Cre8ive Klatch

September 11, 2014 in Mixed Media Posts

Hi everyone! I am so excited to be part of a collaborative project with some talented friends of mine! We all met in an online class and have shared 2 years worth of our creative ideas, projects, mishaps, and successes. We talk about life, love, art, work, home, health, and all sorts of other things. We adore the circle that we have become, and we hope to expand that circle and engage others in our new “Cre8ive Klatch”.

Our logo includes a coffee cup. Why the coffee cup? Listen and find out :)

Ready to join in? Check out more about me on the Cre8ive Klatch page, and then meet my friends as they introduce themselves over the next few weeks. In November, there will be fun projects in all sorts of different art mediums and styles. Come join the Cre8ive Klatch and be part of our circle!

 

When It’s Your Day to Shine

June 2, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts

I don’t usually post twice in one week. Mostly, because I usually don’t have the time. But this post is for me. I an getting to the stage where the kids are starting to grow up and  they are getting ready to fly the nest. And so I guess I am paying closer attention to the things that happen, and the moments I am experiencing with them still around.

This weekend I had  a memorable moment kind of day. It happened at my son’s soccer game. This team has been together in some form or another for several years. I even coached some of the guys for a few seasons.  When I coached them, I remember one of the guys, ran kind of weird, and we had to work on his running to get his speed up. We also had to work with quite a few of them on footwork and strategy, and passing- you know, the normal soccer stuff. One of the things we generally didn’t have to work on was heart. These guys always tried hard. They didn’t always remember their foot work, or strategy, or where to pass, but they always gave 110 percent. We even had a special award each week for the team players that played outside of themselves during the game. They were the guys that went above and beyond, the ones that pushed harder, fought through fatigue, played a position they weren’t used to or didn’t like, and played it well for the good of the team. There was not a single guy on the team that didn’t win that award. On any given day, they all had a chance to take themself to a higher plane, and shine. All of them took that opportunity at some point, and most of the boys acheived star status several times over the course of the season.

Flash forward a couple of years. Those young boys are now growing up. They are strong, and fast, and really good soccer players. They also lose just about every game.

Nobody can quite figure it out. They have flashes of absolute brilliance. And then they all fall apart, always at the same time, and their defenses go down, they let a couple of goals through, and that is all she wrote. Another loss.

This weekend, we arrived to play another game. Against the best team in the league. In 94 degree heat. On a completely sunlit turf field. Smack in the middle of the day. I, for one, just assumed the guys would get crushed. I didn’t have even a single glimmer of hope for this game. Oh, ye of little faith! This team played their hearts out, as they always do, but they didn’t falter this time. And that kid that couldn’t run? He is now almost a man, a blazingly fast guy, with a singular thought of scoring for his team. Which he did- 3 times!! The whole team made great decisions, they remembered their strategy, they made good passes, and of course they never lost their heart. They ended up coming back to tie 3-3. I won’t go into the details of the goal that was called back on a bogus referee call. It didn’t matter. These guys showed their true spirit and a tie against the best team in the league was as good as a win, in my mind.

So while I was fully expecting a crushing defeat, I was treated to watching a fabulous soccer game. And my respect for these guys, which had always been great, grew even higher. Not because of their mad soccer skills, or because they are freaking, fast runners.  But during that game, I was reminded that on any given day, despite all odds, it can be your day to shine, if you don’t give up!

Are you ready to go for it?

Soccer picture

 

Soccer picture

It was only a minute ago

May 4, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts

Sorry folks, this post if for me. My daughter is growing up, and it is bittersweet to watch. So I am working out my feelings with a post using pictures of her when she was just a sweet little toddler. I’ll give some Photoshop tips along the way, so maybe you can use those to work on your own precious memories!

Upon looking at this photo, I decided that I wanted to  blur and de-saturate the background. The first thing I did was click on the photo layer and choose (right mouse button click) “Convert to Smart Object”. This will allow filters to be applied in such a way that they are able to be modified at a future date. So I can always go backkepp and tweak the blur if I want to.

I used the quick selection tool to select the greens in the background and then used the quick mask tool to refine the selection around the hair. Then I chose the filter Gaussian Blur, which will be applied as a smart filter (because we did the step above), and it is also smart enough to create a mask to only blur the portion that I have selected.

Using Selection tool in Photoshop

Selection to use for masking
You can see the photo as a smart object (circled in red), and the mask created for the smart filter blur (circled in blue) in the photo below…
Photoshop Smart Filter
Using blur with smart object

Let’s take a side trip here. Adjustment layers let you do things to layers in Photoshop without directly applying the adjustment ot the photo itself. So you can get rid of the adjustment, without disturbing your photo if you decide you don;t like it. Every time you create an adjustment layer, it creates a mask. Masks are black and white. If the mask is all white, any adjustment you have made using adjustment layers will be visible and will apply to all the layers beneath it. If you have trouble with masks, and can’t remember how they work, the standard “White reveals, black conceals” rhyme that all the Photoshop folks use, might help you. For me I could never remember the correct way, until I started thinking as if the mask were made out of paper. black paper will cover up anything beneath it. So in this case, black will hide the effect of the adjustment. So then I could remember that black conceals. The other way I thought about it was white knights are the good guys, so the white mask will help or allow the adjustment to do it’s magic. The black knight will try to thwart the good magic of the adjustment, and so will hide it. Use whatever means makes sense to you to remember how layer masks work, because once you figure it out, you will see how powerful they are.

So now I have a blur filter with a mask for my selection. I clicked on the masks and then used right mouse button-> “Load selection from mask” to select the background again. Then I chose to create an adjustment layer of “Hue-Saturation” and moved the Saturation setting down to get rid of some of the color in the background. Once again, my selection was used to create the proper mask, so that the adjustment was only applied to the background.

You can see the adjustment layer to de-saturate, with the mask circled in red in the picture below…

De- saturate In Photoshop

Adjustment Layer- Desaturate

The final thing i did was add a soft white border around the edge of the photo. To do that I used a color fill adjustment layer, and chose the color white. Then I clicked on the mask, which was all white, and which will reveal the adjustment to all the layers below. So everything is now white. But I used the lasso tool to create an organic rectangular selection around the mask and then used the paint bucket to fill with black. That black hides the adjustment so that everything beneath that part will not be filled with white. So, you can now see the image below in that portion. The white border had a really sharp edge, so I chose Window->Properties to see the properties of the mask itself. Here I could feather the mask so that the edges of the white border were much softer. And viola!

In the picture below you can see the color fill adjustment layer on the left, circled in red. Then on the right, you can see the properties panel for feathering the mask so that the white border has a softer edge…

Smart filter vignette In Photoshop

Vignette with color adjustment layer

 

Here was a different look, where I used the white color fill adjustment layer, and then used a grunge brush as my eraser and erased on the mask. I used the eraser, but it wasn’t at full strength so that I could go  keep erasing, and build up the look gradually. It wasn’t what I wanted for this photo, but it might be cool for an antique look.

White Grunge in Photoshop

Grunge look using erase on Color fill

 

Here is the final result…

 

Blurred Vignette Frame in Photoshop

Final adjusted photo

 

Another photo in the series…

 

Blurred Vignette Frame in Photoshop

Another adjusted photo

 

My final thoughts…

 

Soft Painting in Photoshop from photo

Another adjusted photo- more filters
Thanks for letting me share my feelings with you ;). Maybe you can try it on you own photos. Enjoy!

Boston Marathon Fans and Volunteers are the Heros

April 17, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts

Monday’s Boston Marathon tragedy hit too close to home. I can not imagine what would make someone want to hurt the Boston Marathon supporters. They are what make the Boston Marathon great. If you have never run a marathon, than you will just need to imagine how helpful it is to have folks lining the roadways and cheering you on, and volunteers helping you if you need it. If you have run before, then you do know what it means to see friends, and family, and even people that you don’t know yelling and clapping and lending their support. This is what the Boston Marathon fans do, all along the way, and in my opinion it it what makes the Boston Marathon great.  They are generous, happy, supportive folks that spend their day off cheering on the people that run. The runners are winners for accomplishing an amazing feat of running 26.2 miles, but the fans and volunteers are winners too. Because without them, many of the runners would have a hard time finishing.

When you start out it is all happy fanfare, music blaring, crowds making noise, and you are pumped to get going. As you are running (and running and running) you understandably start thinking “Ok, why did I do this?” when you hear someone yell your name, or the saying on your T Shirt. It energizes you and you keep going, determined to reach your friends and family waiting at the finish line, to accomplish your goal of running 26.2 miles, and, much of the time, to raise money for a cause.

The fans get you through. The crazy, fun crowds at Wellesley, the group at Heartbreak hill, and of course the throngs at the finish line. For me, I will never forget two people that helped me the year I ran Boston. I didn’t even know them. One was a small boy- who yelled for my T Shirt- “Go Diet Pepsi! I like Coke better, but Go anyway!” That made me laugh for miles!

I ran fine until 22 miles. Heartbreak Hill- no problem. But when someone in the crowd yelled “Go Diet Pepsi- only 4 more miles!”, you would think I would have been re-energized and ready to complete my run in fine style. Instead, I hit the wall. I stopped. I remember saying out loud to some guy I didn’t know- “4 more miles? What the heck, that is an entire run! I can’t do 4 more miles!” He looked at me as if I was crazy and said “You just ran 22 miles- of course you can run 4 more!”. My brain was able to grasp what he said, and I started to nod. He yelled “C’mon Diet Pepsi- go! Finish!” So I did! It was an amazing sight coming into the finish chute with everyone cheering and friends screaming, helpful volunteers there to hand you medals, and foil blankets, and water and whatever else you needed. Lots of hugs, lots of laughs, and lots of celebrating a job well done. That is how the finish should be.

It shouldn’t end like it did Monday. And those happy, cheering, generous fans and volunteers should not have been hurt. It breaks my heart to think of the young boy that was killed, a young boy just like the one that cheered for me during my run. It is painful to even think of the agony his Dad and family are dealing with right now. I wish I could do something to help. I will plan on going to cheer next year. And I hope that the rest of the Boston Marathon fans will return, so that we show whoever did this that they didn’t win on Monday. They won’t win. Ever.

There is a photo circulating now of Martin Richard, the young child that was killed on Monday, holding a sign that states “No More Hurting People. Peace”. Please, yes. I pray your wish comes true.

Patience is my One Little Word

January 7, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts

For anyone that knows me well, you won’t be surprised that I have chosen the word “Patience” as my “One Little Word” for 2013. When I was a teen I remember that the parents of the kids I babysat or taught used to tell me that I had the patience of an angel. If they could only see me now!!

I have no idea what happened to my patience, but I definitely need to get me some of that! Patience is NOT my strong suit anymore- not by a long shot. I pride myself , generally, on being able to get a lot done in a day. But with that comes the inevitable- no patience for people who get in my way, slow me down, take up valuable time. You should see me in a car- it is not a pretty sight. You should see how many projects I have ruined by not waiting long enough for paint, ink, glue, etc to dry. You should see how often I lose my temper when something isn’t going my way. None of this is a good thing.

And so, this year I decided to take on “Patience” as my word for the year. To remind myself to not lose it. To count to 10. To hold my breath. Whatever it takes to hold on to those words before I yell them, stop that sigh of aggravation from escaping, wait and let the project/meeting,/conversation unfold.

Just today I was working with my Gelli Arts printing plate. Usually I go through reams of paper and come out with a nice stash of backgrounds on which to stamp, draw etc. But today, I was rushing, and not having good results. I almost packed everything up in frustration. But then I remembered my word- Patience. So, I slowed down a bit, and tried again. I took the time to try a couple of additional colors and patterns. And yes! There it was- that print with all the colors and patterns of previous prints, showing up in one awesome, serendipitous, complicated background. The kind that can’t be rushed, that can’t be planned, that can’t be duplicated.

So, yeah- patience. I am gonna get me more of that ;-)

PS- I am participating in a blog hop with my Creativity Tribe friends. You can find the blog hop here . I almost didn’t add my link because I thought the page was broken. And that is because, well, yes, you guessed it- I didn’t wait long enough for the page to load. Sigh- this may be a long year :D

Sorrow over Sandy Hook

December 15, 2012 in Mixed Media Posts

I couldn’t post my weekly blog post yesterday. I couldn’t really do much of anything except think about those poor parents, and sisters and brothers, and grandparents and extended family of those children of Sandy Hook. Not only for the sweet babies that were taken so soon, so quickly, and so viciously, but for those children who had to experience that terror and witness such evil. I cried. I couldn’t focus. I wished there was something I could do.

I still have tears in my eyes, and my heart is still broken for those children and their families. But today I decided I had to do something other than watch the news coverage over and over. So I decided to try to get going on some Holiday cards. I sat down to carve some stamps, and one of them, a star looked like it was almost a tear shape- like the star was crying too. I wanted to do something with that star, and I brought it into Photoshop. I took the star and combined it with a piece I was playing with on thursday- a stenciled tile that looked like it was rusted. I placed one star for each victim, on top of the tile as if those tearful stars had rusted the tile. I was shocked and even more saddened looking at that number of stars. It is too overwhelming to look at that number and imagine the scene that the children, families and responders had to witness.

I guess I was hoping it might make me feel a little bit better, to work on a piece and get it off my chest, but if I am honest, it really doesn’t. I can’t imagine the depth of the families grief. This madness seriously has to stop. The only glimmer of hope is that maybe these 26 shining stars will guide this country to do something so that this never happens again.

 

Sandy Hook Sorrow