Tuesday, April 30, 2013
For age is opportunity no less than youth itself, though in another dress, and as the evening twilight fades away, the sky is filled with stars, invisible by day. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Twilight is such a beautiful time of day...there's a stillness in the air. There is an understated focus, by the setting sun, on the beautiful details of nature...a tempered light that tenderly glows off of every branch and flower. This reminds me of how it feels to be getting older and wiser...to be experiencing the "more mature years" of my life. Now that I'm in my fifties, I have more moments of stillness and inner contemplation. The simple, everyday moments stand out with stark poignance, when I would not have even noticed them ten years ago. My body is aging, but I'm finding I'm more content with what lies inside. Yes, there's a quiet grief that comes with watching my physical changes...the wrinkles, the menopausal thickening, the random chin hair that suddenly sprouts out of nowhere...! But there's also a sense of surrender and relief...a knowing inside of what truly gives me value in this world. My inner spirit has become stronger, and there's a real sense of peace that comes with that.
I'm linking up with Texture Tuesday today - this week's theme is "wise words". I opted not to put text on my photos and instead include my quote within my blog post. I used Kim's "Cora" texture at Soft Light/25% in my first image. Thank you for stopping by! Wherever you are in your life journey, I hope you're being gentle with yourself.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Art finds her own perfection within, and not outside of, herself. She is not to be judged by any external standard of resemblance. She is a veil, rather than a mirror. She has flowers that no forests know of, birds that no woodland possesses. She makes and unmakes many worlds, and can draw the moon from heaven with a scarlet thread. ~Oscar Wilde
I had some fun digitally enhancing my own hand-painted art work this past week...I was feeling hesitant about starting, so finally I just sat down and painted without THINKING. I did both of these paintings very quickly, not worrying about any mistakes. As soon as an idea about what to do next popped into my head, I did it without second guessing or worrying what it would look like.
Once I was done, I scanned them into Photoshop Elements, which is my favorite part of the process. As someone who still feels self-conscious about my beginner art skills, I like that I can load my paintings into PSE and make them look a little more polished. They still have that simple, primitive look to them, but the digital effects give them a slicker, more contemporary feel (in my mind, anyway). It covers up the rough spots and flaws and makes everything look a little more cohesive. I can also add text to the artwork in PSE if I want to.
I enjoy using the "cutout" effect in PSE with my paintings - it's what gives them that more modern look. I reduce the opacity down slightly but I love what this effect does. Before applying the cutout effect, I also added multiple textures (using reverse layer masks) to add interest to the backgrounds and details...I love finding my textures and patterns from old books (copyright free) at archives.org. I look for pretty flyleaf patterns and/or stained pages from these books...it's like a treasure hunt to search for them and I could spend hours doing it!
If you're someone who is hesitant to try painting, don't let your fear of imperfect art work stop you...do it anyway! Any time you express yourself creatively, a good thing has happened...whether other people like it or not, it shouldn't matter (easier said than done, I know - these words are as much for myself as for anyone else who reads them). It's the act itself that should be celebrated...it's a victory that you took some time from your stressful, external life to turn inward and create a piece of art that you can physically hold in your hands. Art is about intuition and spirit, two things which are easily snuffed out by the grinding demands of everyday life. These two pieces I did are very small, by the way, which seems to be less intimidating for me - each piece is about 3X4 inches. That way there isn't so much blank white space to cover!
Thank you for stopping by! Have a wonderful Sunday.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
It’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it. ~C.S. Lewis
Thoughts are like a silent voice, constantly present in our minds...the older I get, the more conscious I am of making sure those thoughts are positive ones. The negative ones show up, believe me, but I don't let them stay long. The burden of inner turmoil and worry is a heavy one to carry...as a lifelong worry wart, I am constantly trying to learn better ways of bearing the load!
I'm linking up today with Poets United - they're offering a weekly prompt for poetry writing called First Verse. This week's prompt is "voices". The image above is of my beloved corgi in her favorite spot, enjoying the view as the sun rises (captured with my trusty iPhone). Thank you for stopping by! Click HERE to visit Poets United.
PEARLY WHITE THOUGHTS
A tender glow
From the moon's soul
Pearly white thoughts
Purest shapes of grace
Till softly as a turned page
The morning light breaks
By a dove's beak
Sweetly lulls the grass
Ruffling my thoughts
Even the broken ones
Stirring my spirit, my
Heart's heavy curtain
Amidst pleated leaves and
Lawns embered orange
With the dawn.
© Sherri Brannon
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
A light exists in spring
Not present on the year
At any other period-
When March is scarcely here
A color stands abroad
On solitary fields
That science cannot overtake
But human nature feels. ~Emily Dickinson
I love the beautiful blooms of spring, but I also love the gorgeous blue skies that show up when spring arrives...somehow they're cleaner, purer, and more sun-kissed than any of the skies of winter. Today I'm sharing some of the blue sky photos I've captured in the last week or two, and I'm also linking up to Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday. For the final image above, I used her "Sybil" texture at Color Burn/92%.
Has spring finally arrived where you are? Don't forget to look up and take in the beautiful, blue sky! Thanks so much for stopping by.
Friday, April 19, 2013
I am hopelessly addicted to my painterly iPhone apps...I have to pace myself or else I would process every single phone image this way. There's something magical about tapping a button and seeing your image instantly transform into a painting. Too much fun! The two main painterly apps I use are Distressed FX and Glaze. These two apps combined together create some beautiful effects. I tend to start in Distressed FX and then move the image into Glaze. I use various other apps also, to enhance, increase contrast/saturation, change the lighting, etc. Snapseed, Pictapgo, Pixlrexpress and Picfx are great for those purposes. I also sometimes use the Blender app to combine the effects. I thought I'd share some of my recent favorites - I'm @sherribrannon at Instagram. Thank you for stopping by!
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
A little photo art to share today...sometimes it's fun to just sit and play...to turn realistic things into things that look a bit more like fantasy. I'm linking up to Nature Footstep's Wednesday meme of "Abstract", which I just learned about this past week. Click HERE to visit and/or participate!
For this image I started with a tulip photo from my front yard...I added quite a few textures and/or patterns throughout the process, and also put it through Radlab several times. Thank you for stopping by - have a wonderful Wednesday!
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
For Texture Tuesday this week, the theme is "celebration". In April, I am always celebrating spring. All the gorgeous trees are blooming and there are pink blossoms everywhere. What a transformation! I captured these images while visiting my favorite little town of Occoquan over the weekend. For the final image below, I used Kim's "Anna" texture at Soft Light/35%...a subtle and lovely effect, which her textures always provide.
Thank you for stopping by, and I'm sharing a spring poem I wrote this past week. And I can't complete this post without expressing my heartfelt thoughts about Boston...I'm sending prayers of healing and strength to this beautiful city and all those affected by the marathon explosions yesterday.
Candy clouds so
I am flower-lulled
Into hopeful things
A delicate iris
Leaning just so
Against the earth
Yearning to be kissed
Spiders spinning and
That fly and sing
I sweep my blues
Into careworn piles
With a relieved smile
As their winter edges
Brown and curl
By the marching ants
Soothed to slumber
By the sounds of
April showers and
The iridescent whir
Of bumble bee wings.
© Sherri Brannon
Sunday, April 14, 2013
The poet must not only write the poem but must scrutinize the world intensely, or anyway that part of the world he or she has taken for subject. If the poem is thin, it is likely so not because the poet does not know enough words, but because he or she has not stood long enough among the flowers—has not seen them in any fresh, exciting, and valid way. ~Mary Oliver, A Poetry Handbook
I have so many Instagram photos and so many poetry quotes...I love them both and want to share. I love this quote from one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver. How right she is...in order to write poetry I feel happy with, I must take the time to really notice what's around me, to really see a thing beyond its basic form. I can't rush myself. If i do this, my poems are thick, not thin. Thick is best! This can be very difficult in the fast-paced, numbing environment of this world...it can be so hard to slow ourselves down. Taking those quiet moments for myself, turning inward...writing a poem is like meditating with my heart. How do you slow yourself down and allow yourself to see beyond the surface? Is it with words, or art, or movement? Thank goodness for creative expression - it truly is food for the soul.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting. For some it’s a Broadway spotlight; for others, a lamplit desk. Use your natural powers—of persistence, concentration, insight, and sensitivity—to do work you love and work that matters. Solve problems, make art, think deeply. ~Susan Cain
I love this quote by Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. (In fact, as I type this, it's dawning on me that I've used this quote before on my blog...lol. But I'm on a roll, so I'll continue!) Putting ourselves in the "right lighting" is so key to our happiness. If each of our lives could be conveyed in a single photo, wouldn't it be important that we be in the proper light, out of the shadows, and properly focused? Not only that, but the lighting should be properly exposed to bring out our best features...it's a delicate dance that's more difficult than it appears.
We've all seen (and taken) those photos with horrible lighting...the main focal point is obscured, caught in the shadows, and other objects that shouldn't be important are glaringly caught in the overexposed light when they shouldn't even be noticed. What a perfect way of describing our lives which can so easily get out of balance when facing every day stressors. Light and shadows, joy and strife: this is life. I try to place myself amidst the joyful things as much as I can, and not get lost in the strife. It's a daily balancing act, and I don't always succeed...but making art and being creative, even with my computer, is one way I bring light/joy to my own life.
For Photo Art Friday this week, Bonnie's theme was "shadows and light". I chose this image I took of two cacti (cactuses??) and started playing. I added multiple textures, one with pattern, and also ran it through Radlab many times. I lost track of all my steps - there were many. But for awhile this morning, as I sat sipping my coffee on a Thursday morning, I was very content...if an observer had taken my photo, the lighting would have been perfect (even if I am still in my PJs!). I hope your day is filled with perfect lighting, too - thank you for stopping by!
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Spring: trees flying up to their birds. ~Paul Celan
Spring continues to slowly show up here in Virginia...I thought for sure over the weekend that things would be in full bloom, so I was surprised that I still had to hunt a little bit to find spring color. Its arrival this year has been slow as molasses! It mirrors real life, doesn't it? All things come in good time and when they're ready. However, yesterday it was almost 80 degrees and these temps will continue through Wednesday - I think it's officially here! This makes me so happy. It's amazing to me how the arrival of spring affects my energy and attitude - it's as if a switch, that has been in off mode, suddenly turns to ON. I want to exercise again and eat healthy food...my mood becomes much happier with the constant sunshine, color, and warmth outside. I feel transformed!
I'm joining in with Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday - this week's theme is to use any two of her textures on an image. In the final image above, I used Daisy (Multiply/42%) and Cora (Soft Light/51%). I also put the image through Radlab. Thanks so much for stopping by!
Saturday, April 6, 2013
I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns. ~Winston Churchill
I'm taking Kim Klassen's year-long online course "Beyond Beyond", and our most recent lesson was to create a color board in Photoshop Elements. What fun this is! I think I'm addicted. I gathered up a bunch of my jewelry/art supplies and worked on creating a blues palette. I was happy with my first attempt! I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend - thanks for stopping by.
P.S. The adorable corgi ballerina in my image was drawn by my daughter when she was 7 or 8 years old...I still treasure it!
Thursday, April 4, 2013
It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! ~Mark Twain
Spring is so close I can taste it...everywhere I look, the buds are ripe and ready to burst. Any day now, there will be an explosion of color. In the meantime, for Bonnie's Photo Art Friday, our theme this week was "collage". I came up with the idea of trying to create a flower collage using some of my original photos. I chose a few spring photos from last year and used them to create the individual flower center and petals. I added each flower element as a separate layer and, one at a time, used a mask and hard brush to create my desired shapes. I then used the dry brush artistic effect on just the flower with a reverse layer mask. I also used the pencil tool for the very first time because I wanted to add lines around the shapes of the petals. My background is one I created myself awhile back with paints/mixed media - lastly, I added the text and put the whole image through Radlab for a final tweeking.
This was a fun exercise - thanks so much for stopping by. If you're also impatiently waiting for spring where you are, I hope it shows up soon!
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Finally! It's feeling like spring...and even looking like spring if I look around beyond my shady, non-flowering yard. I was so happy to capture some shots of spring flowers in my community while running errands yesterday. I kept pulling over at odd places to take photos of any little flower I could find. I love that in most of the photos, the backdrop to the colorful flowers is still the winter landscape hanging on so stubbornly. It won't be long! Winter into spring...my most favorite time of year. Thank you for stopping by, and I'm also sharing a poem I wrote about this change of seasons...I wrote it several years back, but it's always been one of my favorites. Have a lovely Tuesday!
I'm linking up with Kim's Texture Tuesday - my first photo above was enhanced using Kim's "Sybil" texture which I can't stop using because it's simply perfect. I used it at Multiply/30%. I also put the image through Radlab to tweek it a bit.
WINTER INTO SPRING
Winter wanders gamely,
A drifter passing through, and
Tips his hat to snowcapped oaks
Festooned with icy swags
He tosses frosty winds
Down slanted, porcelain hills,
Tingeing creeks to glinty silver
And jostling sleepy blue gills
From their dreams.
Spring, she stirs and wakens,
Bright and rosy cheeked,
While musty earth roots rustle
And fawns, with dappled down,
Strawberries lie ripe in wait
For fledgling feathered wings, and
April warms them like a breath
While winter, ever wandering,
Takes his leave.
Tender budded larkspurs
Reach for hungry honey bees,
And cherry blossoms flush soft pink
When morning showers sing
© Sherri Brannon