An Irish Blessing.

“May you have warm words on a cold evening, 
a full moon on a dark night and the road downhill all the way to your door.”
This Irish Blessing is a day late for St Patrick’s Day, no matter as the Irish say "when God made time he made plenty of it" so please forgive my late entry.

I have been experimenting with making masks in Photoshop, like all newly acquired techniques it is easy to become slightly carried away..
This is a computer-aided image, which started life as a watercolour painting. I wanted the look of a Japanese wood block so I layered some previously hand painted textures and patterns together with a bonsai tree (photographed with an added stamp filter). I then applied a wood effect mask and added a decorative border. At least that is the way I remember the process; I suppose I should call it mixed media!

I have always loved Japanese wood block prints, especially the subtle gradations in colour. When we went to the recent Van Gogh exhibition at the Royal Academy we saw how much of an impact Japanese prints had on artists at the time. This influence could be clearly seen in the many reed and pen drawings, which had been assembled for the exhibition. I don't have an image from that particular exhibition but this drawing "Tree with Ivy in the Asylum Garden" 
1889 ; Pencil, chalk, reed pen, and brown ink on Ingres paper, Rijksmuseum Vincent Van Gogh, Amsterdam is typical of the many very decorative drawings that Van Gogh made in his short and troubled life. It seems extraordinary that an artist so prone to misery and despair could leave such a legacy of joyous artwork.


  1. You have a way with Photoshop! Your art looks beautiful.

    Happy St. Patrick's Day too!

  2. valerie that's so cool. it really works and more importantly it's a nice piece of art! it's so good to never stop playing. steven

  3. Lovely effects with the bonsai tree design.
    There was a most wonderful Van Gogh exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in (I think!) 1966. Was terribly impressed at the time with the Japanese print influences.
    Lucky you to see the recent show.
    I wonder if it will still be on in May?
    I rather miss my youth as an art and art history student!
    I have failed to master photo shop
    but have a thing called Picnik.com which is rather fun.

  4. What a lovely Irish blessing. Hadn't heard that one before. Good job with the Photoshop play! Terrific result. I need to sharpen my skills with that application. "Perseverance furthers" is probably the name of that little game!

  5. What a lovely blessing and what beautiful work!

  6. Wow there is such ovement and rhythm in that drawing isn't there. I have just sent off for "Photoshop for Dummies" because although I had the program for Christmas I'm blowed if I can do much with it which isn't a fluke!!! I love your picture.

  7. My first thought on seeing your illustration, was that it had a Japanese 'look' - it's very pleasing.

    Also Val, your comment about Van Gogh is so very true. Best wishes, Lesley

  8. What a lovely post. Enjoyed your Irish blessing and picture and the van Gough which is certainly new to me.

  9. Photoshop is such a wonderful tool! Always something new to try!

  10. By the way, my talented friend...you did see a purple putty cat! You did! You DID!


    Have a GREAT weekend.

  11. Hi Acorn moon! The last picture it's Van Gog's work!??? Something interesting!
    Happy Patrick's day!!!Here in my country, we don't have this holiday, but now, I begining to learning your holidays!

  12. What a lovely blessing and the tree and moon are wonderful:)

  13. What a lovely Irish blessing.
    I also like to play with Photoshop.
    Your work is just well done.
    Have a good weekend, Valerie.

  14. Your print looks lovely! I saw a wonderful exhibition on Van Gogh in Amsterdam a few years back, and it was so interesting to see the way he was influenced by Japanese prints.

  15. This is so beautiful. As for Photoshop, it is addictive. I find I spend more time manipulating computer images than I do sewing these days. But your results are awesome.

  16. A belated Happy St. Patrick's Day top you too.
    I like the green tree of life and the way you have brought the elements together. I have everything to learn about photoshop - it's amazing how many possibilities there are.
    As to Van Gogh, his work is so full of tenderness for his subject matter, even the plainest or most commonplace of things, the very bark on the tree.
    By the way, I have tagged you (I hope I may) for a fun subject that came my way via Frances in New York.

  17. Hello.
    Thank you for guiding me in this beautiful place.
    It is the space where there are the beauty and an ease together here.

    From the Far East.
    Best regards.