Brooke Shaden 20 Day Portfolio Challenge….Week 3

So continuing on from Week 2 in Brooke Shaden’s 20 Day Portfolio challenge.

Day # 11 Recreating an Image, Wow this is some hard soul searching stuff……..I have been going through my Flickr account for the last few years and yikes, some pretty awful stuff. However it does show just HOW MUCH I have grown artistically. The Wolf image is a very early one and oh how so much has changed, my selection technique was poor, the colours don’t blend well, the background is messy and blah, the shadows and lighting is all wrong. The Second image is from 12 months ago and such an improvement. My Model, my studio, my own lighting and backdrop. The blending could still do with a little work, but it was one of my very first created shoots and I love so much about it, the start of my colour palette can be seen, as well as more evolved lighting techniques. The last one is one of more recent and still one of my favourites…… has everything that is my current work, the colour palette, the de-saturated tones and pop of colour, beautifully selected, flowing fabric and hair, and petals. Truly joyous photo. It was so serene and calm to shoot, to edit and I still love to look at it. 

Image may contain: 1 person
Image may contain: one or more people and text Fairy Princess-2
The things is, I really have not wish to re create any of these, perhaps I could re edit, but I have no wish to re shoot them, what’s done is done.
Day # 12 Working with Symbolism 
Symbolism, this is something I have been trying to do more and more. Sometimes a picture is just a picture, but at other times so much more. I posted an image last night – which I did not plan out like I normally, and I didn’t have a story when it came to editing, it doesn’t quite ‘gel’ I asked other artists what they thought and I got similar, yet at time conflicting takes on the image. I get that the balloon and bear represent a child or childhood, the bright light represents heaven or the afterlife. Does the red dress represent death? I think the long deep dark shadows represent a passage of time, or perhaps they are too dark. The overall colour scheme represents warm and happiness which is conflicting with the other parts of the image. Perhaps she is reflecting on the happy times with her lost child, while mourning the sadness of this loss? I want to try and re edit this in different colours and see how that changes the image. Also how would it look without the balloons and the bear?  Symbolism is not something I have used all that much and I would like to explore further.

The most common ways of portraying a symbol are through colors and props. Write down 5 colors you enjoy using in your work and/or five props you enjoy using. Now write down all of the different meanings those things could have. For example, I like to use red, which can be seen as love, blood, death, romance, passion, fire, etc. I love to use lanterns in my images, which could symbolize lighting your path, inner strength, and more.

I love red for passion, blue for calm, purple and orange and white for hope, I don’t use much green. Black for death or despair, dark blue for sadness or loss.

I use a lot of birds and angel wings; beauty, hope, peace, strength, freedom. I also use moon, and lanterns and water………more inner peace, strength, inner light, guidance, acceptance. So perhaps I use more symbolism than I at first thought.

Day # 13 Diving into Concept

Concept is something I struggled with at first, with my art I often let my Muse take me where she wants to go, sometimes a piece starts out a certain way and ends up somewhere else. But my photography was different, at first I was listless wandering aimlessly all over the place, learning new styles, new techniques, eventually I started to develop my own style. Ultimately it was coming across Brooke’s work that I found myself, I followed her work, her Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube accounts (I turned into a stalker lol), I took some of her Creative Live course and really started to make my Concept Art. I did a few workshops locally with Conceptual Portrait Artists as well. My first Conceptual series, I was terrified, I thought no one would get it………but it was a huge success. The Masks We Wear, was a small but simple concept shoot, that led me onto grander plans.

I have found of late, when I look back on my images my favourite ones are the ones in which I have spent weeks or even months planning; colours, props, models, costumes, locations, and most of all stories………I love to tell stories. I guess that is what my concept shoots are all about, not necessarily true stories, mostly dark fantasy. I love to examine dark, weird and slightly creepy side of human nature and morality. My Dapper Rabbit series went so dark and gruesome, we all had a blast I have so many friends working on that with me, my entire family are in it and it is still on going, I have invested over 1 year into this series.


My Vintage Circus was a collaboration with two other photographers and was months in the planning and one day to shoot. I still have people compliment me on that shoot.

My Avalon series was shot in one afternoon and was fabulous, the stories are not overly complex, just simple little tales, as is the ongoing Girl in the Red Dress Series, which there really is no continuous story line, but a lot of little stories, but all have a red dress in common.

Choose one Concept to focus on for the year…………….oh dear that would be difficult. I have one that I would like to start and it is loosely based on Tarot Cards, heavily symbolised as one would expect. But I have not moved past the planning stage really.

Inspiration for next series

Day # 14 Delivering your Message

I actually had to write an Artist Bio and Statement recently, I was scared silly, I had never written one before, actually I wasn’t even sure of the difference, Google………my friend. I also asked a few artists I admire and trust for help. In the end it wasn’t as hard as I first thought;

Moving beyond the realm of simple photography, Julie Powell creates surreal, whimsical and fantastical works of Digital Art, often capturing emotion and moments in time along with symbolism to explore reality on a slightly different level.

Born in Melbourne and living there her whole life, surrounded by a vibrant and exciting art community. While not classically trained, she is mostly self-taught with a background in graphic art and design, Julie has transitioned from more traditional art forms to the digital art medium, often depicting images in her own unique painterly style. Being published both online and in Magazines, Julie is a regular contributor to Living the Photo Artistic Life Magazine, and was featured artist in August 2016 Issue. As an Artistic Coach and Mentor for the Awake Program, as well a member of the Kaizen Project, Julie thrives on helping and encouraging other emerging digital artists, and is widely active and respected throughout the digital artist community.

Three images I would show to match my elevator pitch to explain what I do.

Day # 15 Creating something new

  1. What is your signature color and lighting palette?
  2. What idea do you most like to explore?
  3. How can you use symbolism to enhance your concept?
  4. What new technique can you use to enhance the image?
  5. What do you want your viewers to understand from this new creation?

This is actually something I have been thinking about, I love to work with a series, it allows me to explore the topic and get the most out of it. There is often a story behind the series, or even a series of stories within a single idea; The Red Dress for example.

My new series for this year is loosely based on the Tarot Cards, there is Major Arcana and Minor arcana and all have symbolism and hidden meanings, they can even be flipped or inverted and have the opposite meaning. There are 21 Major Arcana cards, including well known ones, The Fool, Death, The Lovers, The Hanged Man. I am sure that this can keep me in digital art for many months. Each one lovingly created from start to finish.

The High Priestess

The High Priestess holds the key to the secrets of the universe, passion, science and wisdom. Secretive and sensual, the High Priestess is mostly tied to sexuality, sensuality, femininity, the moon (Stability and wisdom) and inspiration, fitting she is the first in this series.

~ Julz