• Design, Giving Back

    Posted on February 7th, 2010

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    Design for Haiti

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    Help Repair Haiti

    Poster uploaded to the Design for Haiti website

    I designed this poster for the Design for Haiti website, which was created by Aaron Perry-Zucker, who also created the Design for Obama website, in which I also participated. Click here to see my entry on the website and rate it.

    My poster, shows the red and blue colors of the Haitian flag and the word “Haiti” with a vertical rift being sewn together with a needle and thread. The message: repair Haiti!

    The purpose of this website is for designers to use their creativity to help call for advocacy and understanding in light of the devastation and upheaval created by the recent earthquake.

    In general, human services around the world are in great need of more people with case management certification, to aid those suffering.

  • In Memory of Christine

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    Photomontage of Christine Stoddart

    Taken Too Young.

    I lost a friend this week. She had Lupus but in the end, it was a blood disease (unrelated to her Lupus) that took her life. She was 47.

    Christine Stoddart was (I can’t get used to using past tense) one of the strongest, most generous, caring people that I know. She lived her life large. She was fearless. I think she had no regrets. She always said that she knew she would die young and wanted to get the most out of every day. And she did. She was a great skier and an incredible golfer. She was always the first person to buy a round of drinks. She had an incredible smile and the most beautiful blue eyes. Her favorite color was blue. She loved her family. She loved her friends.

    In June of 2008 she married her husband Glen who she met on a ski trip to Jackson Hole. I was lucky enough to attend and photograph their wedding in Yellowstone Park. She moved to Vail, CO where Glen lived to start their life together.

    When I last spoke to Christine, about 3 or 4  weeks ago, she sounded happy. She and Glen had moved into a new home, she had a job that she liked and lived in a place that she loved. The only things missing were the friends and family she left behind in New York. But living in a ski town, she knew that the distance wouldn’t prevent her from seeing her friends. She had opened her home to her friends in the past and was already planning how we’d all come out to visit to ski with her in March.

    She was a good friend who brought light and humor into the lives of those she touched. I will miss her dearly. The world will be a bit dimmer without her.

    Keeping her Memory Alive

    Christine was an incredible athlete stemming back to high school, where she was awarded the Gold Key Award in her senior year. This prestigious NYSPHASS Award is presented to athletes who have at the end of their high school careers, participated in intramurals, varsity and junior varsity sports and demonstrate leadership skills.

    Her family has established an organization, the Friends of Christine Stoddart, to keep her memory alive. The organization will raise money to establish a scholarship fund, and help refurbish the girls’ team locker room at her former high school, Earl L. Vandermeulen High School in Port Jefferson, NY. Donations can be sent to:

    Friends of Christine Stoddart
    c/o Susan R. Mickel, Chase Bank, 120 Main Street, Port Jefferson, NY 11777

  • If it’s in a photograph, is it really there?

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    Red Tree in Central Park

    Red Tree super-imposed over the Central Park West cityscape

    Did you ever wish you could make up your own landscape? Painters do it all the time. They might take some mountains from one place and a lake from somewhere else and paint them together to create their own Shangri-La. I used to paint — back when computers were practically non-existent and I was a budding artist at the High School of Music & Art in NYC in the early 70’s.  I painted landscapes in oil on canvas. I was ok, but not destined for greatness as a fine artist so I traded in my paint brushes for a career in graphic design. It’s a way to earn a living, while still being creative, but sometimes I still get the itch to create just for myself.

    Now with a digital camera and Adobe PhotoShop CS4, I can once again use my imagination to create new landscapes (and seascapes for that matter) right on my computer. I can add my own touch to nature!

    How do I do this? I use the layers palette  in PhotoShop CS4 to combine the two photographs that were used to make up the finished image above. Each photo gets its own layer. The photo with the red tree is on the base layer and the buildings on Central Park West are on a layer above. I then add a layer mask to “reveal all” to the buildings layer. Now, making sure that I have the layer mask selected on the layers palette, I use the paintbrush to brush away the parts of the buildings photo that I don’t want. I adjust the opacity of that layer to give the photo a more distant look and making the red tree layer pop more. By using layer masks instead of the eraser tool to get rid of unwanted parts of an image,  my original images are untouched so that if I need to go back and add parts back in I can. When I get the composition the way I want it, and after I have saved the PSD file, I then flatten the final image and save as a tiff, a png or jpg file and I am done.

    The above image is available for purchase at my Dive Art & More gallery

    Below are the two original images that I used:

    Red Tree in Central Park- original photograph

    Photograph of a red-leafed tree in autumn

    Buildings along Central Park West

    Central Park West with the Central Park Lake in the foreground

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