Gallery of past work

Tuesday, 19 March 2019


I’ve been working with figures found in early 20th century photos in the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery archive for a new piece of work featuring people from the period.

This has entailed opening likely-looking photos in Photoshop Elements, such as this one of a group of  Great Western Railway committee members in the 1920s or 30s about to board a train from Swindon for a day out.

Here, I clicked on the Quick Selection tool, outlined each chosen figure (to achieve accuracy takes some patience), right clicked on the selected image, and chose Layer Via Copy from the pop up menu and then edited it. This created a copy of the image which could then be moved around, adapted, enlarged or minimised using the Move tool. It could then be saved in the usual way for later use. These groups of men and women resulted.

I am building up a library of such figures from various photos. Each figure has been saved on a separate layer so that it can be used easily in future work. 


  1. Cutting out images from a photo is tedious and takes a lot of patience in my experience. I wish there were an easier way that produced something more accurate than I usually achieve, and perhaps there is with more expensive software. You've done a good job here, but I can imagine it took a lot of time.

    The first thing that popped into my head upon viewing the photo was how women's fashion in that era always makes the women look so dumpy. I have numerous photos of my relatives in similar styles, and it didn't matter if they were wearing a coat as these women are or just standing there in dresses. Dumpy dumpy dumpy - even the skinny ones! Who thought this was a good idea? lol

    1. Sorry for the long delay in responding - I did read and appreciate your post but I like to think about my replies to your comments. Completing my own work for our upcoming exhibition and organising the hanging have taken a great deal of my time.

      Luckily, I don't find cutting images from a photo too tedious. I have had a lot of practice and find it gives me genuine and honest representations of figures (in this case) and is a very good and relatively quick way of generating sections of an image for abstraction. It certainly beats the tracing paper method I seem to rmember from days past!

      You're cetainly right about the dumpiness of the female figures. I'm tempeted to suggest it was all part of society's more subtle way of maintaining control over women at that time?!

    2. Not to worry about the delay. I do that too. You must have better software/equipment than I do for that cut work. I run into pixel problems mainly, jagged edges I know not how to avoid, "magic wand" that picks up too much or not enough. There are probably settings I could tweak but I don't do that function that much to make me want to take the time and experiment.

      Fashions come and go. What we once thought attractive on us in the 60's and 70's now make me cringe! Maybe that dumpiness felt like freedom after a previous period of binding busts, something my mother informed me of when I couldn't fit into one of her old dresses - fit everywhere except was too tight across the bust even though my bust wasn't very busty. My initial thought was that maybe mom was quite flat in that department at a young age, but she soon set me straight!

      Hope we will be seeing a post about the upcoming exhibit soon. :-)

    3. I use Adobe Photoshop Elements which I find excellent for my needs, especially as I’ve done all the three of the Pixeladies’ online courses. These two splendid ladies from the US equipped me with all the skills I need and much practice later (!) I feel very at ease with the programme and currently generate almost all my work using it.

      I will indeed post about the exhibition. The poster is now visible, together with a small snippet from a piece of the work I’ll be showing.

    4. Rebel that I am, I have avoided Photo Shop and Elements which I know is what EVERYONE uses, and am also familiar with the Pixeladies but have not done any classes with them because I do not use Photo Shop. I've learned the hard way that although there are similarities between it and the program I use but enough differences to make such an experience frustrating for me and the teacher/book not knowing how to answer my questions. I'm a great fan of Corel's Paint Shop Pro, which came packaged with a new computer a few decades ago. Am so familiar with the basic functions that I can't imagine switching to something else, and as I say, I know it does much more than I ask it to plus has adjustments to some of the functions I use that I don't quite understand and haven't messed with much (seems I'm always on a deadline when it occurs to me adjustments might give better results and after the fact don't follow up). Corel has great tutorials too which of course I'm not taking the time to run through so I think much of this is my own fault. You are encouraging me to look into some of these things that I have found as drawbacks to see if I could indeed get some of the results I see other people getting in Elements.

    5. I feel the same about Photoshop. I’m sure other programmes offer things I can’t do but it’s all about what you’re used to and can use quickly and easily. Being quick and easy is the important thing. It’s a case of finding the one you like and sticking with it. These programmes are only tools after all.

      I’m sure also that Photoshop has capabilities haven’t yet discovered - in fact I learn every time i use it - but I’m sure you feel the same about Corel draw!


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