Sunday, August 1, 2010

Of X-Rays & Scans

Last week was some kind of busy. A week ago I was picking flowers in my sisters and sister-in-law’s gardens and flower beds looking forward to big bouquets and playing around with scanning a few. Yesterday, I spent the day in a hospital with my daughter and the wasband as we awaited the procedure that would mend a little boy’s broken elbow. How much can change in a jump from a trampoline!  On Friday afternoon, my grandson jumped off a trampoline falling on his left elbow.  After a few phone calls we were off to the doctor for x-rays and the news that yes indeed he fractured his elbow.  A half-cast wrapped with ace bandages was applied to the injury and we were sent home, but needed to arrive at the hospital early Saturday morning.  The procedure went well and with a group sigh of relief the healing process began. Today he's back to normal, except for one full arm cast that reaches from small shoulder to wiggling fingers.

I’m learning more and more about scan art and thought I’d share with you what I’ve learned so far.
Judy's Caladiums

Pick & Drink
My first scans were just-picked blossoms that I brought in and scanned. The flowers faded quickly, of course. As a long-time flower arranger I know that taking a container of water to the garden with me is the best way to go. The optimal time for picking is early morning before the sun has had a chance to dry things out. Doing it right means cutting, plunging the stems into water, and placing the thirsty plants in a cool place to drink in as much water as possible. I cut in the morning and scan the following morning allowing plenty of time for flowers to drink. The turgid flowers hold up much longer allowing for arranging and rearranging without drooping.

Circle of Flowers

I was in the midst of scanning some black-eyed susans when the neighbor brought home my grandson holding his arm. Everything came to a stand still. As phone calls were made and a trip to the doctor ruled the rest of the day. I got back to the scanner with the black-eyed susans waiting patiently many hours later. I went ahead and scanned before removing the wilted flowers from the scanner bed. I was amazed that the scan came out so well. That’s what a water-filled flower will do…it will simply last longer.
Annie's Black-Eyed Susans
You can lay flowers on the scanner and give it a good zap or you can arrange. I found the best way to go is try to envision how your scan will look. Do a little prearranging on a flat surface. I use the wood cutting board from an antique Hoosier cabinet. I lay out how I want it to look and then place the arrangement on the scanner in the same way.

Don’t forget that your arrangement will be face down.

Nancy's New Hydrangea
Nothing Extra Necessary

  • I’ve read some tutorials that talk about Photoshop, but you don’t need it to scan. I don’t have Photoshop, Lightshop, or anything special outside of Picasa, Paint, and Flickr. All three are free or come with Windows. Here’s a quick tutorial for scanning using Paint:

  • Open Paint. Click on File. Find From Scanner or Camera and click on it.

  • A box will come up that with three selections: Preview Scan Cancel

  • Click on Preview. If you like what you see, go ahead and click scan. If you don’t, change things about and click Preview again to see the changes. 

  • Once you’re satisfied with the Preview choose Scan. A large picture will come up in Paint.
Now you need to save your scan as a jpg:

  • Click on File, Save As
  • A box will come up asking you to choose a file to store your scan in. I suggest making a new file just for your bloom scans.
  • Give your scan a title
  • Change 24-bit, Bitmap, etc to jpg by clicking on the Save as type drop down menu.
  • Hit Save and you’re done!

Summer Hots

Tweaking and modifying in Picasa or through Flickr’s partnership with Picnik is another story and about personal taste, but give it a try. You can do all kinds of things from changing the photo to black & white to adding a glow or softening.

Yep, I’ve fallen in love with scan art. It goes hand in hand with photography adding a new and fun layer to the image repertoire. I sure hope you give it a try.

“Your creativity is waiting for you like a dancing partner.”
                                                                           ~ Barbara Sher


  1. Dear Teresa, I do very much hope that the accident with the trampoline has not proved too serious and that all will be restored to normality soon.

    Your scanned pictures are wonderful. You are rapidly becoming true professional!

  2. Edith Hope...the little fellow is doing well. We had good news when the doctor told us his elbow would require no pins. The cast is troublesome to a 7 year old, but he's handling it well.

    I'm blushing at your kind comments. Scanning flowers brings together three things that I love: flower arranging, photography, and art. The more I scan, the more I'm learning the nuances of the craft.

    Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful day!

  3. Hi Teresa. These little ones get so many bangs and pumps. I hope he will be fine soon and proud of the cast LOL!
    Oh my, how beautiful your scans are. I am boggled by them. You know I will have to try this now LOL!

  4. Hello Lona...he's offering up his casted arm for signatures and art, but overall, he's a bit grouchy and out of sorts that he can't play like usual. Unfortunately he's a leftie and broke his left elbow.

    Do try flower scanning. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the results.

    Thanks for your kind thoughts.

  5. Teresa - BTW Stats? Right click on my StatCounter logo, or my ClustrMap for 2 possibilities.
    And I have just fallen for this, since you are also a blogspot!

  6. Dear Theresa O,
    SO sorry to hear about your grandson!!! It's a strange experience to break a bone. Not fun.

    On the other hand, your scans are filled with beauty and hope!

  7. Oh, that second to last scan is surely art! You are getting practice, I see. Thank you so much for the tip, as I keep wanting to try this, and I'd hate to carve the time out of my day to do so and be dealing with wilted flowers.

    Best wishes for your grandson's quick and full healing. I know breaking a bone is painful (and later on itchy and boring, shhh, don't tell him yet ;). But it sounds like the prognosis is excellent!

  8. thank goodness he is doing better. i will say a bit of a prayer for him. : )

    the summer hots!!!

  9. Diana...Thanks for the information. I'll look into all this soon.

    Constance...thankyou for stopping by and for your kind thoughts and comments. Oh the resilience of children, it's truly amazing.

    Meredith...I don't blame you a bit for not wanting to deal with wilting flowers. I keep containers of water handy to set them back into after scanning. When I'm done all the flowers go into a bowl filled with water that sets on the dining room table.

    The little fellow's arm has all ready starting itching beneath the cast, which has set the scene for some frustrating moments.

  10. Christina...thank you for your thoughts and prayer. I love Summer Hots, too. As you can see I'm playing around with all sorts of things. I'll blog about some of my crazy ideas soon.


  11. I think I have fallen in love with scan art solely based on your beautiful photos :-) I love the white hydrangea especially.

  12. Hi Noelle...So glad you stopped by. I've become enraptured by scan art. It just seems to go hand in hand with photography, but adds a new dimension to the visuals. I'm crazy about hydrangeas and can't get enough of the flouncy balls of blossoms. Thanks for your kind comments.

  13. Beautiful! I'm seeing this everywhere lately, so I'll have to try it. I even saw one at HomeGoods that was framed in the art department.

  14. Teresa,

    these are beautiful. I especially love the Summer Hots. It seems to be everyone's favorite, but its just so beautifully done. Great contrast!!

    Love ya,

  15. Isn't scanning addictive? I like how the depth of field quickly drops off from a highly detailed petal to the soft, blur of blooms in the background. There's a romantic mood about it - as with your photo of the white hydrangeas.

  16. I think you must have a special talent because all your scans are simply fabulous; each one better than the next. Thanks for the tutorial. I hope to have a go some day.That is if I can find room for another hobby!


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