Light takes many forms – if you just Imagine

Illustration Friday, Photoshop | December 19, 2005 | By

There is a very good chance that I won’t get something new done for Illo Friday’s theme “Imagine” so I am going to suggest this as a dual-purpose entry. Once upon a time last year, I saw a light pattern on the wall and my overactive imagination turned it into something entirely different. Read on …


This image was painted entirely in Photoshop using the Liquify, smudge and other gooey tools. There was no paintbrushing in this, nor preset global filters. It was done entirely by pushing around pixels, a few at a time.

Last year, in late November, a long-time dear friend of mine was remodeling her home and put in a beautiful new front door with a beveled glass insert. We happened to stop by to visit her at a time of day when the afternoon light was streaming through the door, casting scattered golden patterns on her wall. I was entranced with the look of it, and, because I never go anywhere without my digital camera, I took about a dozen shots of it from different perspectives – close up, wide, high, low and so on.
A few days later I opened one of the photos in Photoshop and just started manipulating it using my Wacom pad. I tried several different experiments but this was the one that turned out the best. My friend is a devout Catholic and attributes her recovery from the very early stages of colon cancer, and her husband’s cancer survival in part to the protection of her guardian angel. So I created a representation of that “being of light” … literally … painted with the light that came in her own door every single day. She liked it a lot and I hope you will, too.

I get a lot of mail from people asking different questions, and because I love chatting about art, I try to answer every single one. One of the most frequent questions is “where do you find inspiration?” I think that this demonstrates the process very well. I just look at things and start asking myself “what would happen if I tried this? Or this?” Sometimes you end up with a silly looking bulldog. And every now and then, an angel.

Illo Friday – Strength

This digitally-composited poster incorporated a soft-block carving which I did of a statue of Kwan Yin, as well as photography at the Pacific Asia Museum.

LOST – Illo Friday

I had been thinking about the quake in Pakistan and made an attempt to suggest the size and scale of the recovery process with this experimental imaginary sketch painted in Photoshop. So I just finished posting it here and turned my thoughts to Illustration Friday. I was wondering what to do on the theme of “Lost.”

Then it hit me.

I am always amazed at how my unconscious mind is sometimes a step or two ahead of my dopey conscious mind.

Illo Friday – Float

Sometimes life takes mysterious twists and turns and it’s a challenge just to stay afloat.
But what a ride.

Illustration Friday – Roots

This is something that I had already drawn last year in the forest near our house, so I couldn’t resist using it.
It was painted in a book I made using 140 lb. watercolor paper, using Caran d’Ache neocolor II watercolor crayons and a Niji waterbrush – very portable for working while sitting on a rock by a stream! I added the text later when I scanned it.

You can find the rest of that week’s paintings here

All the archived journal pages

Illustration Friday – Empty

This week’s Illustration Friday theme is Emptiness.
The inspiration for my project comes from the story of the Zen matriarch Chiyono.
As the legend goes, she had been seeking enlightenment for years, but it had eluded her, no matter how hard she studied and how diligently she practiced.
One night, she was carrying water in a very old bamboo bucket and noticed the reflection of the moon in the water. As she gazed at it, suddenly the bamboo band that held the bucket together fell apart. In that moment there was no bucket, no water and no moon, and she became enlightened. She wrote a verse about it and this is the popular translation:

“In this way and that I tried to keep the pail together.
I hoped the weak bamboo would never break.
Then suddenly the bottom fell out.
No more water; no more moon in the water.
Emptiness in my hand.”

Tranquility –

Illustration Friday | July 24, 2005 | By

The image of tranquility …