Still Life Images – Time-Tulips Revisited – Thatcheria Textured – Wilted Roses


This image features a vintage (60s or 70s) hourglass 
with some roses which have seen a better day. With the
thought of time running down, the wilted roses seemed
to represent how temporal existence is,their beauty 
almost expired. The old brass bell added an aura of age
 with its pleasant patina. I think one of my military 
relatives brought it home, possibly 
from China or maybe Korea many years ago.

I have a feeling some people are going to be asking, why doesn’t she just get back to the birds and lighthouses!!?? I understand completely. Is it fair to subject other folks to one’s learning process? I think one thing I have learned is that if at all possible, if you want a textured background or a painterly one, set up your stage that way. Then afterwards you can worry about color and lighting and anything else, but won’t agonize over blending in textures in post processing. Well maybe my problem is just being indecisive and I want to see what my options look like. And, to think I was supposed to be content with a simple black background. Ah well!!

So here is some more experimentation to share and I hope that some of it works for you realizing that not everyone likes still life projects. Yeah, I asked my husband if he thought the tulips looks too unnaturally red on my screen, and he wondered why the limp stems?? Tulips do seem to be a bit soft and watery in a way. I understand now why so many tulip images look the way they do, leaning all to one side or drooping with their heads hanging down from the arrangements they share with other flowers. Reds are the most problematic for me since my main computer tends to look oversaturated and then when I convert from Adobe 1998 to sRGB for posting I am not sure the reds will look the way I intended. You’ll have to let me know if the second image with the tulips looks over done. It looks very nice in my Photoshop screen. Hopefully you will have a friendly monitor for the reds. So just a couple notes under each image. The Thatcheria shell I thought looked kind of Grecian with the texture…like a vase.

Comments welcome..the good, the bad and the ugly…!

Revisiting the tulip arrangement from a few weeks
ago. I gave it combination of textures giving a soft, rich
look to the black wall. For those with an impulse
to clean up the table, I have quite a few objects including
the Roemer like wine glass, shells from the PI, acorns 
and little spiky round things from California, and a
favourite piece of my mother's carnival glass. The design
is kind of Persian and probably made by Fenton but 
should look it up. I think they must have copied the
iridescence given the grackle. I love carnival glass.

I think I had planned a black and white shadowy image
when I was looking at this image. But, put texture on
it and thought it reminded me of a Greek vase or something.
Truly an elegant shell.

For this I was trying to be more brazen with the
bi-color filter and jazz up an otherwise plain shot
of the fading flowers. They are not dried just have
nothing left to hold up their heads. I thought blue 
light ought to come in on the window side and have
a little warm light on the room side with some
texture for perhaps an aged quality.

Happy Labor Day and Best Wishes as you wrap up summer even though mother nature isn’t finished with the heat and hurricanes yet. Stay Safe!

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~ by Judy on September 2, 2017.

18 Responses to “Still Life Images – Time-Tulips Revisited – Thatcheria Textured – Wilted Roses”

  1. Well, on my screen those red tulips look a lively red (was that what you intended?). And the inclusion of the bell . . . ‘for whom the bell tolls’ . . . yet again reinforces the transient nature of life (yet the bell-metal remains!). But I know what you mean of various software and various screens doing various things to colour! There are times I sweat on a colour, not knowing how it will reproduce on someone else’s system. I’m guessing it’s not such a problem now I’ve a new laptop, and running Windows 10. I guess. Anyway, look that photo. Though I’m not sure I want to call it a photo. 🙂

    • Thanks for the color input. Yeah, I wanted vibrant as the flowers themselves were but not crazy vibrant. Artistic reality if you will. Interesting that you mention ‘for whom the bell tolls’ as that was in my mind too thinking of the bell in a scene of time slipping away. You know I did a few shots of the hourglass, roses, bell and added in a lizard skeleton which was trapped between the screen and my window glass. I worked hard to retrieve it, but something didn’t quite gel with it, or maybe on a later view I might see it differently. Death and decay.

  2. Judy these are all beautiful, the wilted roses look beautiful.

    • Yeah, sometimes I feel you can’t go wrong with roses. Something about them works whether fresh, wilted or dried up. Maybe that is why the Little Prince loved his rose so.

  3. Judy, the tulips look true to life. I have a 4K monitor that is calibrated, and the image displayed in large size is just glorious. That image of the Thatcheria shell is also perfect.

    • Oh thanks ever so much for that confirmation. My monitor came calibrated but since I haven’t learned how to calibrate, I haven’t confirmed. I have dampened down the brightness and saturation of the monitor but still things can look overly done sometimes. So I am somewhat used to the idea that my screen looks at the edge but on other monitors more subdued. To add to the confusion an image can look wonderful in my Photoshop screen but the same image viewed out of the Photoshop screen but on the same monitor can look different. And even more on WordPress it looks different in the writing a post screen vs what it looks like on my blog as a published item. It is all ok as long as a print would look fine. I shoot and work in Adobe 1998 as that is preferred if you intend to print. sRGB is for web viewing. I am less thrown by all this than I was at first, emotionally anyway realizing I can’t control everything. So this is why your input is so great. I have a feeling you really know your monitors.

      Funny when I was setting up the red tulips and the other red things, I wasn’t as confident as I was with the peonies that the arrangement would work. Next time I will work with the tulips differently since they are so bendy and everything. One thing I like about them is how bright the flowers are against the kind of celery green of the leaves….light with dark. Tulips are such interesting flowers. Well, actually, maybe it is genetic or something. Just remembering that my family history on the Howard side has us as dissenters from the Church of England, migrating to Holland, then the New World. So Dad always said that I was part Spanish (Mom’s side), part English, and spotted Dutch. Always mused over that “spotted” Dutch thing. Ancestry.com here I come.

      • You should look up monitor calibration gadgets like X-Rite, Spider. I use X-Rite, but other brands could be just as good.

      • I have seen some of those products for sale but always looked at it as a technical thing beyond me. But, maybe I should read up on it an give it a go. Perhaps a part of me if used to what I have and afraid to change anything. Will read up on your product suggestions.

  4. Judy,
    Nice work, and interesting commentary. Keep up the good work. Hope to have some still life projects to show soon. Lost most of the week due to an infection, but plan to be in the studio next week.

  5. The single shell is my favorite, but that probably doesn’t surprise you. Looking at the wilted white roses on my monitor, I would tweak the table leaves a bit to the yellow side. As it is, they look rather like artificial leaves that have been added, rather than having fallen from the stem — just because of the color difference.

    I love the hour-glass. As for the tulips, my urge to rearrange is reasserting itself! I’d put both pieces of glass on one side, with the tallest next to the vase, to create a stronger diagonal. Then, I’d have the shells on the other side, arranged so that the pointy thing on that one shell echoed the diagonal on the other side.

    Aren’t I just full of suggestions? I do have to say again that the single shell is an absolute knockout.

    • I have to laugh at the commentary on the wilted roses. I set the bi-color gradient and realized that it was ok but the leaves on the table ought to have more yellow to match the upper leaves and not be so caught in the blue light. Exactly as you say. I actually did yellow it up, just not enough…tried I think to settle for somewhere in between. In fact I almost left that picture out of the post on account of not being perfectly happy.

      I will absolutely confess to a strong tendency to be way too symmetrical with arrangments and even some photographic compositions like birds and lighthouses. It is with great effort I fight that urge and off center things. So you hit the nail on that one too. While I do see other work as centered, I find the off center pieces a bit more interesting. I will look at the specifics of your thoughts more closely and do plan some off center approaches. Even the hourglass was headed that way a little bit.

      Super glad the shell struck home as I was hoping someone might appreciate it. I plan to reshoot that shell with the idea of a big file in a black and white version too. I am a bit addicted to its form.

      I appreciate the input and friendly critique.

    • Don’t you just love that piece of carnival glass though? They come to life in light.

      • They do. My mother had a couple of pieces of very old carnival glass that I love. I believe they were peacock at the fountain. They’d been in the family for years, so she gave them to her sister. I wasn’t entirely pleased at the time, but I’ve gotten over it.

  6. I love these still-lifes you are creating. It is art on separate levels. photography for sure, but also the creativeness of bringing the feel of ‘timelessness’ in the scene. Beautiful work Judy.

    • Thanks ever so much for the encouragement. I suppose that is a predicate element of still life, photographic or painted, a sense of meaning beyond the moment. Yet even, if you composed the elements of a popular fad, something that will change rapidly, then it falls into the realm of a representation of a time, and becomes timeless. The Old Dutch Master’s things I have been looking seem to represent a sense of beauty that has certainly changed. Who dresses tables like that anymore? But, the themes when they mix in nature…the fresh and the wilted….how temporary it all is, it universal I guess. I am pleased that you like the effort so far and that it looks like art. You can never really go wrong with flowers I think. 🙂

  7. Very lovely work, Judy. I think your still lifes are awesome. I really like the low key note, the colours come out great. I have been studying the first photo for a long time, going away, coming back, having a second and third look. Maybe the hour glass is too dominant? Too white? Or too big? This is of course all according to my eyes and I have no connection to this hour glass other than Time, 😉 but I find it fascinating to watch your still lifes as I’m working on an artic one myself at the moment. I’ll have a look at your other still life, this is most inspiring! 🙂
    All the best,
    Dina

  8. Oh thanks for the comment and even more the extra looks. Size and relationship of the elements is important for sure and never thought about the hour glass being too big. I wondered more about the dying flowers and if they’d look ok in the scene. I bought that hourglass off of eBay as I didn’t have one… love sand timers..find them evocative..and wanted something that looked old. Of course in the process fell in love with a number an antique hour glasses I saw…they are so cool and expensive the old ones. Yeah and some of the older ones seemed to have sand in a more beige rougher looking grain…more real somehow. This one from the 1970s probably, has nice white sand but not as ancient looking. This hourglass is about 10 inches in height and goes for about 35 minutes.

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