Thursday, January 28, 2010

Christmas ornament

Each year I try to find or create a Christmas ornament for our kids that depicts something that happened in their lives the previous year. This is not for one of my kids -- but it's for a special young woman who learned to knit scarves last year! I haven't had a chance to give it to her yet, but I think she'll like it. It's made with bamboo skewers with beads glued on the cut end and some fine yarn secured with glue to keep the ball shape. If I had it to do over, I might have made it larger, but it's pretty cute and would look good on a mini tree.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Enjoying the process

When I was journaling this morning, it hit me that I have been so focused on product, that I haven't taken the time to be in the moment in my life (or my art). Especially now, when I'm learning and trying so many new techniques in Photoshop -- I find myself rushing to get to the finished product. Take the above photo for example. See those ugly blue scribbles around the flowers? The tutorial I was following suggested that adding some artistic lines might enhance the picture. So I eagerly scribbled like a first grader anxious to get to the next step. The result -- the blue lines ruin the whole thing!

I can rework the picture, but it's going to take awhile to live into this attitude in my life. I'm so glad that God doesn't just rush us through a bunch of steps in our lives -- pushing us to accomplish more, to produce more. I'm pretty sure God wouldn't scribble ugly blue lines on me just to get me closer to the "end product". Instead, the Master Artist of my life loves the process, loves the way I am right now, and enjoys each brush stroke. I'm a long way from living this, but maybe this picture will remind me to relish the beauty of each moment.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winter Blues/Winter Blahs

I am solar powered -- which is another way of saying that I don't do well in these gloomy, gray Chicago winter days. I SO miss green, growing things and blue skies. The Photoshop class I'm taking is turning out to be a Godsend -- giving me bright images and fun colors to work with, instead of the dirty slush that greets me outside. I took these pictures last summer -- a good reminder that winter can only last so long!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


This morning I awoke to a foggy, gray, dreary day. Until I looked closer. The frost had frozen on the trees and vegetation in lacy, delicate, beautiful patterns. I just had to grab my camera and run out in the yard. It reminds me of a chapter in a book I am reading by Annie Dillard. The chapter is about "seeing", and how impoverished we are when we don't take the time to treasure the beauty that is all around us. It was certainly beautiful this morning -- even in the middle of my least favorite season!

Thanks, God, for this treasure and opening my eyes to see it!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I haven't figured out how to format this space, but at least I know how to put pictures up!
I am taking an online Photoshop Elements class, and it is turning out to be a lot of fun. (When I'm not pulling my hair out because I can't figure out what I'm doing.)

The photo of the artist is actually two photos put together with a process called "masking". He was sitting in front of the Pantheon and sketching, but I decided to put an actual picture of the Pantheon behind him, and then I transformed that portion into a colored pencil sketch. It's like making magic (when it works)!

The second photo was taken in November, where the Sandhill Cranes were resting before their migration south. There were hundreds and hundreds of birds swooping down with the sunset in the background. I added some extra stuff, and then the text.
And if you are really impressed, I'll tell you that if I showed you the previous photo that I altered, you would fall down on the floor laughing -- it was so bad! It's fun to learn!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Journal Page

This is my latest journal page. I have to give props to Martha Lever (again), who keeps encouraging her blog friends to just keep altering something that you don't like at first. I had "Wisdom" and my oval picture on my page, but it started looking very "first-graderish". So I cut out the parts I liked and collaged it to a background that seemed to fit the quote.
BTW, the quote is from Anthony Gittins. I have had the privilege of hearing him speak, and he is really good!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Journal Page

I have a love/hate relationship with snow. Yes, it can be beautiful and sparkling and lovely. But it is also wet and cold and sloppy and makes our lives in the city very complicated. I created this page after spending a couple of hours yesterday shoveling out our driveway.
Can we move on the spring now???

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Photoshop Play

For my birthday in October, I received the latest version of the photo editing software called Photoshop. For over two months I have been checking Photoshop books out of the library, experimenting, and getting more and more frustrated!

Then a good friend told me about an online class taught by a wonderfully creative person, and I signed right up. The class began yesterday, and I had some extended play time today. This is my first successful "photoshopped" picture, and I feel like a kid who got an "A" in kindergarten.
Maybe I'll print it out and hang a copy on the fridge!