Friday, December 28, 2018

Years End

I'm sitting here savoring my last piece of kuchen from Christmas and reflecting on the past year. It's Dec 28th. Half of my Christmas cards still lie on the table waiting for a photo and quick, or not so quick, note before they'll be taken to the mail drop. I've been thinking about my mom and her mom and her sisters, wondering how life would be different if I could pick up the phone and chat with her about my feelings. Food can have an emotional attachment and I'm sure that's why I treasure making and eating all the kuchen at Christmas.
This holiday season has been the least stressful and so enjoyable. I have felt 'centered', 'grounded' and 'calm'. I plan on taking that right into next year.
As I'm looking back through my Lightroom library (dslr photos) I'm getting terribly distracted. (in a good way) Most of my photos are of flowers in my garden and some actually got processed this year and posted on social media.
The year started out with cleaning out and renovating hubby's parent old house. What a job! 3 months later, finished and sold within 3 weeks. I've been in 'clean out and throw away' mode ever since.

In August we made the long trip home to the Dakotas and I end up shooting out the window even more because of traveling in an RV. I was stunned at the amount of wild sunflowers this year. And to pair them with the beloved hay bales was perfect.

Even at the farm they were in abundance near the river.

Two new babies greeted us in ND.

Then in October we took an amazing 30 day vacation. Branson, Asheville, Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville and Navarre Beach Florida which topped them all for relaxation. There is just nothing like the beach and believe it or not the hubby agrees. I've about decided I couldn't be a full timer. Not unless I could pull a craft room with supplies behind the RV.

This year I also returned to my sketching. I had never been into faces but now they fascinate and challenge me. Oh, so many things I want to do!

I finally signed up for a class using oil paint and cold wax medium. Loving it! Wish it dried faster.

Here's wishing everyone a peaceful close to 2018 and a sense of wonder and expectation for 2019.






Monday, August 13, 2018

Mobile Art Monday 8-13-18

This is a lengthy edit, as it took me several days to work through the process. Hope you'll be inspired to create something beautiful.

The original photo, shot in the Cortex Cam app.

1st edit, done in Repix to paint up the background. I used the chalk brush. (Tip: your brush gets smaller when you zoom in and larger when you zoom out.) (Tip 2: use the undo brush to ‘erase paint’ from petals that may have gotten hit.)
2nd edit, using TouchRetouch to clone out stems in upper left.

3rd edit, Brushstroke using S3 preset.

4th edit, with the original photo in iColorama, I chose Style/Edges no. 7 and lowered the size.

5th edit,  a layer stack in Leonardo consisting of first layer original, second layer was the Brushstroke layer opacity reduced to 78%. Third layer, line drawing from iColorama multiply opacity at 75%.

6th edit, Stackables cropped to square and a custom formula added.

7th edit, Procreate app to enlarge and add hand drawn lines and 2 more masked layers of the iColorama line drawing which also lightened it a bit.

8th edit,  back to Repix to paint the background again with Chalk and some of the petals with Van Gogh and the flower center with Drips.

9th edit, Back into Stackables for a border.

10th edit, I used Superimpose to create colored overlays using my image and black and white overlays.

11th edit, opened this in Leonardo and began adding layers of texts and patterns, masking areas of each layer and duplicating as needed.

12th edit, opened this in Formulas and applied Ethereal at 86%.

13th edit, into Snapseed for a bit of Structure and an 8x10 crop for printing.

This list doesn’t include the rabbit trail edits that didn’t make the cut!
After printing this today I've decided to go back and add a curves layer to increase the light areas.
Have a great Mobile Art Monday!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Summer Garden Update 2018

The garden report: August 2018
A little sad this year.
Record breaking heat and record breaking lack of rain.
Our well water is so hard here that my soil sample I did came back at 8 ph. Too alkaline for a lot of plants.

Small portions of the flower beds looked good at random times and I can usually set up a shot that looks fabulous without the viewer seeing the sad setting.

The only thing that did good in the veggie garden was the cantaloupe. Even my pumpkins were dying off one by one and getting ripe way too early. It looks like I'll be buying some for pies this year because I'll save every one I can for photos.

I just love shooting my flowers with my 70-300 lens. I hadn't had my Canon out for a long time. I didn't realize how much I missed it.









Thursday, June 14, 2018

Red Poppy

I could say a million things but you'd eventually be bored. My life seems to be changing. Perhaps it's actually my priorities.
I'm no longer a servant to the public or an audience. (A creation of my own doing which I know I'm not the only one who's fallen into the cyber world black hole.) Don't get me wrong, I've met many wonderful people. But I feel I've let my 'real' life be robbed.
I've had so much more peace just doing what ever I want (to a degree) or feel like.
More time in the garden this year. (And not even with my camera!)
I've played with dyeing papers.
Making a book of paper and fabric.
Getting a sourdough starter going and making a few wonderful things so far. (Including the best chocolate cake I've ever eaten.)
Built a double compost bin and have begun to fill it.
I pick up 4 trash cans full of horse poop from a friend every week for future garden fertilizer.
Planted tons more flowers than usual this year, unfortunately the heat has been hard on them.
Spent some time going through 'old' things and organizing the junk and tools our 'barn'.
Redesigning part of the garden and working up plans for a 'garden house'.
Since I got out of my usual habit of editing on my iPad in the evenings during those months of working on Blake's parents house, I've done very little art. I kind of miss it but I'm just not real inspired right now. I did this poppy at least a month ago. Never did get around to posting it on Instagram then either.
Lots of questions to be answered. Keep this blog going? What about my website that I haven't updated in about 2 years? A mirror-less camera or just use the phone?
Wish I had a secretary.
Mostly done in iColorama.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Eco Printing on Paper

Eco Printing has fascinated me to no end. I finally watched some Youtube videos last week and Friday decided it's now or never! And in the last four days I have made four batches!
 I had inherited a perfect pan from my mother in law which held my 11x14 papers nicely. I used 90lb. watercolor paper then added a couple sheets of Bristol to see how it did. It performed great also.
I decided to be more organized while assembling my second batch and took photos of each layer. I also wanted to know what plants were making which colors and what not to bother repeating. It was also interesting to see the difference in the top and bottom of the prints.
Layer 1, oak leaves, cotteneaster, (don't know the burgundy plants name.) I loved the round impressions the Cotteneaster leaves made. This is one of my favorites.

Layer 2, dried pressed maples from my fall trip, honey locust and tiny seed thingies from the neighbors tree that is also unfamiliar. The seed things grow into helicopter like seeds similar to a maple and left great tiny black specs in the paper. (I've pressed a ton of these for later use.)

Layer 3, decided to try more of my saved pressed leaves from our trip out east plus a couple rusty washers and nails and three chrysanthemum leaves. (The dried things proved to work just fine.)

Layer 4, more dried leaves. The ginkos turned out a lot paler but gave off a bit of yellow color. I sprinkled seed buds from just finished blooming Victoria Blue Salvia. It left some wonderful blue marks.

Layer 5, more honey locust, purple pansy petals, Victoria Blue Salvia stems with seed buds sprinkled.  These added a little purple and blue to the mix. Note the rusty area that bled through from the leaf underneath the paper.

Layer 6, honeysuckle (very subtle), crepe myrtle leaves (the darkest), rose leaves (impressed with those), pink salvia and more seed things from the neighbors.

My top layer, for weight and just to see what it would do. I love what it did!

This is a view of all the back sides except the first layer.
I placed an 8x11 sheet of index paper 90lb on the very bottom of the pan and it left this great border.

And because the pan was dark and blotchy look how cool this paper turned out! Even though it was 90lb, it was so fragile I had to be extra careful while rinsing it. I did this on each batch and everyone turned out different.


 I topped off all my layers with a piece of 2x12 wood and a brick. Added water I had already brought to a boil in a kettle and added about 1/2 C of vinegar.  Brought it to a boil again and simmered for 2 hrs. My third batch was only simmered 30 minutes and did just as good. Let it set to cool and then rinsed. (I've read of people only cooking for 10 minutes or so too. Or even baking in the oven.)
These are the papers I used.

One batch I sprinkled a few coffee grounds on some of the papers. It didn't leave speckles like I had hoped but it did give a warmer tone to the papers.
Today's batch I added a pinch of turmeric and some ground cloves to one sheet. (Half pinch would have been enough enough, but three layers down looked great.)

OTHER NOTES OF INTEREST
 Chinaberry blossoms make great prints, as do the leaves.

Flowers that left interesting marks. Pink peony petals, red rose petals, daisy petals, red poppy petals and their black stamens, Chinaberry blossoms.
Other things. Strips of purple fountain grass and miniature monkey grass cut up in half inch lengths. (Reminded me of chopped chives.)

Even the papers that were so-so, will be great for journaling. I know I will be cutting some up and making little books. I recently found someone on Instagram who is a dyeing maniac.  It would be so awesome to take a class from her. I just drooled over her whole Instagram feed for a couple hours last night. You can find her at @orlyavineri

And if you want to watch "The Big Reveal", my neighbor came over and I filmed us rinsing the papers. (Ignore the part about 140 lb. paper, it was 90lb.) on Vimeo.