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Happy Holidays, Amy Melious and Cookie Sheets!


Candy Cane

8"x 10"

oil on gessoboard


Click here to purchase

I had myverytalented cousin,Amy Melious, over for a visit. She is a photographic artist. (and very pretty!)

We were cooking and baking and I was trying to hide these ugly cookie sheets when she said not to hide them, got out her camera and took photos of them! 

She takes pictures of the textures to use in her photography. I really don't understand what she does, so here is her explanation:

"Annie, the first very (fabulously) rustic cookie pan is yours, followed by the two long landscape images I tested it on."

 The original.... with texture.

"Isn’t it great that we can make art and cookies from the very same pans? It's one instance when we get to have our cake and eat it too!

My love of photographing textures started more than a decade ago as I was ending a ten year love affair with the Polaroid transfer process in favor of expanding my horizons into digital techniques.

I was interested in the new capabilities that digital world offered, but wasn’t ready to give up the very nostalgic, personal, and imperfect qualities of the Polaroid transfer look.  So, I tried to figure out how to apply that “look”in Photoshop, almost like you would antique a piece of furniture.  I started going around looking for textures in my immediate environment, experimenting with each of them composited over my photographs. My skills at the time were limited, but it didn’t take long to find out what worked best, and it was so much fun!

Now, I have a huge collection of textures from all over the world – among them a few faves that I use often.

I know that in recent years, several companies have appeared that sell textures. They’re also built into some apps  and are sold as plug-ins for image editing software. They can be quick and fun and so have a place for sure. However, I always encourage people to photograph their own  as well in order to give their pictures more personal meaning and uniqueness.

Texture layers is easy to use if you have basic knowledge of Photoshop. You simply open the image and the texture, then drag the texture onto the image and drop. Photoshop will automatically put the texture in it’s own new layer. Then, the really fun part is to scroll through the blend modes in the layers palette until you see a version you like. Remember that you can reduce the opacity of the layer to minimize it’s effect to any degree you want. Also, you can mask the layer and hide the effect from any area of the image (using the paintbrush tool). And to go along with the cookie sheets, here’s my family’s very favorite holiday cookie recipe: Molasses Spice Cookies: From “The Best Recipe” book by Cooks Illustrated.  2 1/4 c flour 2 teasp baking soda 1/2 teasp salt 1 1/2 teasp cinnamon 1 teasp ground ginger 3/4 teasp ground cloves 1/4 teasp ground allspice 12 Tb unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened. 1/2 c dark brown sugar 1/2  white sugar, plus 1/2 cup aside for rolling balls before baking 1 large egg 1 teasp vanilla 1/3 c unsulphured molasses Heat oven to 375 Mix flour, b. soda, salt and spices together. In a separate bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, white sugar- mix until fluffy, then add egg, vanilla and molasses, mix just until blended. Add the dry ingredients, mix just until combined. Make 2 Tb dough at a time into 1 3/4 inch balls. Roll the balls in white sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake 11-13 minutes. They should crack on top. Cool on racks. Best wishes to you and your readers for a happy season! xo Amy " I now look for textures in everything!

She was recently published in Somerset Digital Studio, and plan ahead and take her workshop in Spain:

One day at a time, tucked away among olive groves, far from all distraction, Gail Short and Amy Melious will unfold the wonderful world of creative process." Read more...  Flavor of Spain Thank you Amy! Listening to while I paint: Audio Books: "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, narrated by Jim Dale.

Podcasts: Food is the New Rock, hosted by Zach Brooks The Lede, hosted by Jerod Morris Artists Helping Artists, hosted by Leslie Saeta Social Media Examiner, hosted by Michael Stelzner "Wait, Wait.... Don't Tell Me!", hosted by Peter Sagal Splendid Table, hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper American's Test Kitchen, hosted by Christopher Kimball Music: My iPod: Christmas music! Really helpful!: I am continually checking a dictionary, thesaurus, spell check, but one thing that has been particularly helpful is the grammar check. Please excuse any errors that I make and tell me! :)


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