Flower Power

Flower Power

Yea, another $5 bunch of grocery store flowers that got me through the worst of winter.

They brightened my day and provided photographic subject matter – a willing participant in my still life experiments.

Carnations may be considered a pedestrian flower – without the elegance of the rose. But I like their wrinkly, toothy edges, tipped with saturated color, as if nature intended them to be paintbrushes.

And so, I use them here, loaded up with textures, to create a painterly result.

Sweet mini-carnations, heralding spring, full of flower power.

Texture Tuesday Processing

  • Add Pixel Dust Photo Art Gauze Sheers texture, desaturated, blend mode set to Screen and opacity to 85%
  • Add Pixel Dust Photo Art Vellum texture, blend mode set to Linear Burn
  • Add Pixel Dust Photo Art Dropped Petals texture, desaturated, blend mode set to Overlay
  • Add Kim Klassen Canvasback texture, blend mode set to Divide and opacity to 75%
  • Run my midtone contrast action to sharpen the flower details
  • Add a curves adjustment to increase overall contrast

Below is the original image and the Photoshop layers palette:












Linking with Texture Tuesday, hosted by Kim Klassen


Posted on March 26, 2013, in Photoshop and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 44 Comments.

    • Kathryn – during the first year of our marriage, my husband sent me a bouquet of mini-carnations every month – so they have an extra-special place in my heart.

  1. I love the long portrait crop for the subject. I’m not much of a flower girl, but I can identify the carnation….that’s a step.
    I can see why all those jagged lines make it a fun bloom to work with. Love the contrast you made with the flowers edges to petal.

    Question, if you have time….
    That mid-tone contrast. Where does one find that in their PS? Is it an adjustment layer or an adjustment to bright/contrast? I don’t remember seeing that before.

    Happy day Brenda. Thanks for sharing. (and something so non-geometrical 1st thing in the morning!)

    • Susan – trust me – I am about as far as one can be from being a “flower girl” as well. I have the most non-green thumb on the planet. But I do have a tender place for carnations.

      The mid-tone contrast technique is a way to sharpen/improve contrast but only in the midtones of the image – so that you don’t get halos around the areas of highlight/shadows. I turned the steps into an action so that I can easily run it on any image – I think I read about this technique in Photoshop Users Magazine.

      1. Duplicate your image background layer. Set the blend mode to overlay and convert to a smart object.
      2. Double-click this new smart object layer to bring up the “Blending Options”. Go down to the “Blend if” section at the bottom of the panel.You will see two ramps of gradient color – you want to make changes to the top ramp entitled “This Layer”. Holding down the Alt key, click on the left black stop in order to split it into two separate sliders. Position the right-half of this slider to 100 and the left-half of this slider to 50 – you will see the numbers changing above the ramp. Then split the white slider on the right – set the left half to 150 and the right half to 200.

      What this does is limits the blending of the high-pass filter in the next step to just the midtones of the image.

      3. Under Filter>Other, choose the High-Pass option. I start out with a radius setting of 5 pixels. But since you made this a Smart Object, you have the ability to go back into the High-Pass filter and modify the settings if you feel you need more or less sharpening/contrast by changing the radius setting.

      That’s it! I think many people know about using the High-Pass filter for sharpening – but adding the Blend if options allows you to fine-tune its effect.

  2. Love the composition..and the textures render it painterly!

  3. Well, I’ve never seen carnations look so good! Beautiful colors, textures, and composition here , Brenda. Now i’m thinking the carnation isn’t such a boring flower after all.

    • Gina – I know many people find the carnation boring – they just seem so common, I suppose. But I love the mini version with its lovely textures – it has a beauty all its own. I’m glad to have provided you a new view of this quiet and unassuming flower.

  4. Carnations are beautiful. They are often under-appreciated, but I think they hold their own grace. You did a wonderful job with the flowers. I think they are really lovely.

    • Gracie – you are right – they are often an under-appreciated flower. And I agree that they have their own form of beauty and grace. I had fun using them as the subject of this still life.

  5. I really like the texture on the carnations.

    • Barbara – well, I really poured on the textures this week 🙂 Sometimes, one texture is all an image needs and other times the final result requires multiple applications. This was one of those times.

  6. Wonderful! I love carnations, can’t see anything ‘pedestrian’ about them. My hubby got me a bouquet with one red rose and carnations – baby’s breath too of course – pure heaven scent!
    I love your texture and process, turned out like a painting!

    • Laurie – I don’t remember how carnations became “our” flower but in our first year of marriage, my husband sent me a bouquet of mini-carnations every month to celebrate. So yes – I definitely have a soft spot for them.

  7. I love carnations and I really like how you processed this image but most of all I love the smell of these delightful flowers!

    • Karla – I do too – love the smell, that is! I am happy to be able to feature them and use this still life as an opportunity to celebrate their beauty.

  8. truly a gorgeous work of art.

    • Roxi – thanks so much for stopping by and commenting on my “ode to the carnation”. I do hope you will come by again, to my little corner of cyberspace.

  9. For a minute there, I thought I’d come to the wrong blog! Painted flowers by Brenda? Yes, and they are beautiful! (I knew it was really you when I read your answer to Susan’s question. I didn’t understand a word of it.)
    Carnations have a special place in my heart, too. My mom used to wear a perfume called Blue Carnation, and the scent of the flowers always brings her memory back to me.

    • Lee – I know! I surprised even myself with this one 🙂 But in the middle of a gray winter, store-bought flowers helped me make it through. I’m glad the carnations brought back happy memories for you. (Well, I hope Susan will be able to follow my cryptic instructions)

  10. What a dramatic difference between the SOOC and your beautifully processed art! These carnations are beautiful. Who knew?

    • Dotti – I know – I feel like the carnation ambassador today, spreading the “flower power” of this often-overlooked bloom 🙂 And the thing is – they just happened to be the most interesting option at the grocery store that day. Who knew that we would end up here?

  11. Yes, carnations are great – love the colors you have here and such a creative edit, love it!

  12. How beautiful this is!! So like a painting…love the size/shape of it – so becoming to the composition of the flowers.

    • Beverly – thanks! I was very pleased with the results. Sometimes more is better – as in this case where I piled on the textures.

  13. Great use of texture. Nicely done.


  14. what a gorgeous bit of work~!!~
    i think it looks like it’s been painted onto a wall . . . like some beautiful graffitti left to stun us all on a bright morning walk. imagine it three stories tall~!

    :- D

    • Libby – oh yes, wouldn’t that be a wonderful surprise, to come across a building festooned with flowers, greeting us on our morning walk? It would be spring, no matter what the season 🙂

  15. These are so lovely. I love the texture you’ve used. Great contrasts and love the paper-textured effect of the background. Beautifully done.

    • Becs – I had fun pulling out all the different textures, trying to come up with something very painterly in feel. A floral still life is certainly outside my “normal” – but I enjoyed pretending it was spring for a moment.

  16. Oh! This just warms me up. Love the colours and composition! $5 investment. Reward, unmeasurable! Thank you. I needed that! 🙂 xo

    • Oh, you don’t know how much I needed that $5 bunch of flowers myself. And then the added fun of playing in Photoshop, piling on textures until – voila! – a digital painting 🙂

  17. Love the arrangement and the texture with the carnations!

    • Eileen – thanks so much – for stopping by my little piece of cyberspace and taking the time to comment! I do hope you will come by again.

  18. That image is wall-worthy for sure. I like that we don’t see the entire arrangement and the contrast between the orange of the flowers and the green of the vase the are in. Well done!

  19. Beautiful! I love that tall and narrow crop! Gorgeous work…

    • Suzette – thanks so much! A different subject and composition for me. But fun to play indoors when the weather outside was frightful 🙂

I greatly appreciate your comments!

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