Maggie Ayres

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Newsletter - December 2008

Welcome to the December edition of the Newsletter.

It's difficult to believe another year is drawing to a close. In fact it has gone so fast I was still working on the November Newsletter when I realised it was halfway through December already. However, I hope to make it up to you with not one, but 2 high resolution images for you to download.

This month's theme is about how photographs can be digitally manipulated to provide inspiration for final artworks, and how pictures of artworks can be digitally manipulated to provide inspiring images.

So, coming up in this newsletter:

Burns Light
Spring Fling Selection
Manipulating Images
Video of Altered Images (not the 80's pop band)
High Resolution Images for you to Download

Current Events

Milngavie, Glasgow

Just a reminder I am still exhibiting some of my work in the Christmas Art Show at the Lillie Art Gallery, Milngavie, Glasgow until 20th December.

Forthcoming Events

Burns Light

As part of the national Homecoming 2009 programme in Scotland, on the 25th January 2009 there are to be mass lantern processions weaving through Dumfries, South Scotland to celebrate the 250th Birthday of Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet and bard.

There will also be live music and a spectacular fire sculpture show. Lantern making workshops will be taking place throughout the region and I will be one of the artists involved. For more information go to

Spring Fling 2009

I have been selected for "Spring Fling 2009", the open studio event across Dumfries and Galloway at the end of May. More news on that to follow.


Manipulating Images

This month I thought I would focus on the manipulation of digital images as a design tool.

In the video "Altered Images" below, I talk about how an initial photograph, e.g. of an interesting texture or shape, once enhanced and changed by means of a computer, can lead to a further source of inspiration in my work as shadows and forms produce more hidden worlds to explore and develop.

However, I also like to take further steps by altering photographic images of finished pieces themselves. These may then be used to produce prints in their own right, or indeed act as additional ideas for more development.

Most often I desaturate these images to produce black and white. I love the amazing subtlety and gradations of grey this creates. This is what I did with a detail from "Entangled"

detail of "Entangled" . image desaturated to black and white
Left - detail of "Entangled" Right - image desaturated to black and white

Now I start playing about with the brightness, contrast, and the amount of grey in particular areas of black or white.

Levels of black and white are manipulated
Levels of black and white are manipulated

Taking this to an extreme means I can end up with an image considerably different from the one with which I began. I can't help but feel there's something very Gothic about the one below, which I would never have seen without the digital manipulation.

Levels of black and white are manipulated even further

Video of Altered Images


Download a free high-resolution image for your own wall or computer desktop

These are manipulated images from photos I took to inspire my work. The one on the left was a tangle of seaweed with a wonderful piece of irridescent stone glimpsing behind. I decided to leave the colour of the stone while converting the seaweed to black and white, thereby emphasising the lines rather than being distracted by the greenish colour of it. The one on the right began as the froth of the wake behind a boat. Once dropped into black and white, the shapes became sharper, and this was emphasised far more strongly when I then inverted the image, effectively turning it into a negative.


Right-click on each image and select Save Target As. You can then save the images on your computer and print them off on photographic or watercolour paper at up to A4 size without losing any quality, or use them as desktop backgrounds for your computer.

Be advised that the images are approximately 2MB big, so might take a little while to download

If you run into any difficulties then please let me know.


Questions and Comments:

I would very much like to hear from you. Please email me with any questions about my artwork, or with ideas of things you'd like to see and read in future editions of this newsletter.

And finally, if you know of anyone who you think might be interested in receiving this newsletter, please point them to to sign up.

Wishing you all the best until next time,



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