A Stitch in Time – How to Scan a Painting for Print

Star Wars Super 8 Cover

Update: 2019

Recently I came across a very helpful scanning tool. If you are a PC user you can download free software from Microsoft to automatically align and compose multiple scans.

This article is still helpful in theory. However the free software app is much more reliable ,I find, than ‘eyeballing it’. Here’s the current download address. The The app is called Image Composite Editor:

Image Composite Editor

Sooner or later almost every artist will want to copy their work. Often a good digital camera with a great lens will do the trick shooting in diffused lighting.

However, sometime it may be more convenient to use your digital scanner to scan in the image of the print. The plus side with scanning as opposed to camera shots is that you will get an even, flat and highly detailed image. The down side is that you have to keep an eye on your scanner’s settings (are you in professional mode, what’s your dpi, etc.) and you may get too much detail ( like markings on the back of your canvas showing through). Although this is usually not a huge problem.

Once again I must say that these are the methods I use and someone else may get better results with their own techniques.

So let’s say your painting or art work is just a bit too large for your scanner’s surface. This is where stitching comes in handy.

I use Corel Photopaint and it does the trick. Other software likely offers similar options.

First you want to scan in both halves of the painting. Doing one side at a time. I use the settings on my scanner software for Photo at 300dpi and high quality prints/posters. Preview and then scan the image. If given the option to use a mask (a selective, dashed -line frame box) when choosing the area to be scan then choose to scan a hair’s width away from the outer edges of the area to be scanned. Let me clarify. Do not bring the border of the selection box to the very outer edge of the painting preview. Some scanners experience a little drop-off in this zone and you may get a slightly darker sliver of the image that will affect the quality of your final print.  I’m speaking of what you see in the selected preview of the glass on the actual scanner. So you could accommodate for this drop-off by allowing a border area left blank outside of the painting.

Okay..a picture is worth a thousand words I guess 🙂

The yellow area with the green dashed line is the maximum scan area of the glass. I have the painting positioned just a bit inside of that area. The dark dashed inner line (red arrows) is the area in which the software sees to scan. Notice I have that area narrowed a bit cutting the wookie’s face in half and not going all the way to the edge. Okay..let’s move right along.

By now you should have two separate images of high quality which you can open up in Photopaint.

Next you’ll want to crop one of the images to a smaller selection so you’ll have less image to match up and blend (above image). Do leave a little area of overlap as you can see i did for Han Solo’s gun.

Above: The cropped image.


Above: Under Image select ‘Stitch’

Above: Now select ‘Add All’

A new screen appears and using the select pointer tool you can ‘grab’ one of the images and match and blend. I have the blend image setting at 5.

Above: A close-up view ( you can zoom in to get a better match up) shows where the two images blend. Now just hit enter and a new solid image will be created from which you can manipulate or save as different files and sizes.

That’s about it. Hope you find that helpful. Check out my design page for further designs. Thanks for stopping by!




A Tapestry of Colour


The beauty of Creation is in it’s variety. Diversity abounds. You only have to look at the world around you to see that difference is something we have to live with. Really! There is not just one kind of tree or flower.

It’s like that with people as well. There are different races, different ethnicities. The thing about people is that they disagree sometimes. This is just another form of variety. Difference of mind.

I’d be naive to believe that all difference brings about good.

But let’s not dwell on that side of things right now. That gets enough attention from news media.

A New Goal.

You can change your world.

You can be agreeable without having to agree.

One practical way to love others better is to imagine ourselves in their shoes. When we pause to think how we might like to be treated in a certain situation, we build empathy for those actually living in that situation. Do we like to be treated with love and respect? Then we should give that gift to others. (gotquestions.org)

The painting above is called Ocean Rocks which I just completed this summer. It doesn’t even have it’s protective finish yet. I hope you see a visual lesson in this tapestry of colour.


A Creative Solution


Someone has said, ” if it ain’t useful , of high sentimental value or a work of art then toss it out!”

Well that’s easier said than done when you have my sentimental over-attachment personality that rivals that of some giant,  tentacled creature from mythical lore. Okay…that was a little over the top, I know. Childhood images of the Seven Voyages of Sinbad came to mind. Apologies.


The Big Clean hit theatres this summer. Ahem, I mean my studio.  One result was the discovery of a ziplock bag of old watercolour tubes I used to use. ‘Haven’t used watercolors for quite some time and some of the tubes were as hard as rocks. Sure I probably could have performed some grade-8-like biology surgery where frogs have seen better days  to gut open the tubes.  This would then have exposed cylinder blocks of color that could be revived with a splash of water…maybe.

Some of the watercolors still had their original price stickers on them showing their true age.

What was I going to do?  It was down to that last pile…y’know, the one you’re always left with after a big clean up: paper clips, used popcicle sticks, Q-tips and maybe even some ketchup pack-ettes! At this point you’re feeling like an exhausted god determining the life or hapless fate of your kingdom. Should it stay or should it go now?

After some time a creative solution  was found!  However- whoever holds the time-lapse video on our lives would have had a great chuckle to replay the scene of me picking up the bag of watercolours and then placing them back down, rubbing my chin with indecision and then picking them back up AGAIN!! ha ha

So here’s what happened. Like something from Arthur Koestler’s  The Act of Creation an idea struck me!  If it were (a.)no longer useful and (b.) not quite of sentimental value then (c.) it must be a work of art!! And so it became.


To do this you’ll want a cheap 8 x 10 canvas, glue gun, matte varnish (waterbased), a couple ( or more) acrylic craft paints and newspaper clippings. You may want to use a small sharp exacto knife to move and place the newsprint cutouts ( unless you have little tiny fingers ). I placed a glittery star in the open space just to balance things out and make some contrast or for some unknown reason. I also dropped a few drops of rubbing alcohol on the fresh paint just to create some subtle rings/texture to the canvas before it dried. I used the matte varnish to glue everything  down including the star ( and except the tubes, of course). I don’t recommend rubber cement for the plastic star as I suspect it would cause it to curl. Not sure.

Also added was a few drops of acrylic red paint at the mouth of one tube missing a cap. Just a little something you know ;^)

Also don’t forget to place a hanging wire at the back.

Hmmmm? Now I have to hang it somewhere..Uh oh ..the walls are already full of art! Crap! yah dee yah dee ya

O Christmas Tree

trailerhouse1In the last post I promised to give you a quick tree craft for decorating purposes.  This arose from my need to create small trees for my glitter houses and especially for the tree-yard trailer model that I built which you can see above.

All that you will need for this is listed here:

Black Bristol board.  Scissors. Stapler ( not really necessary). Hot glue gun. Inexpensive dollar-store garland. Marker

.GHsupplies  GHcone

For a smaller tree ,first fold the bristol board in half along it’s shortest width. Second draw a semi-circular shape that will fold into a cone (see above). I’ve drawn the cone shape in white chalk so you can see it. A black marker will do and you won’t have any white lines showing through the ‘branches’.

Using the scissors cut out the shape you drew. Roll it up into a cone shape such that the base of the tree is as flat as possible ( so it will stand properly ).  Use a stapler to secure it as a cone shape and hold it ready to be glued.  Next glue along the seam.  Hint.  I use a pen or something to press onto objects being glued so I don’t burn my little fingy’s.

Start at the top and tack the end of the garland on with some hot glue. Wrap the garland tight around the cone gluing here and there as you wind your way to the bottom.  Honestly this is an affordable way to make a decorative tree which will basically cost you only a few dollars a piece, if that.

Always use cold lights- low watt LED’s for lighting around cardboard.

Someone googled and visited my last post asking why does their paint “flake” on cardboard.  The only answer I can think of is that the cardboard may be coated with a waxy or oily finish.  Use cardboard that does not have a water resistant finish or you can try painting ( or spraying) it with an acrylic sealer first.


The finished tree with some decorating hints below.


Last, I will leave you with a bonus photo of another glitter house/church that I built from cardboard.  Not sure if I will post anymore until after Christmas so I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and  a safe holiday.  For those of you who don’t celebrate this particular season I hope you will have a safe and good time with your family and friends!

Merry Christmas!



Painting the repairs…more to follow.

Hi everyone.  This is a quick follow up to the last post, Repairing the Damage as well as a prelude to the final post tomorrow (Hallowe’en night).  As long as this Frankenstorm and Sandy doesn’t knock out my power I will show you the final assembly.  Be careful and be prepared if you can for these storms. Stay safe.


My idea ( for what it’s worth ) was to underpaint the structure with a greenish/aqua tint because the whole thing is based on a 1960’s horror thriller.  The final black, gray ,white ( monochromatic ) finish would be given a slight touch of magenta.  Magenta being that reddish hue we see on old TV sets .  Also the aqua green undertone would help neutralize the reddish hint while hiding the foam pink that any camera flashes might reach in and expose.



It was a little difficult getting the hues to match.  The original grey paint was several years old and you can notice a slight shade of difference.  Here’s a final shot below.

So any ideas or guesses yet as to what movie I may have taken this from?  Don’t be afraid to guess.  After all it’s not like I’ll send Mother after you. Okay.  Tomorrow night then if the weather permits I will show you the entire display.  Maybe it’s just that I have one of those faces you can’t help believing. Another clue , by the way.  Later.


Or how to  make a giant spider living in your stairway!

Below you’ll see some shots of how to assemble giant spider legs.  These are made from 4 store bought grim reaper  scythes (claws/talons), several foam pipe insulators ( 4 small -3 ft and 4 larger ones-6ft), about 5 cans of spray insulator foam, black , brown and silver spray paint, faux fur, clear vinyl tubes and wooden dowels.

First you cut a slit in the foam insulator and then insert the claw into the slit and hot glue it.  Clothes pins were temporary holds.  Trim off the excess grey plastic from the claw (heel). Outside lean the legs against a backdrop to catch overspray of foam.  The legs must be as horizontal as you can get them for the foam to stick.  With the larger upper leg parts I laid them on the grass.  This will take several coats. Let them dry some in between coats. Next take them outside and wearing a filter mask spray paint them.

Four of  the knees are made with this dowel and vinyl hose arrangement.

The four other knee joints were made by simply cutting a slit in the 6 ft foam insulators.  This allows the knees to bend without using dowels and hose.  In other words start to cut the pipe insulator as if you were going to cut it in half but only cut half way through allowing the pipe insulator to bend.

The legs are suspended with twine and fishing line.  I spun some fake webbing around the base of the legs to ‘hide’ the obvious fact that there is no more to the spider illusion than the legs.  You could hang strips of black material as well.  I was also planning on experimenting with a curtain rod ( telescopic type) that would span the opening of the stairs.  The legs then could have ‘dangled’ from this move-able rod.  Another tip is to use H2O Krylon low odor spary paint.  It dries really fast and leaves little noticeable fumes.

A final combined photo that includes some friends of my daughter that enjoyed Boris the Spider during her Hallowe’en party. This is a project I wanted to undertake for a couple of years and I’m glad I got a chance to do it.  Hope you enjoyed it and that it gives you some ideas for your own projects.  You can adapt things to what you have on hand.  You could use flexible (accordian) hose for knees, etc.  I also inserted small dowels in each section of leg to help strengthen them.  Good luck!  Happy Hallowe’en!!!!!

The Center Piece (that was off to the side)

It was my wife’s parent’s 50th Anniversary and I was happy to do the art and decorating based on a fifties theme. As discussed in the first part of this post “One of the Funnest Things…” I thought it best to use colour and branding to give the whole event a “feel” as though we were in 1957.

After deciding on the basic colours and designing a logo of sorts, it was now time to build something that would actually iconify (is that a word? ha) the event. So the idea came to me to build a transportable mini-set or display that would be an actual dimensional  piece and add to the ‘realness’ and the fun. The above is what I came up with in CorelDraw.  Below is the actual piece in the hall made from masonite and a pine frame then painted.



The diner display sign used small Christmas lights with a flashing bulb unit.  Not quite neon but still it was effective.

The laminate counter top is really an illusion. I created this by using a rag rolling technique.  First the masonite was

primed and then a light grey acrylic house-paint was rolled on with a fine sponge roller. Then I twisted a rag, dipped it in a darker colour paint.  I did a brief test on some spare masonite (hard board) then I remember basically drawing in a deep breath and then just going for it. This is how it turned out.  Most people thought it was real laminate.  Also the top dark grey layer was part glaze and part paint. For the chrome moulding around the upper edge, well, it’s just woden decorative molding first primed white and then spray painted chrome.

The model cars were made by my youngest son and I. They seem to add to the 50’s ambience.


The sign was made of masonite as well and hand painted and lettered.  I did print out the font to help as a guide.  I still get a kick out of it.  The last main element was the diner clock. ( sorry for switching from past to present tense, so much).

I bought the clock at Zellers for around 12 dollars, removed their paper clockface and replaced it with I designed on the computer.

Visit again and in the next post I hope to show you more pictures of the event plus some of the decorations I made,etc

Take care! K

High Up

Across from my studio is an old barn. It’s  over two storeys high. It has lots of character and harbours swallows, bats, raccoons the occasional rabbit and who knows what else.  Starlings or blackbirds love to hang around the top window and peak.

Watching the birds march around the peak gave me this idea for the above painting.  I wanted to convey the feeling of almost vertigo or maybe distance and solitude that must exist up there.  I thought if I allowed for a blue expanse of sky that was almost unbalanced in its emptiness ( no clouds, no treetops, etc) then this feeling might come across.

In a previous post Paris on Canvas Final you got to see the painting in an earlier stage.  So I’ll share a few other photos with you including close ups of the journey.

It started with an almost architectural drawing to get the windows and angle of the roof accurate.  The underpainting was a red orange and light blue above for the sky. Then , as you, can see the sky was painted in and shingles.

The windows were outlined and underpainted with cobalt blue.  On the right you can see some of the shadowing done using paynes gray in a thinned with water wash.  I usually take a  a clean brush and use some clean water to draw first where the shadow will be. This helps the shadow mix blend in with the water and diffuse better.  In other words I paint the shadow with a light wash of water only first and then add the thinned blue/gray shadow mix after before the water dries.

Above is shot of applying a drybrush effect for a bit of texture.  The windows are not complete.  I used a small liner to trace over the blue outlines. The dark of the windows is Mars Black ( in the top section) and a mixture of burnt sienna and cobalt blue favouring the bottom sides.

Here is a close shot of the black bird at the peak before he was finished.


And two final shots taken outside with and without a flash.  Uh oh… I forgot to sign it…ooops!

Hope you enjoy it!

Paris on Canvas (final part)


In this last post on the Paris on Canvas project ( which was a birthday gift for my daughter) we will deal with the finishing touches.  The picture on the left above is where we left off the last time.  The one on the far right is where we are heading.


The internet is a great resource for images.  Sometimes you have to search a bit but it’s fast compared to visiting the local library and then finding and checking out the book you like.  Above left you can see I found a picture of Paris’ Triumphal Gate.  I used a small round brush to paint in a stylized (almost cartoon) drawings of both the Eiffel Tower and the gate.  You can use a small 2h pencil to ‘pre-draw’ in lightly the basic shapes before painting over them.  I used a watered down black with a hint of burnt umber (brown colour) to paint in the objects.  keep the overall impact a bit faded by using thinned paint, not runny, just thin. Notice how the reddish brown ‘blotting’  (sponging) that is the border blends in with the outlined drawings and gives them an aged effect.


I do admit that the next step as you can see above is a little difficult in a way.  It requires more patience.  What it is supposed to be is an old version of a map of Paris.  I wrote in the map some of the place names just to give it a little authenticity.  In fact the writing is so small it’s not really clearly legible.  Just “hinted at”, so to speak. Used a small liner brush or small round brush for this. Perhaps you could paint in a small sunflower or something native to France.


You can see on the screen I found some luggage postage stamp from the thirties or forties by googling it.In the picture on the monitor you can see that i have it flipped. Originally i was going to trace it on somehow.  I ended up just hand painting it as best I could.  I was getting short on time to have the gift complete.  On the far right above you can see that I experimented with some ‘print’ tools.  yes these are rare , hard-to-find items. Just kidding. The registered stamp effect was achieved using a Coke bottle cap dipped in the paint and pressed on.  The small circle was from other bottle that was kicking around.  For the wavy lines i stole my wife’s carrot cutter thingy.  perhaps you could find something better.

Like the comedian Red Green says “any tool can be the right tool”!  ha.


In the close shots of the stamp and the map you may notice some shiny particles around the border.  This was some silver glitter spray.  Just cover the face of the painting where you don’t want glitter.  I used the sheet with the “We’ll Always Have Paris” script.  Just weigh it down with something so the pressure from the nozzle doesn’t blow the page away!  If you want to use some spray gloss on the whole thing and to hold everything in place and then brush on thicker gloss finish if you want.  I always use a spray finish first so that if I brush on a coat of gloss finish after the brush hairs will not ‘pick up’ or remove any sparkles etc. Do remember to have a well ventilated area for spraying and do not inhale fumes.

O that’s a painting of a barn roof I started in the background.  Might post it sometime.

Well that about be it!  Just get  an inexpensive brush from a value/dollar store and use your hot glue gun to dab it in a couple places and then glue it on.  Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog on “We’ll Always Have Paris”.  O and my daughter was thrilled with it.   Store bought gifts have their place but there’s something really special about hand made ones. See ya next time.


Paris on Canvas (part 4)

Hi.  This could very well be the last post on this particular project.  I’m going to try and see if these posts can all be transferred to a page to make it more organized.  Not sure yet how to do this.

text from inkjet printer   

There are likely different ways to approach this challenge of  writing on the prepared canvas.  You’ll see in the left picture above that I used CorelDraw on my computer to print  ink type.  I used this as a guide to hand paint the finished piece on the right. Simply flip the paper over and place it on a backlit window or light box.  You’ll be able to see the lines better so as to trace over them with 2B pencil ( see picture below)

By the way, the  laminate fifties counter top in the pics is not real.  It’s a rag rolling technique I used for a fifty year wedding anniversary set/prop.  I’ll tell you about it sometime.


Above is a good picture of the text taped on lightly with green low tack tape ( to hold it still).  On the right is a not-so-good photo of the results of tracing over the font/words.  The blue arrow and lines are supposed to help you see the area where the ‘print’ was made. You can use a dull point pencil to trace over the words so as not to tear the paper or damage the canvas below.

If you have a better method than please share.

At this point I should tell you that some of the edges did have to be glued down i.e. to the sides of the canvas. So I used some white glue for long term strength but tacked them with a medium heat glue gun .  The font used here was French 111 BT, I do believe. You’ll notice a little jagged edge of paper contrasted with the lower left corner of the monitor.  This was left “popped out’ just for texture and effect.  Happy accident.

I used a small liner brush (script liner sample) dipped in Lamp black paint.  The paint was thinned with water just a teeny bit.  The script will not look perfect since you hand painted it.  Just take your time.  If you make a mistake use some wet paper towel to quickly dab off any mistakes.  Think : “Mistakes are good” and you won’t make any.

Sounds like  we’ll need one last post for the details.  We deserve a break after that anyway.  Next time!! (Final part here)