Thursday, September 13, 2012

Soulful Expression

soulful expression

Bonnie's prompt for Photo Art Friday this week was to create a seven word sentence that describes your creative journey. It was hard to think something up! After a lot of attempts, my sentence is only six words...and I don't think it's even a grammatically correct sentence. Oops. :)

"Soulful expression with words and colors." This expresses pretty well what I love to do more than anything...write poetry, and work with colors and textures. And when I do all these things, they're at their best when they're soulful and from the heart. If I let my brain thoughts get caught up in it, it usually falls flat or feels forced.

Using PSE as a tool to merge my art and my photos is one of my most favorite things to do. I like that I can add beautiful textures and layers to give my work more depth and color than it already had. For my image above, I started with a very loose and primitive drawing on a page from a telephone book. I drew her face in about 30 seconds with a charcoal pencil...the idea was to not worry about being perfect and just get the basic shapes of a face on the paper quickly, without thinking about it. Then I used my Caran d'Ache Neocolor II Artists' Crayons to scribble in some color here and there (and then blended them with a paintbrush dipped in watered-down white gesso). I ended up with an alien girl (lol) - alien girls are cool! This is a fun exercise and if you're afraid to make bad art, this helps you get past it. Just let loose, don't worry about things looking realistic, and have fun! (I learned this technique from Katie Kendrick who is my all-time favorite mixed media artist...her book is amazing and I highly recommend it).

I scanned my girl into PSE and brought in a photo I took at Prince William Forest. Creating a new layer and using a reverse mask, I made that the background and also used the "dry brush" artistic effect in PSE to give it a more painterly look. For the writing on her face, I used a layer from an old poetry book I found online (public domain) from the 1800s. For her purple dress, I added an old wallpaper pattern to make it more interesting. I also used Bonnie's "Cinnamon" texture at Soft Light/20%, and ran the image through Radlab. Thanks so much for visiting - please click on the button at the bottom of this post to visit Bonnie's site and see more photo art!


My heart is a
Hidden wishing well
Filled with coins
An abundance of gold
Tossed by my own fingers
Laying at the bottom
Some sunken deep
Far from sun's light
Others sparkling
Just under the surface
With a shimmering life
Pieces of my spirit
That draw my eye
And for those I lean over
Far, to catch a glimpse
Gripping the well walls
Hard, so as not to fall in

I visit the well often
Walking the wooded path
In the dew of the morning
Or sometimes at midnight
Calling to the water, to
Pray with my offerings
To dip my hands
In their depths and
Lap up their lessons
Staring intently
At their reflections
And I am grateful
For the treetops, those
Giants from seeds
Who bow down to witness
And I am thankful
For the bluebirds who
Sing over my silence and
Trill their sweet hymns
To the air.

© Sherri Brannon

"I sometimes think that people’s hearts are like deep wells. Nobody knows what’s at the bottom. All you can do is imagine by what comes floating to the surface every once in a while." ~Haruki Murakami

Original drawing:

Photo Art Friday


  1. Alien girl looks fantastic. You did a wonderful job.

  2. Your art and poetry are always lovely, Sherri. Right on! Hugs from Alaska. Karen

  3. Just amazing Sherri! Truly a gorgeous result, the original is very good too :)

  4. How clever and soulful you are. The combo of portrait and poem - 'Pieces of my spirit
    That draw my eye' Brilliant.

  5. Amazing Sherri I love your techniques so good.... Great poem as well ....

  6. Your talents continue to captivate me :)

  7. Nice combination of the photo and your photo art;)

  8. I was so impressed with your technique. Very cool. Valerie

  9. Wow! - I found this very fascinating. Your creativity is just amazing and I love how you added the woodsy background to your art piece. The Poetry below was also very beautiful.

  10. sherri, what a wonderful piece!!! I love the texture with the words on it, and how you incorporate it... it is amazing and very thoughts provoking!

  11. Soulful seems to be your niche ... somehow you captivate the mood and spread it into our minds. Such a gift ... your talent abounds. At what point do you publish? Or have you ... and if so, where do I get it? I love it when I come over here ... thank you.

    Andrea @ From the Sol

  12. This very beautiful and heartfelt! Thanks for sharing:)

  13. This is simply gob-smacking, or mayBE I am gob-smacked... ;~D

    I love how generously you share your process, including your gorgeous poetry. I was captivated immediately, by the bit about poetry in her forehead. That felt so true and inspired all at the same time.

    BEautimous on steroids!!

  14. Well done again my friend, you always amaze me with your poetry and your art! xo

  15. Sherri your art and poetry is really beautiful. Have you thought of publishing them? I truly think you should.. there are many people who will connect and resonate with your expression.
    Beautiful :)

  16. Sherri!!! You share so generously and authentically of yourself. So much here that I will make a second comment for your poetry. Your image is incredible. So appealing! Thank you for sharing your process and the specific technique from Katie Kendrick. I'm going to try it.

    Some of my best art has also been made from scanning and then editing my own paintings or mixed media pieces.

    You always inspire me to get to work making some art!

  17. As with all your poems, Heart Hymns resonates in my cells. It is so satisfying to read, as I feel you have found the words describing my inner process and somehow I feel that I learn a bit about myself as I read your work! Thank you!!

  18. This is fantastic! I love how you wrote Poetry and text on her forehead and below. This is gorgeous.