My Collaborative Valentine

Sky Water Land Oval © 2014This begins with technique, exploring one of my favorite photos, so kindly lent to me by Tom Burnett, he of the serious knack for taking a good-looking picture. This one was set as my desktop background when I got inspired to try some transformations, then had the urge to show the steps behind the art. They’re complicated and subtle and I’m taking a chance on whether you can see all the shifts on whatever device you may be viewing from. But I’ve decided it’s worth that hazard.

My favorite part of the original photo is the yellow-green line of plant life blooming between the ocean and the sand. Throughout the changes, one of my goals was to bring attention to that line. I also thought about making the figure more or less prominent, sometimes she pops, sometimes she fades.

The basic recipe: Take one photo, with good color, composition, and subject. Invert. Consider a new angle (flip horizontal). Change hue. Adjust color balance in shadows, midtones, and highlights, respectively. Increase saturation. Try a new hue. Increase brightness and reduce contrast. Invert again. Darken, saturate. Give each image a name, pop them all into a slideshow, sit back and enjoy!

Meanwhile, in the offscreen world, the cleanup campaign (see “Ping Pong Mood”) has extended to emptying all of my file cabinets. It’s even more daunting than the surface renovations, but one delightful thing about digging deep is unexpected discovery—in this case a faded-green-covered, spiral-bound notebook that I hadn’t seen in years. On the last page, there’s a poem from April 13, 1998, “Travelling Home from Easter,” by c. r. sand and Tom Burnett, the two of us writing one line (or so) after the other. Here it is, and Happy Valentines, y’all!

tripping through the back pages
spiraling toward the spirit of the flight
caught by a momentary snag in the fabric
time wiggles its little finger in my direction

your hands capture glinting headlights
your feet pitter into a pattern of night
the night takes you into what you don’t know you know
the little finger directs you to a different spot, a different motion

and it is always at these moments you
sail a single whispered kiss into my ear

if you look out this window
you will find a friend in the clouds

Cat at Barnstable Beach Photo by Tom Burnett © 2014 The Inversion at Barnstable Beach © Catherine Rutgers 2014 A New Color Leads to a New DIrection © Catherine Rutgers 2014 And Then We Mess with The Hue © Catherine Rutgers 2014 Balancing Shadows Midtones and Highlights © Catherine Rutgers 2014 The Saturation Can Always Be Adjusted © Catherine Rutgers 2014 Ever More Hues to Explore © Catherine Rutgers 2014 Let Us Try a Lighter Touch © Catherine Rutgers 2014 Transposing the Inversion © Catherine Rutgers 2014 One More Step into Deepening and Happy with the Results © Catherine Rutgers 2014

Original photo by Tom Burnett © 2014
Transitions and text by Catherine Rutgers © 2014

About CatRutgers4Art

Original art by Catherine Rutgers, with musings on the media and the methods. Founded in 2010. “I believe in magic moments. Am not afraid to be sentimental, and adore a tweaked cliché. Two of my favorite pastimes are watching paint dry and observing green tendrils unfold.”
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7 Responses to My Collaborative Valentine

  1. Tom Burnett says:

    oh yeah…happy Valentines day!

  2. Martha says:


  3. Many thanks for the likes, Leanne Cole, Otto von Münchow, BJ, and Sawa Minori!!!! Great to see artists, photographers, and poets stopping by. Hope you’re all enjoying a wonderful Valentines, a fabulous Friday, and a lovely Full Moon!

  4. Karen Deschere says:

    Lovely, dear one!

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