Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tourmaline Eye Candy

 Today I've been reviewing some of my past jewelry designs as I prepare to make some new pieces.
This lovely piece is one of my favorites.  Doesn't the multicolored tourmaline make you think of a nice juicy piece of watermelon?
I added the gooseberry green shade of grossular garnet and magenta colored stick pearls along with some sterling silver and Swarovski crystals.  This lovely is available for purchase along with matching earrings.

Thanks for the well wishes for the Linn Creek Art Fest last month.  It was beastly hot, but we were blessed with a shady spot again this year.  The turn out was wonderful and I had a very good day.  The only down side for me was waking up quite sick with heat exhaustion the next day.  I learned that staying hydrated wasn't enough for me when spending a very long day with temps in the high 90's.

We are finally getting some rain in our parched drought-stricken area.  Even the birds seem happier!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mixed Media ATC's with Dragonflies

I've created a series of ATC's following most of the same techniques I explained in my last post.  This is a scan of one of them.
If you're in the area, I hope you'll stop by my tent this Sunday at the Linn Creek Art Fest in Marshalltown.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dragonflies will be at Linn Creek Art Fest 2012

Here's a sneak peak at mixed media art I've been working on.  I'll have a booth at the Linn Creek Art Festival in Marshalltown this coming Sunday, July 15, 2012 from 10 - 4.  This is a fun art festival with plenty to entertain the whole family in addition to the beautiful art you can see.

In addition to mixed media art, I will have acrylic paintings and jewelry.

This art piece was started on acrylic paper which is really just a heavy water media paper.  I think it has a different sizing than regular water color paper.  After applying washes of acrylic paint and allowing the paint to dry, I added visual texture with an acrylic transfer. 

To make an acrylic transfer-
Choose a laser or toner copy of clip art (I used copy of a floral design from a Dover royalty free book.) and adhere it face down to the art surface using matte or gloss gel medium.  Rub the paper to make sure there are no air bubbles, but be careful to not get any medium onto the top of the paper.  Allow the medium to thoroughly dry which can take several hours to over night, especially in humid conditions.
Now you will wet the paper you adhered to your art. 

A damp cloth works well to help keep the paper moist as the paper gets softened.  When it starts to look translucent, rub the paper and it will peel or curl up from the surface, leaving the toner image behind on your art.  If your image is coming up as you rub, you didn't adhere it with enough medium or it wasn't thoroughly dry.  Occasionally, you may be rubbing too hard.  I find Golden gel medium has very consistent results.  I've used Liquitex, too, but its gel is not as creamy as Golden and is trickier to apply evenly for this type of application.

Keep rubbing away the paper until the milky appearance is gone.  As the surface dries, you may find that you haven't removed as much paper as you thought!  Just keep wetting the surface and rub away.

I added more layers of matte medium and paint over the transfer.  I also used Caran D'Ache water soluble crayons, Inktense pencils and water soluble graphite to enhance the surface.  The transfer was very bold and I wanted to push it way back so my dragonfly clipping and text could be the stars.  The background was still a bit intense for my purposes, so I stenciled the vines with gesso and added more color glazes on it.  I also used a bit of interference paint in one of the glaze layers.
In person, the result is reminiscent of encaustic. 

The dragonfly is my personal clip art.  Last fall I painted a set of dragon flies on Tim Holtz Grunge Paper for a client.  Before delivering them, I scanned them to use for clip art in future projects.  After this collaged dragonfly dried on the surface, I embellished it with Sakura gel pens and outlined it with water soluble graphite.

The text was salvaged from an old music book that I rescued from a friend's discards.

I scanned the finished art and added the border effect to the digital image.

Now it's time to finish a bit more art...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Zentangle Inspired Note Cards on Etsy!

I've been doodling like crazy, inspired by the Zentangle® method of pattern drawing.  I scanned a dozen of my favorite creations and created sets of 6 notecards.
This is the set of cards that are folded at the top.  They are available in white or cream.
These designs open to the side.  All cards are printed on cover stock and come with matching envelopes.
You can find them in my Etsy shop.  You get 6 cards and each design is different.
If you have a favorite pattern or group of patterns,  I can put together a custom order.
Something fun you can do with these cards is to color them in!  I've used colored pencil and pastel pencils.  A fun gift would be to give the cards with a set of colored pencils.
Thanks for looking!

Monday, April 30, 2012

GPP Crusade 61 - Restraining Order

This is a simple journal page for the last GPP Street Team Crusade - Restraining Order.  The challenge was to create a simple journal page that we didn't feel compelled to cover with journaling or other details.   This page started with a bit of gesso stenciled on.  The paint was scrubbed and stenciled on with leftovers from a book project.  I poured out a bit of Golden fluid acrylic for an illustration I painted and I couldn't waste those few precious drops!  That's when I started doodling the paint on the page using a pointed calligraphy nib.

This bit of ephemera happened to be on my art table.  It came from a fortune cookie.  Do something daring.  OK - I'll post this strange for me page from my journal.  And what else can I do?

I scanned the page and converted to black and white.   What if I made a digital brush?  So I did and look what happened next....

I've been all wrapped up in patterns and repetition which is what I think inspired the digital print I created.  Following are a couple Zentangles I drew.  Have you tried it yet?  It's fun and relaxing and very portable.

This is one of my favorites - probably because of the organic lines in it. 
If you have been a follower of the GPP Crusades, you know this is the last for now.  I had my page done several weeks ago, but haven't had an opportunity to post due to busy circumstances with family.  I'll always be grateful to Michelle Ward for all her generous tutorials and challenges from the past years.  You can still go back to see the crusades and do them on your own.  Go ahead.  I dare you!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Art Show at Snus Hill Winery this Saturday!

This coming Saturday I will be participating with a fun group of artists at a charming country winery that is close to the High Trestle Trail in central Iowa.
I'll have some new jewelry pieces along with some of my paintings and prints.
It's a great time to go shopping for Mothers' Day and graduations!
Come out to Snus Hill Winery on May 5, 2012 from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

More Magnolias - Vintage Style

One of the challenges of photographing Magnolias is finding a focal point when the whole tree is bursting out in blooms.  Last week there were just a few buds fully opened and I was able to get this shot by holding the camera above my head.
It's busy shot, but I was able to bring out the foreground blooms with the help of Kim Klassen's texture layers.  I added a couple layers of The Veil to the uncropped image.  Then I chose a selection to crop and add more texture.  Music Lovin' and Lilly were added to this image.  All layers were adjusted with blending modes and varying opacity.  I erased the texture from the focal blooms on all but one layer of The Veil.

The day was overcast, so I needed to adjust the levels before adding the texture layers.  There had been a soft rain earlier that afternoon.  The wet branches reflect the light grey of the sky.

I'm a huge fan of limited color schemes when I paint, and I like that this image has a limited palette.  The bits of green are a sweet bit of complement to the pinks of the magnolias.

I'm submitting this image to Texture Tuesday, the Pink Edition.  I hope you'll go check out the other images here.  You can see my Flickr stream here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Magnificent Magnolias - O Magnify the Lord

It's color week in Kim Klassen's eCourse, Beyond Layers.  Wednesday's color was pink.  The timing couldn't be more perfect.  Look what I saw just outside the door when I left work!

The magnolia blossoms look like hundreds of votive cups and the branches are like arms lifted up to Heaven worshipping the Lord God, our Creator!

I did very minimal editing to the images... just level adjustments to lighten up the shots.  The sky was overcast yesterday, so the lighting was quite soft.
The story board template came from Kim's eCourse.  I'm still learning how to use it.  I want to change the top middle image, but haven't figured out a short cut to doing that yet.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Whisper Truth to Myself

It seems ironic to me that I'm posting this image today.  It's the first day of Spring; a time to celebrate the bursting forth of the renewal of green.  I took a tour of my flower gardens today.  I tossed most of the dead sunflowers off to the side.  We are having a record setting heat blast in Iowa, and there is a premature surge of new life in the garden.  Plants that don't normally produce new growth or buds until later in May are displaying infant leaves.

I am torn.  I know from life experience that this just ain't right.  There could be snowstorms in the next few weeks.  More likely, killing frost and freezing temperatures will come. I haven't been liberated from these thoughts to celebrate the early spring to its fullness.

Honestly, I do have fear.  Fear that fruit crops will suffer.  Our crab apple tree stood naked all winter because last spring a hail storm destroyed its blooms when they should have been pollinated.  There was not one marble sized crab apple on that tree. I missed the kisses of cranberry red against the winter sky.  I missed the flocks of robins or cedar waxwings stripping them away in late winter.

So now I must pray, knowing the Lord IS my helper.  He can and will help me through disappointments and loss.  He has been faithful in the past and he will be again.  Sara Groves sings it so well.

This image was shot in my winter garden.  I processed it with Photoshop Elements 4.0 to convert it to black and white and enhanced it with Kim Klassen's texture layer Flourish.  In Kim's eCourse, Beyond Layers, we were prompted by the word "whisper", which is what inspired me to choose this image from my archives.

Kim will be offering another round of Beyond Layers and I highly recommend this course.  There is technical information as well as artistic insight and exploration.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tissue Paper Daffodils

Look what you can do with tissue paper, pipe cleaners, floral tape and a bit of glue!  My lovely friend holding the faux daffodils showed a few of us how to make these last Friday.  Oh what fun! This will take you to a page with a pattern similar to what we used.  Wrapping the pipe cleaner with florist tape really takes the flower up a notch in adding to the realism.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Happy Heart Monarch

Kim Klassen "Happy Heart" texture applied to my image
I was away from my laptop for more than a week attending to a family matter.  I told my Hubby that right after missing him, I missed editing images!  So before my busy day away from home gets started, I checked out the latest Texture Tuesday assignment at the Kim Klassen Cafe.

Every fall, butterflies visit my back yard garden and feast on the nectar of the Autumn Joy Sedum plants.  The butterflies are usually so preoccupied with their feeding that I can get fairly close to them.

I used minimal editing on this shot.  After croppping, I balanced the levels and desaturated the green to visually push the foilage back.  Two layers of the Kim Klassen's texture "Happy Heart" were added and the multiply blending mode was applied.  I erased the texture over the butterfly from one layer.  (For just a short while, I'm still using PSE 4.0, but will be upgrading very soon when my Wacom Intuos 4 tablet arrives. Then I'll easily mask out areas.)

This editing was a simple fix to help pop the butterfly from the busy surroundings.  I see the white spots like jewels set around the most beautiful stained glass.  Our Creator God is a magnificent artist!
"When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
  the moon and the stars, which You have set in place,
  what is man that You are mindful of him,
  and the son of man that you care for him?"

Saturday, February 25, 2012

GPP Crusade No. 60: I Love...

It's been a few months since I participated in a GPP Street Team Crusade.  Besides following Michelle Ward's prompts for the challenge, there is the fun of reading the blogs of the other participants.   I've made some wonderful friends through the comments and emails that have been shared through this group.  But, sometimes life has other priorities and I needed to step back... and I read today that there will be only one more crusade after this.  I'm SO glad that I'm jumping back in right now because it gives me an opportunity to say it loud from here:
 I love you Michelle Ward!
Mixed media with digital text.

I created a two-sided page on Strathmore Mixed Media Paper.  This paper is great!  It's smooth surface made writing I Corinthians 13 [the Love Chapter] with a Sharpie pen a pleasure.  Next I used a favorite technique gleaned from an earlier crusade - gesso resist.  Using a heart stencil, I applied tinted gesso with a sponge roller.
After the gesso dried, I used a limited color palette of transparent raw sienna, quinacridone magenta and phthalo blue, and transparent mixing white (zinc white).  Since the paint was thick (Liquitex from tubes), I thinned the paint with matte medium and water.  I wanted rich pigments and yet retain tooth to the paper for subsequent layers.  Using the same paints, flowers and hearts were stencilled on the page.  Circles were made using bottle caps for stamps.

Page without the digital journaling.
 Now I let this set for a few days before deciding what to do next.  Using a white Sharpie poster paint marker and Inktense pencils in similar colors to the paint, I brought out some of the shapes and added a bit of doodling.  Love was written with the Sharpie marker and shaded with the Inktense pencils.  A bit of additional doodling was added with a Sharpie pen.  I can go back to this page and add more doodling, but I decided to stop now and scan it so I could add a digital message.  When I read today that Michelle is retiring the crusade after next month, I knew what I had to say.
Here's a wink to you, Michelle!
As I stated earlier, I painted both sides of the paper.  One edge is deckled (paper torn against a deckling ruler).  I folded the page not quite in half to leave space for adding a binding later with my Zutter Bind-It-All.  My Martha Steward scoring board and a ruler helped me get a clean fold on this heavy paper.
This page used the same paints except for the transparent raw sienna.  There was no journaling on the page either.
Last night I found a face (Sharon Tomlinson, thank you) and brought it out subtly with Inktense pencils.
Inktense go on like a regular colored pencil, but when you wet the color, it intensifies and you can move it with a paint brush.  Once it dries, it is set.  I have a small set of 12, but would love more some day.
Please look into the Green Pepper Press Street Team Crusades.  They are still available for viewing and learning and doing!  Michelle has been a generous teacher and a great cheer leader.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Barn and More Treasure from James

This barn always captures my attention from afar.
  Do you ever take the slower route to your destination?  You may be rewarded in seeing treasures you would have missed while flying down the interstate highway.

A few years ago, I noticed this barn in the distance while taking one of our favorite back roads.  I am drawn to that barn like a moth to a flame.  My husband often offered to stop so I could photograph it, but I would wave him on with excuses about the terrible, harsh mid-day lighting.  It was true.  I knew an image would wash out and there would be little contrast.

But one day I was traveling on my own and turned down the gravel road so I could get closer to the barn.  And since I'd bothered to do that, I might as well take a few pictures to remember the day.

Fast forward to the present.  I'm looking at my photo images with new eyes since learning different editing techniques, especially from Kim Klassen.

Editing this image has been a challenge for me. To give it a painterly feeling, I made several adjustments including blending modes, levels, hue, saturation, high pass filter, and Kim's texture layers Sienna and History. My emotional tie to the subject made me more tentative than usual, but I felt something was missing.  Last night I hopped over to Texture Tuesday, where Kim challenged us to use her texture "Felicity" on an image.  I thought, "Why not try Felicity on this barn?"  It was just the extra something I needed to pull my layers together.

I debated whether or not to add text, but the road was crying out to me for something.  After a bit of searching, I decided to use a verse that has become very familiar to me this month since it is in the Book of James in the Bible. (James 3: 18)  If you are new to this blog, I'm in a Bible Study on James and have been memorizing the book.  By the grace of God, I've completed four chapters and have started the last one.

Off to dig up more image treasures and to store more True Treasure in my heart...

Friday, February 17, 2012

I Love Chicago!

Vintage, painterly effects applied

I love Chicago.  Every time I see this sign I smile.
It was lots of fun applying the latest homework from Beyond Layers to transform the ordinary shot into this warm vintage style image.

Straight from the camera
This was so much fun, I think I'll do more...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Makarios - Blessed - Happy

The Greek word 'makarios' is often translated as blessed or happy.
What a joy it has been to give my images new life using the editing skills I'm learning and by applying Kim Klassen's texture layers.  In Beyond Layers, Kim recently prompted us to consider choosing happiness.

In Bible study, I learned that the Greek word 'makarios', usually translated as 'blessed' in the New Testament, can also properly be translated as 'happy'.  Makarios is used several time in the familiar passage known as the Sermon on the Mount.  Ever since learning that truth, these words have been inseparable in my mind.

This excerpt is from the Holman Bible Dictionary:
"In the New Testament, the word “bless” often translates makarios, meaning “blessed, fortunate, happy.” The special characteristic of New Testament uses of “bless” and related words is close relationship to the religious joy people experience from being certain of salvation and thus of membership in the kingdom of God."

The Carefree Beauty Rose grows on a shrub that my husband and I selected for our anniversary many years ago.  It graces our garden with blooms from early summer through fall as long as the deer and rabbits leave it alone!

I applied screen adjustment to the image which helped unify the lighting since the background was very dark compared to the bloom in full sun. Kim's texture layer, Felicity, added extra character that I desired. This layer was adjusted with hard light to help bring out the grunge along the edge and yet maintain the lightness of the bloom.  If you like this look, you really must check out Kim's site!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Ranger Alcohol Ink Story Board - Beyond Layers Homework

As the saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat...

This past week I learned a different way to make photo collages in the Beyond Layers Year of Art Full Inspiration being taught by Kim Klassen.  She provided Photoshop and PS Elements templates that are SO easily personalized.  I'm anxious to learn exactly how to make this type of template... Kim, I'm being patient...

I thought it would be fun to take some of my archived "project in progress" images and insert them into the template.  Easy Peasy.

Just before starting this post, I decided to add the Beyond Layers button to the sidebar.  I saw that Blogger has added a few new gadgets to the blog design page, and I chose one that shows my most popular posts.  (Scroll down to the bottom of this page when you're done reading.)

A previous post when I stepped out this exact card is on my top ten posts list.
As Michelle Ward would say, "How Cool Is That?"

So go to the previous post if you want to know more about my alcohol ink project.
Stay tuned for more story boards.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Faith and Works: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Is my faith like this rusty old wagon?
I've been studying, memorizing and meditating on the second chapter of James. This is concentrated food for the mind, the heart and the soul.  The book of James contains the kind of teaching that inspired the late J. Vernon McGee to proclaim his famous phrase, "where the rubber meets the road".

You can have a car [faith], but if it just sits in the driveway, what good is it?
When the rubber meets the road, you're going places and doing things you can't just sitting in the driveway.

I was raised on a farm that is still in my family.  I enjoy walking down the lane past the grove, looking out across the pasture where cattle are grazing and the fields of corn and soy beans.  Along the way is a resting place for some of my brother's equipment.  Some have been retired from service.
As they settle into the landscape, their aging process helps camoflauge them with coatings of rust and lichens and fading, peeling paint.  Their patina is beautiful to me.

For today's Texture Tuesday, I chose this image of a retired grain wagon.  I applied Kim Klassen's texture layers "Confidence" and "Storm", along with other adjustments using Photoshop Elements.

During the editing process, I was reminded of the last verse in James 2.  One thought that came to mind is that if faith is the wagon, what good is it when it just sits wasting away.  But if it is hitched to the tractor, the wagon can be put to use to haul grain from the field to market.  The wagon [faith] is active along with the tractor [works]. (see James 2:22)
...probably not the best analogy, but that's how I came up with the verse for the image.

In case you're wondering, I'm close to having the second chapter memorized.  I'm finding that I must keep reviewing chapter one while continuing on with chapter 2, because the details tend to slip away from my mind if I don't.

If you're wondering about Texture Tuesday, see Kim Klassen's blog for details.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Flowers of the Grass and Other Ponderings

"For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass;
its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. 
So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits." 
James 1: 11 ESV

Daunting words.  I'm studying the book of James with a group from my church using Beth Moore's latest study guide: "James - Mercy Triumphs."  This time Beth threw out a challenge to memorize the book of James.  What?!?!  It's not required, but I was drawn to the challenge.  My normal thinking is that I cannot possibly do that.  Previous attempts to memorize topical verses has not been a great success.  I haven't disciplined myself to keep reviewing the verses to keep them fresh.  Occasionally, by the grace of God, a verse will come to mind when I need it.  So how did I think I could memorize a whole book of the Bible, let alone a chapter?

With God all things are possibleSeek, Ask, Find.

And by HIS grace, I have memorized chapter 1 and have my foot firmly planted into the beginning of chapter 2.

What happens to your mind when you are memorizing a complete passage is pure blessing.
It is joy.

Something else happens.  The Word is alive in all aspects of your life in a new way. Even art making.

I skimmed through my image files looking for something that I could enhance with Kim Klassen's Simplicity Texture.  (Be sure to follow the link to Kim's site where each week she shares a texture.)
I was attracted to a group of images I shot one late autumn that were inspired by silhouettes and textures at a local park, and I hoped to use the shots for painting references.
The "Dead Heads" gave me a great digital palette.  The sky was a vast blank of nothingness.  Most of the detail of the image was lost to shadow, though not a perfect silhouette, giving me lost and found edges.

As I made adjustments to the image, cropped it and applied the texture layers, I remembered the Word that has been scrolling through my mind and falling from my lips over and over...

"Like a flower of the grass, he will pass away..."  James 1: 10b ESV.

I am reminded to share my blessings.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

How I Came To Call Myself an Artist

How do you know you are an artist?
When do you claim the title as your own?
When do you believe it?

It’s common that those around you can see quite plainly what is right in front of you. But you are blind to it.  Or, you see it through too many filters…

- unbelief

- false modesty

- pride

- fear

- comparison

Since I was a small child, I’ve delighted in making things. I’ve been attracted to beauty and nature and textures and colors and music. I didn’t just want to see them, I wanted to feel them. I never thought of myself as an artist, and the idea of being an artist wasn't even a reasonable thought.
Mom saw something in me and as Santa (or herself), she gifted me through the years with many crafts, teaching me to sew, embroider, cook and bake. She believed in me and even handed over the task of birthday cake decorating to me at a young age. She signed me up for junior high art class.
Even though I enjoyed learning techniques and working with art supplies, I was intimidated by other students whose art I considered to be better than mine.

By now I had convinced myself that I wasn’t an artist. Never really considered that I was one because I wasn’t good enough.
But I still liked to make stuff.

In college, my Home Economics curriculum included a basic art concepts class as a prerequisite for a required interior design class. Wow! I really felt out of my league. But I enjoyed the art exercises just for the pleasure of working with paint and scissors and glue.

A part time job in a needlework shop gave me ample opportunities to feed my creative spirit. I began the job with a few basic skills in embroidery and knitting. By the time I graduated college, I was managing the store, teaching a variety of stitchery classes and even helping to design very simple cross- stitch patterns! I took comfort in stitching detailed counted cross-stitch patterns because the designs and colors were already determined by the designer. I didn’t think I could draw, let alone paint anything as beautiful as these cross-stitch designs.

Over the years, I also played with quilting, custom sewing, and crafts. I taught myself jewelry making and started my business, RGR Designs.

But paint lured me. Oh yes it did! I told myself that when I was older (over 40), that I would take lessons. But in my early 30’s I took an adult ed watercolor class with less than impressive results. In the meantime, a great friend invited me over to paint on sweatshirts and wooden ornaments. Well, that wasn’t so bad. Designs were available that we transferred to the fabric, and patterns could be traced onto the wood. I could do that, so I was off and running. I was hooked and wasn’t satisfied painting simple folksy designs for long. I found instruction booklets using craft paints for flowers and even watercolor techniques.

Still, I was not an artist.

A local watercolor artist’s work caught my attention. She painted flowers with such intensity I could hardly believe my eyes. She was teaching an adult ed class and I signed up. Now I was learning to paint the way I had hoped. My skills with the medium needed lots of work, but I was headed in the right direction. In addition, I met a great group of women who also love to paint. We met regularly to paint and encourage each other.

Oh, surely I was an artist now. I belonged to a group of painters and we even showed our paintings in public.

Are you kidding ? I was convinced that for someone to call themself an artist, she must have her art hanging somewhere important or make lots of sales. That wasn’t me.

At this point, I developed some photography skills. I learned from the recent watercolor class that I really needed my own reference images. I was still stuck on the idea that I couldn’t draw well and therefore I needed to enlarge my images and trace them on the paper before I painted. I was also building my jewelry inventory and photographing it for promotion.

Without going into a lot of detail, this thread of art in my life was just a layer over deeper issues. A critical juncture was finding out that I would never give birth to a child, would never give my husband our offspring... Devastating to the heart of a woman. But the good news is that my heart belongs to Jesus Christ and He gives me the strength and the tools to overcome even this heart ache. In obedience to Christ, I began a daily practice of gratitude.

During my drive to work with nearly ten miles of rural landscape, over the course of several months, I observed elusive bits of beauty and gave thanks to God for them. That winter, I began to notice nuances of color in the dead landscape that had previously been all dull and grey to my eyes. For example, I delighted in seeing the shades of muted reddish brown in certain grass varieties and how lovely they appeared against the straw colors of other grasses.
Each day the sights were different with the changing angle of the sun or cloud cover.

Then one day on my way to work the truth hit me.
It was a gift of great significance.

i am an artist
I am an artist
I am an Artist
I Am An Artist

I realized that I had been thanking God for artistic aspects of what I was seeing; the juxtaposition of complementary colors or analogous color schemes, texture and value contrasts, shapes, rhythm. I was processing what I saw through the lens of an artist and expressing my gratitude in those terms to the greatest artist, the Creator.

Thanking God for giving me joy through these elusive and often temporal glimpses had been the tool to open my heart more fully to God, and He helped me see and accept who He created me to be.

It feels good great to be able to say I am an artist.
By saying I’m an artist doesn’t mean I think my work is better or worse.
In fact, being an artist is not about what I make.
It’s about who I am. How I see the world and process it.

Having said that, as long as I remember who I am, then I am free to make art. I have fewer mental distractions than I did in the past. The self critic has not been totally silenced, but I am a work in progress.

I’ll continue to follow my curiosity, develop my skills and be an artist.

P.S.  After my great epiphany and  I started sharing my identity as an artist, you know what I heard most? "I knew that." 
Reminds me of the story about a girl who wore ruby slippers and woke up with a bump on her head.

 Note:  Image edited in PS Elements 4.0 and includes Kim Klassen's texture layer Evolve.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tallcorn Towers Four Ways using PS Elements

Tallcorn Towers Four Ways
Today I learned a different way to convert color images to black and white. Then I made simple adjustments for a variety of effects.
My inspiration is a historical building in downtown Marshalltown.  I couldn't resist the name play of this building that is emphasized by the angle of this shot.  I edited out a street light that cluttered the right side of the composition.  Adding texture layers helped disguise some imperfections in that background edit.

Black and White adjustment layer.
I duplicated the background layer and used an adjustment layer to convert the color image to Black and White.  Using an adjustment layer gives you more editing options than converting the image using the Enhance menu.  That's just one of the many tips I've picked up from Kim Klassen.

Vintage Effect
 Since the black and white conversion was done to a layer, I could adjust it's opacity to let a bit of the original color come through.

Even more color comes through...
This image reminds me of old faded color photos that might be found in the back of a drawer.  I decreased the opacity of the Black and White layer even more to allow more color to come through than the previous image.
Let me remind you that there are additional textures and adjustments overlaid on the image.  The above shots are showing the differences from playing with the black and white layer.

Color fill layer added
I like the character that adding a color fill layer gave to the image.  Using the color picker tool, I selected a solid burnt orange hue from the bricks.  A layer of orange covered the whole image, but I greatly reduced its opacity.  This layer warmed up the cool tones and neutralized the sky area.  A painter would get a similar effect by painting a transparent colored glaze over their painting.

Be sure to check out Kim Klassen's web site.  She is starting a Photoshop Essentials eCourse in February and will be covering both PS Elements and Photoshop.  If my schedule wasn't already so full, I'd be taking that class.  Her videos are easy to understand and she is generous in providing practice images as well as free texture layers.  If nothing else, follow her blog.
You can see more of my recent editing at my Flickr photostream.  Thanks for your comments!
Oh yes, that IS a new blog banner at the top of the page.... same scripture with a different background (part of one of my paintings that sold).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.

I've been sorting through image files and playing with the new skills I'm learning from Kim Klassen.  You can still sign up for her Beyond Layers Year of Artful Inspiration.

This is an image I shot in Marshalltown, Iowa on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon when Hubby and I were admiring the architecture of its downtown area.  I was drawn to the color of the door and all the lovely texture created by the peeling paint.

Today I was challenged to choose a simple shot and alter it just enough....  After tweaking the light levels and hue saturation just a bit, I added Kim Klassen texture layers that were adjusted with blending modes.
Do you remember Milton Berle?  I thought his quote was just the right finishing touch.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

PS Elements Transformations with Skinny Mini eCourse

After PS Elements
I'm so excited about the Photoshop Elements tips I've been picking up from Kim Klassen.  Kim offers eCourses and texture layers.  The above image was created using techniques I gleaned from Kim's Skinny Mini eCourse. 
Before PS Elements
I used this image of a fall blooming clematis that I shot last fall.  One of Kim's textures was layered two times with a different blending mode applied to each layer.

Enhanced with PS Elements.
This is another "homework" project.  It's amazing what a few tweaks will do for an image.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Photoshop Elements Joy in 2012

Scanned monoprint edited with texture layers in PS Elements.
Making art gives me joy.  The creative process stimulates my heart and my mind.  I'm so excited to share with you on my blog after a three month hiatus. 
I've been OK, but many family events absorbed much time.  There have been celebrations and a farewell.  Through it all, the joy of the Lord has been my strength.

This Fall my sister introduced me to the Kim Klassen Cafe.  WOW!  If you enjoy digital editing and textures, don't walk... run to Kim's site.  She has plenty of free textures and techniques as well as very reasonably priced on-line workshops.  I signed up for her Beyond Layers class.  This is one step toward my goal of developing my line of edited images.  I have plenty of painted and photographed textures that I am learning to convert to texture layers.

Today's image started with a scan of a monoprint I created for a Green Pepper Press Crusade Challenge.  By using some of Kim's free texture layers and manipulating them with effects, I enhanced the print.  By adding text in a separate layer, I can change the message at will.

A bit of great news came to me in the past couple weeks.  For the second time, I've had work accepted in a national art exhibit.  The digital image "Swan Love" will be on display at the Octagon Art Center in Ames, Iowa from January 27, 2012 through April 7, 2012.  To say I am thrilled is an understatement.

Thanks for following my blog.  I intend to post more regularly.  Blessings to you in 2012!