Sunday, 11 September 2011

Remembering 911...10 years on


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"Thousands of people lit candles and remembered the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the Garden of Reflection in Lower Makefield Saturday evening.
To mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks, organizers handed out 2,973 candles, one for each victim of the attacks.
The evening vigil also featured clergy and patriotic songs. Family members of those who died on Sept. 11 hung photos and placed flowers below where the victim's names were etched in glass."

Thursday, 25 August 2011


London has taken a battering of late......

Let us remember how beautiful our capital city is........

BBC News: 8th August 2011

"Police have condemned a wave of "copycat criminal activity" across London in a second night of looting and disorder following riots in Tottenham.
More than 100 people have been arrested as officers were attacked, police vehicles damaged and shops looted.
Disorder spread to Enfield, Walthamstow and Waltham Forest in north London and to Brixton in the south of the city.
Home Secretary Teresa May has cut short her holiday to return to the UK following the disorder.
Some 35 officers have been injured over the two nights of rioting.
Three officers were hurt when a vehicle hit them as they tried to make an arrest in Waltham Forest, east London.
Clashes broke out in Enfield, north London, on Sunday evening where shop windows were smashed and a police car damaged."

Man throws a missile during rioting in Enfield

I saw the rioting in Tottenham on Saturday and I saw the rioting last night and it was certainly different in character.

What might have been started in Tottenham by youngsters aggrieved about what they saw as police persecution has become something very different in nature.

Last night there was a sense that the looting, and violence and disorder across London was being co-ordinated on social media.

There were people in their cars, youngsters on bicycles, moving very rapidly, leaving a trail of destruction behind them. As soon as you moved to one location they would move on to the next one.

The police were doing their best to catch up with them. You had police vehicles going backwards and forwards, blue lights flashing, riot police coming out of their vehicles.

Ten minutes later they'd get back in again and go off to the next location - essentially trying to fight the fires, metaphorically, that were spreading all over London.

A Touch of Magic and a little Imagination

More art can be seen at:
The past few weeks I have been working extensively on a new collection of photo manipulations.  On sharing them online I have also gained commissions and positive feedback, of which I am eternally grateful.  I decided to add them to my blog as a demonstration and exhibition of what can be done to portrait photographs when given the JsJ Creations creative magic.

If interested in discussing or commissioning a portrait photo manipulation, I can be contacted on the email address at the top of this post. 
The more outrageous the pose the better when putting across an original photograph that everyone will enjoy seeing.  Fun, sparkly, dazzling portraits will make your friends and family want one for themselves............. 

Fancy adding a touch of attitude? Why not?...........

A clear photograph, preferrably with strong lines and features is all I need to turn a portrait photo into a work of beauty and intrigue.........

Original photographs do not have to be close-up portraits but distant images may not deliver the most stunning subjects on which to work the JsJ Creations magic.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Photographic Manipulation

Sharing the wonders of photographic manipulation

Photo manipulation is the application of image editing techniques to photographs in order to create an illusion or deception (in contrast to mere enhancement or correction), through analog or digital means.

I believe strongly that pictures or photographs are far more powerful when telling a story to the person viewing them.  For that reason, when taking photographs, I rarely go for the typically posed positions and subjects, finding them contrived and visually manipulative and restricting.

"A day at the seaside
new smells and new sounds
away from the rat-race
down by the waters` edge.....peacefulness abounds"

A few examples of photo manipulation worked on some photographs taken whilst enjoying a glorious day on the beach with my family.  I love the way the effects I have used lend a different perspective to the original photograph taken and emphasize the focal points I want to share, in the images.  I also love to express my creativity by experimenting and producing images that have been transformed in such a way that the original vision is somewhat metamorphosed into a completely different and almost abstract visionary experience.

Using photographic elements on standard photographs has enabled me to produce some powerful imagery and has gained me much positivity and encouragement to continue to improve and produce the very best I can with my artwork.  No image is one dimensional and with the aid of photo manipulation tools the original image can be transformed into a wonderfully creative collaboration between photography and graphic design.

*In digital editing, photographs are usually taken with a digital camera and input directly into a computer. Transparencies, negatives or printed photographs may also be digitized using a scanner, or images may be obtained from stock photography databases. With the advent of computers, graphics tablets, and digital cameras, the term image editing encompasses everything that can be done to a photo, whether in a darkroom or on a computer. Photo manipulation is often much more explicit than subtle alterations to color balance or contrast and may involve overlaying a head onto a different body or changing a sign's text, for example. Image editing software can be used to apply effects and warp an image until the desired result is achieved. The resulting image may have little or no resemblance to the photo (or photos in the case of compositing) from which it originated. Today, photo manipulation is widely accepted as an art-form.
There are several subtypes of digital image-retouching:
Technical retouching
Manipulation for photo restoration or enhancement (adjusting colors / contrast / white balance (i.e. gradational retouching), sharpness, removing elements or visible flaws on skin or materials, ...)
Creative retouching
Used as an art form or for commercial use to create more sleek and interesting creative images for advertisements. Creative retouching could be manipulation for fashion, beauty or advertising photography such as pack-shots (which could also be considered inherently technical retouching in regards to package dimensions and wrap-around factors) One of the most prominent disciplines in creative retouching is image-compositing. Here, the digital artist uses multiple photos to create a single composited image. Today, 3D elements are used more and more to add extra elements or even locations and backgrounds. This kind of image composition is widely used when conventional photography would be technically too difficult or impossible to shoot on location or in studio conditions.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Mother Nature!
More art can be seen at:
Nature at its Most Beautiful
As we took the two dogs for their walk this Saturday afternoon, I was totally blown away at the pure beauty of the landscape.  Mother Nature wore her coat of many colours with splendour and flamboyance!  The natural colours were breathtaking.  I felt enveloped in a painting of great beauty and greedily snapped away with my eager camera, determined not to miss such a spectacular and inspiring scene that lay before me like a beautifully crafted patchwork.

I was totally and utterly inspired and desperately wanted to replicate the view I had enjoyed earlier, so took out my paints and painted fluently and eagerly with a singing heart.  I first used pastels on the paper and then added watercolours to achieve a richness of colour and depth. 

The fields were rich with colour and vibrancy, each picture I took excited me and made me want to take more and more!  The naturally constructed footpaths made by frequent walkers added to the perspective of the landscape.  I loved it and wanted to run along it.  It was truly a magical place to share with my loved ones.

Poppies in abundance created a vibrant and striking crimson carpet stretching effortlessly across the landscape.  What a truly wonderful sight!

Swanning Around on a Sunny Afternoon

Breeds of these *mute swans* can be seen across most of the UK, and we are fortunate enough to have some resident in our locality. With their *S* shaped necks reaching towards the sky they are majestic and yet silently serene.  Possible to see anywhere there is a shallow lake, or a slow-flowing rivers, even in urban areas and parks, they make their homes and snack on water plants, insects and snails whilst living on our lakes and blessing us with their beauty.

Beautiful Boating

On the same lake, sail boats glide silently across shimmering silver waters, sails straight and tall as the sailors master their crafts.  Ripples on the cool water emanating from the small boats, spread hypnotically outward until they fade forever and merge with the still waters of the lake.

Friday, 13 May 2011


A new piece to welcome in the summer months!

This new piece of art, that I entitled *Singing* took a while to configure as I usually just let the paintbrush or pencil create it`s own story on the paper.  This picture however needed to depict defined imagery as I planned to give it as a present to a work colleague who was retiring.  Having surreptitiously gathered small pieces of information from him over a short period of time, on his plans for  his oncoming retirement, I felt it would be nice to incorporate images relating to them. It was common knowledge that he was a member of a choir, so I wanted to use that as a focal point in the painting so drew the faces first.  The other thing he said he was really looking forward to doing was gardening, so I drew the shed with the flowers.  The singing bird was a second thought and I felt it added to and linked well with the two unrelated subjects in the picture.  The background with the golf-course was what I considered to be synonomous with retirement although I wasn`t sure that he actually participated in the sport.

To be perfectly honest, I found the picture unusually hard to structure.  I knew what I wanted to achieve  but found it difficult to design.  Indeed, it is quite different to my usual work but I hadn`t expected to have to toil quite so much over the configurations and overall structuring of the piece.

Maybe it was because I don`t usually work within such confined boundaries, maybe I didn`t allow myself enough time to plan the overall design; whatever the reason, it was creatively frustrating not to have the usual natural flow and execution of an idea appear and develop easily on the paper.  Having said that, I am utterly delighted with how the piece turned out.  I have had positive reactions and responses to it  on my blogs and art pages and can now recognise it as a beautiful piece of work, and one to be proud of.  Furthermore, when presented with the framed final picture, my colleague seemed to genuinely appreciate it.  It was heartwarming to see both his wife and himself studying my art and acknowledging it`s beauty for what it was.  They both voiced their appreciation of such a personal depiction of his forth-coming retirement.  My work was done, and I admit to feeling hugely proud at hopefully producing something they would  treasure for some years to come.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Sunset in 2011


Whilst out walking my pup early one evening, I marvelled at the beautiful scene as the sun slipped between the trees to mark the end of a lovely day.  The sky in close proximity to it appeared bright and warming, enveloping the huge natural ball of light in the sky perfectly.
The trees framed the image and added depth and contrast to the overall imagery.


Thursday, 10 March 2011

The onset of Spring hopefully brings happiness and contentment as the first flowers push their way out of the soil, stretching towards the sun they need to enable them to flourish and live healthy lives.  The same could be said for us humans who also need and benefit from the warmth of the sun, to lighten our mood and make the world we live in seem a much brighter and nicer place.
With these thoughts in mind I added text to the images:
  • A time to laugh
  • A time to cry
as I wanted to add a hint of poignancy to the picture.

I wanted to give these pictures an oriental feel, hence the black penned swirls and the the overall colour scheme of both images.  I felt they added a sense of mystique together with dramatic contrast between the flowers and the dark, almost blurred, foreground.
It would have been too easy to have created a typically pretty picture with the flowers being so prominent, and the general composition of the picture, but I chose instead to give it a more interesting perspective by going towards a more atmospheric feel to the painting.  Using a dark vignette effect that shades off into the surrounding color at the edges, I hoped to achieve this.  I use this art effect regularly in my work as I appreciate the way the technique softens the edges of a picture in vignette style.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011


It`s February, a month of cold miserable weather bringing with it dark days and nasty illnesses.  So I hope these serene beach pictures help to lighten your mood with a reminder of how beautiful, calm and peaceful our world can be.  In just a few months time the skies will once again become blue, grass return to  luscious grass and thoughts of hopefullness and inspiration once again enter our minds.
The beach scene was produced by using chalks on white paper.   The subsequent mixed media images have actually reversed the original piece in that the people where originally standing in the water looking towards the boat on the left of the picture.  The background was the beach.  In the process of using paint effects the picture was transformed and took on a completely different perspective.  On recognising this I added the semi-circular hoops as I thought they gave the impression of depicting an oyster shell and loved the new dimension the resulting image acquired.  

After stripping the original picture of colour, I later injected the colour red/yellow in the place where I thought it would add drama the most.  The resulting image takes on a more sinister feel in a darkened world but could also be interpreted as a picture of hope with the splash of colour depicting safety or refuge.  The boat could also be largely instrumental in the story of the picture.  Are the two figures stranded?  Could the boat be used to rescue them?  Maybe the colour indicates an explosion from which the figures have escaped?  Did they row away from the danger area and are now looking out across the water knowing they will never be able to return home as their homeland has been destroyed by some form of devastating attack?  Only we as viewers, have the answers.
This final image is closest to the original.  A beautiful blue rippling sea bouncing an empty rowing boat on its stillness.  Two figures look out across the magnificent expanse of water as they paddle nonchalantly in the warm clear water.  The sandy beaches in the background have been somewhat compromised by rounding off the picture but hopefully the feeling and atmosphere of the overall picture has not been spoilt in any way.
The message on this image is self-explanatory.  I sent it to a friend for her birthday and also to wish her a wonderful trip abroad.

Friday, 28 January 2011

January 2011

I love the depths of this design.  I also love the vitality of the red.  One can`t help but be drawn deeply into the image by the pattern and arrangement of the egg-like shapes.   

I never seem to be able to dedicate much time for my blogs. My fingers, most definitely are in way too many pies!`s a new-look art blog and hopefully more inspired artwork to fill it and make it interesting and inspiring to others who happen to click on to it.  You may have heard of the saying "Jack of all trades, master of none" - sometimes I feel this relates to me as I do so much artistically.  That`s fine up to a point, but I would dearly like to be a master of something too!

I love the colour contrasts in "Cakes".  On closer scrutiny, the reason for the title becomes more obvious, as there are indeed cupcakes in abundance. 
This photograph is one of my favourites of my youngest son.  I love his apparent moodiness and his dark, expressive olive-shaped eyes.  His long dark hair framing his face enhance his smoulderingly gorgeous look perfectly.
This abstract image is one of my latest to-date.  I like to think it depicts colour breaking through and transforming a world of darkness.  Maybe that says a lot about my philosophy on life and how I view it.  A life without colour would not be a life at all.  Colour energizes, transforms and motivates; something we all need in our lives to make us feel fulfilled, balanced and complete.