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I thought you might want to see how I composed a recent photomontage.

First, I had no plan to make this composition. I didn’t think “Gee, I’m have this composition in mind with a woman in a gown standing in the desert with a coyote.” No, with this, as with most of my compositions, I saw an image that grabbed me and it grew from there.

I was browsing an online fashion and home decor catalog (Stylehive, if you really want to know), and I came across this image that really caught my attention.

I usually try to use my own photographs whenever possible, but since I have no plans on selling this piece and I composed it as a mere amusement for myself and a few others, I grabbed the image. As you will see in the finished piece, I heavily manipulated the image using Photoshop.

Next, I needed a visual context for the woman. I reviewed all my personal photographs and found nothing suitable, so I opened up Terragen, a landscape generating program, and crafted this background. This was perhaps the hardest part of the composition.

Next I pulled up two of my own photographs that I took at a local nature reserve that seemed to be an appropriate fit for the desert background. I extracted the foreground shrubbery in one and the background trees in the other.

I started putting these images together in Photoshop, moving around the layers until I was satisfied with the balance. However, it seemed a little unexciting. After thinking about it for a few minutes, I realized that the woman needed a mascot and that the desert scene suggested some sort of desert animal. The coyote popped immediately into mind. So I started googling coyote images until I found one that would fit the composition.

After putting together the elements, making sure that shadows were all falling in the same direction, I began applying Photoshop filters to give the feel of a painting. There came a moment when I thought, “that’s it; it’s finished”, and I was left with this final composition that I entitled “Desert Muse.”

I hope this little demonstration has been helpful to you as you construct your own compositions.

L.Gloyd (c) 2008

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The Soul Food Cafe is an international group of writers and artists whose global mission is to promote writing and art-making as a daily practice through the use of interactive web-based technologies such as blogging and e-mail groups. Lemuria is the fantasy construct where the participants of the Soul Food Cafe post their work, and The Digital Atelier is just one niche within Lemuria. If you are an intrigued visitor now wanting to join the Soul Food Experience, visit the Soul Food Cafe for instructions. Or you may write the SFC owner and manager heatherblakey @ dailywriting.net .

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