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Gardenia Riot

Gardenias are incredibly beautiful, delicate and fragrant flowers. We have three large plants in separate pots on our patio. They flowered beyond our wildest dreams this year–we were completely overwhelmed with white blossoms and their heady perfume. Of course, I’ve been photographing them a lot–but this spring I was so taken with them that I simply had to use them as subject matter for some drawings and prints.

This one was simply perfect!
Wishing you could smell the amazing fragrance!

Most people know I can’t do things halfway (yes–I am just a little obsessive)–and right now I’ve got 5 new print editions based on my gardenia photos and drawings. There will be a few more print editions and maybe even a painting or two. Here is a look at a small portion of the work I’ve been making. There are dozens more computer-generated ideas, color studies and patterns.

Gardenia; ink on paper; 2019
Gardenia Stripe; Ink on paper; 2019.
Gardenia Stripe Mirrored; ink on paper; 2019. This drawing will soon find it’s way onto the press as a photopolymer print with a split fountain color background.

And now for the prints…they are based on the first simple line drawing of the gardenia above. Future prints will be based on the second drawing with the two different stripe widths. The 5 editions (below) were all printed by Brent Bond of Santo Press this past month. Brent selected the colors for Gardenia Riot Pulse and all I can say is WOW!

Gardenia Riot Lace; 2019; photopolymer relief; image size 12 x 9.5 inches on paper 16.5 x 13.5 inches; edition of 10; printed by Santo Press; $150.00.
Gardenia Riot Pulse; 2019; photopolymer relief with split fountain; image size 12 x 9.5 inches on paper 16.5 x 13.5 inches; edition of 10; printed by Santo Press; $150.00.
Hot Gardenia Riot; 2019; photopolymer relief with split-fountain ground; image size 12 x 9.5 inches on paper 16.5 x 13.5 inches; edition of 10; printed by Santo Press, $200.00.
Gardenia Riot Blue; 2019; photopolymer relief with flat background bleed print; image size 12 x 19.5 inches; edition of 50; printed by Santo Press. A.P.s available for $100.00
Gardenia; 2019; laser-cut linoleum block with photopolymer relief; image size 9 x 9 inches on paper 13.5 x 13 inches; edition of 10; printed by Santo Press; $150.00.
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Hot Off the Press!

Yesterday was a busy day in the studio for me. I worked on three new plates and proofed them. Two of the three came out great and will soon be printed in editions. The third (not shown) needs a little more work–a minor adjustment here and there before it makes the cut.

I am still considering whether or not to add color to these two prints, but for now you can see how they look in black ink as they were proofed.

Here are the plates all inked up and ready to print:

2 New Plates art by Janet TowbinLeft plate: NetSquared; Right plate: Solar Mum


The first proofed print you see below is from a photograph I digitally solarized. It was posted to this blog a few weeks ago. If you are interested you can see both the original mum photograph and the digitally solarized versions here.

This is what it looks like as an etching:Solar Mum photopolymer etching by Janet TowbinSolar Mum (proof); 2014; Photopolymer etching; 8″ x 8″

I am very pleased with the Solar Mum print in black ink and will edition it as seen.  It might also look great with some added color.

This second print was created from an ink drawing on acetate. It, too will be printed in black ink–but my plan is to add some background color using chine collé.

NetSquared photopolymer etching by Janet TowbinNetSquared (proof); 2014; Photopolymer etching; 8″ x 10″

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Golden Magnolia

This photograph of a magnolia was taken in Pittsburgh in 2013 and manipulated in Photoshop.  I duplicated the silhouetted magnolia tree and scaled it down, then layered it so it appears there are two trees. The textural overlay is composed from a wood panel I painted gold and photographed.  The image was further manipulated for color accuracy, contrast and vibrancy.Golden Magnolia Photography by Janet TowbinGolden Magnolia; 2013; Manipulated Digital Photography.

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From Ordinary to Wow!

I can’t help but think Photoshop is one of the most incredible creative tools available to any artist/photographer today.

Case in point: a humdrum and rather ordinary photograph of a mum was easily transformed into a dramatic B&W image in a matter of minutes. It still amazes me how much this technique changed and improved the original image.

Using a simple technique with the Curves Adjustment Layer tool I was able to get a Solarized (or Sabattier) effect that totally knocked me out. There are a lot of tutorials online if you want to try this technique. Careful though…you might get hooked.

Be aware that it doesn’t work with all photos, but when it does the results are amazing. Images with strong contrasts work best. I happen to prefer solarized images in B&W, but color images are pretty cool solarized, too.

A special thanks to photography friend Jim Hulme who got me interested in solarization with his lovely photo of Naked Tulips.

Here is the original photo of the mum appearing in all it’s ordinariness:

Ordinary Mum photography by Janet Towbin

And here is the Photoshopped mum converted into a dramatic diva.

Solarized Mum photography by Janet Towbin

Are you impressed? I sure am!

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