Art, Education & Community
Mark Lindsay Art is a combination of art and education. Mark is an exhibiting artist who also provides training and services to other working artists. So, you'll find his art here and also the art of others. Our site is a dynamic collection of galleries, art blogs, artist services, and a store where you'll be able to buy prints. Want to know more? Browse through our various sections. And come back often—our site is always changing.
News & Updates
Mark's Community Ed class, An Introduction to Handmade Art Books is starting again at College of Marin. Classes begin on November 2, 2013. Sign up at the college's website or call them at: 415-485-9305.
This quarter we'll be offering both an intro and advanced class.
Featured Gallery: Nebbioso
Color images of Venice. See the gallery below.
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La Macchina Fotografica
A return from a trip always reveals new things about home. The imperceptible cadence of life seems to have moved at a fast-forward pace upon our return. This is especially true if one has traveled at the change of a season. Autumn seems to have progressed more quickly when we return to a yard full of leaves and bare trees. Does life move this fast when we watch each leaf fall from a tree?
Labor Day Weekend evokes long-ago memories. When I was a kid I never cared for holiday (with apologies to my labor-union friends). It was the Back to School jingles on the radio that ruined things. The adult world was clearly taunting me, delighted to see me return to the grindstone. The days were shorter. The new school year was arriving. The summer was gone.
Lately I've taken to walking at sunset. This recent habit started on the night that my mother-in-law died. Alone with my memories and sadness, the house and its four walls were closing in on me. Dusk, with its wondrous light, was right outside the door. It lured me out and then I walked. I've been walking at sunset ever since.
I try not to visit the farmer's market on an empty stomach. The overstimulation of so much fresh, ripe food causes me to buy too much stuff. I lug it all home, as happy as a pig in pile of corn—all self-satisfied and content. But, by the miracle of time, alchemy and a big fridge, too much of the bright and colorful produce transforms into a khaki-colored sludge. This may be good for the compost pile but, at today's prices for organic produce, the green in my wallet disappears faster than the green in my refrigerator.
Everything stops cold in summer. The flow of life seems to lazily drift to a halt, like a boat that runs out of gas. I find it frustrating. It takes twice the effort to get anything done in this season because we push against an invisible force of resistance. Except for the Jersey Shore I've always felt that summer is way overrated. Once it begins I start to count the days until golden light of autumn.
"Don't try to fight it. Just settle into the saddle and let the mule take care of things."
The mule guide was trying to calm a pale, nervous companion who was obviously on her first mule ride and on her first journey out of Grand Canyon. It was just the two of them on the South Kaibab Trail. The guide was a rugged young woman with long, blonde hair, topped with a cream-colored Stetson hat. Fit and trim, her face showed slight signs of damage from the canyon's sun. This only added to her allure. She was strong and straight in the saddle and rode with confidence. Her voice had hints of the Southwestern twang that matched her hat.
The market has always been a source of photographic inspiration to me. Life swirls around me as I poke my camera into produce, flowers and food stands. Every so often an ordinary moment of human behavior and interaction stands out as something significant. Why does ordinary life seem so extraordinary in the two-dimensional world of still photography? I suppose this is the great mystery of photography and why it compels so many of us to look at our world through the lens.
Sometimes the camera makes me feel like a boy in a bubble. The lens separates me from what’s going on in front of it. My life seems suspended as I float along a sidewalk or path. It’s as if I were a Martian visiting the planet for the first time—a hovering alien, looking at the world the way a curious cat might study a bug. The camera does this to me.
Cherries and asparagus always meet at a certain time in spring and a particular market in San Rafael, California. As if in a May-December romance, the asparagus is on the way out while the cherries are on the way in. They sit adjacent to one another among a sea of produce stands. Their rendezvous is but a short one and lasts only a week or two. The the asparagus quickly disappears along with the people who sell it. The cherries are left to fend for themselves but their season isn't a long one. Soon they make way for the stalwarts of summer: tomatoes, eggplant, basil, and sweet corn.
The Geek's Lens
The Linear Burn Blend Mode
Linear Burn is much more useful blend mode than it first appears. When used at full strength it’s a bit much for most uses. A more dramatic cousin of Multiply (and part of the darkening blend-mode group) it often results in the clipping of the shadow areas of an image. Clipping also occurs with Color Burn. However Color Burn results in a much more color-saturated composite.
The Color Burn Blend Mode
Our previous post dealt with Multiply, one of the most useful and popular blend modes. This post covers Color Burn, a blend mode that's more obscure. However, this is partly because it's simply misunderstood and misused. Our goal here is to change that and make it much more powerful for you.
The Multiply Blend Mode
It must be said right from the start—the Multiply blend mode is one of the most useful in Photoshop's toolbox. In fact, It might be the most useful. Hardly a day goes by when I don't use Multiply for something. It's analogous to a screwdriver in my toolbox—I always want it around. I can't imagine doing my work without it.
The Darken Blend Mode
The past two blog posts on the Normal blend modes were a warmup. The description of this Normal group mostly serves as contrast to the rest of the modes. As we go down the list of available blend modes in the Layers Panel the first group below the Normal group that we find has five blend modes. The first on the list loosely describes what the rest of them do. And that first one is called Darken.
The Dissolve Blend Mode
I suppose that there’s a prevailing attitude among Photoshop users that there are a few go-to blend modes that are useful. The rest are thought of as curiosities, maybe a way to relieve tedium when image-editing fatigue sets in. Case in point: directly below Normal on the blend-mode list resides a mode called Dissolve. If one is driving down the road of blend-mode options, this is one exit that most people pass by. It seems like a route to nowhere.
The Normal Blend Mode
Normal. What does that ever mean in life anyway? I digress. Choosing to avoid a philosophical debate, let’s stick to Photoshop blend modes. In fact, we’ll be devoting a vast, new series of posts to the discussion of blend modes. And we’ll do that in great depth for there’s really nothing more powerful in Photoshop nor so accessible. Blend modes give us both instant satisfaction and provide nuanced and sophisticated power. We’ll start at the beginning, we’ll start with the default blend mode. We’ll start with normal.
Convert to Profile…
These are two of the most powerful commands in Photoshop—and among the least understood. They sound interchangeable. They sound compatible. Yet, even though they’re related, they are worlds apart in function. My students and clients often get into trouble with these evil twins. Let’s see if we can pull them apart and demystify their purpose.
Let’s establish this right from the start. It’s not your imagination—color management isn’t easy. It isn’t easy because your eyes and your brain and the colorful world around you are all complex. Trying to replicate the way we see and perceive is loaded with conditions and options. The world of color is certainly wonderful but it can present a bewildering mess to the uninitiated. Just try reproducing that certain shade of perfect blue in a photograph or on a lithographic printing press. But, rest assured. As much as color can be challenging, it is also ever rewarding. And the tools we have today to tame it are better than they ever have been before.
When working in the Lab color mode we can quickly and easily enhance color separation and saturation in myriad ways. As we’ve discussed in previous posts, the essential key is to increase the contrast of the *a* and/or *b* channels of the image. This can be done manually and individually (to each channel) with Curve or Levels adjustments or we might duplicate merge all layers onto a new, top layer and modify the blend mode of that layer. One of the most effective techniques of this type is the Multiply and Layer Mask Technique inspired by the great master of Lab, Dan Margulis. This not only enhances color but also deepens light areas of the image and will add some contour enhancement to the overall image as well.
Where we last left off on our Lab adventure we’d described a colorspace that could enhance and separate colors with both the *a* and *b* channels. These channels respond wildly to increased contrast, in ways that border on miraculous. Colors increase in saturation, separation, and definition. It is the most basic and fundamental move in the Lab-editing arsenal.