Sunday, February 9, 2014

2014 Documented Life Project, Challenge 1: The Door

The first challenge of Documented Life Project (DLP) was a bit challenging for me (pun intended). I definitely didn't want to do my own door. It's a beautifully decorated door, but for other non-art related reasons I chose not to portray my front door in the DLP. Now I was left with little inspiration and no way out (metaphorically speaking), but I wasn't going to give up on DLP yet. I expressed my frustration on Twitter only to find the inspiration needed from a jolt from a friend. I don't remember her exact wording, but it was now clear to me that I wanted to have a drawbridge leading to doorway into a fortress, perhaps even, to a castle, but my main focus was that beyond the drawbridge, beyond my door was my sanctuary, the ocean. Now I was left to the challenge (no pun intended) of how to convey my vision. I'm a little rusty on my drawing skills and have recently been reintroduced to the ditigal world of art, by ironically the same friend whom led me to my vision as to solution to the door challenge, and thought perhaps, I would start there. I depended on good ol' dependent Google as to search for my drawbridge door. I found a couple that really caught my eye and finally settled upon one that best suited my vision. Now my amateur digital art skills come into play, I do know how to digitally fussy cut an image, in this case to erase the door at the end of the drawbridge, but I also know there is an easier way to do it, however I could not remember, nor did I care to learn the alternative to fussy cut at that time. So I fiddled with my mouse and the trusty eraser tool to, of course, erase the already existing image within the doorway frame. I already knew within my vision that I wanted to use one of my own photographs of the ocean to symbolize my sanctuary as it truly is my place of peace and serenity. Although I was born and raised in Colorado in close proximity to the mountains, my place is among the sand and water not with the rocky, sometimes snowy mountains Colorado is know for. After asking that same friend, you know the one who led me to find a solution to my door dilemma, also assisted me in finding a way to correctly layer and combine the two images to merge flawlessly. While my final result is not really all that flawless, I really think it's good for a digital amateur like me.

I didn't quite like the look of simply printing out the image and pasting it down on the page, so I decide to try my hand at an image transfer. I've had years of experience with them and while the method I choose can be a bit unpredictable, or to me, temperamental, I decided to use gel medium for my transfer technique. I bought a squeeze bottle of Amsterdam Gel Medium and decided to give it a try. I don't know if it was my experience with gel transfer (*laughs* I highly doubt it though) or it was the particular brand of gel medium, but the transfer was just what I wanted, a clear, yet not completely crisp image that was a little rough around the edges. Perfect for the look I was going for. For the color, I felt the strong urge to use Golden's Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold and while it was suggested to me by another arty friend that I could paint the sunset over the ocean, with the way the sun was reflected onto the water, a sunset would not have fit and it would be too tedious a task for me to attempt. I do not have that much patience and are too much of a perfectionist to do a sunset over the ocean that small. I thought I would simply use a watered down primary blue to cover the small photograph tucked into the drawbridge doorway. But I was afraid that wouldn't work and to assure that I could remedy any mistake I was to make with my doorway or with the art piece I coated the entire page with fluid matte medium (Liqiutex), a trick I learned from another arty friend. The dealio is, if you coat your image with fluid matte medium to can take a baby wipe or wet cloth and wipe away the paint while it's still wet.  With all that said and done I was ready for the next DLP challenge, positively convinced I would make the next simple challenge into a hair puller and complicate the heck out of it. But you shall see the next challenge while it's one of my least favorite photographic subject, proved to be mostly an enjoyable experience.

To learn more about the Documented Life Project, it's creators and a Facebook group filled with other people's challenges, questions and discussions visit Facebook at: 
Or visit the website that lists weekly challenges and links to the creator's own artwork go to:

Thanks for visiting, I have lots more blogging material as I am behind in posting

Erika aka MsShutterbugg

No comments:

Post a Comment