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.