Art is full of repeating themes and recurring imagery. Still life as a genre focuses in on the ordinary, the commonplace, the detail. Most of the most famous Western artists have painted still lives, and the genre continues today in not only painting but in collage and assemblage works, and in photography.
One of the joys of photo editing is the ability to re-make the same image over and over. While painters and sculptors labour over a single representation, and traditional photography allows image manipulation only with considerable effort, free editing apps can transform snapshots from a smart phone into a vintage photo, pencil sketch, oil painting, watercolour, and all manner of stylized images.
I’m particularly fond of AutoDesk’s Pixlr Express as an editing tool. I particularly like the overlays which I use to give texture and odd spots of colour to images.
By repeatedly smoothing out a stylized version of my photo, then overlaying it with a scraped texture and changing the color balance, the final effect reminds me a bit of the wonderful illustrations in Eric Carle’s books for children – in particular The Very Hungry Caterpillar – which was an early favourite of the boy-child’s.
I’ve recently discovered another new app I quite like: Pho.to Lab – although the advertising in the free version will probably drive me away and I’m not sure there is enough in the paid app to interest me. I used Pho.to Lab to create an initial oil painting effect on the image above, then played around with it some more in Pixlr Express. I quite like the result, but would prefer a little less “photo realism” in the image.
This “pen and ink drawing” effect is from Pho.to Lab, and is probably the image I think is most successfully edited with this tool.
The image above is also from Pho.to Lab, and while I like it, I think it’s a bit gimmicky for the kind of editing I’m interested in doing. The same is probably true of the image below – which I’ve cropped to remove some of the – I think naff – detail Pho.to Lab includes.
Here are some other bloggers’ responses to the theme: