Working With Textures and EJ Lazenby

Working With Textures and EJ Lazenby

A Review by Agnes Richard –

What a joy to have listened and watched E. Jane Lazenby deliver her beautiful, witty and inspiring presentation. What a shame if you missed it, since there is no recording to share.

In her lilting Yorkshire voice Jane shared her love of illustrating horses and their owners. She began her career as a human and animal portrait painter, and that passion has informed and shaped how she uses Photoshop to create painterly photographs.

When Jane spoke of texture, she was not referring to an obvious patterning that was easy to see in her photos. Rather, she used photos of subtly shaded, near monochromatic and relatively flat surfaces; for example, artist’s papers, plaster walls, concrete floors, textiles, old baking sheets and even children’s finger-paintings, to provide the basis for manipulated background layers.

Her use of texture helps correct flaws in an image, like blown out highlights, busy distracting surroundings or bright over saturated areas of colour. Texture helps Jane set a different mood than what was captured in camera. Jane uses texture to create cues and references to painting traditions like Renaissance portraiture and still lives, moody Goya-like chiaroscuro (“much hated by judges!”), impressionistic romanticism, or contemporary semi-abstraction and surrealism.

Lazenby carefully explained interesting Photoshop techniques. Her description of creating custom brushes to mimic human or animal hair and fur so that she could simplify masking procedures was brilliant.

By walking us through her post processing of five different images she shared her decision-making process and her mastery of Photoshop tools from a decidedly artistic perspective. She illustrated a vast expansion of the definition of brushes and how to use them, of transparency and blend modes, and the distinction between destructive and non-destructive editing features.

All this while treating us to breathtaking equine beauty, a subject she clearly loves.