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Before and After Challenge, Karen McConnell

June 28, 2009

Karen McConnell

Karen 1


A little practice piece done several years ago with the subject matter being one of my all-time favourite toys, a jack-in-the-box. It was done on very poor quality paper and was an attempt to try out oil pastels. A few small embellishments here and there with a pen. The original was in portrait mode but I later cropped it to a square.

Karen 2


. . . a fairly recent period of manipulation and play in Photoshop starting with that previous image. I can’t begin to remember a step-by-step for this but it’s evolvement was a bit pleasing to my eye. So I ended up printing the thing on canvas which I applied to board and then painted over. The painting did little to make a real change in the imagery, but did add some texture and a more painterly appearance which galleries here seem to prefer. It measures 16 inches square. The title is now ‘A Fluttering of Wings’ – a reminder of some of the birds who manage to brave the cold and stay around here in Ontario throughout the winter.

Visit Karen’s website to see more of her beautiful work.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 28, 2009 12:50 pm

    Karen, I love the ghost of the previous version still showing in the overall composition.

  2. June 28, 2009 1:17 pm

    Oh Martha! I was about to e-mail and tell you to drop mine as it doesn’t begin to measure up to the work of others’ here. All of them so interesting and so beautifully transformed. Since I’m so late…nothing left to say but ‘thank you’. : )

  3. June 28, 2009 6:26 pm

    That is one heck of a transformation! I actually like them both – and a little sorry to see the first one go, it’s sort of sweet and French and childlike. But the “after” is very dynamic indeed! Nice work.

  4. June 29, 2009 7:55 am

    I love that finished version!

  5. sherrill pearson permalink
    June 29, 2009 8:29 am

    Karen!! I looovvved the first one. It is very French and actually reminds me of the woman (French) who lives across the street from me.

    The second is great too. But, I guess the colours and excitement of the first one sways me to the first.

    Sherrill in Montreal, 🙂

  6. June 29, 2009 10:52 am

    Thank you to each of you who have looked and commented.

    The first one is still intact but just lays tucked inside a little folder of ‘what-ifs’. The character and the pointillistic approach are quite similar to things I did back in my beginnings – although they were much more detailed and done with ink combined with coloured pencil (or occasionally coloured inks).

    But something compelled me to abstraction and I do like the overall effect of the later one. I love the work of Franz Kline so I guess it is not surprising that I like major dashes of black and white.

    And. I have gotten hooked on Photoshop Elements and the vast array of effects that can be achieved with it. At the moment though that is a big stretch, and learning curve, since I have had to get an updated version to adapt to my new Vista operating system. Not very fond of THAT! Oh well, hopefully this old dog will be able to learn at least a few new tricks. 😀

    Once again….thanks everyone!

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