Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Love

I have a new addiction.stencils!!  I always seem to be a bit behind the curve.  They are certainly not new, and many artists have been using them forever.  It seems that there are so many really pretty designs out there now.  I just ordered six from Stencil Girls.  
And…then I found Tim Holtz' stencils which I think are the perfect size for journaling.  You can find them on Amazon.  You can find his entire line at Scrapbook dot com.
I had a few of my own and played in my journal this week.
At the same time I'm working in my tiny journal I call "Bits and Pieces".  I started this journal several years ago and it's mainly for paper collage of bits and pieces.  
It's a small but fat sample book from Marco's Papers. I guess we can call it a repurposed book.  I plan to add stamps and stencils to paper collaged pages.  I covered front and back today 
using a photocopy of a collage I did in Traci Bautista's class.  As Traci says, "always leverage your art".  She photocopies everything and uses over and over.
Here's to a glorious 2014!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Winter Is Here

Winter has definitely arrived in Southern California.  You wouldn't know it though, as this past week has been in the low 70's.
I promise, however, that it has arrived even if in fits and starts.  My Ginkgo tree is showing its beautiful yellow colors and dropping them all.  I took these images a couple days ago.  Today I have the most beautiful carpet of yellow leaves around the base of the pot…..awesomely gorgeous….a work of art.
Hope your holiday, however you celebrate, was magnificent!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Journaling Everyday

As I mentioned in a previous post, my friend Jacki gave us each a brand new journal to work in when our art group had our monthly meeting. Then she gave us some very creative ideas including the credit card face in that post.
It started me thinking about how many journals I have started that are yet in an unfinished state.  That thought caused me to wonder about the projects we start and never finish.  On the positive side, I found these finished journals…...
I have more that are finished inside but I neglected to decorate the outer cover! So I'm not showing those to you.   Seems like that should be the easy part for an artist, right?  It does make me feel better that I can see a number of journals finished.  
I found these below in various states of completion.  Actually the journal on the bottom in the first image is the one Jacki gave me.  
So then I started to think, "Okay, which one should I work on?  Should I work in two or three at the same time?  Or….? 
I decided to just do something, anything to get my muse going.  Sometimes I think getting started is the hardest part.  It's not that the blank white page scares me.  It's just that I have gotten away from the daily journaling.   I got sidetracked a couple years ago with image editing, and I do love that with a passion.  But...
I do miss getting my hands dirty every now and then.  So why can't I do both?  There's a voice in my head saying something about scattered attention and not remaining focused on one thing to finish.  Where did that voice come from anyway?

Julie Fei_Fan Balzer says to spend even a few minutes a day journaling…..even if it's just to do a background.  If I could keep that discipline going, I could finish some of these babies.  And so, my friends, let's see if I can do it.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Beyond Layers II - Day 30

Today's lesson was street photography.  Kim says that black/white is good for most street photos as there usually is a lot of distraction in the background.  I cropped this photo to eliminate most of the distraction and I do like the b/w effect.  I adjusted to black/white and also used my Topaz Black/White Effects filter.  
I used Sebastian's technique for sharpening and together with the Topaz filter, it really brought out the details in the dog's coat.  This was a photo I shot with my iPhone in Venice Beach. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Grand #1 is a sophomore in college - in the school's nursing program.  She is preparing a report for an assignment.  It's pretty much on the order of doing an intake for a patient entering the hospital.  The info is to be on a senior person.  So of course she called me.  We decided to have breakfast and I would supply all the answers to her questions.  Quite extensive I must say.  Another piece of the assignment was to do some sort of art/craft project with the person.  She also has to submit a log 
of the individual's (my) food intake for a day.  Yikes!! 
My art group was hosted by Jacki this month, and she gave us all journals to play in.  She had us do a couple exercises, one of which was drawing a face.  The only tool we could use with the acrylic paints was a credit card.  
So I suggested we do a credit card painting for Kiana's project.  She did one too but left with it before I could scan it :(
Blessings and joy to you all on this day of Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Day 34 Beyond Layers II

Kim showed us how to make a "magic" texture.  I wanted a canvas look for the finished image.
 I like the white grunge border but it's difficult to see the edge, so I added a bit of a stroke.  I'm happy to be back in Beyond Layers and participating.  I plan to backtrack and pick up some of the lessons I missed.  Kim's classes are chock full of information and I always learn something new.  
Hard to believe the holidays are almost upon us.  I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Ours will be quiet this year….just three of us, but it will be lots of fun and good food!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Day 32 Beyond Layers II

Just like me to work backwards!
I forgot to post this.
First the original which I still like best…..  
and the edit for a fall look…..I cropped out the annoying fence in the foreground.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Eyes Plus Imagination

Sounds like an interesting post…..well it kinda is.  It's two versions of an image.  The first image I did sometime ago. Today I did some tweaking and used a filter on it to get a different look.
I had experimented with different texts and warping them.
The next image was practice for working with shape layers.  I added another image on a layer below the shapes and moved it so the eye would show in one of the rectangles.  Fun exercise.  
Just so much to learn.  Every day is truly a gift and I have such gratitude for people who share their knowledge.  They have certainly enriched my life.
Tomorrow I will try to post Day 32 of Kim's "Beyond II".

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Day 33 Beyond Layers II

Wow, I can't believe it's been a month since my last post.  I guess I've just been immersed in my artistic activities and got sidetracked.  
I have been particularly involved in Sebastian Michael's Photoshop Grunge Art class and Phil Steele's Lightroom Made Easy.  Also trying to organize my photos and "keyword" them all in Lightroom, no small task!!!
Anyhooo….Kim Klassen posted her Day 33 assignment for Beyond Layers II.  I have been AWOL from that 
class for a while, so decided to do that project.  Result below.  I first processed in Light room and then into Photoshop for text and a few additional tweaks.
I'll see you soon.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Remember Hats??

That's what this reminds me old fashioned girl with a hat and a boa.  It's really just a texture and some fancy blend modes. 
I quite like the results and I find myself looking at it over and over again.  Do you ever do that when you're pleased with 
something?   Maybe you have just finished cleaning your house, and you're really pleased with how beautiful everything looks.  You keep going from room to room to admire.  
I do this with art.   OMG reminds me I have to do some cleaning this week-end or my house will run away!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Photoshop Artistry

Seems I have played the week away and just now have come up with a result I actually like.  This Photoshop Artistry is a fun class and there is just so much to learn!  I have created my own brushes now and previously, but I must admit I get so confused when saving them.  I now have a duplicate drop down of my brushes sets. Cannot figure out how that happened or how to fix it.  I think I have the standard brush sets and more in PSE 9, and the same with a few different brush sets in PSE11.  PSE11 is misbehaving, so I reverted to PSE9.   Somewhere in that process I think my saving sets got messed up.  
In this image I actually started with a texture and added lots of grunge brushes in different analagous colors.  I added an image of some type of wheel or gear and an image of a woman.  I also added a vector.  Many blend modes and images later this is what I ended up with.
There's a  thin white border which is not visible on this white background. It may show up better in Flickr.  Also used my stroke selection around the text. 
Thanks for visiting and have a great day!! 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Time Worship Continued.....

I played with this image some more today.  The wonders of Topaz Adjust and Restyle are just incredible.  I practiced layer selection and copying to get the three boxes.
And again.....
There is just no end to the editing and each one is more fun.
Mike is on vacation this week, so we are going to hang out.....go to our favorite restaurants for breakfast and lunch and take in a movie or two.  He's putting his front yard to sleep for the fall/winter  season. 
Have a great week-end!!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Time Worship

Recently I was reading a photography blog and someone who left a comment said that they did not consider digital edits photographic art when all the photographer does is a composite of a couple images and run a couple filters and claim it is art.  This is merely an opinion, of course.  I have always thought of digital edits as artistic photographic expression.  
In this exercise I worked with shapes, both Photoshop shapes and custom shapes.  The image is from Tray Ratcliff of Stuck in Customs.  It's part of his "Burning Man" collection.  You can find the original here.  I added the clock image from and created the shape to surround the woman.  I also added a PS shape which I skewed.....and a brush.  I ran Topaz Restyle and Adjust filters on it and framed it.  Today I'm going to play with it a bit more and I'll post the results hopefully tomorrow.  Now this, my friends, I consider artistic photographic editing.  I call it art...... 
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was 
more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~Anais Nim~

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Today's Practice for Photoshop Artistry

A little practice....haven't done much since I fell last week....yes, I had a little meeting with the sidewalk on my morning walk.  I think everything is okay although my left knee and my ribs on my right side are definitely aware that a crash happened.  
Here I went for a vignette effect on both these images.

I edited this image below for a more grainy look with the help of texture and Topaz Restyle.  I masked it and removed some of the grain but decided I liked it better with all the grain intact.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Shiny New

I debated whether or not to do this post of our newly upgraded kitchen counter, because I can't seem to get good images.  
The granite is so shiny the lights reflect on it, and the room is too dark if I turn off all lights.  The granite is prettier in has some black, gray and dark red (amost a bordeaux color), and the red does not show up in my pics.  In my "before" post I promised to post the "after" results.  
Because there was so much going on with the granite, I decided to do plain subway tile on the backsplash.
I'm happy with the clean look....there is no longer a bottle of liquid hand soap on the counter, since there is a soap dispenser.  It fills from the top, so that's a good thing, as Martha would say.  I debated forever on stainless vs. porcelain sink.  My friend/advisors were equally divided.  I even ordered the porcelain and then took it back and ordered the stainless.  I'm still getting used to it.   I think I like it, but I tend to be meticulous, so water spots make me nervous.  I know..... you're all laughing!! Now the only appliance that is not stainless is the oven.   I refuse to replace it to the tune of $1800.  It works fine, and it will do!  All in all, I'm delighted with the updated clean look.
Life is grand.  The weather could not be more perfect....mid to high 70's, very little humidity.  I feel lucky to live in Southern California!  I hope you all have a great day.  Thanks for visiting.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Maori Mannequin

I call her "Maori Mannequin" because the texture makes her look like her face is tattooed.  The mannequin image is courtesy  After watching Sebastian Michaels' exercise in layers, I decided to try with my own textures and brushes.  I also took advantage of Topaz Labs B/W and Adjust.  I played with this for the better part of a couple hours, and I could still do more.  
Woohoo!!! This class is so much fun and so creative.  Can't wait for the next video to see what other great ideas Sebastian has for us.
Oh, this is the original photo.......

Monday, August 26, 2013

Photoshop Inspiration

Taking Sebastian Michaels' class has been so inspiring.....a very different style than Kim's.  They are both highly talented, and it's fun to learn new "tricks".   This image is one of my first after starting his class.  
I will say he has some of the most beautiful videos.  I don't know what program he uses, but there is no need to change to full screen.  The videos are pretty big 
to start with.  
Even though he says his classes work with PSE, and they do, there is still so much he can do in Photoshop 
that I'm envious of.  If Adobe were still selling their program and supporting it, I think I would buy it.  Now it seems the only choice I have is to buy CS6 and not get support from Adobe or 
purchase their Creative Cloud membership at $50.00 per month.  I'm just not up for that.  I realize I 
would have access to all the latest in their software, but I don't use all their software.  Dilemma.......I guess I will just stick with PSE and do as much as I can do with that program.  
It's the same thing as......oh, I could take much better photos with an upgraded camera.  I can still take good photos with my current camera.
But every time I see him do something cool in PS, I lust after it.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Day of Fun

It was my turn to host our art group and in an earlier post I mentioned we would be making mail art.  The weather was beautiful.  I borrowed a fold-up long table and an Easyup  canopy......not enough room in my little house, but plenty of room on the patio.  

Some very creative ladies!!  I think everyone had a good time.