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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

li'l punkins: part 2

So...when I made the storyboard for last week's post, which was just the three photos, I figured I might as well print it so I could use it for the girls' scrapbooks. On a whim I decided to print it on a transparency...then I left the rest up to chance, adding stitching, assorted papers, stamping, stickers, ribbon and tags, just making it up as I went along. Then Dad & I both signed. Yes, I made two identical layouts, one for each daughter's scrapbook.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

li'l punkins

One sunny autumn day
21 years ago
in a field on a little farm
north of Toronto...
we found these two l'il punkins.


What joy they have brought
to our lives!

I've been playing around in Photoshop and Lightroom, learning so many things that my brain is tired. Once again, huge thanks to Kim Klassen for leading me on this grand adventure, through her many fabulous online courses this past year.

I've also been reading a new book - Vision & Voice, by David duChemin...inspiring me to "discover your vision for that image - the internal, invisible guiding principle that directs how you capture the image and how you develop it in the digital darkroom. Without vision, you likely find yourself flailing both behind the camera and in front of the computer - indiscriminately shooting and arbitrarily moving sliders in hopes of stumbling upon something great every once in awhile."

As with any art form, once you learn some basic skills, you start thinking about what you want to say with your art, or as David puts it, "identifying your vision...and giving it voice."

This little storyboard is the first project I've attempted since studying David's book; strangely enough, it involves a handful of snapshots I took 21 years ago, before I ever considered photography to be my art form (well, one of them, at least). I started with a Vision (simply this: a sentimental recollection of fond memories from my girls' childhood), dug out the snapshots, scanned them into my computer, and played with them in Lightroom and Photoshop....til I had given it Voice.

Yeah...it's a pretty simple, straightforward Vision, but totally from my heart and soul...where I have always found my best "stuff."

Stay tuned for the scrapbook layout...Halloween seems a reasonable deadline for me. Got the urge play with some paper and glue and paint and embellishments and....


Thursday, October 18, 2012

greg & della

Awhile back I posted a few of Dad's scrapbook pages from his genealogy project (check out my archives...it was August 4th). It was a hobby that we shared, combining our love of art with our fascination with family history. Well, he never finished, but he got as far as the story of his own mother and father (my grandparents), up to their meeting and falling in love.

I decided several months ago - with Mom's enthusiastic approval - to pick up where Dad left off.
To the best of my ability, I hope to complete Dad's beloved project.

I have given it a lot of thought as to how to proceed, and have had many discussions with Mom, on whom I am relying as my primary source of information...and the keeper of all family photos. A couple weeks ago we had our first really productive gathering/organizing/brainstorming session, and here is what came of our efforts:

I started with their wedding portrait - which never fails to take my breath away - copied from an original print which hangs on my living room wall alongside several old family photos. One of the very first design decisions I made was to include a bit of heirloom Italian lace, from Della's own collection. Years ago my mother documented it (we affectionately called our grandmother "Dudie"):

From Dudie Notarianni's things:
This lace is from Italy and was part of the trousseau of her friend, the Countess Chilasotti, whose husband was the Italian Consul in Denver during the 1920's. 
a peek inside my box of heirloom lace

The accompanying page features a copy of their marriage certificate and wedding announcement, which Mom and I discovered among the documents and photos Dad had assembled.

We know very little about the wedding ceremony, but we do know that Della's mother, Carmela, did not want Greg to marry her daughter. Grandpa told me once that he had to marry her...he just couldn't let her marry the older, well-to-do man that her mother had intended for her. Their in-law relationship remained strained after that.

Greg and Della were devoted to each other for almost 46 years, until my grandmother's death in 1968.
She was laid to rest in her wedding gown.


Monday, October 8, 2012

a hug for enna

Sometimes it's all I can offer.

(a page from Erin's scrapbook - April 2010)


miss you dad

Home at last


Rest in Peace

(a page from my art journal - October 8, 2011)

Friday, October 5, 2012


This is actually a re-post. Which means I accidentally deleted an old post by "cleaning up" my drafts folder.
You know how that goes...

This weekend, as we remember Dad (has it really been a year since he's gone?) I want to honor his memory by sharing this piece. It kinda combines three of Dad's passions:


I made this for my brother, Greg, in the summer of 2011, on the occasion of his moving downtown to a new office. Greg and Dad practiced law together for almost 15 years, up until Dad retired in 1999. In Greg's own words, "the time we practiced law together was the best time I ever had with Dad."

It all started with this portrait photo, which was taken several years ago, and is a family favorite. I've had this photo on display in my home for years, and it warms my heart each time I set eyes on it.

I played with the original color photo in Photoshop Elements, changing it to b&w to sort of neutralize the color so that I could would not be limited in my color choices. I printed it and glued it to chipboard, then distressed it with sandpaper, rubbed some ink into it, and roughed up the edges with my Dremel. I then layered it with tea-dyed scrim and "aged" bits of silk leaves in an old AOL CD tin, which I sanded, hammered, heated, rusted and generally abused til it looked just right. Same with the silver colored "bolo" which I cut in half and placed behind the tin along with some vintage lace and a scrap of upholstery fabric.

I was inspired by mixed media artist, Joanna Pierotti, in an online class I took with her over a year ago. When I saw her work, it was one of those "I want to do that too!" moments. I also was able to draw upon some of the aging, distressing and embellishing techniques I learned in a fabulous weekend workshop I attended two years ago, with another amazing artist, Australian Judy Wilkenfeld.

I am quite likely repeating myself here...this blog is a way for me to share my art with family and friends...just like I used to do with Dad, who was always very supportive of my artistic endeavors, and fascinated by the many techniques and media I've played with over the years. While he never did see this piece, I know he would have loved it.

I can hear him now..."how did you do that?"


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

erin & haakon

mouse over to see the original

“So it's not gonna be easy. It's going to be really hard;
we're gonna have to work at this everyday,
but I want to do that because I want you.

I want all of you, forever, everyday.
You and me... everyday.”

Nicholas Sparks
The Notebook 


Awhile back I was enjoying all the wonderful snapshots taken by my sister-in-law, Pat Swainson, at Kelly & Aaron's wedding in August (because the Mother of the Bride certainly didn't have time to take many pictures that day...Thank you, Pat!)

It didn't take long to zero in on this wonderful shot of Erin and Haakon, recently engaged.

And then I started playing with it in Photoshop. I accidentally cropped it at an angle...and I liked it! I didn't have to do much else to this photogenic couple, so I sent it to Erin and she happily posted it on her Facebook wall.

One comment stuck in my head: that of my nephew Joey - away at college and unable to attend Cousin Kelly's wedding in his own home. It was something like, "I know that brick..."

I simply had to do something about "that brick" or that's all I would ever see.

Back to Photoshop to painstakingly clone the grout away, and...voila!