Art with an Exclamation Point

Do you see it there on the left? Art with an exclamation point! The anonymous graffiti artist unknowingly inspires me and a new piece of art emerges from our unwitting partnership. And with our collaboration a new story is written.

Spray-paint and the click of the shutter. Together making a statement about what art is. What it can be. Where it can be found. Many times in the most unexpected places.

Note: I am not advocating defacing of abandoned buildings – buildings which often serve as canvas to graffiti artists. But I was taken with this tiny train, next to the railroad tracks, heading off to parts unknown. Imagination riding the rails. Shall we ride along? 

Texture Tuesday Processing 

I must confess – it seems my post-processing is stuck in a rut. It’s one thing to have favorite “go-to” steps during the editing process. It’s another to use the same ones week after week, image after image.

Or is it? Obviously, I have found a look that I love, that speaks to me, that serves my images. I like saturated, high-contrast, highly-textured images. And these editing steps deliver that end result. But I may be a little bit bored with this “same-old, same-old” approach. Perhaps it’s time to shake things up a bit. But for now, here are the steps to produce the image above.

  • Run the “Old West” action by Pioneer Woman Photography
  • Run my midtone contrast action to bring out the textures
  • Duplicate the original image, blend mode = Soft Light to increase contrast and saturation
  • Add Grunged Up texture, blend mode = Divide

Layers-Palette Mar-13-Before


Linking with Texture Tuesday


Posted on March 13, 2012, in Photoshop and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Love… this!! How ‘art!’ can be found in the most unexpected places..and that you and your camera found it here. Post-processing is absolutely perfect!!!

  2. I love this shot and the processing. I also love your little story that goes with the image.

  3. What a find! The graffiti train, the iron tracks, and art! It’s fantastic. And, your post-processing is perfect! Just love this!!

  4. I completely understand your frustration w/same ol’ same ol’.
    It IS difficult to move beyond when ultimately you like what your current process is producing. Sometimes I find giving myself a new goal …changing up a word (soft? vintage? white?) or not letting myself use a particular action or sequence helps.

    Regardless, I DO love the photo and your processing! 🙂

  5. Love the graffiti train in juxtaposition to the train tracks. Art takes on many forms if only we choose to see.

  6. I was so taken with the tiny train that I didn’t even notice the “ART!” I’m glad you pointed it out. I’m frankly not a fan of graffiti in general, but I love this photo, and the subtle humor in that little train by the big tracks. As usual, your processing has really brought it to life.

  7. This one made me laugh, especially after I noticed the smoke from the train’s engine and the train tracks in front of the graffiti train. Being a plains girl myself, I can still hear the echoes of train’s whistles as they traveled across my grandfather’s North Dakota farm.

  8. Love this image! How cool to find such great graffiti and you’ve made it into a great piece of art. You’ve balanced all the components beautifully. I keep promising myself I’ll try some new things with processing too but I love what you’ve done here, it works brilliantly. 🙂

  9. I can see why you like the look – it’s very dramatic and eye catching. Great eye to find the graffiti and include the train tracks for context. However, I’m here to advocate for change as well! 🙂 Trying new things keeps us growing and maybe you’ll find something else you like just as much. Or not. But at least you’ll have the pleasure of the experimenting.

  10. I’m not a fan of graffiti photos, but this train looks like it was drawn by a child, which makes it charming.
    I, too, get stuck in ruts. But, is that bad? I don’t know. Sometimes I worry that visitors to my blog will get bored with the same type of image over and over again.
    By the way, I am NOT bored with your images.

    • Anita – yes, that’s the way I feel too – that I will be boring my readers with the same types of images, the same processing, the same everything. And that I am not challenging myself to experiment by always doing the same things over and over. But then I think – again like you – is that bad? I’m afraid I don’t have the answer but I’m glad to know these feelings are not unique to me and that other artists who I admire struggle with the same issues.

  11. This one makes me smile! Being the gramma of four boys who adore trains, this touches me! Love that you found it, captured it, and then edited it so beautifully!! I’ll be showing this one to the boys!!! Oh yes, and cautioning them not to paint trains on buildings!! 🙂

  12. Beautiful image as always, Brenda. I love the idea of being inspired and having an unknown collaboration. What an inspiring thought!

  13. I do love that graffiti train on the tracks-fun!

  14. Beautifully seen and captured Brenda, and I love your edit!

  15. Your processing is awesome on this image!

  16. I am so drawn to this image — to the puffing little train, the colors, and the “real” tracks in the foreground.

I greatly appreciate your comments!

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