Thursday, August 25, 2011

From particle physics to Floral Art

Pastimedesigns  -  Interview with  Diana Smailus

How old were you when the idea of being an artist first came up?

I was a late bloomer. In the early 90's, before the web became public, particle physics laboratories and universities used it as a means to communicate graphics electronically. I worked at such a facility and was blown away when Computing Division personnel gave us a demonstration. My boss seized the opportunity to use the web to provide educational resources for K-12 science teachers and students. I found myself sitting at my desk with new software and a Photoshop 2.5 book in my lap trying to figure out how to design graphics for the new website. One of my projects was to illustrate the plants found on the prairie surrounding the laboratory. Photoshop wasn't the right software for that project. I found myself, again, sitting at my desk with Adobe Illustrator vector software and a book in my lap. I was totally hooked and loved it.
Prairie Wildflowers Poster print

Could you tell us about what kind of floral art you do?

I draw all my wildflowers on the computer using Adobe Illustrator software and incorporate gradient meshes, which give the flowers and leaves a more realistic look. I refer to Briton & Brown's "Illustrated Flora of the United States and Canada", 1913 editions for plant characteristics and the US Plant Database for colors.

Prairie wildflower greeting/notecard card

Who inspired or taught you?

I would have to say my mentor, Liz, who first showed me how to use Illustrator way back when. She kept telling me to forget using Photoshop for drawing and learn Illustrator. It's very tricky software to use and I would get frustrated easily. I took a semester of Illustrator at a local college and got straight A's. That's when i decided, "Hey, I can do this."

Morning-Glory Mug mug

How often do you create?
Now that I'm retired I draw something everyday, even if it doesn't end up on Zazzle. Sometimes I go back and look at my early drawings and think "yuk" and I update them.
Bamboo Leaves Invitation invitation

Which were the best moments for you so far as an artist?

The best moments are when someone actually buys my work. It's hard to wrap my head around being considered an "artist." It's probably because I use the computer, which is very forgiving. Receiving such nice compliments from fellow Zazzlers also gives me a "great moment."

Which were the worst ones?

When I see a mistake on a drawing that's already been published. I cringe and hope no one notices before I can fix it.

Opaque Blue Wisteria Vine Stationery stationery

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

how to get impressive photos of flowers - video tutorial


Flower by Balaji.B
Flower, a photo by Balaji.B on Flickr.

A beautiful shot of a nice orange flower . Cheerful summer feel .Free commercial use .


Invitation by saturn ♄
Invitation, a photo by saturn ♄ on Flickr.

Wonderful poetic image -a beautiful macro .Free commercial use .

Macro Fuschia

Macro Fuschia by Iain Cuthbertson
Macro Fuschia, a photo by Iain Cuthbertson on Flickr.

A very special macro photo of a pink fuchsia . Free commercial use .

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Interview with a floral artist - Kara Stewart

Art in Photography
Although Kara Stewart is a teacher for her full time job, artistically she is a photographer and digital artist. Her photography covers a wide variety of subjects such as dogs, Native American, food, nature and homesteads, with flowers being some of her  favorites to shoot.  She has a photography website, Kara Stewart  Art in Photography and a zazzle store,art in photography .
1.    How old were you when the idea of being an artist first came up?
Red Daylily card

I was about 10 or 11 years old when I begged my parents for a camera for my birthday. They did end up giving me a Kodak Pocket Instamatic 110 (remember those?) and I remember them impressing upon me that it was not a toy but a ‘grown up’ product to be treated with great care. I took pictures of everything I could, and my fascination with photography was born. Over the years, of course, my cameras changed and I taught myself more about creating images with cameras as the tool.
2.    Could you tell us about what kind of floral art you do?
Dragonfly Waterlily sumi-e ipad Case speckcase
My floral photographs are mostly macro photography. The tiny details in flowers are amazing and I like to capture them for all to see. I used to think that I was also mostly attracted to bold colors in flowers, but lately I have begun to experiment with black and white photography in flowers.  I love taking ‘straight shots’ of natural objects, but I also love playing with those images on software, much as a painter may play with colors or brushes, to create unique works of digital art.
3.    Who inspired or taught you?
I am self taught, but have been inspired by the work of other photographers in groups I belong to, as well as reading a ton of photography books and being inspired by the work I have seen in them.
4.    How often do you create?
April Redbud card
I photograph as often as I can, but out of necessity, it is balanced with my full time job and the other things that go along with turning an image into a product on zazzle – designing, promoting & marketing.
5.    Which were the best moments for you so far as an artist?
Pink Geranium magnet
The best moments for me as an artist are those when an image that I have carefully created turns out in a way that touches my eye, my heart and my mind all together.
6.      Which were the worst ones ?
Night Camellia Postcard postcard
When I think I have my image set up so carefully and it doesn’t turn out!
7.    What advice would you give to other artist who is just starting out?
Learn and read all you can from all sources – forums, books, tutorial videos. Be open to critique, hard as it is, but know when it is best to take the advice and best not to. Participate in all the means of practicing your art and improving that you can – join forums, join websites, participate in contests, network with similar artists. And enjoy creating!
Magnolia Light Postcard postcard

Sunflowers magnet

KARA STEWART lives and creates in North Carolina, United States .
You can find out how to contact her if you visit her Zazzle store