Capturing Beauty from the Garden

When I started Garden Shoots, I wondered if anyone would read it. Lo and behold, I got lucky. And one of my first readers, Liz Reed, has become an unmet-as-of-yet friend. She is a fellow landscape designer who lives in Pittsburgh. More importantly, however, she is a photographer, painter, and an artist with a scanner. Consider the beauty of “July Tapestry,” created with blooms from her garden, an artist’s eye, and her first scanner, an Epson CX4800.

Liz Reed, July Tapestry, scanography

"July Tapestry" by Liz Reed.

She sent me this image in her first e-mail and I nearly swooned. It’s mysterious, moody, and begs to be examined closely. Composed of Platycodon, Asclepsias, blueberries, and Nicotiana blooms, carefully arranged for balance and texture, “July Tapestry” is a wonderful piece of art.

Liz began experimenting with scanning as an art form after she sold her gallery (Gallery in the Square, which is no longer in existence) and turned to landscape design as a second career. (She designs gardens in Pittsburgh and Long Island at the present.) But she still draws, paints – and has branched out into scanning beauty from the garden. Recently she opened Garden Capture,  a virtual store on Etsy, where you can purchase her images.

Liz Reed, Sunflower Mandella, scanography

"Sunflower Mandella" is the most-often viewed of Liz Reed's images on her Etsy site, Garden Capture.

What she loves about this art form, she told me recently, is the limited depth of field that the scanner creates; the parts of an object next to the scanner glass are sharp, but the rest  fades off quickly into the distance. The lighting is a constant (unlike in regular photography), so repetition and patterns are important. Over time, she has learned the “vocabulary” of how the scanner will read items, so she has become more adept at arranging her materials.

In late summer, I encouraged Liz to enter Gardening Gone Wild’s October photo contest – but it was open only to bloggers, whose company she has yet to join. If you’re interested in how to try this art form yourself, check out this link to GGW’s contest announcement for that month. For some other superb examples of scanned  images (botanical and otherwise), look at Scannography Artists’ website.

Some of her personal favorites  include “Glory Mirror,” “Green Texture Corsage,” and “Glory,” shown below.

Glory Mirror, Liz Reed, morning glories, scanography

"Glory Mirror" by Liz Reed

Green Texture Corsage, Liz Reed, scanography

"Green Texture Corsage" by Liz Reed

Glory, Liz Reed, scanography

"Glory" by Liz Reed

Liz now creates her scans with a new Epson scanner and some updated software. She had a show of many of the images in her Etsy store at Gallery in the Square before it closed. I’m contemplating redecorating my guest bedroom soon, and I can just picture some of her images, framed on the walls, as wonderful additions to the room. So check out her art at Garden Capture – I know you’ll enjoy it.

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15 Comments on “Capturing Beauty from the Garden”

  1. Susan Hirsch Says:

    Dear Liz,
    I just purchased your July Tapestry from Etsy – It is gorgeous! I was wondering if you would mind if I did a post on your photos on my website, – I would want to use one of your photos and talk about your Etsy site.
    Susan Hirsch

  2. I’d never thought of using a scanner in this way. These images are stunning, thank you for featuring them.

    • Melissa Says:

      Aren’t they amazing? I hope you’ll take a look at her other images on the Etsy site, even if they don’t ship to the UK (who knows, perhaps they do).

  3. Melissa-
    These are gorgeous works, thanks for sharing them – I’ll check out Liz’s Etsy.

    • Melissa Says:

      Nice to hear from you! Yes, please visit her Etsy store. I think her prices are very reasonable. And I’m still trying to figure out which ones I want to order!

  4. Sarah Says:

    I saw the GGW contest announcement for scanned flowers way back when and thought what a wonderful and cool thing to try (I haven’t yet). These are quite beautiful and I’m glad to know of this woman’s work. Love your blog!

    • Melissa Says:

      Thank you so much for the kind words about the blog – sometimes I feel as though I’m struggling to find suitable topics but this time around I know from the comments I’ve done right!

  5. John Says:

    I’m very impressed with those images. They must be incredibly tedious to create. I just couldn’t imagine getting my scanner surface dirty…

    But it’s hard to argue with the results.

    • Melissa Says:

      I think Liz really enjoys the process – and the more she’s done the better she gets at it. Hadn’t thought about getting the scanner dirty!

      Remember that there will be a presentation at NBCC next Wednesday by a scanner artist.

    • Liz Reed Says:

      Yes, they can get tedious. I think I pulled 37 different previews for July Tapestry, but I kept at it because I was learning the way the scanner reads, and it was interesting and sort of mysterious.
      They go a little faster now because i know better what’s worth fussing with.

      As far as the dirty scanner. Yes, plants exude some very gooey hard to clean stuff, not to mention pollen!! I sometimes compose on a sheet of glass, then lay that on the scanner. You can also see the composition as you build it, by raising the glass up, since you’re always working backwards as you arrange.

      After some 10,000 or so clicks with photoshops spot healing brush to clean pollen on my almost finished scans, I learned to select the black backgrounds and ‘paint-bucket’ them black.

      • Melissa Says:

        Great Photoshop tip! Not that I will be trying this any time soon, but it’s always interesting to learn the “how” as well as the inspiration behind the image.

  6. Pamela Carter Says:

    Please add my email address to your post updates.

  7. Liz Reed Says:

    Thanks so much, Melissa. Such an honor to be featured on your blog which has remained my favorite since I ran across it about a year ago!

  8. These are some of the best garden pictures that I have seen on the internet. I think you can moniterize your work by entering into a tie-up with companies like Getty images.

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