Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Savoring Life

hibiscus

Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second. ~Marc Riboud

Like the above quote so wonderfully states, I'm savoring moments spent with my daughter, who will head back to college in less than a month...once they're older, summers become even more special because you get their company for awhile! I captured this hibiscus photo a few days ago when we were out shopping on a sunny day...I love the blurred figure of my daughter in the background. This is my submission for Texture Tuesday - Kim asked that we use one of her textures, and I used "providence" at Soft Light/30%. Click on the button below for more wonderful photos!

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

And another summer week flies by...the prompts for Scavenger Hunt Sunday are paint, green, eyelashes, shapes, and clouds.

1. Paint. I love to paint, and this prompt was a reminder that I haven't done it in awhile. Time to get back on it! This is a shot of some of my "play time" backgrounds and a little doodle experiment with my Stabilo pencil...it writes (and looks) like a pencil, but if you go over it with a wet brush, it looks like watercolor.
paint - life is good

2. Green. (Warning: Spider!!) While trying to capture my green prompt, this sweet ivy leaf caught my eye. I wanted to remove the "dead leaf" sitting on top of it, so I nudged it with my finger. It moved!!! EEEEEEEEEEEKKKKK. This is why I should not be taking photos without my glasses. Despite my terror, I still had to take a photo...lol. He's so hairy!! *shudder*
spider

3. Eyelashes. Thank you to my daughter, who was a beautiful subject for this prompt. I wasn't sure if I'd get a good photo with my point-and-shoot, but I like how this turned out (with the help of PSE and Radlab).
eyelashes

4. Shapes. When we visited the Baltimore Aquarium, they had all these beautiful jellyfish shapes hanging from the ceiling. It was a very pretty sight to see.
baltimore aquarium

5. Clouds. I still have Hilton Head photos I haven't processed...two months later! This is one I really love, especially the little cotton candy clouds against the sunset sky.
hhi-palms-sunset

Thank you for visiting - please click on the button below to see more great photos! Have a wonderful Sunday.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Don't Mind If I Do!

hearts and leaves

Eventually I discovered for myself the utterly simple prescription for creativity: Be intensely yourself. Don’t try to be outstanding; don’t try to be a success; don’t try to do pictures for others to look at - just please yourself. ~Ralph Steiner

Heart shaped bokeh and floral patterns on leaves? Why, yes, don't mind if I do! This week's theme for Bonnie's Photo Art Friday was "improbable pairings". At first I was stumped because I was trying to find an actual photo I had that contained an improbably pairing...I was getting frustrated. It finally dawned on me to create the improbable pairings. With the magic of PSE, nothing lets me create art more easily - it's instantly accessible and mess-free!

For this image, I used a heart bokeh layer for the background and then a public domain image of an old floral print for the leaves, using layer masks for both. (If you go to Flickr Creative Commons, you can find many heart bokeh textures that are free for personal use.) Once I had these layers on my image, I used Gradient Map, but instead of using black to white, I used the one that is "blue to gold". I set it at Screen Mode/41%. It looked so pretty! I then added Bonnie's "dusty rose bokeh" texture at Multiply/58%. A swipe through Radlab to warm and brighten it a little, and I was done. Magical! Play time in PSE is truly one of my favorite things to do...love, love, love.

Original Image:

Photo Art Friday

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Unique and Strange Delight

night time shot

There is a certain unique and strange delight about walking down an empty street alone. There is an off-focus light cast by the moon, and the streetlights are part of the spotlight apparatus on a bare stage set up for you to walk through. You get a feeling of being listened to, so you talk aloud, softly, to see how it sounds. ~Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals

A few weeks ago, I had to pick up my daughter who was taking the bus from New York City. It was 10pm, and I was meeting her at the bus stop on her college campus. Traffic held her up considerably, so I found myself alone in the dark, in extreme heat, with some time to spare...the campus Starbucks immediately adjacent to the bus stop was closed up tight, which threw off my plans to wait there. I decided to walk across campus to the "hub" where I could sit in the cool air conditioning of the food court. I set off across campus and was immediately struck by one thing: I was completely and utterly alone in this dorm section of campus. It was eerie...I couldn't believe there wasn't one single person in sight as far as my eye could see. I had assumed the campus would be bustling...it was a ghost town. The silence was deafening...it was both creepy and amazing at the same time.

As I walked down the long path by the dorms, I was literally talking out loud to myself to break up the uncanny silence. And yes, it was silly stuff like, "This is so weird...there's no one here. I can't believe no one else is around...what is going on." (lol) The thick heat and humidity felt suffocating, and only added to the "twilight zone" feel. I did stop to take this one photo with my iphone. I called my husband and had him talk with me as I finished my walk, and was relieved to finally see a few people as I reached the center of campus.

What an odd experience that was, especially when living in a suburban area where I'm normally surrounded by thousands of people everywhere I go! When I stumbled upon the quote above a couple of days later, I thought it described my experience perfectly. My iphone image isn't pretty, by any means, but it captures the mood of my experience really well, I think. Have you ever found yourself unexpectedly alone in an otherwise crowded place? Wasn't it surreal?


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Semblance of Comfort

Day lily

I really need a break from the news this week as every TV and computer screen replays the heartbreaking horror of Aurora, Colorado. There comes a point when the bad news begins to overwhelm me and I need to retreat to simple things so I can restore some inner peace. The world seems so stressed...the economy is suffering, cynicism grows, and even mother nature seems angrier these days. And here in the thick of it, humanity resides and tries to survive...we are all so fragile.

Working on photos is soothing, and just what I need. This photo of a daylily in my yard comforts me...it's beautiful and slightly askew in perspective, which suits my mood (lol). It's my offering for Texture Tuesday (I used Kim's "just be" at Color Burn/26%). Today, I stay away from TVs and news sites...and feel blessed for all that I have. I sip my coffee, I stroke the soft fur of my sweet Ruby's back while she dreams, her paws softly twitching...I listen to the hum of the washer that cleans my family's clothes, and the tap of my keyboard as I type this post. That is enough...it is more than enough, and I am grateful. I find comfort in everyday routines...those household rituals that soothe on a simple Tuesday, while the world spins frantically around me, trying to contain itself. How are you faring today? I hope you're well, and I thank you for stopping by.

RESTLESS

The earth mimics the
Human spirit, I think,
As the sky sags
Near to breaking
Am I imagining things, or
Are all the stars weeping?

The rain seethes atop
The sharp, green anger
Of the grass blades
The thirsting earth
Groans and cracks
Losing its form
Under the pressure

I stand on the turned surface
Breathing the air deeply
Willing myself to feel
A semblance of comfort
Like two hands sliding
Into calm, cool waters

And the stricken wind
Mocks, whipping around
The bent over souls
Of oaks, clawing
Their way, ragged,
Up a hill.

©Sherri Brannon

kimklassencafe

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Time for another Scavenger Hunt Sunday...this week's prompts are love or couple, time together, duplicated, tell me a story, and wrapped.

1. Love or Couple. For this, I had to add one more photo of my daughter and her guy...I took this of the two of them in Hilton Head. A very lovely photo, I think!
Untitled

2. Time Together. This sweet, little butterfly was enjoying some time with this flower...I'm glad I stumbled upon them in time to get a photo.
butterfly on flower

3. Duplicated. These flowers look like twins - definitely duplicated!
two flowers

4. Tell Me A Story. In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth. (quote by Rachel Carson)
beach

5. Wrapped. I save the best for last...our sweet Ruby. She has the entire family wrapped around her chunky paw! We wouldn't have it any other way.
corgi

If you want to see more great photos or see next week's prompts, click below!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Illuminate

Moonlight

For this week's Photo Art Friday, we were to create an image where "light" is the highlight. I chose this image I took at Hilton Head while out on a photography walk. It was afternoon, but I could clearly see the moon through the trees. The actual photo has much less of an impact than the altered one I created in PSE...I was able to make it look like it was night time. I love how the moonlight glows and reflects off the trees! I used Bonnie's "Age It" texture at Color Burn/52%. I also put it through Radlab several times to warm it, sharpen it, etc.

I have a poem to share, too...my biggest inspiration when writing is nature. Nature is so symbolic to life, don't you think? I'm always finding the parallels between the two in my poetry. I often feel like the moon...some days I feel strong and more courageous about "exposing" myself; other days, I feel more vulnerable and want to hide myself away to stay safe and protected. Do you ever feel like this? How do you handle your vulnerable days? I realize not everyone stays home and writes poetry like I do...lol. :)

For more Photo Art submissions, click on the button at the bottom of this post...thank you for stopping by!

ILLUMINATE

Words spark and flare,
Carving a crack, glowing
Under my breastbone
Illuminating my soul thoughts
Their points of pain and their
Rounds of love, and I wonder
If they'll be revealed, just
As the moon wonders if the
Clouds will expose her tonight.
She turns away her lunar face
Hiding her luminous thoughts,
Those glowing words like maps
Across her surface, parts of
Them leaking gingerly across
The curve of a swan's neck
Gliding on a distant lake.

Some nights the moon hides
With the stars, while others
She makes her presence known
Setting tree tips aglow
Revealing their secrets
While the birds with no names
Turn silent and sleep songless
In the branches.
Some nights my words hesitate
While others they gleam, just
Like the moon shines across
A shy mare in a midnight field,
Her nostrils flaring, her
Hooves restless and stomping
From all she yearns to say.

© Sherri Brannon

Original image:

Photo Art Friday

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

5 Questions

digital collage girl

I'm taking Kim Klassen's and Xanthe Berkeley's online Behind the Scenes class. It has been so helpful to me and has given me much food for thought on what it is I want this blog to be. I highly recommend the class! Today, we are encouraged to post these 5 Questions on our blog, which was fun to do...I've answered them below!

I struggled with an image to include with this post, and finally decided to choose an example of what I do these days when I'm in an artistic mood (see Question 2)...I love combining my drawings with my own painted backgrounds and other various textures in PSE. I'm including this image because I want this to be an occasional part of my blog, in addition to my photos and poetry...I like sharing the joy of combining your own art with PSE layers and textures. I really want to encourage others to try it, too. You can create some beautiful results! This image started out with a charcoal sketch I did...I added my own painted background layer, plus several other textures (including Kim's "antique handwriting" texture). I used a lot of reverse layers masks to lay in color/pattern only where I wanted it to go.

BTS 5 questions banner

1. What makes you happy?….. in 5 words or less….?
The creative process...absolutely, positively.

2. Which talent would you most like to have?
Artistic talent. I have a little of this in me, which makes me very happy. The part that makes me sad is that I've let so many years pass without developing my skills. If money were no object, I'd go back to school and get my fine art degree.

3. Which words or phrases do you overuse most? lol, so, very, lots of "...", and probably too many exclamation points!

4. What is your favourite movie, book or both?
My favorite movie is "The Count of Monte Christo". I've watched it a gazillion times. My favorite book is "The Power of Now", which completely changed the way I think about life.

5. If you could go anywhere in the world for a creative retreat where might it be? Italy, hands down...what a dream come true that would be!

Original images:





Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Memory Field

field 2

On one side was the forest in all its complex depth and verdancy,
 on the other side stretched the field, a wild field full of emptiness, where memory was hidden among the grasses, each day of the past moving
 like small winds there among the tall grasses. ~Patricia Fargnoli, lines from “Then” in Then, Something

What is it about an open field? Witnessing that vast space before my eyes seems to uncoil my tangled thoughts and unlock my heart's chambers. My lungs expand hungrily, breathing in all that fresh and uncluttered air. I love the quote above, how it compares the forest to the complexities of our mind and the field to that wild, open space where our memories can roam. Memories are either beautiful or bittersweet, depending on which one shows up...but, I treasure all of them because they're proof of this intricate life I'm feeling my way through. Memories are like spiritual photographs...heart-stored, snapshot moments that you can't physically touch, but you can exquisitely feel. I'm grateful for every memory, even the ones that left scars. That's where the wisdom and growth comes in.

This is my photo submission for Texture Tuesday - Kim asked that we use two of her textures this week. I used "elevate" (Soft Light/26%) and "reverie" (Soft Light/43%). I love the bright, sun-kissed look of this. It's dreamy, yet hazy at the same time...kind of like memories, don't you think?

Learning is a gift. Even when pain is your teacher. - Maya Watson

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

This week's prompts for Scavenger Hunt Sunday are water, petal, fresh, eight, and calm. Please click on the button at the bottom of this post to see more great photos, or to see what next week's prompts are...join in! It's a lot of fun. :)

1. Petal. This was a Hilton Head flower - is this a hibiscus?? Whatever it is, it's beautiful! I'd love to have one of these in my own yard...
flower

2. Calm. The sunsets have been beautiful this past week. This was right outside my house, looking down the street. So serene, and definitely calm! *happy sigh*
sunset

3. Fresh. Freshly sliced kiwi...anymore, I find myself photographing my food before I eat it. :)
kiwi

4. Eight. This was a tough one. I tried several versions of eight, but this is the one I finally chose. These stones and shells are some we collected during a beach stay in Rehoboth, Delaware. I keep them in a glass jar on my window sill because they bring back such fond memories.
eight

5. Water. I took a walk down by our community lake this week. This is one of the shots I got...I liked that this one had the clouds reflected in the water.
lake reflection

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Secret Gate

Fence

Still round the corner there may wait a new road or a secret gate; and though I oft have passed them by, a day will come at last when I shall take the hidden paths that run west of the moon, east of the sun. ~J.R.R. Tolkien

For this week's Photo Art Friday, our image was to center around fencing. This was a photo I captured in Williamsburg, VA. I started playing around with adding layers, and tried a page of type from an old book. I used a new technique that I learned from Kim Klassen's Beyond Layers class (highly recommended!). I used Gradient Map, but instead of reducing the opacity, I tried the different blend modes. I was amazed at the different looks you can get! For this image, I used Gradient Map/Darken blend at 93%. It looked very cool, but because I'm always curious in PSE, I decided to take it one step further and invert it (Command I). I loved the results! I always enjoy my weekly "play time" with Photo Art Friday...to see more great images, click on the button below!

Original photo:

Photo Art Friday

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Green, Part 2

Untitled
ivy
leaf puddle
lightning bug on a leaf
spider plant
taking cover
leaf and bark

More greens to share...there is green everywhere. And I find that when there's a profusion of one color, I focus in closer to find something unique. You can find some amazing things. I especially love that I discovered the hosta bloom underneath the leaf...it was so hot this past week, even the flowers took cover! :)

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thursday - thanks for stopping by.