Monday, June 29, 2009

And the winner is...

The winner of the fine art, giclee print of "Celtic Knots" is "Carapace." Congratulations, Cara! As soon as I have your mailing address, your print will be on its way to you. (Look for an e-mail from mlrphotos @

Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Stone Soup Giveaway

The Stone Soup Challenge is hosting another giveaway for the month of June - and the guest host is me!

As many of you know, The Stone Soup Challenge is a grassroots movement, started by Laura Bray, as a way for artists & crafters to help one another during these difficult economic times. To gain exposure to the movement, and so that we can help the most people, The Stone Soup Challenge has decided to host monthly giveaways. At the beginning of each month, a different challenger will offer a great giveaway. Be sure to bookmark the Stone Soup Challenge blog so that you won't miss out on the chance to win some great prizes. You are welcome to become a challenger too!

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY: I am giving away a giclee print of one of my most-commented-on Ireland photographs, "Celtic Knots." The print will be matted in an 11x14" archival mat, ready to fit into a standard 11x14" frame.

To win this print, simply leave a comment on this post. Just peruse my Etsy shop items, come back to this blog page and leave a comment, telling me about your favorite item in my shop ( ). I'll announce the winner on June 29!

If you are on Twitter, you may leave a comment for me there - be sure to send your comment to @IrishPhotos.

P.S. If you are a Stone Soup Challenger and want to host a giveaway, please contact Laura Bray for more information!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Tea Time" Note Cards Winner

The winner of the "Tea Time" note cards is Laura.  Thank you for participating, Laura!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Drawing for free "Tea Time" Note Cards

I  have enjoyed - and benefitted from - many on-line offers lately, and have decided to jump on the "free stuff" bandwagon.  (We all know that these offers are shameless marketing ploys to drive more traffic to one's store or web site - but, it's a win-win ploy!)  

On Wednesday, May 27, (let's say around 1:00p.m. Central Time - give or take a half hour or so) I will draw one name to receive a set of 10 "Tea Time" note cards - absolutely free!  No strings attached!

Okay - there is one small string - but it's pretty painless.  Just go to my Etsy shop, peruse the items for sale, and come back to this blog and leave a comment.  In your comment, you can tell me which item in my shop is your favorite (or your least favorite - don't be shy).  I will then add your name to the drawing.  Simple!

On Wednesday, I will draw one name and notify the winner.  Go here now - and thank you for participating!  

[Note: Due to holiday weekend, I have changed the drawing time to Wednesday.]

Monday, May 11, 2009

Blue Petals

The Celebrity

Follow Your Bliss

Break Away

My mother received a gorgeous bouquet of flowers from my brother on Friday, in celebration of Mother's Day, of course.  Today, I noticed a few blue petals had fallen off some of the more delicate flowers in the bunch.  I left them around the vase, because they looked so pretty there.

I decided to take a few out-of-focus photos through my kitchen window to use as background images for future projects.  After accomplishing that, I put some of the blue petals on the window sill and took some very uninspiring shots of those.  

Staring out the window, I had a brilliant (brilliant for me, that is) idea!  I began to stick the petals to the window - and that's when I started to have fun.  The three images above are just a few of the results of my fun.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Kind of Town

"My Kind of Town"

This is a view of Chicago taken from the vantage point of the Adler Planetarium.  It was late summer, all the boats were moored along the lakefront, and I was lucky enough to have a lovely, big-puffy-clouds kind of day.

The photo was taken with my Nikon N80, using trusty old Tri-X film, and I originally printed it in my darkroom.  My darkroom is now defunct, but I am still printing this photograph through the magic of a scanner, a computer and Photoshop.  Although I still miss the darkroom, I tell myself that digital photography and printing is "greener" - no chemicals going down the drain!  Now, I just have to recycle all those used ink cartridges.

This 9x16" print is for sale in my Etsy shop.  To see more of my black and white photography, please visit my website, The Photo Seen.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Tulip Tea on canvas

I received my photo on canvas from Hughe Parker and I think it looks fabulous!  The image began as a digital image, which I played with for a very long time in Photoshop.  I started by trying to manipulate the image the way I used to manipulate Polaroids.  I ended up doing much more to it by highlighting the edges and using my Wacom tablet to paint the tulips.  

The canvas was gallery wrapped, and ZaZa Gallery did a great job.  Thank you, Hughe!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Grandma's Hands

My 83-year-old mother has been crocheting afghans for at least 40 years.  She has made one for nearly every baby born into our immense family.  (We're Irish - hence, the immenseness!)   Last year, my mother experienced a mild stroke.  She is almost 100% recovered, and she has started to crochet again.  It isn't easy for her, because she has the usual problems associated with age - her eyes are weak, circulation is poor, and she doesn't always remember things.  But, she remembers how to crochet, and it is good to see her doing it again.

It occurred to me that I have never documented her work through photographs - except for photos of babies laying on her handiwork.  Yesterday, I took several shots of her flying fingers, trying to get a shot that wasn't too blurry.  At ISO 100, f3.5, with light from the window behind her, most of the shots were still blurred.  But I like this one.

I wonder who will be the next lucky baby to receive one of my mom's treasures?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Irish Blessings

I have added some items to my Etsy shop, including the five Irish Blessings greeting cards.  These are actually fine art cards that can either be shared or framed.  Each card has a line from the traditional Irish blessing, "May the Road Rise to Meet You."  You can see them here.

All of the photographs for these cards were taken by me in Ireland.  I can't wait to go back!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New art: "Homage"

I was inspired by last week's visit to the Garfield Park Conservatory, where their Spring flower show was in full bloom.  I was not, however, inspired by the photographs I took, which looked very much like touristy snapshots.  So I decided to make some art.

I began with a photo of the sky, which I took some time ago, and added some leaves from the Conservatory shoot.  I decided to make the whole thing look somewhat vintage, so I also played with the colors and tried to "age" the leaves a little bit.  I added some digital art, a black border, and overall toning with some filters.

I don't know if the reeds are paying homage to the leaves, or if the leaves are bowing down to the reeds, but I love the fantasy-like feeling of this image.  You will find it in my Etsy shop!

Friday, April 3, 2009

An iPhone photo

After reading Marcella Kligman's blog page regarding the app ColorSplash, I was inspired to have a go at a similar app, ColorCanvas Basic (which is a free app).  ColorCanvas Basic works a little differently than ColorSplash.  You begin with a black and white picture, and paint the color back in.  You can zoom in on the part you want to paint - which is a good thing, because the human finger is just not tiny enough to do this without zooming.  As you paint, the color returns to that spot.  

This is a photo of my adorable sleeping grandson.  (I was holding him and I actually allowed my husband to touch my iPhone so he could take this picture!)  

Now I have to get ColorSplash and try that!  Anything to do with photography is fun, and everything is worth trying!  (Yes, even HDR.)  Why limit yourself?  Thank you, Marcella, for your on-going inspiration!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Don't Laugh

Today is very gloomy, lots of clouds, and rain threatening but never quite reaching the ground. The view out the window changes every few minutes, and when I saw some big, puffy clouds, I grabbed my camera and took several bracketed shots. I started at -2EV and ended with +3EV. This was going to be my first try at composing an HDR photograph.

Here is the "normal" auto-exposed photo, which I tweaked in Photoshop using curves and levels. Nothing special.

When I merged six images into the HDR program, and then tweaked them using Topaz, I came up with this:

Yikes! Not what I was expecting, not at all realistic, but it is very dramatic and "artsy," which I do like. The clouds ended up with some pink highlights - I have no idea how that happened. Later, however, when I looked out the window again, I did notice some pink in the clouds and the sky. It was just a lot more real looking than the HDR photo, which seemed to harden that pink color.

I can tell I will be having a lot of fun learning how to do this properly!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Last Chance

Photo:  Ballyvaughan Flowers
copyright Mary Lanigan Russo

This is the final week of the exhibit, "In the Deep Heart's Core: Ireland by Chicago Artists."  There is some great art work on the walls of the Beverly Arts Center, at 111th and Western Ave.  Don't miss it!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Etsy Shop

Photo:  "Galway Reflection"
copyright Mary Lanigan Russo

I have just opened a shop on Etsy, a web site that is designed for artists and crafters to sell their wares.  Please stop by and visit.  My shop has giclee prints and cards, as well as my "Tea Time" note cards.  I will continue to add to the shop, so visit often!  Just click here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My First Manipulated Polaroid

My first foray into the world of manipulated Polaroids (a few years ago) resulted in this image, "Spider Tea."  I loved it so much, I scanned it and had it printed as a 24"x24" canvas.  The process of manipulating the soft emulsion of Polaroid film as it develops, and before it hardens, was fascinating.  I discovered the joy of creating an image that looked almost like a painting, but began as a photograph...magic!

This image can be purchased as a giclee on canvas, and also in my set of "Tea Time" note cards.  

I spent part of this afternoon adding links to other art and photography sites and blogs.  Please let me know if you would like me to list your URL here, as well.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In the Deep Heart's Core

Photo:  "Inisheer"
copyright Mary Lanigan Russo

Yesterday, Rick and I met Alice McMahon White at the Beverly Arts Center.  We hung 24 of my Irish images for the upcoming exhibit, "In the Deep Heart's Core: Ireland by Chicago Artists."  Although the exhibit officially opens on Friday, February 27, most of the art work is already hanging throughout the public spaces of the BAC.  

In addition to my own photography, you will see Keelan McMorrow watercolors, Mary Phelan landscapes, Robert Johnson landscapes, and pastel landscapes and photos by Alice McMahon White.

Visit the first floor hallway near the theater entrance, the Atrium (also on the first floor), and the second floor hallway outside of the gallery to see all the wonderful images of Ireland.

There is a lot happening during the month of March at the Beverly Arts Center - be sure to stop by!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another Stone Soup Challenge Purchase

I made my second Stone Soup Challenge purchase and received it yesterday.  A beautiful little bowl that I will put to good use.  Actually, just looking at it makes me feel good.

If you are an artist/crafter, you should really join the Stone Soup Challenge.  Artists supporting artists - always a good thing!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ireland by Chicago Artists

Photo:  "Show Me the Way"
copyright Mary Lanigan Russo

On February 27, a new exhibit - "In the Deep Heart's Core: Ireland by Chicago Artists" - opens at the Beverly Arts Center.  I have been invited to participate in this show, which is being curated by Alice McMahon White. The Beverly Arts Center is located at 2407 W. 111th Street, Chicago.  The show will run through March 28.  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stone Soup Challenge continued...

What have you purchased from the Stone Soup Challenge?  I bought this sweet little journal from Robyn's Art.  It is the perfect size of 4x6" and will fit nicely in my purse.  Wherever I am, when I get the urge to sketch or write, this little journal will be ready for me.  

Thank you, Robyn!  I love it!

Tea Time

Here is the newest addition in the "Tea Time" series - "Kitchen Tea."  It is a manipulated Polaroid image of my former kitchen.  My Aga cooker is boiling the water in the kettle, while the tea pot warms on the side.  The Aga now resides in my brother and sister-in-law's kitchen, and I have visiting rights!  

Besides being available as a fine art image, this is also included in the "Tea Time" series of note cards, which includes 10 cards and envelopes (2 each of five different images).  

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Stone Soup Challenge

Please read this blog, from Laura Bray, regarding the Stone Soup Challenge.  It's a grassroots movement, artists supporting each other, which can only lead to better times ahead, right?  Join the movement! 

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I love the Photomerge feature in Photoshop! I took several photos of the lakefront last week, when it was 17 degrees below zero and the lake was steaming in the freezing air. (I did not go outside - this is the view from my apartment!) Using Photoshop, I stitched several images together to make this panoramic view. I started with five images, applied Photomerge, then cropped it, using probably 2.5 images altogether. The final image is approximately 19" x 5.5".

I love the lakefront, and I photograph it a lot. The steam on the lake looked like wisps of clouds, which fascinated me. It was so peaceful and beautiful - but I was so glad to be indoors that day!

Friday, January 9, 2009

January 2009

A new year, a new beginning. I am reorganizing my web site to reflect lower prices and additional products. This may take a while!

Archival, giclee prints will be available in limited, as well as non-limited, editions. 

I will also be offering less-expensive prints of non-limited edition images. These prints will be produced by a professional photo lab, but they will not be giclee prints (which are printed by me).

Also on the menu will be greeting cards, note cards, bookmarks, etc.

Stay tuned!