31 May 2011

Journaling My Day

Double Click For Larger View!
I almost felt compelled to make a journal page about this birthday. I had fun doing it and am sure more will filter to the surface, I got to try my little lacquer pots for the first time - I had not thought I would care for them but, used in the right place, they really add a bit of zing and super shine - just like lacquer! I've decided that as long as I keep playing and enjoying the journey I won't grow older !
These circular shapes came from some packaging material that I took apart. I wish I could find more of this foam - it renders a lovely, textured circle shape! I used some cards from friends for some of the small shapes.

25 May 2011

Beach Theme ATC's

The next ATC swap theme over on Roses On My Table is 'The Beach'. I wanted an old time feel for my cards and this b&w photo was just about perfect. One thing I have wanted to learn how to do is "hand" tint vintage photos in Photoshop. When I was in photography school I consistently enjoyed hand tinting b& w images - so I was eager to se how it might work in Photoshop. I was very pleased with the result - and now that I understand the basics I will be able t refine the technique in the future with old family photographs. The quote is by Jill Davis - and just about says exactly what I feel. I've almost always lived by the sea - and when I have not lived by the sea I have not felt 'whole'.
Some years ago a  friend sent me a bottle of Florida beach sand - I never knew what I would do with it until this theme came along! It's the perfect accessory for this card.  I had to have a 'campy' kind of back - and there again a vintage photo came to the rescue. I mean how more 'beachy' can this scene be !!

24 May 2011

Ponderings On A Milestone and A Life Collaged

Advisement: Long, sometimes droll, post on the vagaries of life and birthdays. Pass if you want !

My birthday is fast approaching and with it I also approach a milestone. I will turn 60. I've never been much bothered by any birthdays in the past but this one seems to be niggling at me a bit. It's now obvious that there are far less years ahead of me than there are behind me. Time is the only thing that we can never get back and I simply can't help but think back to all of the many woulda, shoulda, coulda's of my life... the paths taken and those not taken. I have been thinking a lot about the potential careers that I could easily have pursued had I known that the potential existed and had I had a push in the right directions.

I hope that by the time "the day" rolls around it will be anti-climatic..... just another day in the adventure of living. We all have some moments of "if I could have a do-over" I suppose and recently I have made a list. The one thing that always is on my list is 'being an artist'. I wish I had had a stronger level of self-confidence when I was younger (heck - now too for that matter!) and could have made myself figure out a way to make art school happen. In the next breath, however, I think that even if I had done that I know that I would have had financial concerns just as I had when I turned away from artistic pursuits in order to find a career that had more lucrative potential. I became involved in aviation for just that purpose (as well as to prove to myself and others that I actually had a left brain!) and although I think it was a good career in many, many ways in the end it didn't feed my soul the way I needed it to. Ultimately, I turned my back on the lucrative job and retirement plan to re-invent myself in a place that spoke to my heart. I guess I am happy that I made that decision because I have had a richer life because of it - and I do get to be more creative than that I could be when work schedules and the weather forecast wreaked havoc on my body as well as my soul

I distinctly remember when I might wake up with  puffy eyes and, by mid morning, they looked fine again. Now when I wake up with puffy eyes the puffiness remains- more or less - all of the time. I remember when sleeping would revitalize me; a time when I could work all week, play in the evenings and party on the weekends and still be able to get up and get to work on Monday. There always seemed to be plenty of time for everything. There was also a time when I could get up at 4am to make our "red-eye" ferry, shop all day and make a late ferry home and be able to go work to work the next morning with nothing more onerous than a bit fatigue. Now not only can I no longer have that kind of day but just going to the mainland requires a day or two of rest to get back into the game. I look in the mirror and see a more wizened face but on good days I feel no different than I did at 30. I remember asking my 'adopted' grandmother, Velma, what it felt like to be 90 and she said much the same as I have been thinking; that although she could no longer physically do all of the things she used to do in her mind she felt the sane as ever. Does that mean that our minds are ageless - is it that souls are ageless and simply change out the aging body?

I have moments when I feel like I simply have to choose one artistic pursuit and leave the others behind. Like I want to clear the decks and focus on a single thing. ..... but which single thing would I choose? I'm not sure I can do it and yet I feel like I should for some reason. I have visions of a pristine desk with very few items on it. A vase, perhaps, with a single beautiful bloom, a pad of one sort or another, some inks and pens and my IPod speaker (very small). I imagine that sense of order and discipline and wonder if I have that in me. My desk is generally overrun with all manner of papers, pens, inks, paints, books, glues, sewing machine, computer, and stacks and stacks of valuable art materials everywhere.  This too makes happy - it is, after all, me. 

At one point in my life I moved 9 times in 10 years for work related reasons. I never accumulated much and, until about 25 years ago I had no time and no place to collect much of anything. Even my furniture was often rented so that a move to the next post would be easier and less expensive. Maybe I hoard these precious art supplies now because I spent so many years when work and advancement was all that mattered to me. When I moved to the island I gave away my briefcases, my high heels and my chic business suits. I stopped having my nails done (that WAS a relief!) and found that comfort became me!  I don't think I would recognize myself if I saw a photo of those days!

I am grateful to have had the years I've had and to look forward to the years to come - but this passage, for some odd reason is more sobering than anything I have felt before.  Not all bad - just conducive to thoughtful evaluation.  

And what of you? Have you had any birthdays that made you more reflective? Have you ever thought that you should pare your interests down? What did you do about it? Share your thoughts with me.

22 May 2011

A View Of Where I Live That I've Never Seen Before

This is a magical view of where I live. After nearly 20 years as a resident here I have never seen this view! Wow!


21 May 2011

PhotoShop Play Time

Before -double click if you want
I have been really enjoying learning how to use Photo Shop - and now Light Room as well. DH gave me my birthday present early so I have  the added bonus of being able to play have time now. I have been wanting to settle down and learn this program for many years and I must have felt that the time was right. It is an amazing product - and I know I have barely scratched the surface.

The other day I was in the yard taking some photos of early spring blooms. I have always loved Dandelions in of the color and simple beauty in transformation. I took the photo above Nikkor  AF-s Micro lens 1:2.8 ED VR. It was nice ut I knew there was mote I could do.
After - double click if you want
This was my result - and I had fun along the way !

Liberate Your Art ! A Great Post Card Swap!

If you are an avid post card swapper as I can be at times this might interest you. It is an art card swap with a twist. You keep your art work!  You send  post cards of your work for swaps. I use Moo.com for my postcards but there are LOTS of other places to try : Zazzle, IPrint, and I think that Shutterfly, Kodak and places like that also make prints. They aren't expensive either - or trust me I would not have been able to participate at the moment!

Katrina's fun website has the whole story. If you choose to join in the fun perhaps you might mention my name in your comment - I don't get anything for that - but I would love her to know that I added it the information on my blog. She has hoped to have 200 participants and is at 195 now ! So close!

Click the bade and you'll go right to the correct page !

17 May 2011

Hummingbird Heaven

I took about two minutes ago and just had to share it. It's not a great photo since it's near dark and I shot the photo through a window that is not the cleanest! This is the evening scene at hummingbird heavens - a/k/a the feeders. We have 5 quart feeders up this time of year and every night this is how every one of the feeders looks - from dusk all the way until dark. There were a few more around this feeder but the infrared on the flash scared a few away. Right now I am going through about 7 quarts a day. I expect consumption will pick up until the beginning of June and then taper off a bit until they begin tanking up for the migration cycle that begins in mid-July. I love these little birds - small but incredibly tough. Nature is, most truly, the most amazing artist of all!

Now, about 10 minutes since I took the photo - the din has stopped and they've all gone to bed. It's amazing that I can tell when - and how many - feeders are low by the sound of their wings.

16 May 2011

False Prophets

ATC Front
This month's theme over at Arts In The Cards was 'Fabulous (and I added "or otherwise") Fakes'. I was really stumped about what to do with this theme. Stuck. No ideas at all. Panic began to set in. Fake flowers? Fake money? Astro turf? Cubic Zirconium? I played with the idea of fake faces - like having half be smiling and half be frowning with appropriate "call-outs" for both sides, but somehow that didn't feel quite right to me either although it came the closest to  what my first thoughts had been when I learned of the theme.

I had no idea of what I would do until I was aimlessly thumbing through the March issue of Vogue Magazine that a friend had shared with me. Shezaamm... there it was on page 272. Although I do tend to shy away from any themes that are political or religious (my 'proper' upbringing I suppose) I could not resist the photo that was part of an article called "Surviving A Cult" about 'The Children Of God' cult that was in Texas in the 1970's - a cult that had a terrible end. I photo shopped the black and white image - cropping, skewing, adding words where I wanted. I printed it as a faint black and white image and hand painted the details using watercolors and Higgins 'Black Magic' ink in a Rapid-o-graph pen to ink in the words . This is my rendition of this month's theme. " False Prophets" - which I hope will  not offend anyone.

ATC back

08 May 2011

Happy Mother and Grandmother's Day

Motherhood is an all consuming job - I admire women who do it well. No monetary value can be placed on the job - it' simply worth more than any other job in the world. I feel the same about grandmothers.

My maternal grandmother had a very large influence on my life. I spent summers with her in upstate New York and I cherished the time we spent together. My Mother died at a ridiculously early age and, for the few years that remained in my grandmother's life, she was my rock and my guiding force. My  love for her is complete and I miss her every day. I wish she could lived so much longer but she only lasted for three years after my mother's death - I don't think she ever really recovered from from the loss of her daughter.

I think more and more grandparents seem to be taking over the parenting jobs for their children. How difficult that must be. This special service to the family amazes me. After working their lives to bring up their own children - it takes a special person to step up to the plate when the need to take on that job begins all over again! My wish is for love and blessing to all mothers - and to all grandmothers. I would have been a lost child without my Beloved "TEKE".

03 May 2011

Hem Your Blessings - More PhotoShop Play

This week's challenge at Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday was to use a texture called "empty page" and a title of "cuppa cuppa texture love". The Cup being the main ingredient. I tried a heavily color saturated photograph of this cup filled with brushes and it was too overpowering. I tried using it filled with dandelions, English daisys and Bleeding Hearts and that wasn't the look I wanted either. I was looking for a vintage look that would compliment the 'empty page' colors and feel. What better solution that to go back to my stitching roots. This one worked. It's a combination of 5 layers . I was happy with the vintage feel and the sentiment just seemed to fit!  

I am having so much fun with this. I am lusting for PS5 now -how can sell enough fabric to come up with the money?!

02 May 2011

Haikube Play TIme

Today was the day to try out my new toy - the Haikubes. Haiku is a simple matter of of creating a  three line poem composed of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Using the Haikubes you roll out all of the dice. There are two kubes with red ink and you those to set the tone of your poem...you could use one - or both.  I chose to use both kubes that rolled out : they were "a reflection on" and "my future".  It's not as easy as it may seem to use the kubes that you've rolled out to compose a perfect haiku - a metaphor for life perhaps - using the "kubes" you're dealt I mean!
So this what I compiled from the kubes as they rolled out. 
" I realize love that
God calls my simple dreaming
a life full of heart riches"

01 May 2011

PhotoShop Play and A Fun New Game

double click if you'd like 

by J. Daniel Beaudry

Tree, gather up my thoughts
like the clouds in your branches.
Draw up my soul
like the waters in your root.

In the arteries of your trunk

bring me together.
Through your leaves
breathe out the sky.

I have been thoroughly enjoying my new PhotoShop journey with Kim Klassen's lessons. I find her instruction videos so easy to follow and I've been able to take lots of notes for future reference. It really is a matter of 'everything's easy when you know how"! I'm learning a lot and have no fear of the program anymore! I just love experimenting. Endless options - that's a fun thing!

This has always been a favorite photograph of mine. I dubbed these the 'guardian trees' when I took the photo in Tokyo years ago. I've used it often in a variety of ways. I like what I was able to with it  this time using some of what I've learned about PhotoShop.

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As far as the new game I've found - this is it! Haikubes. I found it in our local bookstore last week and decided not to spend the money, but after a week of mulling it over - and still being intrigued - I decided to splurge and get them. I love Haiku as an art form anyway and the way the cubes are set up I think that they're also a really good "prompt" tool for art journaling.  There are some colored kubes that "set the scene" so-to-speak. They say things like "a vision for", "my family", "a dream about" etc. So you can roll the colored kubes first and then use the word kubes to construct a haiku - or a prompt - from the words that you choose. I really am enjoying this simple creative tool. I'm glad that gave in and bought them.  They are designed by Forrest-Pruzan for Chronicle Books. Try them - you'll like them!