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?"