Monday, September 26, 2011

One of those days...

  A vintage Peanuts postcard from the site
We all have them. The bad days when nothing seems to go right. Today was one for me. I have a bad cold which doesn't help things but I have a lot of work to do in the next few weeks. So today I decided to work again on converting one of my paintings into a digital print.

Did you ever read the Charlie Brown comics or maybe you watched one of their shows? Do you remember how Snoopy's arch enemy was the Red Baron? He would engage in battles with his WW1 flying adversary and more often than not the engagements would end with Snoopy's dog house riddled with bullet holes and Snoopy shaking his fist at the sky shouting, "Curse you, Red Baron!"

I feel a lot like Snoopy but when I raise my fist, it is not so much up to the sky as it is to the left of my computer screen where my arch enemy sits--my Epson R1900 printer. I think when it was delivered it should have had bright yellow tape on it saying 'Caution: This machine has the capacity to reduce you to tears.'

I bought my Epson printer in the spring with visions of quickly mastering the whole process of making digital prints. Dreams are lovely aren't they? I had a good scanner, a good computer and now I had a great printer. I thought it would be simple. The only problem is that they all need to work together. I have spent so many hours trying to get them to do just that. I have read manuals, online articles and consulted a number of people. I have a binder filled with tips, instructions and recommendations. I ended up buying new software for my scanner which allows me more precise control. I bought a calibrator for my computer monitor so that the colours are true. I have bought the right ink and several kinds of expensive paper. I purchased the full version of Photoshop.

Photoshop and I have also had a rocky start to our relationship together. In the past, I've been pretty quick to learn new software and have often had an intuitive sense of how to do things. With Photoshop, it's like I'm in a foreign country or more like on an alien planet. I've taken some online tutorials and had some lessons from a few people in my circle and am very slowly starting to feel my way around it.

I have started by choosing a flower painting I like very much to convert into my first print. I haven't shown this particular painting to you yet. I tend to paint in a detailed way with delicate colours and this painting, once scanned, has required a lot of time getting the colours right and making sure that the image's white background was clean.

This afternoon as I sat trying to make some final adjustments to get the image on my screen looking more like my original, I spilled coffee on my painting. I am so lucky that it did not hit the center of the painting. It hit the border. I rushed to the sink to rinse it off but the coffee stain is still there. It won't show in the prints and I think I will be able to trim the sides of my painting but I felt so sad and discouraged at that moment. I could feel the tears starting to come.

When I finally got to the point of printing my image, I initially got the message that my printer did not exist. (Was it perhaps wishful thinking on my part?) When the image finally did successfully go through the printer, the colours were much darker than they were in the Photoshop image. This has been the ongoing problem with my test print runs. I'll think I've made progress and then I'm back to square one. Oh Snoopy, I know how you feel. My eldest daughter saw my tearful state and sat down with me and patiently and kindly manipulated the Photoshop image (changing colours here, saturation levels there). In the end, what we did was make the image on the screen lighter to compensate for the darkening effect of the printer. She then suggested gently that I go for a walk with Meeko. When I returned she had successfully printed an image that looks remarkably like my painting. I won't show it to you today, but I will soon. For the moment, I'm very thankful for the help I received today and have a teensy bit of hope that I am getting a closer to my digital print goals.


  1. My youngest son has heard me say, on very rare occasions, "I figured it out myself!!!" He is also used to hearing, on many more occasions, "I gave birth to you so you could by my computer consultant."

  2. froggy--yes indeed, what would we do without them? I was previously the V.P. of Tech Services in our household so this whole experience has been very humbling. :)

  3. Mine is the exact opposite...the image prints lighter than what you see on the computer. So frustrating!!!

  4. Rebekka--Misery loves company! I think I'm finally making progress. I'm printing when the image on my screen looks lighter than I think it should. So hard, as I'm used to trusting my eye.


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