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Photoshop Fake Flamingo

May 29th, 2014

Photoshop Fake Flamingo

Photoshop has gotten a bad rap...or has it? Use to be you had to say if you saw something with your own two eyes that it would then be considered 'real'.

But not anymore. With all the software tools to edit images with, like Photoshop for example, you no longer can tell what is real and what is fake. This includes all media. Anything can be taken into Photoshop and made different, added to, or taken out.

I was goofing around in Photoshop with an image I'd taken of a flock of plastic, pink flamingo's.

How ironic - it occurs to me that the Flamingo's really represented the false image I was making using Photoshop to create another false image. By false I mean to say, not the original image.

There is a large debate amongst artists that create digital work using Photoshop and other software tools as to whether or not their work is considered 'Art'.

Since I enjoy using these tools to create I like to believe I'm creating Art. The tools are different than the stereotypical ones we have used in the past; however, Digital Art is still created using the hands and the vision in our minds eye. That vision may not always turn out as we started out to think it would, but then neither has many a painting, sculpture, or other forms of traditional Art.

In this Flamingo image I removed the background. I then copied the Flamingo several times and applied different filters to each one. I added a textured background and another layer of a gradient back color. It wasn't meant to be 'Art' but it was fun to play around with and through the process of this kind of experimenting I learn to use the software to achieve a certain look that might be useful when I am purposefully trying to create a Digital Art piece.

What are your thoughts about Digital Art? Fake, real, or not really art?

Past Present Future

February 20th, 2014

Past Present Future

Past Present Future

Everything and everyone has a place in time. My latest ‘Mechanical’ pieces are the result of another experiment with the parts of timepieces.

Where typically I have the camera in my hands, these began as images made on the scanner.

What I found interesting ... (follow the link under the image to continue reading on my personal site)

A Gypsy Heart

February 13th, 2014

A Gypsy Heart

A Gypsy Heart
(condensed version)

I am a Gypsy at heart. There, I’ve said it. That doesn’t probably mean much to anyone except for those that know me, but if you read this you’ll discover what really makes me who I am.

This is the story of how my Gypsy Heart came into being.

My entire life has been about change and the ability to adapt to that change. We moved a lot when I was growing up. When I say a lot, I mean as I attended a different school every year of my school days. My father was in the Navy and we were transferred around the Southern California area quite often. There may have been once where I was at the same school for a year and a half.

It was sometimes difficult because I would just start making some close friends and then it was time to move. That was the down side. The up side was getting to meet new people all the time and experience that adjustment period to everything new, which was good sometimes and of course, bad sometimes. It was constant learning and trying to figure out where I fit into the world.

When I married and began a family of my own, I was thrilled to finally stay in one place. I found such contentment and joy. Roughly ten years later though, we made a big move and I had a familiar feeling - a challenge for me to adapt to a new environment. It was a feeling I liked.

That move was the beginning of many more that seemed to follow my childhood pattern of - move, adapt, move again.

My career has followed that pattern as well. I find when I’m not experiencing change or being challenged by it, I become irritable, frustrated, and look for a reason to ‘move’ on. As I've gotten older I've tried to fight that pattern, mostly unsuccessfully.

The last five years I purposefully put down roots to try to break the pattern that now seems so essential to who I am. Staying in one place for four or five years is pushing me to a breaking point however, and my Gypsy heart tells me it’s time to move.

I’m coming to a realization that I need to accept this as part of who I am and stop trying to fight it. Someone who knows me well stated this so matter of factly that I was surprised I hadn't discovered it myself. It's who I am. Why should I change that?

I truly am a Gypsy at heart.


Fran Riley is an Artist, Photographer, writer, blogger and works in the engineering field.

The Wait of Paitience

January 21st, 2014

The Wait of Paitience

A while back I wrote a short story, (really short as stories go) about the life of a tree, from the point of view of a seed. I know, that sounds ridiculous. The story goes from it's sprouting through it's life experience as a tree. It was a work that spanned a couple of years and I would put it away for months at a time.

Each time I went back to read it I thought it was something I had saved from somebody else's work. It always struck me as good and that I really liked it. Then it would hit me, "oh yeah, I wrote that". It still makes me chuckle when I remember that thought.

Anyway, I finally finished it a year or two ago. I recently read it again and afterwards said, "hey, that's pretty good. I like it!"

Then, I thought, why not submit it to a magazine I sometimes subscribe too. So I have. Now I am left to wait...and wait some more. I submitted once before and they returned the piece fairly quickly. This time seems like it's out there still in the cosmos. I am anxious, wondering, and fearful of the rejection.

I'm always a pessimist so I expect to receive it returned any day now. That's what they do.

Rejection; there’s a word we all hate to feel. That word though is something everyone has felt. Be it a job we wanted, a failed attempt at friendship or closer relationships. Rejection has the biggest affect on us if we allow it to sit on our shoulders like it is a fault of our own.

I must admit, I am a pro at this. As an Artist I get to have this unpleasant feeling many times. Whether it is a story submission, or a work of Art, I always think it's good and everyone should like it as much as I do. Only then I discover (what the hell?) that my perception is way off and pretty much no one feels as I do about my own work. Now that's funny! Because we all think that way, right?

So here I will wait and wonder if my story was too short, or perhaps too long, or too boring, or too far fetched, or maybe the spacing of the words wasn't right. No, I've got it, it was the font.

Was that the mailman? Dare I look to see what ill fate awaits me?

Patience? Wait, I wrote the book on that.


Fran Riley is an Artist, Photographer, writer, blogger (impaitient one) and works in the engineering field.

My Journey Through Technology

December 30th, 2013

My Journey Through Technology

I am moving up into the 'older' population. There are certain things I hate about it, mostly related to an aging body and healthcare. But there are many things I have enjoyed in getting to these 'older' years. One of the most exciting has been the advancement in technology.

I don't claim to be a techno-geek by any means, but I do love the changes that have come about during my life time. I have been working on writing a story that takes place in the early 1970's. I constantly have to watch out for common mistakes like the characters using a cell phone. It seems so natual to write it, but that wasn't the way it was done during that era.
You found a pay phone.

In the early 1980's I got my first computer. I don't recall the cost. It was DOS based and fairly easy to learn the logic once I found magazines that had basic code for amatures. The code would build a small game or text based program. The idea that I could build that with words, numbers and characters was fascinating. Thus began my love with computers.

Soon afterwards came Windows 3.1 and all hell broke loose in the personal computer world. A few would go kicking and screaming into this world, but not me. I embraced it and tried to find uses for it. Not everyone needed this new technology and it's usefulness really wasn't established in business yet.

My excitement flowed over to my kids. They learned coordination skills on the computer using games like pacman, and Spacewars. My pre-school aged daughter learned her ABC's and math. As technology advanced so did the family, upgrading computers, monitors, accessories and of course games.

By late 1990's the entire family found the computer made tasks like homework, budgeting, certain communications, easier, and still, ever advancements of more games. Laptops came on the scene and they renamed them to notebooks for some reason.

I realized that as all this evolved I was enthralled to the point I wanted a career in the field. I started taking a programming class at the local college and quickly found that wasn't going to be my path. It was too brain draining. I wanted something more creative. Over the next few years (late 90's) I decided on a program I'd seen at the Art Insitute of Portland in Multimedia-Web Design. It seemed to be everything I was looking for.

Immersed in technology that provided creativity along with some coding I felt like I was finally on the leading edge of the technology that I'd come to love so much. I excelled in my classes and couldn't get enough. When I graduated during the crashing movement everyone in that field was available for work at the bottom of pay scale. I would be competing against people in the field that had been at the top of their game.

I was working as a purchasing secretary at an engineering firm during my school years. At graduation they offered to teach me Mechanical Drafting - using what else, a computer. The days of drafting on a board were long gone. Since the odds of getting a good paying job in my newly degreed field were nil, I stayed on with them and was taught CAD (computer aided drafting). It kept me involved in the technology I loved so much but not in the creativity that I so need.

Today, I still do CAD but feed my creativity through photography and using digital software like Photoshop. Which brings me to where I'm at technology wise today at the end of 2013.

My current technology: a recent upgrade from my old flip phone to an android, a half defunct kindle, two laptops that just don't suffice for digital work. I just purchased a new desktop monitor, and said, 'Wow!' after connecting it with my laptop. Next will be a new desktop, a Mac I hope. I haven't had a desktop in years.

Games? no games, no time. I have to tweet, email and check my art sites, upgrade, update, create and upload. I'm getting older by the minute and need to think about retirement.

Its been a hell of a journey to get here.

Regrets? That I won't be around to see the next 100 years and where it all goes.

Future Mechanical Fish

December 15th, 2013

Future Mechanical Fish

Having fun with some mechanical part of old watch parts, loaned to me by a very kind jeweler friend, I've created some shapes and had a lot of fun doing so!

It got me to thinking I would like to do more of this but in a more controlled way. Now the question will be where I can get a bunch of parts like this that I can keep and create things with. It's a one time creation, photograph it and then make something from the photo.

The down side to this is that many of the parts are so extremely small that if you spill any you're doomed to be on your hands and knees with a magnet and nose to floor to find them.

Got parts??

Holiday Gifting

November 17th, 2013

Holiday Gifting

When that all too familiar feeling comes over you of, 'what do I get them for Christmas?'
and you want something unique, why not think Art?

All my images purchased through Fine Art America comes with a 30 day money back guarantee.

You'll have a gift that supports the Arts and they'll have a long time memory of a special gift they received.

Use the discount code on anything on my website to get 10% off your purchase now through Christmas in my store. Code: PGJFNS

For the Locals in Helena Montana

October 27th, 2013

For the Locals in Helena Montana

Photographer Fran Riley will feature her images of decaying rust and digital Art works.

Be sure to visit her work in the "Rust-Room" to see some great images of Rust and Decay.

Hosted by CTA Architects Engineers at 316 N. Last Chance Gulch from 5 - 9 p.m., with live music provided by Michael Christian.

This wonderful event brings downtown businesses, local artists, and the Helena community together to experience a variety of art in unique venues.

Come celebrate the arts at the Fall Art Walk!

A Long Search and Life Lessons

September 26th, 2013

A Long Search and Life Lessons

There was a time, not too many years ago, that I became very intrigued with fallen leaves. I walked every day and had the opportunity to see so many different shapes and varieties. I saw that so many of the Maples were of the approximate same size. I suddenly felt challenged to find the largest one and in the process learned a life lesson.

Every time I went for a walk I was searching, often reaching down for what looked like the winner. There never seemed to be any that really surpassed the previously found ones. My expectations grew and then dimmed.

Would I never discover the ‘best’ one or the ‘largest’ one that would exceed what I was finding?

Sure, some would be slightly bigger, but where was the really big one? There just had to be one in the hundreds that had exceeded the norm, one that had somehow grew bigger due to a better growing environment.

The autumn days grew shorter and with most of the leaves already fallen, so had my hopes of success. Maybe next year I said to myself. Then, one morning I over slept and rushed my morning routine to catch the 7:45 bus downtown.

Head down in my rush, just outside my door, there it was. Like a gift and an epiphany at the same time. There sat the largest fallen leaf I had ever seen. I started to pass it by and then stepped back.

It was curled on its edges and it wasn’t a perfect specimen. Did it qualify? Did it meet the expectation I had set? It was battered, and looked to have traveled a long ways. There were no nearby Maple trees. How did it get there? Where could it have come from?

I was going to miss my bus. Was my search over? My mind was reeling with split second thoughts. I picked up the leaf and decided to put it in the bath tub with water, thinking it would unfurl and I could get a better look when I got home from work.

I ran back out to see if the bus had come and it drove up just as I got to the stop. Breathless, I sat down thinking about this event and words were coming into my mind out of nowhere. I decided to write them down. This poem is what became of those words.

Look No More

Outside my door upon my path
A fallen leaf lay at my feet

The largest one I ev’r did see
So grand in size I could not believe
The one I’ve sought had now found me

From whence it came I cannot say,
Upon my path this very day
There are no others, nor limbs to tell
Which way the wind was when it fell

Its spread is wide,
Most aged and strong-
Weathered and red with sun

Strong veins to hold against the winds
No doubt the last one to fall
O, there are none such as this!

O great tree, a gift you have made
A reminder of life and beauty
And all that we seek
There all the time, just at our feet

By Francis Riley

My lesson from this was twofold -

Have faith that what you seek is often right in front of you.
Don’t set your expectations so high that you don’t see the beauty that is deeper than the surface.

Being in the Flow

September 25th, 2013

Being in the Flow

From Wikipedia: Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.
Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi this positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields.
This is a really interesting concept.

I read Mihaly's book 'Flow' when I was attending Art school a while back. The concept is easily identified, or I believe it can be, in your own personal life. Examples of this are when you're totally absorbed in something you're doing (usually an enjoyable experience) and you are so 'into' it that you are oblivious to what is going on around you. The rest of the world ceases to exist while you are in the 'Flow' and your focus is very much in tuned to the activity at hand.

Many artists easily experience the 'Flow'. The image above is how I perceive the brain's function during the time of 'Flow'. I recommend if you find this concept interesting to read Csikszentmihalyi's 'The Psychology of Flow'.


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