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Sunday, July 21, 2013

4 kitties

A little pet photography assignment from our Beyond Beyond class this past week inspired this little storyboard. Fortunately I already had a collection of pix from recent photo shoots of Kelly and Aaron's four beloved kitties. (All four were 'rescued' from local shelters/situations.)

I used the CoffeeShop Five Storyboard - a free download from The CoffeeShop Blog. If you haven't been there, be sure to check it out. It is a wonderful resource for tutorials, actions, templates for Photoshop, Elements, and Lightroom...and most are free!

Since I'm anxious to get a bike ride in this morning, I did just a quick bit of editing of each photo in Lightroom, then headed over to Photoshop, where I completed the storyboard part. I wanted to keep the original colors, but looking for some continuity I applied a Rad Lab filter (Divine Light) before adding some texture layers:
  1. A scratched-up looking 'glaze' from Sarah Gardner's Beyond the Lens Collection (Screen blend mode @42% opacity...I lightly brushed off the scratches on the cats' faces with a layer mask)
  2. A layer of Kim's kk_way texture (Multiply blend mode @61% opacity)
  3. A layer of Kim's kk_3003-2 texture (Soft Light blend mode @44% opacity)
  4. A final Hue Saturation adjustment layer, clipped to the last layer, to de-saturate it a bit.

BTW...here's the layout I did for Kelly's scrapbook a few years ago (inspired by one of my all-time favorite artists, Rebecca Sower, from her wonderful book, Scrapbooking Life's Little Moments, which after nine years is still one of my go-to sources for inspiration.) Kelly provided the journaling details. 

Click on the images so you can read what Kelly wrote.


Friday, July 19, 2013

faith, hope, love...& courage

This blog has become an integral part of my art...and my life. Where my head and heart are is where my art begins and ends.

A few weeks ago I was prowling around the Groupies of Kim Klassen Facebook page, where I encountered Stacie Spencer, who had just made a lovely silver charm necklace for Kim, on behalf of the group. I decided right then and there that I wanted her to make something for Erin. After a bit of correspondence between us, I decided on a charm bracelet, with each charm being given to Erin from seven of her closest family members.

Faith - Grandma
Butterfly...Erin's favorite 'thing' - Kelly & Aaron (her sister & brother-in-law)
Hope - Me
Love/heart - Haakon (her fiance)
Kitty - Lillian: (their cat)
Courage - Dad

Erin loves her bracelet, and wears it all the time. Our hope is that she will find great comfort in 'our presence' with her on her journey.

I wanted to share Stacie's beautiful work with you all - and I was looking for a still life set-up for an assignment for Kim's latest class, Start to Finish. So I borrowed Erin's bracelet, picked some daisies from my garden and literally stumbled across 'Erin-bear'; I dug around in my collection and found this wonderful old doily with a butterfly embroidered on it......true serendipity all around!

Here's a scrapbook page I did for Erin a few years ago, with a favorite snapshot of six-year-old Erin and her beloved 'Erin-bear' (not staged, I promise!).

I played around with the still life set-up for quite awhile. I was after a shallow depth of field, with a focus on the bracelet, which I wanted to be 'tack-sharp." This was a challenge because the best angle, composition-wise was from the top...capturing the sweet vulnerability of the bear. It took about 40 shots - at assorted angles and f-stops before I got what I wanted. Lillian was lurking about, dangerously curious about my tripod, so Erin had to lock her in another room.

I made some adjustments in Lightroom...I can't remember just exactly what I did there, but as always I just follow my instinct and think of how I want the image to 'feel' - if that makes any sense. In this case I was after a fuzzy warm feel...that says 'precious and sweet.'

I was in the mood for some photo editing, and finally had some time to play, so I jumped into Photoshop for a bit of layering: kk_touchof-1 - Hard Light blend mode 14% and kk_1612 - Multiply blend mode 100% with a bit masked off via a radial gradient tool. I actually started with one of Kim's recipes from the Test Kitchen and took off from there.

Linking up with Texture Tuesday, Start to Finish, and Beyond Beyond (I know...this little bear is a bit of a reach with the 'furry friend' thing; I look forward to practicing on Lillian soon...she is still getting used to living here, running off when approached).


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

how great Thou art

This has to be one of my favorite hymns. Ever.

I have absent-mindedly hummed it to myself countless times while hiking or biking in the mountains. Last Sunday, hiking with my friend Chris in Golden Gate Canyon State Park it came to mind again.

Here is the back story on the hymn (I am always fascinated by back stories of great endeavors of all kinds.)

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

me on top of Windy Peak, looking westward toward the Continental Divide

my hike buddy Chris

When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
and see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee
How great Thou art, How great Thou art...



bluebells (I think)

mariposa lily

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

Linking up with Friday Finds and Texture Tuesday. These photos were captured with my iPhone 5, then edited on my iPad mini with the PS Touch app, following Kim's tutorial awhile back. I did minimal cropping and simply layered two of Kim's textures: kk_prague (Overlay blend mode 50%) and kk_wonderfulmagic (Screen blend mode 50%)...repeating the same editing on each photo.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

friday finds: learning to love that which I must do


A four letter word.
A necessary evil.
We all grumble about it.
Try to avoid it.
Do as little of it as possible.
Can't wait to get home from it.
Are only in it for the money (and benefits).


In the words of Dennis Prager - one of the great philosophers of our time (whose daily radio show I can no longer listen to because, you guessed it: I'm at work):

"Learn to love that which you must do."

This was the subject of one of his radio shows a few years ago, and as usual I found myself nodding enthusiastically in agreement.

So what is my strategy?

I am simply...grateful.

  • That I even have a job in this economy. A job with benefits. That's huge, especially right now. 
  • That it's not such a bad job. In fact it can be quite interesting/challenging/rewarding at times.
  • That I work in a clean, comfortable, safe environment (I'm a bank teller.)
  • That I work with a great group of people. We make a great team, including our supervisors. We make it fun.  Even in the midst of great stress, we can still laugh.
  • That I work for a company I respect.
  • That I enjoy our customers...especially our 'regulars.' I've been at this little branch for almost three years, and I know most of them by name. I like to help people. Visit with them. Share joys, sorrows, hobbies, philosophies, life stories.
  • That work gives me a routine, a purpose on which to focus when life is, shall we say...'challenging.'
I could go on, but you get the picture.

Note: this event occurred yesterday just an hour after I snapped the above iPhone picture at my teller unit...I was merely a witness, and thankfully no one was hurt.

Linking up with Friday Finds, where we "celebrate what we have found, discovered, uncovered this past week." I am also learning about Phone Photography in a Big Picture Class this month (I am already hopelessly behind, but thankfully I will have 'forever access' to the material)...this photo is my answer to the 'From Where I Stand' challenge. I used an Instagram filter in here and some iPhone app editing in Snapseed and PS Touch, thanks to one of Kim's tutorials. It's all a learning-curve blur!

Oh...and the shoes: Dansko. I own just two pairs: one black, one brown. Good shoes are key if you are gonna stand 40 hours a week.