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Up Not Down

Every Wednesday, I have a play date with Kate. She takes the lead on these afternoons. First she decides where we are going to lunch, often Chick-fil-A or McDonalds. Sometimes we paint, build with Legos, go to the park or read. Today we walked up to the school playground. If you have the strength, climbing up poles is just as easy as sliding down. I captured these shots with my iPhone as I sat under the equipment in the shade.

Choose a Template

Since all of the shots were vertical, I chose vertical template 7 from FotoInspired Template Pack No. 2K to help me get started. Then I made some adjustments.

  • Reduce the size of all template layers to 85%.
  • Lengthen three masks and eliminated the others.
  • Move the frame, staples and shadow on the right.
  • Adjust the size of the tags on both frames to accommodate photos.
Create Background
  • Reduce the size of paper 7 from ArtPlay Palette Playout to 85%
  • Duplicate paper twice.
  • Clip a copy to each mask and adjust position.

Note: This paper is from a retired ArtPlay Palette, but any other blue will work to mimic the sky.

Extract Subject
  • Use the Quick Selection Tool to extract the little pole climber.
  • Place one extraction over each mask.
  • Give each extraction a custom shadow.

Note: I changed the size of the second and third extractions to accommodate not only the third photo but also the photo I wanted in the frame on the right. I adjusted photos in Lightroom before exporting to Photoshop CC 2019. Inside Photoshop, I added Levels Adjustment Layers as needed.

Use Brushes
  • Load Park Play No. 1 into the Brush Panel.
  • Create three new blank layers.
  • Stamp brushes 2, 6 and 9 each on a separate layer in a dark gray.
  • Change the blend mode of each to Linear Light at 100%.
  • Adjust position and mask any parts necessary to recreate the look of playground equipment.
Add Splatters and Stitching
  • Load Splatters No. 6 into the Brush Panel.
  • Stamp in a dark gray brushes 3, 4, 5 and 13 on separate layers.
  • Place stitch 3 from UrbanStitchez No. 9 above the splatters to ground extracted foot.

My little climber is going to love these photos; I know I enjoyed capturing her climb on our play date. I’m still not sure how she held on long enough with one foot on the pole and the other against the equipment for me to capture that shot on the lower left.

Remember These Moments

I captured the focal photos on Kate’s last day of preschool, the day she told me that I don’t need to miss her when she goes to school next year because she can still spend the night with me. For this page I decided to combine the photos I captured that afternoon in the park with other photos that tell some of her preschool story. Some of them I scanned from a little picture book that her teacher had created for each child and other photos, I had captured with my camera. With Anna’s new Hipster Plume Template Album No. 3, creating a two page spread documenting preschool memories couldn’t be simpler.

Place template 4 on the left and template 5 on the right.

Note: I replaced one square frame on the right with a copy of the smaller square frame.

Clip photos to fotoblendz masks and add Adjustment Layers as needed.

Note: As I have previously explained, I use Adjustment Layers rather than duplicating a photo and changing it’s blend mode. I also used a brush on the masks to darken areas to accommodate the photos I used.

Duplicate photos and clip to stains. At the bottom of the Layers Panel, place a photo across the page gutter. Add an inverted mask and brush back in enough to extend the scene.

Clip photos to small masks and adjust as needed.

Note: I blurred the faces of the other children in two of the photos.

Add title and blue buttons.

That’s it! The hardest part was deciding which pictures I wanted to include and what I to write.

Sayaka Ganz

At my photography class on Wednesday, suspended from the ceiling of the conservatory at Lauritzen Gardens hung a dolphin by Sayaka Ganz. She uses common household plastic objects to create animals with a sense of motion.  and assembles them to create the effect of a Van Gogh painting. She states, “I believe the best way for artists to help reduce waste is to show how beautiful these materials can be and what can be done with the mundane…When we think of these things as beautiful, we value them. If we value our resources, we will waste less.”

As I looked up, I struggled to get the angle of the dolphin amid the palms. I liked the shapes of the fronds, but in a way, they compete with the dolphin. With my 18-70 mm, f/3.4-5.6 zoom, standing below, I was too far away to blur the background in the late afternoon light. However, with photoshop, I can change the emphasis. Below, I share my steps.

Extract the dolphin. Duplicate twice; create a sketch with one and apply an effect to lighten in the second copy. Clip the sketch, 100% color burn, to the copy with the effect. Link the two copies and rotate clockwise so that the dolphin is headed down more. Add a standard shadow to the top dolphin from the style menu and a custom shadow to the original dolphin copy. To do that put the standard shadow on a separate layer and warp it.

Note: I learn a lot about my photography creating these pages. In this case, in an effort to get all the fins, I placed the dolphin in the center and chose a safe angle.

Below the extraction, place another linked copy of the photo. Clip the copy to mask 3 from WaterColor FotoBlendz No. 8. Duplicate the photo twice and apply effects. Above the photo copies position artsy paper 2 from ArtPlay Palette Evanish. Add a layer mask and bring back in just part of the paper with a soft round brush. Change the blend mode to linear burn at 80%.

Note: For this page, I experimented with a watercolor look and a painterly effect in Topaz Studio.

Place artsy paper 3 from ArtPlay Palette Evanish at the bottom of the layers panel.

Note: I chose this paper because the shape fit my photo so well.

To fill in the background, place art strokes 1 and 2 as well as the gold paint 2 from ArtPlay Palette Evanish. Above the gold paint layer, place file 4 from SeaSprinkles No. 2.

Add glows from CoolGlows No. 1 and CoolGlows No. 4, one on linear light at 60% and the other on soft light at 100%. Place blue buttons and tack down with thread 2 from ButtonThreadz No. 3 and thread 10 from ButtonThreadz No. 1.

Note: The buttons are from ArtPlay Palette Socialize and ArtPlay Mini Gelid.

Finally, add a title and journaling.

This is quite a change from my original photo.

Different Purposes

On Thursday during my week in California, I flew up to San Francisco to spend the day with my friends, Adryane and Don. Last year it rained, but this time, the weather was perfect t-shirt weather and perfect for making photographs.

I use the photos that I make not only to create art, but also to document the things I want to remember or share with family; in order words, I make pages that I will print through Persnickety or add to the my current book project. This two page spread is for my book.

While I have used both focal photos on this two page spread on two previous pages, I wanted to create something for the next book I will publish. Think about it from an efficiency perspective, I’ve already done some of the creative the work, so why not?

Note: I started with the photos that I previously used on layouts. For information on those previous layouts, see Quick and Simple and Pokemon Go.

I explain the process below.

Place layers of photo on left, deleting layers and changing blend modes as needed. Place photo on right, create a sketch, mask another layer to improve color and maintain blue in sky, add track extension.

Note: I used most of the layers of the photo on the left from a previous page. I placed only the photo on the right but repeated some steps, i.e. making a sketch.

Add frames, stains and art strokes from templates 2, 9 and 13 from WaterColor Template Album No. 5. Clip photos to masks and adjust as needed.

Note: I used the fotoblendz mask from template 9 on the right. I also substituted a frame and mask from template 13 to accommodate the screenshot on the right. I used the frames from template 2 on the left.

Below all the frames, place transfer 1 and 2 from ArtPlay Palette Surf’s Up on the right. On the left, place transfer 7. In the page gutter, place two gold transfers, reversing one. Stamp brushes 5 and 10 in blue. Pull layers from psd files 1 and 4 from Artsy Transfers Surf’s Up to fill in background. Stamp brush 5 in red, rotating for variation.

Note: I chose layers from the artsy transfers based on color and texture to fit my vision for this page.

Place additional photo in page gutter and add an inverted mask. Stamp with brushes from ArtsyPaint 7 and ArtsyPaint 8 on the mask in white to reveal the ship. Align photo with line of background brush on left.

Add Pokeball, red button from ArtPlay Palette Weihnachtsbaum and thread from template 15.

I think it’s okay to reuse photos for different pages, especially if you have different purposes, i.e. art or memory keeping. Both are valuable for me at this point in my life.

Quick and Simple Art

My art is what I create with my photos. On this page, I combined a brush from Pier No. 1 and a photo that I captured in February while visiting Adryane in San Francisco. My sister paints from photos; I combine photo treatments, with papers, transfers, threads and small frames to create art. Below are the steps that I followed for this page.

Stamp brush 6 from Pier No. 1 in a dark blue black. Change the blend mode to linear burn at 100%.

Place mask 4 from WaterColor FotoBlendz No. 6. Duplicate photo 4 times and clip to mask. Create a sketch, normal blend mode at 100%. I lightened the sketch with a levels adjustment layer. Change the blend mode of the second copy to vivid light at 100%. Change the blend mode of the third copy to normal at 70%. Change the blend mode of the fourth copy to lighten at 100%.

Note: While I used Topaz Studio to create a quick sketch, this can be done in the filters menu. I also masked out a part of the fourth copy.

Add a small frame and threads for the photo. Clip photo to frame and adjust as needed.

Note: I pulled a frame and thread from WaterColor Template Album No. 4 for this page.

Place solid paper 1 and pattern paper 2 from ArtPlay Palette Sea Life. Add a layer mask and divide space using the dashed brush line as a guide. Above the papers, place transfers 5 and 11 from ArtPlay Palette Sea Life.

Place word art 6 and beaded thread from Art WordART Mix No. 1. Add text to title in a different font.

Note: I erased part of the stamped title and substituted words to fit what I wanted to convey.

When time is short, I am learning that I can still enjoy my art creating something quick and simple with a photo.

Chrysanthemums

I went early for my evening classes at Lauritzen Gardens last fall just for the light at the magic hour. These evening classes are one of the few times that anyone can enter the gardens just as the sun sets. Normally, they close at five. So I’ve decided that this year, I’m going focus on attending the evening photography classes. I’m looking forward to what I find in April’s evening class.

I’ve been trying to catch up on some pages for my flower album. For this page, I used Anna’s new FotoInspired Template Pack 2H. As I have done with the previous pages, I reduced the size of the template base. However, I did not change the size of the small frame. I deleted the framed mask’s shadow. I changed the color of the mask to white and blurred it so that the photos would show behind the journaling. I then gave the frame a custom shadow using the warp tool.

I clipped my photos to the masks and adjusted as needed with levels adjustment layers.

Below the masks, I layered a brush and overlay from ArtPlay Palette Euphoria as well as layers from transfers 3, 5 and 5 in Artsy Transfers Euphoria.

Finally, I added a title consistent with the other pages I have created for this book. Showcasing my photos couldn’t be easier.

Photograph Art

After a wonderful visit with my sister last week, I’m just now beginning to work with some of the photographs that I created while in California. Although my art primarily emanates from my photography, at times, a page is inspired by both the photograph and the designs with which I work. In this case, the greens in Anna’s palette inspired me to use this photograph.

I began by placing artsy paper 1 from ArtPlay Palette Heath, but soon switched it out for solid paper 2 in order to eliminate the sky. I placed transfer 1 in the same position as on the artsy paper.

Next, I created a sketch of the photo and clipped it to mask 1 from FotoBlendz Overlays No. 11. I changed the color of the mask to white to accommodate a blend mode of linear burn on my sketch.

Above the sketch, I clipped the photo, added an inverted layer mask and revealed the color photo by stamping on the mask with brushes from ArtsyPaint No. 7 and ArtsyPaint No. 8. The photo layer is on normal blend mode at 100%. I added a levels adjustment layer above the photo on overlay blend mode to brighten the photo.

Next, I roughly extracted the pagoda from a second copy of the sketch and placed it above the other photo layers. I changed the blend mode to linear burn at 100% but I did not clip it to the mask. That allowed the pagoda to dominate the scene since it wasn’t clipped to the mask. I also place art stroke 1 above the group of photo layers.

With the addition of a title and text from Inspire WordART Mix No. 1, a button and leaf from ArtPlay Palette Heath, a thread 14 from ButtonThreadz No. 1 and some journaling, I finished my page.

Initially I struggled with where to place the journaling, but after I extracted the pagoda so that it rose above the masking, I though it provided enough balance to place the little cluster, text and word art on the right side. I like that the photo still dominates the page.

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One Photo and an Artsy Paper

We were out playing Pokemon Go yesterday when I saw these geese, most sitting on the ice surrounding a few swimming in an unfrozen circle of water. That geese even winter here surprises me considering how long our cold winters are, but they do. Bill stopped the car and I jumped out with my iPhone in hand. The scene was beautiful as the sun was setting, although I don’t think my snapshot did justice to the view.

In this post, I share how I enhanced the color of one iPhone snapshot before clipping it to masks in order to blend it into an artsy paper from Anna’s new ArtPlay Palette Brumal.

Enhance Photo

Drag the photo onto a new blank 12×12 document. Resize to fit the page. To enhance the photo, duplicate the original and change the blend mode to Darker Color at 100%. Then reduce the opacity of the original to 75%. Add a Levels adjustment layer, blend mode Linear Light at 30%. Add another Levels adjustment layer, blend mode Linear Burn at 50%. Place a sketch layer above all the photo layers and change the blend mode to Multiply. Mask each layer as needed to emphasize and blend the color in the photo. Note: I created a composite of the layers to clip to a second mask.

Place Masks and Recolor

Place png masks 1 and 5 from Brumal FotoBlendz No. 1 just below the original photo. Note: I recolored the masks white so that I could use darkening blend modes on my photo, i.e. Color Burn, Multiply, Linear Burn.

Clip Layers to Masks

Clip the layers of photo to mask 1 and the composite to mask 5.

Place Artsy Paper

Place artsy paper 1 on Normal blend mode below the the photo layers. To intensify the color add a duplicate copy above on Multiply blend mode at 50%. Note: The design of the artsy paper creates a natural ending transition for the masks.

Add Glows

Above the photo layers, add the FotoGlow from file 7 of MultiMedia Branches No. 7 and glow 3 of WarmGlows No. 7 to enhance the setting sun in the photo.

Journaling, Button and Threadz

Add word art from Winter WordART Mix No 2, button from ArtPlay Palette Brumal, thread 5 from ButtonThreadz No. 2, thread 4 from HandStitchez No. 1. Complete journaling.

Not every page needs to be complicated to be effective. Sometimes one photo, a couple of glows and an artsy paper are enough.

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One Thing Led to Another

I went off by myself to Lauritzen Gardens on Friday. The staff creates a beautiful display each December with miniature trains, Christmas trees and Poinsettias. This year native little bluestem, goldenrod and Western meadowlark adorned the trees. The bird ornaments were cleverly made from paper plates. You would think that after nearly a five hundred shots, I would have captured everything. Unfortunately, it’s often not until I get home that I realize I should have tried a different perspective on a photo. There is always something new to learn in photography.

I would also like to be able to say that I purposefully created this page based on a preconceived design for the final product. I can’t. It was more a series of experiments that followed an initial idea to simply clip a photo to a mask and then extract the paper meadowlark for dimension.

Unfortunately, the page just wasn’t working in my mind. Rather than waste the extraction, I reduced the meadowlarks’ size and gave it a custom shadow. I placed some berries from MultiMedia Christmas Trees No. 2 just above his beak.

That first extraction led me back to Lightroom to find the tree decorated with paper meadowlarks in order to provide a context for the extraction. I clipped the tree to mask 5 in MultiLayered FotoBlendz No. 6. I made some adjustments directly on the mask with blending brushes and attached a layer mask to eliminate a part of the mask.

Next, I extracted three more paper birds, gave them each a shadow and hung them on the tree.

To build the background, I stamped brushes 2 and 3 from WaterColor Trees No. 2. I clipped copies of the first photo I placed on this page and moved it around for variety in the trees’ color.

Below the trees, I placed transfer 3 from ArtPlay Palette Joyeux on normal blend mode and hid parts using a brush on a layer mask.

Above the stamped trees, I placed the layers of psd file 3 from MultiMedia Holiday No. 4.

I could have left the page asymmetrical in design but chose to recreate the horizontal design of artsy paper 3, I placed the layers of transfer 4 from Artsy Transfers Joyeux as well as pieces from transfers 1 and 3 on the left and below the focal tree.

Finally, I placed the title from Holiday WordART Mix No. 7 in the space on the upper left to balance the journaling. This page is busier than I normally like, but when I turned off parts, it didn’t look right to me.

I usually find it helpful to try turning off and on parts in the layers panel if a page isn’t working or looks cluttered. I did that several times during the process of creating this page. Rather than labor on this any more, I’m going to let it go and move on to working with some of the other photos that I captured on Friday at Lauritzen Gardens.

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An Afternoon with Santa

It’s been a little hectic here, but we found time to visit Santa this afternoon at Mulhall’s Nursery. I’ll post a layout with these soon. Upon arriving, Corbin and Kate wrote letters to Santa and dropped them into his special mailbox. They hid among the Christmas trees after seeing Santa’s reindeer. Note: It’s very difficult to capture two active kids running among hanging trees.

After waiting as patiently as possible in line, Corbin and Kate listened intently while Santa discussed what they had written in their letters and asked whether they had been good all year before suggesting that they pose for a photo.

Kate was delighted that Santa helped her climb up on his knee when she asked for an individual photo.

So Corbin decided he’d get an individual photo too. My son, to whom I had given my iPhone, captured a video of Corbin giving Santa a hug; a high five just didn’t seem to be enough. Kate of course quickly approached to give Santa her own hug. I’ll have to figure out a way to get the stills of just those moments from the video.

There were some cute displays for additional photos at the nursery.

For the next two shots, I used the portrait mode on my new iPhone. I’m still learning how to use the camera app.

Before leaving we spent time playing in the miniature garden.

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What a wonderful afternoon at the nursery. I’ll go back to capture some of the beautiful Poinsettias on another afternoon.

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