set about the task of creating a piece with a similar atmosphere to it, using the 3D graphics programs that I was now working with.

It was done in two parts: the background image was created in Bryce 3D and the figures were done in DAZ 3D.

In Bryce, I worked on the ground plane to get a texture that would look similar to the infinite plane the dancers in Vettriano's original were dancing on.

I ended up using a water plane to get the effect I was after.  My dancers are literally dancing on water, lol.

Then I played in the atmosphere editor, positioning the sun and changing the parameters to get the overall color I wanted, and the layer of haze on the horizon.

When I had the background the way I wanted it, I rendered it in Bryce and saved it as a jpeg file that could be used as a backdrop in DAZ 3D.

Now came the really fun part - dressing and posing my 3D characters to recreate the scene and capture the atmosphere of the original.

Since the characters start out in the position shown below (only naked), you can see that quite a bit of work is involved in this step!

Posing a single character in DAZ is fairly easy, even easier if you use one of the many pre-set poses available.  But posing and positioning two characters in a 3D environment, viewed on your 2D computer screen, offers lots of challenges.

For example, when viewed from the front, you might position your characters to be close together as if they were dancing, but then look at them from above and see that they are actually quite some distance apart from one another.  The same can happen if you look from the left or the right too.

So as you work and pose and create your scene, you have to constantly view the scene from all directions to make sure everything is working together.

Eventually, I got my dancers the way I wanted them, as close as I could get them to the dancers in Vettriano's original.  Then I adjusted the lighting to blend with the atmosphere on the background and clicked on RENDER.

Finally I did a little bit of post work in Photoshop Elements - I used the dodge/burn tool to give the illusion of a reflection of the dancers and anchor them to the ground plane, then it was finished.

So, going back to the beginning of my post, when I got the notice about the "Figurative" art competition in April, I went ahead and sent in my entry to Light, Space and Time and now I'm very happy to announce that "Dance with Me" earned a Special Recognition Award!!

The competition received 592 entries from 23 different countries from around the world so you can see how much of an honor this is for me!

All of the winners can be seen here.  My thanks to John Rath for his work in running the Light, Space and Time online gallery and for giving artists like myself the opportunity to participate in competitions and be included in exhibitions.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Inspirational Quotes for Artists

Throughout the years, many great people have given their thoughts on art, inspiration and creativity and these messages hold true even in this day and age.

Here are just a few quotes about art and artists that I hope you will enjoy and find inspiring.


"Art touches the soul... art is communication... it reaches out from the canvas and passes through the eyes of the viewer right into his heart where it can leave an imprint of beauty that can make the spirit sing."
~~ Nina Baldwin

"We have a wonderful world to be inspired by and each new day is like an adventure into the unknown, where things that require a second glance can be captured in time on a canvas for anyone to enjoy forever."
~~  Louise Corke

"Art is contemplation. It is the pleasure of the mind which searches into nature and which there divines the spirit of which Nature herself is animated."
 ~~ Auguste Rodin
"Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it, we go nowhere."
~~ Carl Sagan

"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see."
~~ Edgar Degas

"Try to be inspired by something every day. Try to inspire at least one person every day."
~~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time."
~~ Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island 

"The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable."
~~ Robert Henri

"Inspiration is not born of 'the eureka moment' but in the quiet spaces we allow ourselves to be in - whether in a beautiful part of nature or in a peaceful meditative state of mind."
~~ Sharon Knettell

"If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud."
~~ Emile Zola

"Painting without inspiration is like trying to drive a car with flat tires."
~~ Ron Elstad

"Good art is not what it looks like, but what it does to us."
~~ Roy Adzak

"Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist."
~~ Rene Magritte

“An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one.” 
~~ Charles Horton Cooley

If you have a favorite quote about art and creativity that isn't included here, please feel free to add it in the comments section.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Do You Believe in Fairies?

A few years ago, I came upon the most delightful book at a lunch-hour book fair in the downtown Houston building I worked in. It's called "Fairyopolis, A Flower Fairies Journal."
As you open the first page of the book, you can see immediately that it is quite enchanting, being the summer journal of Cicely Mary Barker, famed for her Flower Fairy portraits.
From her handwritten note on the inside cover, you can see that she kept the journal during the summer of 1920 while staying at the home of a friend and then sent it to the British Faerie Folklore Society, to be looked after and preserved after certain incidents led her to believe that she might have witnessed fairy activity!   
It's the kind of journal I've always wanted to keep, hand written in a neat script, with notes, sketches, lists, little envelopes with secret finds and so much more.
I had the most enjoyable afternoon on Saturday, recovering from a head cold, and sitting in the garden listening to the songs of the birds, and the hum of the bees and wondering if possibly the Wee Folk were watching me from behind the jasmine vine :-)
As the sun went down and a chill crept into the air, I felt compelled to create a fairy scene myself. Only I would do it using my computer, instead of my paintbrush. I was looking for my finished piece to have a vintage feel to it, reminiscent of Cicely's own flower Fairies.

Here is the finished article - "The Curious Fairy".  I'm thrilled with how she came out and hope that others like her too.

Fantasy Prints

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Inspiration from Life

My latest digital artwork was inspired by a recent trip to England, where we visited the lovely Cotswold village of Bourton-on-the-Water.

The Cotswolds is an area in the center of England, known for its honey-colored stone architecture and idyllic village scenes. 

We were not blessed with pleasant weather -- in fact on the day we were there it was "bloody freezing!"(to quote my sister, who took us there) -- but I found myself enchanted as always. This particular village has a shallow stream running through it, as its name implies and there are always ducks around, either in the water, or sitting on the grassy banks. 

Feeding the ducks is a popular pastime, in fact it's encouraged.  Several of the little gift shops offered for sale paper bags filled with bird seed, labelled with the words "Feed the Ducks".

That got me thinking and when I got home again, back to my studio and my computer, I began to consider how I might recreate such a scene in Vue.

Luckily, I had some time ago purchased a pack of 3D models from Runtime DNA which had the look of typical Cotswold cottages. I loaded several cottages into the scene and arranged in a row beside the stream, similar to how the cottages are set in the real village.

After creating the basic terrain with the stream channel, I set about finding the perfect texture for the stony stream bed and the water .  Once I had that in, I added grass, benches and trees to fill out the scene.

Then it was time to create the figures that would populate the scene.  I envisioned a small child feeding ducks on the banks of the stream.  Here's the figure I created in DAZ 3D.  This render was done in DAZ, prior to the figure being exported to Vue.

I felt a small child shouldn't be left unsupervised to feed the ducks, so I added a mom and dad to the scene, lol. Dad is sitting on the bench watching benevolently as his wife offers duck-feeding guidance to their daughter. I think I hear the words "mind that big one doesn't peck your fingers!"

My computer was really dragging by the time I got everything in. An "eco-system" like this, with lots of grass or trees, tends to suck up the computer's resources and I had a scare when Vue shut down and then claimed it was unable to open the file again! 

Luckily, my computer-savvy husband was able to rename one of the backup files and open it up, so I was able to finally finish the project and do the final render, which you can see below.

As I mentioned at the beginning, my inspiration for this piece came from a real-life place.

Where does your artistic inspiration come from?  Are the scenes you paint imaginary places, or are they places and people you have seen?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Wishing everyone a very Happy Easter. Blessings to you and your families.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Da Vinci Artists Gallery

I live in a small town, just north of Houston, with a population of around 10,000.  I was pleasantly surprised, when I moved here, to discover that not only does Tomball have an Art League, it is also home to the Da Vinci Artist's gallery.

Da Vinci's is a delightful, member-run co-op of artists. On the first Friday of each month they host "First Friday" from 6 pm to 9 pm, where they have a reception for that month's featured artists of the month, complete with snacks, beverages and live music.

During the spring and fall, often coordinating with other events and festivals that are happening in Tomball, the DaVinci Artist's Gallery holds sidewalk sales.

I'm not sure if they accept digital artists, but I would certainly be interested in joining their co-op.  When I get back from our trip to England I plan to see what is involved in applying. 

Wish me luck!