Posted by: Elaine Woo | July 11, 2014

Franschhoek Graveyard

I visited Franschhoek’s historical graveyard behind the monument and took these pics. Its a smallish area but has been an active graveyard from the 1800’s until quite recently suggesting that family plots purchased long ago were still being used. I morbidly wondered what it must be like to know your family plot during your life, to be anchored by the knowledge of where your remains will someday lie. It was visually fascinating as a place of rich decay with gravel, sand, lichens, iron, grass and marble all exposed to the weather, all somewhat neglected, slowly giving up to the forces of nature.




Its also a place of culture and the archivist, archaeologist and craftsman in me was excited by a visual feast of materials, styles and customs. I barely took note of names, I was perhaps avoiding that, as I focused on the various types of headstone, edgings, and decorations. I particularly liked the tree trunk headstones, which I had never seen before. A tree represents the beauty of life, but as a stump it is a life cut short. Apparently cut-off branches represent other deceased family members.


I also enjoyed looking at the flowers left by mourners and visitors. Some fresh, some fake, all returning to dust. They are placed and left behind to decay in a beautiful process that neither the giver nor receiver sees. Other visitors simply leave a stone.






Flowers-7  Flowers-6



Posted by: Elaine Woo | March 21, 2013

All Suffering Soon to End

Simon commissioned me to enhance a photograph of his and gave me complete freedom to do what I wanted. So I thought I’d create a more interesting, idyllic background to the outdoor lunch scene in the original and was looking about for something to use when a Jehova’s Witness pamphlet landed in my postbox. It struck me immediately, and not in the way its authors intended. So I ran off to the scanner with items in hand and then set to immediately in Photoshop.


And what was Simon’s response? “I LOVE IT!!  You hear that, Pete? You and me! We will end all suffering. Together. And soon. With wine. And what looks like slap chips.”

Original photo


Original pamphlet:


I took care to try and match textures and colours between the originals and it was a nice challenge. I certainly wasn’t suffering when I created this composite, in fact it was fun all the way!

Posted by: Elaine Woo | March 18, 2013

Minecraft Mansion Competition

Looking back on my first building competition on the Kwiksoft (local South African) minecraft server. The theme was ‘Mansions’ and I decided to build a dirt mansion, inspired by this pic of a 19th century adobe fort in the USA.

The pic that inspired the building.


A view of the virtual build.


It has an inner courtyard – a feature I’ve always loved.

Hey don’t laugh, my mansion was one of the winners, and I am now a server Admin!


Here is a movie I made about it.

And a much better movie, featuring all the winning mansions, made by Sandbox Studios.

Posted by: Elaine Woo | December 19, 2012

My Vintage Collection Showing at Red Gallery

A small show of my collection of vintage photography has opened at Red Gallery in Kalk Bay (now no longer there). These are from my collection of mid century vernacular slide photographs. Visit my other site Back In The Day to see more. I’ve been turning up such treasures and getting fantastic results in Photoshop.

Main Road Kalk Bay:

Main Road Kalk Bay

It was difficult to choose which images to print and frame as there were so many good ones.


Gallery manager Peta Sarkis sourced some really nice vintage furniture to go with the display and I made two funky cushions.


Thanks, Peta!


Posted by: Elaine Woo | July 26, 2012

The Dudes went to Delft today

I made this behind glass painting on 3 layers of glass a couple of years ago. It is traced from a vintage advertisement for men’s underpants. Wayhay! I know my rendering isn’t too great but it was part of a project to teach myself how to paint in reverse on glass … I did a series of them just for fun.

When Ronald arrived to work in the garden today, he spotted it on the side of our outside bath where I had put it to cheer up the outdoor area and he instantly fell in love, and begged me to make him a duplicate. I’ll never do the same thing twice so, as it was his birthday, I gave it to him. Thus the dudes went to home to Delft with Ronald today. I will miss them.

The subject matter is cheesy and the rendering is bad, it didn’t sell in a gallery, it’s not going to hang in a mansion in Camps Bay, but it made me incredibly happy that someone really wanted it. It reminded me that is what art is all about. Express, make, show, love, have. That’s all that counts. Now it really is time for me to make some more art.

Posted by: Elaine Woo | July 15, 2012

Fire and brimstone – literally

Another bizarre scene on the Cape Flats. I spotted this church in Athlone with a burnt neon light cross. A quick drive-by glance sent me zipping around the block to return for some pics. The desolate grey winter weather, spidery branches and forlorn pigeons added to the delicious and deeply dreadful atmosphere created by the scorch marks on the wall. One friend commented he thinks he can see the face of the devil in those black marks. Fire and brimstone indeed.

Indulgent close up:

I needed to do a little PhotoShopping, combining two original images, straightening and cleaning them up, shuffling the pigeons around, removing a plastic bag, as well as doing colour and curve correction. Here are the originals I worked from:

Posted by: Elaine Woo | April 18, 2012

Recycled wall in Lavender Hill

Yesterday driving through Lavender Hill on the Cape Flats I passed this wall and quickly snapped a pic with my phone. There had been a mural on the wall then, it seemed, the wall had been taken down and finally put back up with some of the same cement bricks. But the mural had not been pieced back together. Resulting in random coloured blocks among the gray ones.

I like the way it looks. This unintentional, abstract and softly textured arrangement is rather pleasing. I wonder why they took it down then put it back up. I wonder what the other side looks like. I wonder why I wonder.

Posted by: Elaine Woo | December 31, 2011

SupaStella comic

Using pics made in Vintage Studio and another app called ComicBook, I created the following story involving ourselves, our friends Goeff and Gina and their baby daughter Stella. Who knew I could make comics!?

Posted by: Elaine Woo | December 31, 2011

Vintage Portraits

Its a craze. I’m hooked. Here we are as our vintage selves. Done with Absolute Vintage Studio for iPad. They have used genuine vintage photographs as masks, you just add your face. You can even add vintage cigars, moustaches and spectacles.




Posted by: Elaine Woo | December 16, 2011

Happy snap from Mom’s 70th

At Mom’s 70th birthday party. Mom, Gran, me and Pete. Thermal photo effect with my iPad.


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