Photos, Stories and Scrapbooking

Tag: peony


Every Memorial Day my Sarah Bernhart Peonies bloom. This year I grabbed my camera and walked out to capture the blooms in the early morning light. Then this afternoon, I went out again to cut some for a bouquet. I love these flowers. I will cut the new blooms each day while I have them, but I wish that they lasted longer than a week. They are spectacular blooms. So when those buds start appearing, I’m out in the yard practicing with my camera, an art medium that I’ve been neglecting recently.

Place Photograph and Template Layers
  • Create a new 24×12 inch document in Photoshop
  • Select a focal photo and size it to fit one side.
  • Drag the layers of template 4 from FotoInspired Template Pack 2J.
  • Reduce the size of all layers to 85%.
Place Paper
  • Place solid paper 1 from ArtPlay Palette Rougir on the left side just above the large photo.
  • Add another copy of the paper but flip it so that the flowers are on the left.
  • Add a layer mask to the second copy of the paper.
  • Use an AnnaBlendz Artsy brush to mask out all but the flowers of that paper layer.
  • Add a Color Overlay from the FX panel at the bottom of the layers panel. Select a darker pink from the photo and change the blend mode to Color.
Clip Photographs to Small Masks
  • Clip photos to small masks.
  • Add Adjustment Layers as needed.

Note: I adjusted the white balance on the photos that I shot on my deck in the afternoon light. I clipped Levels Adjustment Layers on Soft Light blend mode to most of the photos.

Add Artsy Transfers
  • Place the layers of Transfer 1 from Artsy Transfers Rougir above the paper layers but under the double frame at the bottom of the template. Delete two transfer layers and dark splatters and art stroke. Adjust position.
  • Place the the layers of Transfer 3 below the masks on the left side of the template. Position and delete layers as desired.

Note: I added a Color Overlay to a stain in Transfer 1 and a transfer in Transfer 3 to coordinate with my photos.

Add a Button
  • Add a button and thread for dimension.
  • Give the button a shadow.

I had wonderful light as it rose above the roofs when I went out with my camera about six o’clock in the morning. There wasn’t even much wind, something we don’t get often in a prairie state like Nebraska. By the afternoon, the wind was blowing again, but I found a protected area with good indirect light on my deck. I placed a piece of white board on the table and used with my small macro lens to capture different arrangements of the blooms that I had cut before putting them in a vase to bring inside.

The hardest part of this page was deciding which photos best told the story about photographing my peonies. Looking through my photographs in Lightroom, I can see some changes that I need to make for better photographs next time. Unfortunately, as I look out the window, my poor peonies are bent to the ground with all the rain and wind we’ve had over the last two days. I could bring some in to photograph, but the time to capture them outdoors is over for this year.

I encourage you to play with your camera and some flowers both outside and indoors. Then create a page using one of Anna’s FotoInspired Templates. I will add this page to the other pages that I’ve created for a book with my flower photography.


I have some beautiful Sarah Bernhardt peonies blooming in my yard, but the variety growing at Lauritzen Gardens offered a far more spectacular show for a photography enthusiast like me. Peonies don’t bloom long, but I was able to capture these in the middle of May. Most of the photos included on this page are straight out of the camera.

The large photo on the left is my favorite; despite the mid afternoon sun, I love the bokeh in the background. I placed the photo on the left and placed 12×12 solid paper 1 from ArtPlay Palette Autumn Soul on the right.

Next, I added the layers of FotoInspired DoubleTemplate No. 69 and reduced the size about 15%.

I clipped my photos to the small frames and made adjustments on two photos.

To finish my page, I recolored layers from FotoInspired EdgeTemplates No. 1 and lace from Artsy Transfers Authentic.

Creating a flower book with these templates seems almost too easy, but I think it’s going to be beautiful when finished.

White on White Plus Pink

With the warm weather and longer days now, when Kate spends the night we enjoy being outside together. Last Saturday, I suggested that she help me pick enough peonies to fill a watering can. Just so you’ll know, a grandmother who also likes to play with her camera, someone like me for example, sometimes plans for these photographic adventures. This time I suggested to Kate that she might like to wear the dress that I’d given her for Christmas to pick the pretty flowers. With her hair in a loose bun and no shoes on her feet, she danced out to the peonies with that watering can in hand. And if you are wondering how I got her to sit still for a moment, Kate climbed up on the table when I asked, “Can you see the robins nesting in the deck eves?” This photo isn’t perfectly cropped in camera; I often have no more than a moment to capture Kate before she’s on the move again

To create this page, I first duplicated the photo and applied a filter using Topaz Simplify. I reduced the opacity of the Simplify layer and masked it as well to reveal more of Kate’s face in the original photo. With the strong backlighting in the photo, I added an adjustment layer on screen blend mode to get a more high key look.

Then I clipped all the photo layers to the fotoblendz layer of file 4 from MultiLayered FotoBlendz No. 6.

To hide more of the houses in the background behind Kate, I used the quick selection tool to create a mask and then filled back in the area I wanted to reveal with a soft round brush. The texture of the fotoblendz mask is still there despite the layer mask that I added. This layer is on normal blend mode at 100%.

To each of the other layers in the psd fotoblendz file, I clipped a Simplify copy for a painterly look and adjusted how much was revealed with a layer mask or by changing the opacity. I also stamped a brush from ArtsyPaint No. 11 on a new blank layer and clipped another Simplify copy to the brush. Just above Kate, I placed a glow from FotoGlow Mix No. 1 on blend mode lighter color and WarmGlows No. 8 on hard light in order to add a soft simulation of the direction of the sun.

To add texture without bringing in additional color, I pulled spackle transfers from Artsy Transfers Sage and positioned them along the lines of the table

Next, I added a transfer and two copies of artsy paper 1 from ArtPlay Palette Hope. I masked a portion of the transfer and set the opacity to 40%. I reversed the two copies of paper 1 and added inverted masks to reveal just the edges with the spackle and touch of pink.

I placed 5 layers of file 3 from Artsy Transfers Anything. Using the psd file allowed me to delete any color layers that didn’t work with the other textures on this page.

Finally, I placed the little bird from a friend, added a title and journaling, splatters and a flower from UrbanThreadz Flowers No. 1.

Keeping the both background and textures white on white with a touch of pink gives me a delicate high key look and keeps the focus on the soft photo. I have some other photos of Kate playing with the peonies that I will include on an opposing page of a two page spread.

An Afternoon in a Garden

I walked in a peony garden with my camera and iPhone this afternoon. The light was a bit harsh, the wind was blowing and it was a tad hot, but I enjoyed every moment at Lauritzen Gardens. I discovered that what I couldn’t capture with my camera and a 60mm macro lens, I could capture with my phone and it’s wider lens angle.

My own peonies aren’t blooming yet and those at Lauritzen Gardens today were just beginning to bloom. So I will be returning in the next week to see what else is blooming.

I practiced filling my camera frame with a peony. This is a tip that I learned from a class, Creating Painterly Photographs. These photos are straight out of the camera.

There is a lovely pond area surrounded by benches. Its a beautiful site for just sitting. As I looked around for something different to photograph, I noticed the water bubbling. I think it’s going to make a wonderful texture to apply to another photo.

There is a small prairie in the middle of the botanical garden. Only one lonely plant was blooming. I am not sure yet whether I prefer the one with the path in the distance or the one surrounded only by the prairie grass.

Yes, I had a lovely afternoon with my camera!

Playing and Inspiration

During those times when I don’t feel like creating and I need a spark to renew my interest in digital scrapbooking, I sometimes find inspiration from others. Another artist in Anna’s gallery, Sharron Lamb, recommended a watercolor action for Photoshop. I was intrigued and wondered how well it worked. Below, I describe my process for playing with this action and creating my page.


This watercolor action came with not only the action, but also an abr brush file and a link to a video explaining how to adjust the layers once the action finished running.

Per the instructions, open a photo in Photoshop, create a new layer and title it “brush” using all lowercase letters. Load the brush set provided. Then brush over part of the photo with a soft round brush (included in the abr file) at 100% opacity. Finally, run the action.

Once the action finishes, make adjustments as described in the video. On my page, rather than using a soft round brush as described in the video, I placed one mask from Anna’s Simple Fotoblendz No 1, duplicated it and adjusted it’s size. I renamed the layer “brush” and ran the action. After making adjustments, I created a composite of all the layers.

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 4.28.24 PM

Clip the composite to one of the masks from FotoBlendz Overlays No. 3. Adjust the size of the mask. Change the blend mode of the overlay mask layer to linear burn.

Note: I blended three papers to achieve the texture on my page below the mask.

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 4.15.34 PM

Extract blooms from other photos to create a bouquet. For this page, I extracted three different blooms, adjusted their position and anchored them with ButtonThreadz No. 2, UrbanThreadz No. 2 and No. 3.

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 4.17.41 PM

Duplicate the watercolor composite. Drag them below the original composite and mask. Add inverted masks and stamp ArtsyStains No. 1 and No. 2 to create depth below the bouquet. Change the blend mode to linear burn and adjust the opacity.

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 4.18.22 PM

Stamp splatters on new blank layers. Add brush layers.

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 4.19.16 PM

Place a button, adjust color and anchor with a thread. Place transfers. Add a title and date.

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 4.20.01 PM

When I began playing with the Photoshop action and my photos, I really didn’t have an idea for a page. I love a watercolor look and I just wanted to play with the action. I simply wondered what kind of background I might create. Once I had my watercolor composite, then of course, I was inspired to create a page. Sometimes, all that’s needed to spark an idea for a page is something new, i.e. a watercolor action.


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