Thursday, January 31, 2008


regeneration mandalaRegeneration Mandala - (Circles of Healing) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008
source image - rose bouquet

My friend K is going through chemo right now for breast cancer. The good news is they found the tumor early enough that she wont have to have radiation therapy.
peach rose bouquetK was in both of my Photoshop classes . She is a a sweet giving woman and was part of a quartet she named the Marvelous Photoshop Mavens. After our first semester was over, we got together once a month to practice our Photoshop skills.

When I spotted this photograph I took of a rose bouquet, I was reminded of K's gentle and loving nature. Roses are a symbol of deep spiritual healing and this color just oozes health.

This is for you, my friend. I know that you look forward to exploring life in its richness in the months to come. Here's to things being just peachy!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Last Friday I was honored as the Featured Site on Chris O'Byrne's Online Arts Marketing blog. The recognition was quite a rush for me, and Im grateful for a day in the spotlight. Yee-gads, Im speechless. If you are looking for additional information and insight on how to market your art online, you might want to take a peek at Chris's site. It was especially gratifying to discover he had been a fan of my art for quite some time, and it makes me aware how much art I look at online without saying anything to the artist about how I feel.
Many of you know that I have been involved in an Artists in Business group through the local SBDC where I live. It's been a good experience for me on many levels, and in other ways I wish I could do it again. But the time I spent will lay a good foundation for me to build on. Recently a member from the group, Connie Rose of Constance Rose Designs, began writing about her art and I've learned more about her art in the short time she's been online than I have the whole time I've been in the group. It says something about the power and immediacy of this medium.

topaz bamboo yarnConstance Rose topaz bamboo yarn

Connie spins her own fibers and weaves the most exquisite scarves I think I have ever seen. She writes a lot about her process with photos to back it up, which I found fascinating, since this is an art form I know nothing about. Education is a great thing. Please go over and welcome Connie to the blogosphere. Glad to have you here, fellow artist. It looks like you've made yourself right to home.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


It started with a cloudscape shot in the afternoon before an imminent storm (which started on Friday and is still going on)
John Mora gave me a little color to work with

I like the five ray configuration. tweaked it with curves to bring back the blue
House of Clouds Mandala - (Circles of Wonder series) - O'Kieffe/Mora collaboration 2008

since sunflowers have been showing up here and there and there, i thought i would add one too
Sunflower Fire - (Circles of Wonder series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008

and found the right blending modes to create this firey orb!House on Fire Mandala - (Circles of Wonder series) - O'Kieffe/Mora collaboration 2008!

Friday, January 25, 2008


I hope you will take the time to watch this video of a workshop for seniors with altzheimers and other time/space reality distortions learning to create mandalas. The power of the form is in all of us with a blessed potential to heal the spirit.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Ever since I began making digital art I have wanted to collaborate with another digital artist and my wish came true this past week. If you have never seen John Mora's most intriguing art which I am still not sure how he creates (and leaves me tilting my head this way and that when I look at it), I hope you will skee.daddle on over and be awed for yourself. Anyway, John has said feel free to borrow and so I did. I was really attracted to the colors of this image

just add fringeJust Add Fringe (Mora/O'Kieffe) - it sorta reminded me of a scarf or a shawl sans adornment around the edges

rolling deesRolling Dees - (Mora/O'Kieffe) - linear/nonlinear, some kind of wild hubcap or manhole cover.

moraMora +
juniperJuniper =

juniper moraJuniper Mora (O'Kieffe/Mora) - two worlds joined via blending modes. Synergy exalted!

Anyone else want to mon.key around?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Recently Karen Park of artandtea surprised me by honoring me with this very special award.

You Make My Day.

What a nice thing to say to anybody. The question is, how often do we do it?
A special kindness , a smile, a laugh, an unexpected compliment, a hug...all these gestures come and go. Do we tell those who add an extra lightness the joy it brought? I do not mean to be preachy here. It's just, well, I hope you do. We need to let those people know, even if it is just a passing acquaintance in a line at the store, the extra ease they bring to us, if and when they do. Light and love gets passed this way. Moments of the day are brighter for everyone involved.

So here are the rules: “Give the award to up to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel so happy about blogland! Beware! You may get the award several times!” Karen's blog is warm and inviting as a cup of tea on a cold Saturday morning. If you read her regularly, in fact, you will learn a heap about loose tea, its history and how to prepare it. Not only that, she is an exquisite beader -- embroidering, polymering and stringing baubles and dangles in delicious and inviting ways. As a former beader in all those forms, I admire her dedication and am inspired to make myself some new jewelry soon. I have five boxes of beads from that lifetime Im glad I never got rid of now! Karen, You Make My Day!

Blogland connects us to others by one click of a link. Leah Piken Kolidas connects us with her dedication to the creative act, by encouraging us to rethink how we view our creativity. Her blog came into my life at a time when I was feeling bored and discouraged with my art and in need of a big infusion. If you haven't done so already, join in her low impact challenge to be Creative Every Day this 2008. Leah, You Make My Day!

Fellow transplanted Midwesterner to California Kris Cahill shares my passion for the color red. Her abstract paintings are like the images I see when I close my eyes. Today when I clicked on her link to get her address, I found her sharing information about a wholesale greeting card company that might just spur me on to another level. Kris, You Make My Day!

I love watching Debi Cates hone her photographic skills by getting her readers involved in the process. I appreciate her requests for feedback and reading her readers' responses. Debi inspires me to be a better photographer. Debi, You Make My Day!

Im so glad that Sybil Archibald of Art of the Spirit writes about art and spirituality. She explores the intellectual process of her spiritual world in a way I admire and appreciate. There is often something she expresses that I have felt or experienced but never been able to articulate. I am an emoter and she is not. For all the times she has filled in those thought processes for me, I am grateful. Sybil, You Make My Day!

I enjoy multi generational bloggers too. Bobbie is Debi's mother, recently retired, and absolutely taking off with her new found skills in Photoshop. As her sort of self appointed teacher, I am proud beyond words on a regular basis. I know teachers aren't supposed to have favorites, but....
Bobbie, You Make My Day!

Diane Clancy was one of the first blogging artists to find me here on Blogger when I was still a fledgling and needing support. We became fast friends. It has been a pleasure for me to watch her taking giant leaps in exploring online marketing. For all the times you have been there when I needed you, Diane, I want you to know You Make My Day!

I love to be challenged by new perspectives and delighted by the innovative. John Mora's abstract renderings fits that bill for me, and now that I've discovered him I look forward every day to see what new fresh rendering he has offered the blog world. Besides that he has a dry, understated sense of humor that catches me every time. Learn how to type like a mon.key!
John, You Make My Day!

I grew up in Minnesota, so discovering artist Deb Kirkeeide of Painting du Jour was a special treat for me. I like her paintings of those scenes that bring back memories of my childhood, but I think she shines in her portraiture of animals. Deb, You Make My Day!

For my final recognition I want to thank all of you who come by here, read but never post a comment. Quietly, you make my day.

Saturday, January 19, 2008



which colors should i choose?
first i created a basic mandala with one filter only (guess which one?) using the source image above --- - then created a pattern - (see this tutorial on pattern making) -

and then a patterned painting (using pattern stamp tool) --

from that i birthed two mandalas
this second image uses pattern overlay (see last sunday's photoshop tutorial)

then, another patterned painting
and a third image (using rainbow gradient radial adjustment layer)
boy, that was fun! isn't it amazing what you can do with a box of crayons!?

Crayola Mandalas - (Circles of Wonder) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008
source image - photograph of crayons

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


bouquet mandalaBouquet Mandala - (Circles of Wonder series) - © Sue O'Kieffe

I thank you god for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the
blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes
~e e cummings

Even though I live on the North Coast of California where flowers are just beginning to bloom now in mid-January, finding something new to photograph is a challenge this time of year. My eyes are hungry for something different, and so on Sunday I wandered into the local high end grocery store with my camera. It has a pretty nice floral department besides deli counter, juice bar, bakery and delicious organic produce. Once I wander inside anywhere with my camera, I must admit I feel a bit self conscious or wonder when Im going to be thrown out on my ear; but no one really cared when the flash went off amidst the orchids and so I relaxed a bit. I've wondered for a while if I could use a bouquet for a source image. I loved the colors of the flowers in this collection. But even more, they contained the feel of moon and mystery I was looking for to begin with.

I have had different people comment to me about the magic of digital art. I agree so much. The math of it which creates these functions which mimics the processes of film development never ceases to amaze me. I don't want to know how it works. I'd much rather marvel at the magic.

Does knowing how something works make it more or less amazing for you?

Sunday, January 13, 2008


One handy dandy little function of Photoshop I enjoy playing with from time to time is creating my own patterns. It is a technique I used on the background for this mandala that I showed earlier in January as part of my Holiday Mandala series.

step 1I liked the finished image above but thought the background was kind of boring, so I wondered what a pattern isolated as a selection from the mandala would look like. I am a big fan of texture in my work, and making patterns is another way to create it. This is how:
  • Using the rectangular marquee tool, make a selection in some part of the image you want to use for your pattern. I selected the center square portion of this mandala for my pattern.
  • Go to Edit>Define pattern and click enter
  • Name the pattern
  • Double click on background layer to access Layer Styles. Click on Pattern Overlay.
step 2
  • Click on the pattern window and choose the pattern you just created.
  • Adjust scale slider until you find the size of the pattern you like. Adjust blending mode and opacity levels.

step 3For this image I moved the scale slider to 420% so that the pattern was almost obliterated. I also placed a clipping mask adjustment layer (photo filter>green) above the background layer to mute the color of the background.

I have used this technique in Photoshop versions CS-CS3. Steps may vary with earlier versions of Photoshop, but Im sure the technique is available in earlier renditions. Have fun playing with this little trick and be sure to let me know if you have any questions.

Happy Photoshopping!

© Sue O'Kieffe 2007

Saturday, January 12, 2008


orange ade

Orange Ade

pen and ink, crayons
© Sue O'Kieffe 2008

Anyone visiting my blog for the first time might well wonder what this meandering doodle has to do with mandala making.
Every Saturday I take a break from my regularly scheduled programming and offer up my version of sacred silliness. I began these doodles in November to ward off some boredom I'd been feeling and to get a break from the computer. For the past two months I've tried to doodle every night before I go to sleep. Sometimes these scribbles are done rather quickly and others take longer to complete. This meandering was a week long project.

Orange is such a delicious color. I want to squeeze and savor it and wipe the juice right off my chin. One time, visiting Florida, I ate tangerines as big as grapefruits and a million times as sweet. Twenty five years later, the memory of such succulence remains vivid and delectable.

Are there colors you just can't get enough of? Are they related to events in your life? Do you think that color heals?

All of the doodles I post in 2008 are going to the Creative Every Day group folder as well as to sue's doodles, both on flickr. Fun stuff. I am honored to be playing with and contributing to this amazing group of artists. C'mon by.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


This is my entry for MaraZine's Photoshop Riff and also my second posting for my personal challenge to be Creative Every Day (believe me, there's lots of stuff going on behind the scenes with that one. Sometimes just getting up in the morning feels like a creative act to me!)

border="0" glass apple + rhodendron

apply image (rhodie to apple)>overlay blending mode>apply image again (of rhodie to what is now apple/rhodie image)>overlay blending mode. i might have used hue/saturation adj layer. cant remember cuz at some point i merged all visible layers and this is what remained. but i wanted to play with more color. so...
glass apple flower 1...duplicate layer> difference clouds filter (pin light blending mode) > duplicate bottom layer move to top of layer stack >luminosity blending mode .......

glass apple flower 2......then finally on to a happy accident

apply one pass sharpening action script* to bottom layer> move new layer to top of layer stack>duplicate bottom layer>apply photocopy filter using burgundy foreground color>keep blending mode set at normal>hue/saturation adjustment layer H-37/S+43>et voila!

apple glass rhodie 3layer palette
*I was given the action scripts for sharpening I refer to above. I believe they only work on Photoshop CS-CS3. They were created by Glenn Mitchell. Once upon a time he had a beta version online of the book he was writing and is now selling. Im not primarily a photographer, though Im always trying to improve my skills. I would definitely recommend a look-see at his website The Light's Right Studio.

I posted the layer palette for the final image in case there are other geeks out there besides me who grooves on these kinds of things.

3 Apples © Sue O'Kieffe 2008

Monday, January 07, 2008


This video is about 10 minutes long but worth the viewing. I like Charles Gilchrist's energy and it's easy to believe he has a passion for his art and his mission. I missed out on loving geometry when I was in high school.

I love what he says about sacred geometry satisfying the left brain and the right brain simultaneously.

Im curious, for those of you who read my blog and create in this circular form, what is it about making mandalas that you appeals to you? And for those of you who don't, what appeals in the viewing?

Sunday, January 06, 2008


applied wonderApplied Wonder Mandala - (Circles of Wonder series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008

Today is the 12th day of Solstice. Traditionally it was a time of celebration. The Light was returning, people played games, feasted, and said farewell to the darkness. Today is also Epiphany, a Christian feast to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the shining forth of God in human form. As a feeling, epiphanies represent a sudden realization or comprehension of the essence or meaning of something. (fromWikipedia here and here).

And so I bid adieu to this season of light and greet the beginning of a new season with a new mandala series, Circles of Wonder. I have stated my intent for 2008 as one having more fun and exploration and have joined in Leah Piken's low impact challenge to Create Every Day in 2008. If you aren't familiar with her blog and inspirational encouragement, be sure to mosey over her way. This is my first posting about this year long goal. I hope to create from a place of wonder and curiosity, and have a bit of fun in the process.

I must admit that I have been feeling a little bored because I have grooved out a comfortable rut in my creating. After reading Debi Cates' enthusiasm over Photoshop's apply image command, I got to wondering and the image above is what shined forth for me. Now that I have a little understanding of this function, I will dissect it in a future Photoshop tutorial, which I hope to continue on a bi-weekly basis.

And in case you were wondering, here are the source images for the mandala.


marsh mosaic merged

marsh mosaic merged

So below is the holiday series in slowslide form. I look forward to the continued sharing of our artisitic visions with each other in the year to come. May you all find delight in your many and varied personal epiphanies. Here's to wonder!

Saturday, January 05, 2008



pen and ink, neocolor2 and crayola crayons
© Sue O'Kieffe 2008

It is your responsibility to share your gifts with the world. Creativity is holy. ~Matthew Fox

Say hello to my first doodle and first creation of 2008 on this, the first Sacred Silly Saturday of the year. I ushered in the New Year with one humdinger of a cold, which left me feeling anything but creative, yet filled with lots of wonder. I think that's a good sign.

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.~ Rainer Maria Rilke

When the New Year comes around I prefer to think more in terms of intent than I do in resolve. At the end of 2006 I stated my intention as being open to what it took to become a self-sustaining artist. At the end of 2007, I find myself back in the work force full time. Not exactly what I expected a year ago, but it is a decision that feels right and good to me. I've never been a big fan of the concept of the starving artist. The question it raises for me, though, as Im sure it must for lots of other artists, is how does this fit in with those dreams of mine, of being an Artist in Business for Herself? How do I manage my time effectively and still have fun?

And right now I just don't know. I do suspect,though, that like much of life, it won't end up looking like what I thought ... or hoped .... it would.

Would any of you care to share your experience or insights with me?

Thursday, January 03, 2008


we are all connected mandalaWe Are All Connected - (Healing in Circles series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2007
source image: fireweed fluff

Before I share my intents and dreams for 2008 with you all, I thought I would take one last look at the year that's just ended.

The image above was my favorite of all the mandalas I created in 2007. I submitted it to the Gallery 25 art show in Fresno, CA. (I do wish they would post something
about this year's show, darn it.) More than that, though, it reflects for me how we and first fireweedall that dwell above and below and on the earth are all connected. What better choice than to make a mandala where the source image was a plant gone to seed? The cycle, the circle, has turned once more. It is done, complete, we are all connected!fireweed dancing

fireweed fluff

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


japanese winterJapanese Winter - (Sacred Circle series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2007

I created this mandala sometime last fall when I was designing my holiday cards. The image didn't make the cut because it felt too much like some time in nature after winter solstice. On the North Coast of California ornamental cherry trees begin to bloom sometime in January, and the feelings that come up for me when I spot the first blooms are ones of wonder and awe. On Christmas Day I toured my neighborhood; the cherry trees have lots of buds. This image, I think, was created from a photograph of camelias. It's been so long I don't remember, and now I realize I need to create a better way of cataloging my work.

So what I am offering here are those feelings of hope as a gift for the New Year. I was going to write about my own intentions for 2008; but as we all know, life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. My hopes for the New Year's weekend had been to party with my tribe, create art, get out with my camera, say YES to life. What I did instead was sleep, sneeze, sniffle, cough, sleep, get up, nap, sleep. You get the idea.

I promised 12 mandalas for the holiday season and I will post the last one on Friday, which is 12th Night. Epiphany. The end of the season. Take down the tree and put away the decorations day. Epiphany. Im ready.

How about you?

Happy New Year. Im grateful to everyone I've met here in the past 11 months, for all you have offered of your lives, your art, your creativity. Have you chosen an adjective yet that embraces your intent for 2008?

Do tell.