Archive for the ‘Desert Botanical Gardens’ Category

Spring in the Desert


Spring has finally come to the desert. It was a very brown winter season, but I certainly know how fortunate we have been, compared to the rest of the country! Here are some pics from our latest trip to the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Color galore!





















































Photoshop Friday – Ginko Tree

I haven’t had a chance to do too much with playing around with the latest group of pictures from the Botanical Gardens, and there’s so much I need to plan out for these pictures. So today, after sorting through slides and doing some general organization, I decided to play.

We have one lone ginko tree at the Gardens, and it was nice and yellow when we were there over Thanksgiving weekend. I didn’t realize until I was looking at the photo that I had gotten some shafts of sunlight. Here’s the original, which I really like.

I didn’t realize that there were some surprises in the upper right corner as a result of the sunlight.

I love the shadows of the ground cover in the background. But you know me, I’m not content to just leave a picture alone, especially since I have plans down the road for some of these pictures. So….

I don’t remember what the filter was, but it’s even more ethereal.

Now back to the whole shot….with a bunch of filters……I’m really partial to the sponge….

…but then I went very abstract…..

…again, very Asian in its simplicity, and I can see it in fabric……

Some other Photoshop Fridays you might like:


October – some of my favorites

Friday Photoshop – on Saturday….

You might remember this zentangle from last week, and I said I was dying to try some Photoshop effects with it. Well, here’s one night’s work this week, in between grading linear graphs – this was MUCH more fun!

I love them both – they are each so different. This week I have been roaming the net looking for zentangle patterns. I hadn’t realized that part of this art is set patterns that enable you to really “zen out,” as I put it, into the drawing mode. I’ll have some new zentangles up on Sunday for my week of Art Every Day Month, plus on Tuesday’s Top Ten I’ll list a bunch of the sites I’ve found.

This week also saw me playing with some of the new photos from the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Here’s the original of the one I started play with:

This metal fountain is part of the Zen garden, and one of my favorite places to sit and be with nature. I was able to capture water movement in this one, which I really liked.

One of the things I have been doing in my attempt to create some collages is using my magic wand and capturing several sections of the photo, ragged edges and all – gives it more of a water color effect, which I do like. Here’s what I captured from this photo:

I love this just the way it is, but I kept going….Here’s the marbled fabric I chose to go in the background.

I know what you’re thinking…but wait, there’s more……

Same fabric photo, but with a gradient overlay that brings it closer to what I’m after with the fountain. Now I’m putting them all together….

First blend – I like it….

Second blend…hmmmmm……

This is the final, which I think I really like. I’m torn between the first one and this one. I’ll probably do prints of both! Weigh in – let me know which one you like the best!

Photoshop Friday – Desert Botanicals


I haven’t done a lot lately with Photoshop Friday, and as I was thinking about it, I wanted to see the body of work I have completed that I call my Desert Botanicals series. I have been preparing cards for a November show and realized the images really looked good, so that prompted me to look at some of what I consider the “finished” ones.

Last spring was a gorgeous one in the desert, and the ocotillo were in full bloom. This was some “playing around” with a couple of gradients.

We had a blooming palo verde in our back yard, to which I added some background in a marbled fabric. Reminds me of a sunset.

This is some kind of orange succulent from the Desert Botanical Gardens with a grdient applied to it. I am really drawn to black and white.

This was one of my first “successful” manipulations of some succulents. I was just learning a few different tools and stumbled on this finished product. I do enjoy the “mysteries” in Photoshop.

This is my newest, and I’m not sure it’s a “done deal” yet. I love the small ginko tree at the gardens, and I played with the background with some brushes.

I love my garden bench. I have this in several iterations, this one with the fresco filter, for more of a “water color” effect.

This is also in several iterations. The blossom is from a pic hubby took about 5 years ago from some spring plants. That one bloom brings such depth to the piece.

This is another version – with a very different feel to it.

One of my favorites, of an aloe plant superimposed on the grate from one of the drainage areas in the Gardens. I added a “pattern” of marbled fabric to the grate.

Another favorite,  a composite of three different images, part of my playing around to make collages.

This is the one I actually printed – I LOVE that thistle leaf.

Another early one I really like. Even with all the filters, you still get the effect of cactus spines.

This is developing as a nice body of work. I am researching developing and printing these as a collection, even licensing them – one of the many things on my “to do” list. I interested in your comments – what do you like, what would you like to see more of, and any other suggestions.



I wanted to go back to my glass pics from the Chihuly exhibit at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. My intent was to just manipulate a few and crop them to post. I hadn’t really intended to do lots more to them. Until….

I chose this one with the purple glass. Here’s the original.

Not a bad photo, but too much distraction. The amazing glass mimics the ripples throughout the cactus. It is truly spectacular to see. I wanted to emphasize that part of the picture, but then there’s all these shadows and people in the background. I know about the cloning tool to remove unwanted things like lampposts, but I decided to go the whole way and remove the people. The more I did, the more I learned – where to sample and make it appear like there were more cactus. I started creating cactus beds where there weren’t any, and they looked natural. I discovered that I could increase the size of the photo until I was almost at the pixel level, which gave me much more control of the cloning/removal process. The signs went away, the people went away, shadows I didn’t want went away.

I found I wasn’t satisfied, because the photo kept looking better and better! I worked on the columns. I love the adobe orange and wanted to lighten the dark more. I tried some brushes, after sampling some colors – it was okay. Then with the “move” tool I clicked on the black shadows of the cactus, jumped them to another layer, and lightened through an adjustment. The ground became lighter, without sacrificing the work already done. I did that 4 different times to get shadows lightened. Then I looked at the columns again, jumped them to a new layer, same process, and smoothed out some of the cloning strokes. Lots of previous learning just snapped into place. Here’s the “finished” look at Chihuly glass:

As always comments are welcome! I know many reading this are experts at Photoshop. I’m learning, and enjoying at the same time. You can look back some of the very early posts to see how far I’ve come!

Earlier work:
Hawaiian Surf
Orange Fabric
Seasons 1
Moon Series

Glass, Glass, Glass!

What a gorgeous two days! And Suzan, WE had the better time – so there! We headed north to the Botanical Gardens in Phoenix to visit not only the Gardens but the Chihuly glass installation. Wow. Very simply, wow. We strolled for three hours through immense, incredible desert gardens of numerous cactus, punctuated by amazing glass sculptures throughout. This is what greeted us at the entrance, after walking under a mandala-type roof that cast a wonderful shadow on the sand, thinking you could walk in a circular labyrinth forever, if you wanted.

I cropped out unwanted people, but I kept the blooming cacti for added depth, to see just how large this sculpture was. It was noon, and the light was still what I would call “morning light,” but ready to change over, so this was quite bright. Here’s a close-up.

This is just immense. And the way it fits with its surroundings is wonderful. As we continued through the Gardens, every piece (except for one, in my opinion) fit the surroundings and echoed the lines of the various cactus. I love the various greens, because from New England to the desert, the variety of greens in spring speaks volumes to the design of Mother Nature.

To our left were these amazing red spires, very much like the blooms on various types of aloe each spring. They are dramatic from a distance, but close up you can see the “veins” in the glass work, and as the sun changes the effect you get also changes.

Here’s a close-up – these pictures just don’t do the glass justice.

I’ve been pondering on my fascination with glass. I know I could never work with it as a medium because of my lack of depth perception. However, I am fascinated with the whole process. I think I first saw glass blown at Jamestown, some 25 years ago, using sand right off the river beach, much like it had been done thousands of years ago. Since that visit, any time there is a glass-blowing exhibition, we are there. I had heard about Chihuly, and when we had our trunk show in Scottsdale at Textures several years ago, I saw some of his bowls. Talk about color!!! We have a glass studio in Tucson that we visit whenever they have open studios, and I could sit for hours watching the process. I guess I will always watch from a distance, and then hopefully own some glass at a later date.

More photos to follow!


Spring break started today at 1:40 for our school district. Needless to say the kids weren’t particularly interested in the finer points of function notation. I did have to spend some time yesterday reminding them to spell the word “function” correctly – there are two “n’s” in the word…use your imagination!

Going to spend the day in Scottsdale tomorrow, seeing the Chihuly glass exhibit at the Botanical Gardens, as well as working with my digital partner Suzan. We have a show to get ready for, and entries to work on. Our get-togethers are always a great time – lots of inspiration – too bad we are not closer. Thank heavens for the internet!

I finished uploading a few pieces we have worked on so we can access them tomorrow with Wi-Fi. And I need some hints on a few Photoshop tricks so I can begin to organize some of my gallery work.

The piece that starts this entry is something I am trying out. I bought a clip-art book from Dover of art deco images, since Dover is public domain and no worry about copyright. I wanted to have some designs that I could work with putting marbled fabrics into, without having to do the design completely myself. Once I figured out how to paste a pattern into the design, I went to town with ideas. This is really stretching my skills to another level, which is one of the things I want to work on.

The original of this image is left – pretty bland compared to the new changes in the top design. One of the things that I really like about this new image is that it works both from a distance and up close. From a distance you see these wonderful swirling suns, and upon closer inspection you can see the various marbled patterns. Very intriguing close up, and somewhat soothing from a distance.

Over the years we have been able to create a couple of quilted pieces that do the same thing. It’s what we strive for to make the pieces really interesting. It took as quite a while to be ale to actually sell our piece we called The Wave (you can see it at our website The Art of Fabric), but when we were offered enough money, we realized we were ready to sell it! This was one of our first framed pieces, and from a distance it looked like a crashing wave. From up close you were engulfed in the breaking wave along the shore. It remains a great piece.

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