50mm Lens, Animals, Canon 50D, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Project on the Threshold

For the project that I am currently working on, which is a tribute to Georgia O’Keeffe’s Cow’s Skull with Calico Roses, I have gotten to the stage where I am putting elements together.  I already have a cow skull and a tree blossom.  Here they are together:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

Since I had already stripped the tree blossom from its background, this step was fairly easy.  I opened it in Photoshop, moved it on to the cow skull as a seperate layer and transformed it to make it smaller.

Because the original painting has a background element, I wanted to add one to my version as well:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

This was actually a bit harder than adding the flower because I wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to handle it.  In the version you see above I did the following.  I took a picture of the tree bark.  I edited it using the Oil Paint Filter.  Then I outlined a section of it and created a pattern.  I then created a layer, filled with the pattern, under the skull layer.  From there I put a mask on the skull layer, and using a bristle brush, painted in where I wanted the bark to show.  Here is a small screen shot of what my layers panel looks like:

The layers panel for this project.

The layers panel for this project.

So, this is the version that is going to be turned in as a draft for critique in my Photoshop class.  This is a project on the threshold, about to be evaluated for the first time. What do you think? Do you like the elements as they are? What changes would you make?  Feel free to comment below.



40 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Project on the Threshold

  1. oh my goodness – I am so excited about this project – 🙂 and I have no suggestions or feedback at this time – just soaking up the start of it all (and perfect for “threshold” too by the way)


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  3. You’ve done a fine job with the project. I wonder if you moved it slightly to the left that the flower would get just a bit more attention. It really depends on your interpretation of the original and how you want to present it. Each element is powerful on its own. I noticed the lines on the fabric that run diagonal on the image. Do you mean to have it as another element? Or is it in the fabric? Overall very successful.


    • Thanks for your thoughtful critique. I hadn’t considered moving the flower, but when I work on the image today I will take a look at that. When I first brought the flower into the image, I had already looked at the skull and thought the flower would go there. My current working copy has some changes in color and texture, to hopefully more closely represent the painting. Having said that though, the fabric did have the lines that you see in it and I chose to shoot it that way even though it is different than the painting. As I was arranging the fabric and skull that was the way that looked best to me. Once I got it into Photoshop I decided against changing it.


  4. poppytump says:

    Lots of good information Amy and I’m finding it really enjoyable seeing your project coming together 🙂
    Fascinating !


    • Thank you for picking up on that element of this photo. I feel like Georgia O’Keeffe did this purposely in her paintings that included skulls. To me, she included a life element, in this case the flowers, and a death element, the skull. I think they are beautifully blended together to represent the reality of life and death for everyone. Since this is a truth for everyone, why should we panic about it, instead face it with serenity, which is what this painting says to me. Maybe this is not what she meant at all when she painted it, but that is what it means to me.


      • well I cannot recall off the top of my head, but there are a few interviews where she shared a few different comments about why she chose to use bones in her work – if I come across any of them later this month I will share them – but I vaguely recall even seeing something recently about her holding up a skull to see it through sunlight and she said something quotable – and well, its seems like you Amy are the doing digitally what she did on her walks through the southwest.
        so you are the digital o’keeffe – ha!

        anyhow, deep bow of respect for what you wrote:
        “beautifully blended together to represent the reality of life and death for everyone. Since this is a truth for everyone, why should we panic about it, instead face it with serenity….”


      • I have a lot of catching up to do if I am to be the digital O’Keeffe. I just really like her work. This particular piece I have actually seen in person, which is one of the reasons that I picked it. I’m glad you liked my interpretation of her work, and any interviews you want to share here would be great 🙂


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  6. I once wrote a poem that was a response to (or tribute to) a famous poem. It is a bit daunting, because you want your work to be original and not copy the artist. Personally, I really like your project so far. I like that your background line is diagonal and it has a very nice texture. I really like your flower (maybe more than the roses). So far, it is beautiful.

    I like Georgia O’Keefe. I think your photo is a great tribute to her work.


    • Thank you, I have found this project to be a be challenging, how to have my own take but stay true to the vision of the original. I’m a bit behind in blogging, but I have two more versions, so my next post will probably be about this.


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