Monday, June 11, 2012

Sunday Photography - Bluejays

Finally, I was able to go outside and play with my camera this weekend. While I wasn't fast enough to catch photos of a hummingbird in between all the goings on, I was able to get photos of a couple bluejays.

At first, they were shy. Unlike the sparrows and grackles, the bluejays kept to the trees while I filled the bird feeders and tossed peanuts here and there. I don't blame them. The length of the 70-300mm camera lens when it was fully extended probably seemed as if I was trying to shoot something at them, rather than take a photo. But by Sunday, although still cautious, they came down more often while I was in the yard. One showed plenty of curiosity of what I was doing.

I have plenty of photos to use as reference for eventual paintings. I think some would be great as they are for prints and cards. The first on this page is one such photo.

Here's another:

I don't know if I'd count myself a great photographer yet. I'm sure I have a long way to go. I do know that I was bored of taking photos of birds sitting on the ground, or feeders. So, I'm playing with camera settings to get better shots of birds in flight.  I thought I might need a longer lens, especially for smaller birds like sparrows and chickadees. Too expensive. For now, I'll just have to get in a little closer.

What ever your thoughts on bluejays, I think they make wonderful photo and paint subjects. Don't you?

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Hug Your Dragon

Imagined Reality

Art Prints

I finally got around to putting up the drawing of a dragon and black capped chickadee as fine art prints, canvas and cards. A friend suggested that I give the chickadee a little color to better set it apart from the dragon. I think she was right. Original drawing was graphite on sketch paper. Then I scanned it and digitally enhanced it.

Click on the photo to go to the print purchase page. 


Monday, April 30, 2012

Beauty in Bloom

Sell Art Online

     Daisies are one of my favorite types of flowers. They have a way of brightening up a room, adding cheer, and simply bringing a smile. It doesn't hurt that it is also the flower for the month my grandfather, my granddaughter and I were born.

      As it turns out, my daughter brought me daisies for my birthday. The tips had colors of pinks, blues, purples and yellow. I had to get photos of them (and, of course, play with my new macro lenses). Beauty in Bloom is an example of one of the fantastic images. Now that Spring is here, I hope to get plenty more flower photos and include a painting, or two.

     Prints and greeting cards for "Beauty in Bloom" are available at:

      Tracey R Gates - Fine Art


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Peaceful Morning

Photography Prints
Last week we took a trip to Florida. Saw lots of beautiful places and wonderful wildlife. Of course, I took lots of photos! Here is a digital art I made of a heron soaring over the Anclote River.
Much more photos and art to come.


Thursday, March 01, 2012

Fine Art America Prints Part 1

I few posts back I mentioned opening an account at Fine Art America and adding some of my art to be made into prints and canvas. Last Friday, I ordered four prints - two of my "Sharing with a Friend" painting and two of my "Magical Moonlight" painting. All in varying sizes and papers.

Even though on the site it said that all four would be shipped rolled in a tube, they arrived today in a large, flat box (which I prefer). Shipping for all of this was around $13 USD through FedEx. Each print was separated from the other with wax paper. The entire group protected by two pieces of thick cardboard taped together, another piece of cardboard securing them and all of this wrapped in enough bubble wrap to secure it in the box. Yes, my prints were well packaged.

I decided to buy two prints, 9" x 12", on glossy canvas. I chose rolled canvas rather than having it stretched on wooden bars. While they also sell frames and mats for your prints and canvas, I decided against having this done this time around.

Here are photos of the 9" x 12" canvas prints:

"Sharing with a Friend" on glossy canvas.

Close up of "Sharing with a Friend" on glossy canvas.

"Magical Moonlight" on glossy canvas.

As you can see, they both came with a wide white border. I have to say I like the texture of the canvas. Both prints came out very close on color to the original. Magical Moonlight measures exactly 9" x 12" (not including the white border) and because of it being digital art on canvas, seems slightly softer than the original. Sharing with a Friend measures near 9.5" by 12" (excluding white border) due to uploading it at an unusual size. The over all print is vibrant.

 Continue on to Part 2...

Fine Art America Prints Part 2

Since "Sharing with a Friend" was originally created with watercolors on illustration board, I decided to order a print of it on watercolor paper at the same size as the original.

"Sharing with a Friend" 11" x 14" print on watercolor paper
As you can see in the photo, this is a stiffer paper with a little curl, which can be remedied by putting it behind a mat, or glass. Of the two prints I bought for this artwork, I like this one the most. It is near identical to the original, slightly brighter, but with the added watercolor paper texture (as seen in the close up below). The details are clear and crisp. I'm highly pleased with how this one turned out.

Close up of "Sharing with a Friend" print on watercolor paper.

Last, but definitely not least, is the second print of Magical Moonlight. This one came out so beautiful. The photos of it do not do it justice.

"Magical Moonlight" 16" x 12" on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper.

It was printed on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper. The colors are rich, vivid. The paper itself is extra glossy. The moon and fairy dust really stand out. I'd say they almost glow. You can't tell by my photo, but the whites are brilliantly white. It's really a beautiful print. This one is my favorite of all four print papers/canvas.

All in all, I'm impressed by the prints by Fine Art America and feel they are a great option for prints. I plan to try out their acrylic prints and gallery wrap canvas soon. I encourage artists - traditional, digital, photography - to try them. As long as you have a high resolution photo of your art you won't be disappointed.

While you're at it, please check out my artwork through them at: Tracey R Gates Fine Art


Return to Part 1

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Check Out These Talented Artists

Birds was this month's theme for the Art & Artists group on Facebook. Please take a look at these beautiful artwork and talented artists.

If that gallery doesn't work, you can also go here:

Thank you to Tracy Klatke at Make Do for putting these galleries together.


Mystical Sky

Sell Art Online

Just after Christmas I decided to buy a new camera. My point-and-shoot camera (an Olympus SP-590UZ) was good, but I wanted better control, the ability to change lenses, and larger megapixels for taking photos of my artwork for prints. After looking at the specs. between a Canon Rebel T3i 600D and a Nikon D5100, I decided on the Canon Rebel.

While it's true that it's not the camera, but the photographer, that determines a photos outcome, it sure doesn't hurt to have a good one from the start. I love it and am thrilled to find many tutorials online that help me discover the photographer in me. Can't wait to use it when we go to Florida again this Spring. It already was worth the price for how clear the photos came out for some of my fantasy paintings.

Look at this photo art of my darling granddaughter, Emma.

I did this with a 18-55mm lens with settings to focus on her and make everything else around her slightly blurred. The room was dark with one lamp on. The only change I made in my software was to shrink the size. Not too bad for one of my first tries with the camera. Of course, it helps to have a good subject to photograph.

A couple days ago I stumbled across a forum discussion about HDR (High Dynamic Range). Another thing I bought around last Christmas was Paintshop Pro X4. I've been a big fan of Paintshop since version 5 while it was still created by Jasc. Yet, I didn't realize there was HDR on some of the other versions I owned until running across the discussion. It piqued my interest.

So, I just had to go outside, in the 30 degree weather, and test out my camera's functions for this. As what seems to be the usual now for this time of year in upstate New York, we had grey skies. My fingers were freezing, but I was able to get a few nice photos of the clouds with a hint of sun using the Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) setting. [Note: It's not a good idea to aim your camera directly at the sun. For the safety of the camera and your own eyes.] AEB on the T3i takes three photos of the same shot, but with different exposures ranging from underexposed, normal, and overexposed. One will be full of detail, but not enough light. Another will have plenty of light/brightness, but not much in the way of detail. Then there is the normal shot in between that is a mixture of both.

Once I had the photos I wanted, I transferred them to my computer and opened up PSP. Without going into full details since there are tutorials for this all over the internet, I opened the photos under HDR, merged them, and played with the different settings until I found an image I liked. I also added a little bit more color to it to make it more painterly... Artsy.

The result is the "Mystical Sky" clouds digital art you see at the beginning of this post. It's probably a bit simple and not what HDR experts would be excited about, but I like it and am planning to get a print of experimental photography art to put on my wall.

My first love is traditional pencil, watercolor and acrylic art, but I also enjoy photography and see it as an add on to my artistic creativity.

- Trace

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Red Haze Painting

Photography Prints

My newest abstract art painting. Acrylic on 16" x 20" gallery wrapped canvas. Textured with colors of yellow, red, orange and brown. The original is also for sale through the Fine Art America link. $150.00

Thursday, February 16, 2012

At the Dock - Prints

Copyright © 2009 Tracey R Gates
Fine art prints are now available for my painting, "At the Dock", at: Tracey R Gates Fine Art (

Fine Art Prints

© 2012 Tracey R Gates
In an artist group that I'm part of I recently asked about printers. Specifically, home printers that can handle heavier paper than photo, such as inkjet canvas, or fine art paper. My reason for this is that I'd like to have more control over prints of my artwork. To make sure that the colors in the print matches to the colors in my original artwork before selling to a client. Not only that, but sometimes I put my art on fabric and add it to some of my sewing designs, but the printer I have now tends to jam.

Before I knew it, my original post turned into a long discussion from fellow artists about whether, or not it is cost worthy to do the printing yourself, or to have someone else do it for you. Not exactly what I was asking. I seem to run into this more than not when I think I have a simple question. So, I'm still on the hunt for the perfect professional printer that will do what I want without breaking the bank.

In the meantime, I've set up some of my art for prints through professional printers. (Thank you, Abril Andrade Griffith).  You'll find art prints, acrylic prints, framed and canvas prints of some of my artwork and nature photos at Tracey R Gates Fine Art  ( Including the bird bath photo above.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Dragon and Chickadee

© 2012 Tracey R Gates

I just finished this fantasy art drawing of a dragon and chickadee. Still haven't thought of a name yet. This is one of a set of drawing/paintings I'm working on. So, look for the painted version to show up sometime soon.

Those who know me, know that I love chickadees. The ones that come to our backyard are just as friendly as they are curious. I couldn't imagine anyone harming the little beauties. Not even a dragon!

Drawing was done with woodless graphite on acid-free recycled sketch paper (with more detail than shows up on the computer).


Monday, January 23, 2012

Magical Moonlight

One of the programs I use for my digital art is Corel Painter. This past December I decided it was time to upgrade from version X to 12. Ok, not so much as decided as had to since my Painter X was destroyed in a flood. I chose the right time since the program was on deep sale.

I can say that so far I'm definitely not disappointed in version 12. 

That's not to say that Painter X was bad. Just look at this painting I created on it in 2008.

Magical Moonlight, © 2008 Tracey R Gates

It was my first attempt at making a digital painting and still one of my favorites. While I've been spending a good deal of time playing with my new granddaughter, I plan to get back to drawing and painting this year.

For Christmas 2011, my wonderful husband bought me a Wacom Intuos4 medium tablet. The drawing space is larger than the one I had on my Intuos3. I also like the texture of the drawing area. It feels more paper like rather than the extremely smooth surface of the Intuos3. Although, I will admit that the nibs seems to disappear a lot faster than those for version 3.

The combination Wacom tablet and Painter program really helps me create digital art as I would with traditional acrylic, brush and airbrush on canvas. There are settings for acrylic, oil, pen, pencil, marker, etc.. The program is set up so that each medium behaves just as it would traditionally. The tablet is set up so that it really does feel like I'm holding the brushes, pens, or other artistic tools. 

I still paint traditionally, but this is great for those times when I don't want to drag out all the supplies and easel. Especially since my craft room looks a bit like a tornado went through at the moment, but, hey, it's getting back to normal. 

Prints of "Magical Moonlight" are available at my artist page through Tracey R Gates artwork at Artist Rising, or at my online shop at PixieLed Originals.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sharing with a Friend

Sharing with a Friend
©  2009 Tracey R Gates
After a hiatus that ended up being much longer than expected, I'm returning to my love of creating art. So, look for more artsy blogs to continue.

I've also decided to enter my art in a few contests. One of which is being hosted by Thalo Magazine  through Facebook. Winner gets their art on the cover of their magazine, $250 cash and $250 in artist supplies.

The entering period is over. Now we're onto the second phase: Public voting. Third phase will be voted on by a panel of judges.

I've entered the painting at the top of this post, entitled, "Sharing with a Friend". It's of a fairy sitting on a mushroom and sharing a sunflower seed with a curious black capped chickadee.
To vote for it go to . You can vote once daily until January 31, 2012.

Thank you to all who vote. And don't forget to check out Thalo Magazine for artist tips, articles, and job listings.