My Sister-in-Law asked for more details on the making of the Red Poppies image that I posted on Facebook and Instagram on Memorial Day 2020. My first instinct was to just send her an email with the details, and not share that on Facebook. Not because there was any "secret sauce" or anything proprietary about it, and not because I was worried that someone might copy it. But rather, because it starts out with a very boring iPhone image and I feared that exposing the ugly underbelly would take away the magic.
But then I realized that is the very reason for showing what goes on in my head and behind the scenes. So here goes, and thanks Carole Walthers for asking.
Normally American Legion Auxiliary members distribute millions of poppies annually across the country in exchange for donations that go directly to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans in their local communities. Memorial Day weekend and Veteran's day are the main days for this major fundraising event. But due to Covid-19, that could not happen this year. So I wanted to create a visual representation to remind everyone of the significance on Memorial Day. Facebook and Instagram seemed a good place to do that.
My typical artistic style starts out with bits and pieces from photographs, and through the magic of digital wizardry, an image is morphed into a painterly "masterpiece."
But what could I use as my starting image? My garden poppies didn't come back this year, so that was out. I do not use stock images in my work, so that was not an option either. I turned to the normal cloth poppy that is handed out. As you can see in the attached image: Ugh. The composition wasn't doing anything for me, and it wasn't looking hopeful.
It just so happens that I have a faux bouquet of poppies on my bedroom dresser. I had used them for a sketch-and-watercolor exercise a few weeks ago, so I figured it could work for this. With iPhone in hand, I zeroed in on this part of the bouquet, making sure to include a smaller/younger bloom, and that little bud to emphasize the idea of hope for the future.
Now the composition was looking better. But it needed some magic.
Uploading the iPhone image to my computer, and with a little Photoshop work, I came up with this. I blurred out the ugly background, making the flower soft and dreamy, and giving some nice muted colors as an accent. But what to do about that ugly blown-out bright spot in the upper right hand corner? No problem - just add another layer with salmon-color.
Here is the final image. For most of my postings on Social Media, I add my signature logo, so that when people share, others can find me and my work. So share away.
Carole asked if I planned to include this on the Art Show circuit this summer. While I do not plan on that (assuming there will be any Art Fairs this summer), if you are interested in having a printed out version of this, DM me for details. 50% of any sales will go to the American Legion Auxiliary to support our wounded and hospitalized veterans.