Category Archives: Art world

Anatomy of a Digital Painting

"Handscape" digital painting © Elsah Cort
“Handscape” digital painting © Elsah Cort
The first image to emerge from this process…two more followed.

"I See The LIght" digital painting © Elsah Cort
“I See The Light” digital painting © Elsah Cort
The second image to emerge from this series.

"Reaching" digital painting © Elsah Cort
“Reaching” digital painting © Elsah Cort
I was surprised when a third image showed up as I was preparing for this blog post.

I don’t know what my final image will be. I start out with one photograph.
This time I chose a photograph I took last week of the back door of the Chris Sorensen Studio in Fresno. It opens out into a back alley.








I make a selection of raw photographs to use and drag them into a folder tagged with date the digital painting was started. This folder was called June 30.

Here are the photos that I initially chose.

A © Elsah Cort  ONEwebB

ONEwebC  F © Elsah Cort

The hand photo is a tile that I have in my kitchen.

This last one is a photo I took at the Sorensen studio several years ago of crackling paint on an old propane tank. Several of these shots always seem to find their way into my digital paintings.

E © Elsah Cort

Now the process starts. I add layers and images. I change colors or filters for how the layers are added. I keep playing until I find something that I like. I often save the image as a jpg and then use that fixed image as a new layer to add to the original ones. For this “anatomy” exercise I have save many of the versions as jpgs to include here. These 100+ images are not all of the versions, but they are in the chronological order of how they showed up.

1 2 © Elsah Cort 3 © Elsah Cort 4 © Elsah Cort

5 © Elsah Cort 6-1 © Elsah Cort 6 © Elsah Cort  8-1 © Elsah Cort

8 © Elsah Cort 9 © Elsah Cort 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
21 © Elsah Cort 33 31 © Elsah Cort 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22
34 35 37 38 39 40 41 © Elsah Cort 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 69 68 67 66 65 64 63 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72-1 73 74 74 © Elsah Cort 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 © Elsah Cort 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 9091 92 93 94 95 96 97 99

The Artist and the Internet

On March 30, 2013, you can learn some tips to help you traverse the fast-paced, ever-changing and not-to-be-missed opportunity of making an artist presence for yourself on the internet. I will be teaching a workshop in at my studio in Three Rivers called “Web Presence For Beginners” from 10 – 3 pm.

Directions to workshop will be given at time of registration. Registration fee is $45.
Download Registration Form.

© Hugh MacLeod
Cartoon from Hugh MacLeod

The professional artist is represented by their actual artwork, and also by what is said and read about their work on the world wide web.  The wise and savvy artist needs to be in control of his or her own “brand” or name as it shows up in the virtual world.  It’s like adding your name in the phone book, with a well-placed, complete, accurate ad in the yellow pages—
a great presentation that you write, design and supervise yourself.

Do you want others telling the world about your work as an artist, 
or do you want your story told using your own creative voice?

  • learn a simple web glossary
  • learn how to register a domain name
  • finally get some simple tips about search engines
  • create a free blog as website
  • learn basic blogging techniques
  • learn to recognize clean website design
  • discover ways to sell your work online without hassles
  • explore social media (facebook/twitter) as a way to share and sell your art
  • develop your personal artist’s web presence
  • connect with other artists and see what’s cooking out there
  • be inspired by the web art community
  • acquire web competency without fear
  • create locally and exhibit globally

Bring a laptop (if you have access to one). We will have a desktop computer to share, but having your own laptop will better facilitate your participation. Bring some digital images of your art (jpgs on a CD or on your laptop),  business cards, brochures, or any printed press material about you or your work. Also, bring pen and paper, and a new 3-ring binder (choose a color or design that excites you).  Please bring a sack lunch. Coffee, tea and good drinking water will be provided.   We will be sharing ideas during lunch.

Instructor: Elsah Cort collage artist, web enthusiast, blogger
 Three Rivers Artists’ Studio Tour organizer
For more information call  559-561-4671.

An Apple a Day…

When I finally decided I was open to trying a computer, I asked my friend Aranga, what computer to buy. She was a MAC person, and I am so glad. I have loved all four of the MAC computers I have had…

Apple made their first computers in 1976.


Christies is going to auction one of the first apple computers, the Apple 1.

Breaking open the shell…

The one day art exhibit yesterday at The Hatchery in Badger was superb. The entire show was like one big installation piece….The strangeness of the space with abstract ethereal etching (not made by human hands) on the old window panes, the cut copper shadowed wall, a tiny rosy-lit room with a pallet bed made of insulation tucked down into a cow-dung carpet, a video hair cut in progress, a spoken word recording with intermittent rattlesnake rattling, painters and easels scattered outside aiming for hill and tree, the impressive marshmallow-roasting fireplace, and soft-spoken talking of past and present, nowhere and here and there and the art itself–human made, almost becoming secondary to the space itself, yet the reason for the day. I am glad I drove up the golden grass-draped hills of Dry Creek Road with friends, so very glad.

photograph “mind over matter” ©Elsah Cort


Just made ten twelve new square images for the hatchery card series, all from photographs made yesterday in that surreal space. The cards will debut at the Kaweah Land and Arts Festival next Saturday.


Some of the artists showing yesterday at The Hatchery were:

Robert Mertens

Jane Ziegler

Matthew Rangel

James Stark

Anne M. Klint

Matthew Hopson-Walker

Sunday Art Musings

Renoir story on CBS Sunday Morning….said he painted over 4000 paintings in his life, and 700 paintings were in his studio when he died, at age 78, on December 3, 1919. On the morning of his death he said, “I think I am beginning to know something about painting.”
See video clip here.

Image Source:


Favorite post from Design Sponge this week is about gallery walls in your home. I love mixing it up on my walls and encourage you to move the art around on your walls today, even just a little. Add some, take some away (just for a while…) and here is an idea—save a closet or a storage space just f…or your favorite art. Let your art collection rest here from time to time, so you have room to add new works, either of your own making or from our wonderful local artists. You can never waste money when you purchase artwork that tugs at you, in any way, or for whatever known, or unknown, reason.

Read Design Sponge’s post called “Sneak Peek of Best of Gallery Walls.”

Image sources are cited on Design Sponge under each photo.

“Art is Human”

Quotes from Linchpin by Seth Godin

“Most artists can’t draw…but all artists can see.”

“Art is about intent and communication, not substances.”

“An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to change the status quo. And an artist takes it personally.”

“Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn’t matter. The intent does.”

“An artist is an individual who creates art. The more people you change, the more you change them, the more effective your art is.”

“Art is original…Art is the product of emotional labor. If it’s easy and risk free, it’s unlikely that it’s art. The last element that makes it art is that it’s a gift. You cannot create a piece of art merely for money. Doing it as a part of commerce so denudes art of wonder that it ceases to be art.”

“If art is a human connection that causes someone to change his mind, then you are an artist.”


The free will choice we have to change our minds is the way we create our world. Honing this ability is our main work. First we have to shake loose the shackles of conformity, familiarity, comfort, and even pain. When you realize that you have been holding on to old versions of who and what you think you are, while letting these versions masquerade as the real you, you will weep and laugh at the same time. We appear in human form as novices when, in truth, we are as ancient as the big bang itself.

digital collage from Square One Series  ©Elsah Cort


Explore authentic work with The Deeper Well retreats
in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Sequoia National Park.

Musings on the last day of STUDIO TOUR 9

The conversations with visitors (and other artists) about life and art ARE the Studio Tour. Like giving encouragement to a woman to just jump in and make mandalas (after she asked me if I taught mandala classes). We all have hesitated, at times, to break out of old concepts and restrictions, especially when it comes to creating something entirely new.

So I will listen to my own words and make mandalas in new and freeing ways, breaking out of my old patterned grooves after 25 years of making mandalas. I have no idea how it will come about or what will show up, and that’s the point. We are living in an atmosphere totally new to our life here on this planet. It is permeating everything.

In the Studio…

Just now as I was adding new lighting to the studio for the Studio Tour next weekend, a peace came over me. Making a space for creation is the essence of earth-work. Our planet does this for us in every moment.  So this space of mine, mine temporarily, is becoming an art work itself. So full of beauty….in the gathering and the space collage and the shuffle of songs in the iTunes music library, now Mary Chapin Carpenter sings “listening with my heart.”

The studio is re-aligning itself, not just for the Studio tour, but for the rest of my time here.  I am an artist, finally.

:: a studio shrine high atop the eleven-shelf paper stacks ::
mandala is mine…
Alex Grey card…
deep purple boxes for treasures….
too small to read, but the book title closest on right is
The Holographic Universe


I am gathering songs for a playlist on iTunes for the Studio Tour…….just after I typed these words, the music queue gifts me Coleman Barks talking about Rumi and the guest house.

Coleman speaking: Rumi’s model for the psyche is the guesthouse. He says we are not the emotions, the compulsions and the moods that come through us. We are the space that they move through and the host of the space. We are not those emotions. So that jealousy comes and you say, “Good to see you, I thought you were dead.” Or stage fright comes, and you say ” Welcome, it’s been kind of dull without you.” Ecstatic love comes down the walk, “My pleasure.” A sentimental sense of oneness with everything approaches, “I knew your Mother.” (Coleman laughs.) That’s kind of cruel isn’t it? A cynical doubt of  anything spiritual comes down the road, “Bro! How about that game last night? Unbelievable!” Road rage comes, “Have you ever considered becoming a professional driver?”

Here is the poem, from The Essential Rumi…..


This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meaness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

More ABC’s

found objects
from artist, Gordon Smith via Bauldoff
(Makes me wonder what a Chinese found object alphabet would look like.)

Art I Wish I Could Live With…

This art amazes me.  The artist is Paul Jenkins, 86 years old, who started studying art at the Art Student’s League in New York City the year before I was born. His technique has been called “controlled paint pouring.” The paint may have made contact with canvas but it has not stopped moving since. I am moved with it.

Enjoy the viewing here and visit his website for more.

Most recent to earliest work….

Phenomena of Elliptical Reckoning, 2007, acrylic on canvas, 73X64 in

Phenomena of Elliptical Reckoning, 2007, acrylic on canvas, 73X64 in

Phenomena Blue Held Over, 1975, acrylic on canvas 75X118 in

Phenomena Blue Held Over, 1975, acrylic on canvas 75X118 in

Phenomena Tibetan Flange, 1973, acrylic on canvas 66X74 in

Phenomena Tibetan Flange, 1973, acrylic on canvas 66X74 in

Phenomena Over Albi, 1960, oil and enamel on canvas 77X51in

Phenomena Over Albi, 1960, oil and enamel on canvas 77X51in

from the biography on his website: An ongoing interest in Eastern religions and philosophy, the study of the I Ching, along with the writings of Carl Jung prompted Jenkins’ turn toward inward reflection and mysticism which have dominated his aesthetic as well as his life.


414w2lqk0wL._SS500_the best book on the I Ching I have known
I Ching, the Oracle of the Cosmic Way

Making art for the wall

Transitioning today from so much work in the cyber world to working with hands-on collages made a while ago (learning to use the new Epson scanner.)  But images of new work emerged for making collages with wire and small river rocks yesterday while hanging out at the river.  More ideas to put on the wall…..


“natural watercolor”


Another way to address the wall…

Here is a photo that showed up on the Huffington Post this morning:
Brazilian artists Gabriel Primo, left, and Tiago Primo sit in their installation art work, exhibited on the wall of a building, in Rio de Janeiro, Thursday, July 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Ricardo Moraes)


one more thing for tonight…

The view from Hugh MacLeod from his world:


Have you read his new best-seller book?

Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity

You can buy limited edition prints from Hugh’s gallery website.
They originally started out as drawings on business cards.

This is art…from Sulamith Wulfing

images images-3 images-4 images-2 images-11

Sulamith Wulfing is the creator of these artworks.  She lived in Germany from 1901 to 1989.  She started painting at age 4 and died at age 88.

I discovered her work in the mid 1970’s at a book shop on Colorado Boulevard in Glendale.  I still have all the postcards and greeting cards I found so many years ago.  At that time, I could not find out anything about her, did not even know if she was a she. Then my good friend found the now out-of-print book, The Fantastic Art of Sulamith Wulfing edited by David Larkin (I see it is going for $160 on amazon) and part of the mystery of Sulamith was revealed to me.  She said she saw these beautiful angels and fairies when she was a child and often drew from memory.  She spent her early childhood only in the presence of her Theosophist parents and did not play with other children, but alone for hours in the magical forests of Germany.

A few years after finding the original images, I moved to Three Rivers and met my dear friends, photographer, Gene Gray, and his wife, Marion, who upon seeing a few of my Sulamith cards, opened a drawer and out came her cherished collection of many of the same images.

Marion and Gene and Sulamith are all gone now, but the images of Sulamith Wulfing are all over the internet, on cards and posters and little books, and I still have some of Gene’s photographs (wish I had more.)

Who will be seeing and savoring our work in the years to come?
Don’t forget your work is not really your own, and it may have a life much longer than you.

Share it generously and fully.

more about Sulamith…