Saturday, March 30, 2013

Beyond Layers Day 99 : Reflection

Today for Beyond Layers, Kim asked us to reflect on our accomplishments of the past year, and look toward the new year.   Maybe I took this assignment a little too literally.  With the melting snow,  there are lots of puddles around.  One night as the sun was setting, I saw this lovely peachy color in the tree reflection at my feet.  I ran to get the camera ...  Lovely!


Day 98 Beyond Layers Wallpaper

For today's Beyond Layers Lesson, Kim encouraged us to design some computer desktop wallpaper.  So I took a few of my favorite photos from the past and resized them for MacBook Air and iPad (because that's what I have at home).  The hardest part was resizing them to the appropriate aspect ratios. 

The top pic is a Macro-in-a-Mason-Jar from a lamp I have--a Mason jar filled with Christmas ornaments.  I won't apologize for loving bling!  It made me happy.   I actually did use this one as wallpaper for a time.

 I caught this little whirlpool last summer on a trip to Alaska.  We went out kayaking for an afternoon.
It's similar to the ready-made wallpaper I picked for my iPad--the one with water ripples.  I'll try this one out for a while and see how it goes.  

Here's another one from our trip to Alaska last summer.  This is the train coming in to Denali National Park.  My husband caught this shot.  I always thought it looked like a postcard.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Beyond Layers Day 96 : Another Photo Challenge

Kim's assignment this week was to process another of Kim's sample pics with a given texture. 
Here is my rendering.  

Photo Processing Layer by Layer
Layer 1 : Kim's sample pic
Layer 2 : Copy Layer 1 -
                RadLab : Vanilla Kiss - Fuzzy Navel - EZ Burn 2 - Rusty Cage
Layer 3 :  Text - Papyrus Normal Blend Mode - 73% opacity
Layer 4 : Kim Klassen's Magic Chalk Texture ; Screen blend mode

Kim's sample pic :


Missives from Quilt Camp

Quilt Camp this Winter/Spring was at Silver Birch Ranch not far from where I grew up in Northern Wisconsin.   It was a "Do Your Own Thing" Weekend with quilters and scrapbookers.  So I didn't feel bad working on PhotoShop there, either.   I actually spent some time working on the Baba Yaga's Cottage banner posted last week.  ;-)

The Threaded Timber Tree (by HD Designs) above was the main project I wanted to work on this weekend.  I got it cut out on Friday night (Not as bad as you might think with the proper tools--a little tiny rotary cutter and some sharp scissors with a spring to open them).   I even managed to do some decent mitered corners on the borders.  Those are always a challenge for me.  Now to let it sit and simmer a while, while I figure out how to quilt it ...

I had this quilt top (It was a kit from Connecting Threads a while back) done at home, but I wanted to sandwich it for quilting on the big tables we'd have available at Quilt Camp.  I have a pretty good set-up for quilting at home now, but not for laying it out and doing the sandwiching.     I'm still thinking about just HOW to quilt it --  I'm getting closer to a final quilting design. 

Here's a closeup of the flying geese.  I used the 1-seam method to make the geese, so there are little pockets behind the triangles.   The single seam runs perpendicular down the back of the triangle.  I love this method! 

This was the entrance to our cabin.   Made me wish I'd brought a long my skis and  ice skates--Yes!  They had a little skating rink right outside the main lodge.

My mom and me at Quilt Camp.  It's been a while since we could do this together.   

The last project I worked on Sunday Morning was a cover for my Mom's calendar.  No pattern, just cut and designed to fit her calendar.   That's a challenge in itself, and always takes longer than it should.  I free-motion stitched it for her to add an added layer of texture and dimension to it.  My mom is a great quilter in her own right (She does a lot with the applique wall hangings and special stitches.), but she doesn't do free-motion quilting like this, so she appreciated it even more.    And I got to keep a chunk of the leftover fabric.  Love this Olokun blue!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Beyond Layers Day 94 : Circle Play

This week at Beyond Layers II, Kim gave us a lesson on Circles, using the elliptical marquee tool to make a blog header (or some such).   My theme is Baba Yaga, the iconic witch from Russian folk tales.  You know the one whose house dances around on chicken legs.    I have been fascinated with that since I first heard the story.  

The image of her cottage is from my own sketchbook.    I had to add the bird tracks to the empty space below the title.  It was begging for it!  Another important symbol associated with Baba Yaga is the flaming skull.   The stripes are from an alabere (stitched resist) cloth from Nigeria.  I thought it looked kind of like the birch forest where Baba Yaga lived. 

Would you believe the background texture is a picture from the sub-floor in our kitchen?  It's true -- Gotta preserve that before it get's ripped up in the renovation!

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Beyond Layers Day 93 : Clarity

This week in Beyond Layers II, Kim asked us to think about Clarity in our lives.   
I decided to make it a visual meditation with the above image.  

Layer 1 : Background Image
Here is my original image, taken last summer in front of our brand new flat-screen tv.  
It made a marvelous backdrop!  The sun was streaming in from above with a divine light.  
In truth, I am pleased with this image as is--and still I played with layers ...


Layer 2 : Black and White
Layer 3 : Kim Klassen's Clarity Texture; Multiply Blend Mode 37%
Layer 4 : Text "Clarity" in Ruthie Font with Diamond Edge Style
Layer 5 : Text "Sometimes..." Papyrus Font with Scalloped Edge Style

I wasn't happy with the flat fonts until I added the layer styles.  It gave the words some "life" and definition on that black background.  Really helped the text to blend in with the classic black and white of the rose. 


Sunday, March 03, 2013

Beyond Layers Day 92 : My Take Winter

This week, Kim gave us another one of her pics to work up as we liked.  This is my version.

Photo Processing Layer by Layer :
Layer 1 : Kim's Background Image "Winter"
Layer 2 : Cropped to focus on the foreground and the patch of golden hour sun
Layer 3 : Coffee Shop Blog's Velvet Peach Action  Normal Blend Mode  53% opacity
Layer 4 : Kim Klassen's Warm Sun Texture - Linear Burn 32%
Layer 5 : Text for quote - Rough Typewriter Font (just because it has a Walden Pond feel to it).
Shawn Mullins is one of my favorite singer-songwriters.  He's a great storyteller, with a lot of memorable lines.  I was thinking about the golden hour sunlight being a reminder of that simple state of grace.

I played around with trying to highlight/lighten/frost an oval behind the words, but I don't think I have that technique figured out yet.  Or I didn't take sufficient notes to do it myself ...  Maybe I'll have to sign up for another year of Beyond Layers?  ;-)

Here's Kim's original Winter Pic that we all started with :


Photo-Heart Connection February 2013

Walking the dogs around the neighborhood one evening last week, we saw this magnificent tree with the full moon in it's branches.  We ran home to get the camera and snap some pics before the moon rose above the branches.

While we were standing there admiring the tree and snapping pics, some of the neighbors came out to see what was so interesting (Possum? Owl? Accident?)  No just the moon in this old oak tree! 

One guy was working on his truck in the driveway.  This tree lives in front of the house he's renting.  He informed us that it would be cut down one day soon because it's causing havoc with the sewer system. 

It makes me sad to think that the fate of this magnificent tree--older than any one of us standing there that night--older than anyone currently living in the neighborhood--is in jeopardy as humanity encroaches on it yet again.  Sigh!  I've admired this tree for years, and finally felt moved to take a picture--before it was too late.    Can trees get Historic status?  Or is my role to simply be a witness to its beauty this mid-winter night?

As for the processing on this image, I did a little spot-healing in the neighborhood to "turn off" streetlamps and porch lights.  Then I added 1 layer of Jerry Jones' Shadowhouse Creations Square-129 Texture.  This midnight blue texture has a spiral thing going on that makes a nice reflection of the radiating moonlight and tree silhouette.  Most of the picture we took are a little blurry--making me realize I need a tripod for this kind of night photography with longer shutter speeds.

Check out what other people have posted for the  February Photo-Heart Connection.

Liberate Your Art : aka The Joys of Seeing Your Work in Print

My professionally-printed post cards came this week!  They look beautiful!  Thank you!
20 postcards with my very own images for about $23 including shipping.

All of the images I chose for printing were class assignments from Kim Klassen's Beyond Layers 2 online class.  There's about 5 weeks left.  I may have to sign up for the 2013 round, as I'll miss the weekly lessons.  It's become a regular part of my week.  I've learned so much about photography and PhotoShop Elements this past year.  

My friend Lynda said this would be a big step for me--to see my work professionally printed.  Glossy.  Wow!  I feel like an official artist--like I've "arrived" or something.   Good stuff!

This is for the 2013 Liberate Your Art Postcard Exchange hosted by Kat Sloma at Kat Eye Studio.
I sent off my contributions on Saturday.  In April, I will get 6 postcards back from other participating artists.  Something to look forward to ...