Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

For my final blog post of 2015, I've gathered some thoughts about the ending of the old year and the coming of the new.

But first, here's a short video I made to show off my art and photography.  I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you have a wonderful New Year!

Another year of success and happiness has passed. 
With every new year, comes greater challenges and obstacles in life. 
I wish you courage, hope and faith to overcome all the hurdles you face. 
May you have a great year and a wonderful time ahead.

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. 
We are going to put words on them ourselves. 
The book is called Opportunity 
and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” 
― Edith Lovejoy Pierce

 As the New Year dawns,
I hope it is filled with the
promises of a brighter tomorrow.
Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Greetings to All

Unlike many at this time of year, I'm not rushing around buying tons of gifts and cooking all sorts of food. My family is on the other side of the Atlantic and my husband's family are scattered from coast to coast. So Eric and I will be celebrating a quiet Christmas at home together, just the two of us.

As I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, I thought I would share some of the winter and Christmas themed art I made into Christmas cards this year, as well as some Christmas quotations.

"Winter Fun" - Available as a greeting card at

Snowman in the Moonlight - Available as a greeting card at

Christmas Toy Store - Available as a greeting card at

At Christmas play and make good cheer, for Christmas comes but once a year.
~~ Thomas Tusser

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
~~ Norman Vincent Peale

Christmas is a tonic for our souls. It moves us to think of others rather than of ourselves. It directs our thoughts to giving.
~~ B. C. Forbes

Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!
~~ Charles Dickens

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Light Space & Time Award Winners Announced...

A few weeks ago, I submitted my entries into the 5th Annual "Animals" International Juried Art Competition, sponsored by Light Space and Time Gallery, in Jupiter, Fla.

The results have just been announced and I'm very happy to be able to announce that two of my pieces won awards!

In November the gallery conducted the 5th Annual “Animals” Online Art Competition. 2D and 3D artists (including photography) from around the world were called upon to make online submissions for possible inclusion in to the Gallery’s December 2015 online group art exhibition. The “Animals” theme was considered to be any art which depicted mammals, birds and any animals that live in the water for inclusion into this art exhibition.

The gallery received 724 total entries from 39 different states and 22 different countries from around the world, including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Monaco, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Spain, St. Maarten, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

My first winning entry, “Bison and Calf in Yellowstone”, earned an Honorable Mention, placing it in the top ten entries in the Photography & Digital Category!   This digital painting is based on a photograph I took while Eric and I were on our road trip to Yellowstone earlier this year.  It's available as prints and on canvas on my artist's website

In addition, “White Horse at the Stable Door” earned a Special Recognition, placing it in the top 60 entries in the Photography & Digital Category. This digital painting started out as a 3D render that I created in DAZ 3D.  The final render was then treated with digital painting techniques to give it a painterly feel.  It reminds me of the cover art of the "pony books" by English authors like the Pullein-Thompson sisters and Ruby Ferguson that I adored when I was a young girl.  This piece is also available on canvas and prints, as well as pillows and tote bags, on my artist's website.

I was thrilled to have two entries included among the winners - quite an accomplishment with over 700 entries!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates.  I hope you are having a wonderful day filled with family, friends, good food and good company.

I love these vintage Thanksgiving greeting cards, don't you?  As always, you can click on them to see a larger version.

"We can always find something to be thankful for, and there may be reasons why we ought to be thankful for even those dispensations which appear dark and frowning." ~ Albert Barnes

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"The things that we most of the time take for granted are always those that deserve our gratitude. Be thankful to that thing or person today and make every day of the year a personal Thanksgiving one." ~Kurt Avish

"Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude." ~E.P. Powell

"Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse." ~Henry Van Dyke

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Picture Postcard Cottages

Back in February, I blogged about an art program I had recently purchased, called Topaz Impression.  You can see that post here.

Since then I have spent many happy hours working in Impression to create original artworks from my photographs, as well as using it to enhance some of my digital artwork created in Vue or DAZ.

In my blog post today, I am going to share my latest series of digital paintings, called "Picture Postcard Cottages."

I'm originally from England and whenever I go back home to visit family, my dad always enjoys taking us out for a ride in the car to visit some picturesque village he has discovered.  

One day, he took us out into Hampshire, to the village of Micheldever located between Basingstoke and Winchester.

It's the most picture perfect collection of thatched cottages and I took literally hundreds of photos!

To create this series, first I took my photographs into Topaz Impression and processed them with a variety of painting and drawing effects, saving each version as it's own jpeg file.  I primarily used the presets that come with Topaz, with the idea of blending and changing opacity and depth later in the process.

Each of the final images consists of at least two, sometimes three layers, blended to allow the layer underneath to show through and with strategic masking to get the effects where I wanted them.

I really like the vintage postcard appeal of this series.

The first of the series is Heather Cottage, and according to the Micheldever Village website it was built around 1600. 

 Heather Cottage
Available on prints and cards

Excerpted from Micheldever Village website:
The original property was probably just 2 rooms, one up and one down. The bedroom still has a wattle and daub wall made of dung and straw, and there is a doorway which is only 150cm high (less than 5 feet). 

It would appear to have been extended during the 17th century, hence the irregular front timbers. There is a small window looking down church Street and it is rumoured that it was used as a look-out to warn visitors if there was a press-gang coming up from the river. The well is still inside the property and was still in use in 1964.

 Old Cottage, built in 1580.
Available on prints and cards

Excerpted from Micheldever Village Website:
The Old Cottage was built in 1580. The central part of the cottage was a smoke bay into which the chimney stack was later inserted.

The left hand half was extended in two stages in the 17th century, and the wing to the rear was added about 1850.

Thatched Cottage in Micheldever
Available on prints and cards

I'm not sure what the name of this cottage is, but it appears to have been built around the same time as the others. It's timbered, as are many other buildings in the village, and thatched, although an outbuilding on the left has since been roofed with tile.

I hope you've enjoyed this "virtual visit" to a lovely village, and that you like what I did with my photos.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Quotes About Autumn and Art

I love to be out in nature, going for walks, photographing the natural world around us. The problem is, let's face it, the heat and humidity of a Texas summer is not exactly conducive to such activities. Of course, that gives me the perfect excuse to spend time indoors working on art, or editing photographs -- but I do miss being outside like I would be if I still lived in England.

But now autumn is here, my favorite time of year, and I can actually spend some time outdoors.

For my blog post this week, I thought I would share a sprinkling of inspirational quotes for artists, as well as some quotes about fall and autumn. I hope you enjoy them.

Fall Color at Ratcliff Lake by Jayne Wilson - Animated gif created at LunaPic

"Winter is an etching, spring a water color, summer and oil painting, and autumn, a mosaic of them all. " ~ Stanley Horowitz.

“At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters on Cézanne.

"Nature always wears the color of the spirit." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Animated gif courtesy of

"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures." ~ Henry Ward Beecher.

"For man, autumn is a time of harvest,of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad." ~ Edwin Way Tea.

"For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life.. the air and the light which vary continually. For me, it is only the, surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value." Claude Monet.

Autumn Companions by Jayne Wilson.

"Everyone should take the time to sit and watch the leaves turn." - Elizabeth Lawrence.

"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way — things I had no words for." ~Georgia O'Keeffe.

"As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life." ~ John Lubbock.

"Art is Man's nature. Nature is god's art." ~ James Bailey.

Country Lane in Fall by Jayne Wilson

That's it from me this week. I know my blogging is horribly erratic, but I'm making plans to be more consistent with it, so hopefully things will improve.

See you next time!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Lovely Ladies Series

Being a digital artist, I have found that the quality of my work is not only influenced by my level of technical expertise with the software I am using, but also with the quality of the digital models available.

When DAZ started out, their basic male and female models were Michael and Victoria.  When I got started in 3D art, Michael 3 and Victoria 3 were the models of choice.

I get a chuckle out of looking at my really early work because the models were still pretty basic and my own proficiency levels with the software were lacking. 

DAZ just released Michael 7 and Victoria 7, but actually I prefer the previous iteration -- Michael 6, and a female model named Olympia 6.

Below are a few portraits I have done recently, using Olympia 6 as my model, which I have come to think of as my "Lovely Ladies" series.

Vintage Photo Studio
Available on canvas and prints here.
(this piece recently earned an Award of Special Merit at the Light, Space & Time Open Art Competition. The competition received 734 entries! Woo hoo!!!)

Pretty in Pink
Available on canvas and prints here.

 I wanted to do something different with this one. I tried several different Photoshop actions on the final render, but the one I liked most of all was this black and white version.

 Summer Breeze
Available on canvas and prints here.

I'm still working on this last one.  It's the first render I have done using DAZ's new NVIDEA "iRay" render engine.  (I would explain that, but I'm not actually sure about it myself!)

Iray rendering takes lighting to a whole new level and allow use of physically based environments so that with the correct tools and setups we can replicate real world lighting. (that's the theory, anyway!)
Yesterday I purchased a new add-on for DAZ, the Ultra Genesis Studio 1 light set from Traveler and Syyd at Runtime and thankfully, the creators provided a handy .pdf file of instructions on how to use the lights, the cameras and the environments.

I'm looking forward to playing with it some more and getting more proficient with it.

It's like having my own personal modeling agency and photography studio!

Watch this space for more!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Mockingbird Studio - Rearranged

It's been a while since I blogged and I've decided to get back to the swing of it again.

I'm starting off by showing you how I re-arranged my office/studio this weekend.  (I'll spare you the photos of the disaster area mid-move and go straight to the finished product :-)

It's located in the original formal dining room of our house and when we first moved in, I had a smaller computer, and a little desk looking out over the half wall into the living room.

When I got my new computer, it didn't fit on the desk, so I moved it over to the craft table, where I had a nice view of the wall and not much else. 

I lived with it for a couple of years but eventually decided I wanted a change. I was cleaning litter boxes one day when the answer came to me... I was in my studio and as I stood up after cleaning a litter box, I realized that spot had a good view out over the living room and into the garden.

So we moved the craft table from one corner to the other, and now I can sit at my computer, and with a slight turn of my head I can see outside.

My old computer desk, currently holding my old computer that I no longer use, will be my art desk and I'll put my pastels and paper over there.

The computer will be given to the Salvation Army.

I love how the studio looks now.  I just have to rearrange the artwork and photos on the wall.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

On the Mission Trail - Digital Paintings

 My husband and I love to visit San Antonio, just a couple of hours to the west of us. Usually we go during the Holiday season to see the River Walk all lit up with Christmas lights.  But a couple of years ago we decided to visit the San Antonio missions. I really enjoyed the trip, enjoyed learning the history of the missions and took literally hundreds of photos.

While I had some lovely photos when we got back, I never really did anything with them.  They just sat on my back up drive, waiting.

Recently I discovered a program called Impression by Topaz.  It's a very powerful art program that lets you create beautiful paintings, sketches and watercolors from your photographs. I thought it would be the perfect way to create some meaningful art out of my original photos.

The first paintings I worked on were Mission Concepcion and Mission Arches.

 This is available as a print here:  Mission Concepcion

From the Topaz Labs website:
"Impression helps make your photos more expressive by authentically turning them into art, the way a real painter would. Rigidly realistic photos sometimes leave less room for emotion, personal feeling, and story. Instead of just showing reality, take your viewers on a story by using Impression to capture emotion and feeling rather than details. This can make your work both more powerful and more personal."

This is available as a print here: Mission Arches

What's a visit to San Antonio without a walk along the River Walk?  I've always dreamed of being able to do a painting or drawing of the lovely stone bridges that cross the river, but I do worry that with the crowds of people that jostle along the paths on either side, I would end up in the water with the ducks! So I compromised and used Impression to create a colored pencil drawing, which you can see below, from one of the photographs I took on that trip.

This is available as a print here: San Antonio River Walk

Impression comes with a lot of presets, which are all wonderful in their own right.  And in addition you can make endless changes in texture, lighting, brush size and stroke to make each piece you create a genuine work of art.

These are only small versions of the paintings I made from my photographs, but if you click on them you can see a larger version and get an idea of the painterly detail I was able to create.

If you'd like to try Impression by Topaz, they offer a 30-day free trial. Just scroll down to the bottom of their webpage.   Enjoy!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Making of "Rainy Day at the Lake"

It's a cold, wet, dreary day in Texas.  The sort of day to curl up on the sofa and read a book, or do some artwork, or watch a movie!

It got me thinking about a 3D digital artwork I created some time ago called "Rainy Day at the Lake."

I wanted a typical English scene - a cloudy, rainy day, with a family of ducks paddling across a pond in the driving rain.

Here's the image.  It's been popular on mousepads and cards in my Zazzle store, and it's also available on canvas and as prints at

I thought I would get my blog started up again this year by showing how the image was made, the steps it took to create it.

I created it in Vue, by e-On Software, a 3D digital art program.

As you work in Vue, the workspace is divided into four panes, each giving a different view of your scene. 

The top right hand pane is the view from the top - useful for placing one element behind another. From above, you can see dotted lines, which show the visual scope of the "camera" (the point from which the image is rendered). 

The area within those lines will be in your render, so you need to make sure everything is well placed.  Outside those lines, it doesn't matter and you can keep the file size down by not populating those area with lots of detail such as trees, grass etc.

Top View

Additional windows show you views from the front and from the side.  All these view aid in placing objects within the 3D environment that Vue creates inside your computer.  The bottom right hand pane shows you the camera view, this is how your final render will look.

Vue Workspace

The main detail of this scene would be the lake.  My vision was to have a grassy foreground, the lake in the middle ground and the far bank, with some trees and a house in the background and a stone bridge on the right, providing access to the house.  To create the lake I added a standard terrain and began "excavating." 

Terrain Editor

I'm still learning how to manipulate terrains but I knew this one didn't have to be too detailed, because of the viewpoint of the camera.  All that would be seen would be the far bank.  Everything else would be out of the view of the camera.

Then I added a water plane and applied a material, one of a purchased set with the effect of rain drops on the water surface.

The next thing to do was to add the atmosphere for which I used Vue's versatile Atmosphere editor and selected one of the stock atmospheres.  As usual I made some minor tweaks to get the general look I wanted. 

Then I  went about adding that rain. This was done by creating a cylinder object, to which I added a transparent mat that I created in Photoshop Elements with my raindrops "painted" on it.  This was centered over the camera, so the camera was actually looking through it to the rest of the scene.  I rotated it on the x axis to give the rain a bit of a slant.

Once I had the terrains and atmosphere done,  I added the other elements, such as the house and the bridge. These were purchased models which I then resized and positioned along the x, y and z axis using the "gizmos" in Vue until they were where I wanted them, and in proportionate size.

The next step is adding the vegetation -- trees, plants, grasses.  This can either be done by applying an Ecostyem to an entire terrain, or by painting the ecosystem only where it is needed.

As my system gets bogged down by huge ecosystems that populate the entire scene, I usually use the latter option and just paint them where needed. This can be done individually or with an airbrush type of effect.


You can see the red dots indicating the locations of the trees and grasses in this screen shot. As you can see in the top left pane, I only placed them within the dotted lines indicated the field of vision of the camera -- much easier for my computer to handle!

At this point it becomes a case of making test or preview renders, then making adjustments as necessary until I'm happy with the scene.  I usually do lots of test renders and then, when I think it's complete, I usually do one more because I always seem to find a glaring error staring me right in the face!  

But eventually I get to the point where I am happy with the finished image and can do a final render.

I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse at the world of the 3D artist.