On Wednesday 27 January Andrea Hargreaves MPAGB EPHIAP/b BPE3 PSA4 revisited LBPC, Zooming in from North Yorkshire, to deliver the second part of her presentation “The Art of Metamorphosis”. Andrea describes herself as a “competition photographer” and “digital artist”. Her presentation guided us through her workflow for developing the fabulously inspired images she enters in National and International salons and competitions. She demonstrated again how truly creative “art composites” can be produced from a collection of photographs through skilful post-processing. And this time she used images from her more recent “Valkyrie”, “Morrigan”, “Goddesses”, “Wind Singers” and other series as examples.

More of Andrea’s work, including her MPAGB, DPAGB, and CPAGB panels and some wildlife photography, can be found on her website at https://www.andreahargreaves.art/

Andrea began with the “Valkyrie”.  She described how she had sent an image entitled “Fallen Angel” to her photo lab for printing and when the print came back the title had been crossed out and replaced with “Valkyrie”.  This led her to research Valkyrie and was the beginning of that series of images as she decided to “make one up”.

Starting with a background, Andrea began to “throw some stuff together” to create what became “Freyja, First of the Valkyrie”.  She first added a figure to the background then, as she “built the story”, added wings, jewellery, weapons and accessories, and reflections before finishing off with some colouring and toning and then cropping.

All this work involved some element of experimentation.  She tries lots of things – trial and error – to see what works best.  And for every successful image, there are plenty that do not make the cut.  She keeps careful notes of her procedures so that she can follow them again in subsequent images.  She also “monochromes” every image.  Her current favourite conversion method is to use “Channels” in Photoshop.

Andrea then showed us how a variety of other images had followed on from “Freyja, First of the Valkyrie” to create the “Valkyrie” series.  Similarly, Andrea created first “Morghanna” and then other images to create the “Morrigan” series.  Likewise, “Skehemet the Sun Goddess” was the starting point for the “Goddesses” series and “Dragon Huntress” the starting point for the “Wind Singers” series.

She is already working on more series.  Some new Pinnacle fine art photo papers from Paper Spectrum have inspired her to create a new ethereal realm suitable for the new papers!

While creating these art composites is Andrea’s hobby, she is of course a very keen photographer.  She loves taking photographs and she takes them all over the place, wherever she goes.  So she does have “normal photos”.

But when she gets a new idea, she can use whatever she already has to start creating the new image.  And then she goes out and takes any other photos she needs.  All Andrea’s artworks are composed entirely from photographs she has taken herself, including all textures and overlays.

It takes great ingenuity and skill to produces such original images of mythical beings and whimsical dreams.  Andrea’s step-by-step demonstrations showed just how such flights of fantasy can be artistically depicted through the medium of photography.

Andrea is an engaging speaker and this presentation was generously illustrated with plenty of examples as she explained how she builds up her creations.  Her images again amply demonstrated that photography is not necessarily just about what you photograph, it’s about what you create.

Jane’s first demo was a dancer being given the Degas treatment.  By adding textures with some masking, adjusting the Blend Mode and Opacity, and then applying some motion blur and the “Rough Pastels” Artistic filter, Jane turned a photograph into a “Degas”.  (Note:  Artistic filters are available in the Filter Gallery, but only if the image is in “8 Bits/Channel” mode.)

Similarly, Jane then transformed a horse photograph into a “Stubbs” using textures with some masking and adjusting the Blend Mode and Opacity.

All before our very eyes!

This was another excellent Zoom presentation from Jane.  The information and explanations of the first half, with plenty of Jane’s gorgeous fine art images by way of illustration, led perfectly into the practicality of the second half.  Jane is a fluent and entertaining presenter and this talk was helpfully instructive and most enjoyable.