Mandala carving, photo altered

Posted: December 26, 2013 in New Mixed Media art, photo editing and altering, photography, styrofoam carving

mandala1topazedweb mandala1webHi all,

I’ve been carving styrofoam again, got re-inspired to do so by Coralette Damme’s awesome lino cuts.  I’ve also been drawn (ha ha, pun) to create some mandalas, so I decided to combine the two interests.  The downside is that I am having a hard time pulling a crisp print. Styrofoam is not the easiest material to carve for detail work. It is also really hard to find a combination of paper, ink and pressure to get any kind of print at all. I’m taking a scientific approach to the research, since I have so many paper options (we won’t discuss that) and so many ink options (we won’t discuss that, either), and you can’t put pressure on the plate with extreme prejudice like is tempting, or you’ll obliterate the design. After all, folks, take out food containers weren’t really manufactured as an art material.

So I think to myself, what good is all this carving if I can’t get a good print? Then I thought, why not scan in the print I CAN get, and see what happens in my favorite photo editing program, Topaz?  So, the top picture is the altered one, and the bottom one is the hand-pulled print.

The hand-pulled print is black ink on white paper, so when scanned all you see is the circle itself.  I cropped that original scan, leaving a white border. This is not a problem if you are going to print on white paper, the background is white. I think we’ve covered this before in a blog post back in the Day. However, since I did not remove the mandala from it’s scanned background, when I altered the photo it alters it all. And since one of the filters I chose has a fancy-schmancy toning process, it toned the entire scan. Now, I could have lassoed out the mandala in Photoshop Elements before or after Topazing, except I really stink at lassoing. It requires waaayyyy more patience than I generally have, especially since this is research. Altering photos is a lot more fun than lasso practice. And I’ve already been in the studio all morning, documenting about 6,000 pulled prints. Enough is enough. You can quote me.

There are several filters applied to this image. The first thing I did is push the contrast all the way up. I wanted the black as dark as I could get it to enhance details. Then I applied multiple Topaz filters on top of each other.  I can truthfully say that I had at least a dozen filter options that were hard to pass up. Not to mention color combos, line styles, flattening, etc.  Try photo editing on a sketch or other image you’ve created, in whatever photo program you have. It’s addictive and makes one image so versatile.

  1. Deb Close says:

    Very cool stuff. Glad the cooties aren’t keeping you down completely. Got a new cool phone and was able to save your blog link to home screen. Feeling very techie!! Xoxo

    • crickyn says:

      hi deb. just about back to the Land of the Living. Cootie was nasty and after about a week sleeping and trying to breathe I’m ready to go further with my deep research on styrofoam printing. thanks for the birthday wishes from that new phone! xo

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