Photos, Stories and Scrapbooking

Tag: watercolor

Oh the Places She’ll Go

Yesterday, I went to the zoo with my grandchildren. Sometimes they will stop and pose for me, generally they don’t. While there I captured a series of shots of Kate dramatically posing and twirling as she danced on the wooden planks in a pavilion for viewing the new elephants. I didn’t have a specific idea for a page as I played with my camera; I simply wanted to capture her fun movements as I quickly angled my camera in different directions following the lines in the wooden planks. I don’t think this was the best shot, but the perspective worked well for the page I created. It’s always a good idea to capture at least one shot from behind someone. You never know when it might be needed in a scene.

Generally, I begin my scrapbook pages with a photo. In this case I began this page by placing transfer 6 from ArtPlay Palette Meadow on a new 12×12 inch document. There is a meadow near our home that looks very much like this transfer and I simply wanted to play with it to create a scene.

I decided to place that photo from the back of Kate in my scene. I extracted her with the Quick Selection tool and applied a layer mask. I rotated the photo to get a better angle and reduced the photo size just a little so that her head appeared to be just above the horizon line on the transfer in order to create perspective. The transfer has a watercolor look so I duplicated the photo and applied a filter using Topaz Simplify. I added a drop shadow style, created a layer from the style, warped it and masked out a part that was too dark. I then added another drop shadow. In other words, there are two shadows giving my granddaughter dimension on this page.

To ground my granddaughter, I placed transfer 3 from APP Meadow below her and above transfer 6. I added an inverted mask and brought back in just enough to fill in the ground.

I added two copies of png file 2, each sized differently and rotated, from MultiMedia Flowers No. 4 for color and to create an unmatched visual triangle with Kate’s pink shoes. I could have recolored the blooms a pink, but I thought that was too soft for the vibrant blues and greens in the scene. I placed word art 5 from Summer WordArt Mix No. 1 and thread 12 from ButtonThreadz No. 2.

Finally, I added a title and another copy of the multimedia flower higher on the left side to create a diagonal visual line of flowers across my page.

I’m not usually so quick with my creative process, but once I saw that transfer, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

Watercolor Painting

It was too cold and wet today to play at the park after preschool, so we painted this afternoon. I’m teaching Kate some of the things that my sister Glenda has taught me about working with watercolors. Notice that she has all her supplies lined up: towel, paints, mixing dish and water cup.

Kate began by saying she was going to paint the sky. She has the most intent look on her face when she’s painting, a mix of joy and wonder. It should be that way when a girl is painting I think.

Pushing the pump on the spray bottle to wet the paints is still a little difficult for Kate, but she’s persistent.

Kate mixed purple and orange in the mixing dish today. She knows how to rinse her brush and wipe it on the towel before choosing another color. Glenda is going to be very impressed.

I put my camera in manual mode with the ISO at 6400 and the aperture f/2.8 and focused on her eyes to compensate for the low light coming in from the window. I think my little camera does a good job with a high ISO on a cloudy day.

Simple Template Changes

Experimenting with Anna’s products can be as simple as switching out one mask for another. Or it can mean giving all the background photos on a double page spread a different photo treatment so that they contrast with smaller framed photos. I’ve been playing with a new watercolor action which I described in a previous post and wondered how it might change a template’s look for a garden page.

After playing with a photo of me and my sister in front of a rose trellis, I decided that I didn’t like the effect on us, but I did like it on the climbing roses. So I selected a photo with more of the flowers visible for the background. I adjusted the size of mask 4 from WaterColor FotoBlendz No. 3 with the warp tool in Photoshop so that the mask covered only the roses in the photo. I duplicated the original mask and changed the layer name of the copy to “brush” as required for the action to work. Below is a screen shot of the photo and mask before I adjusted it with the warp tool and filled in parts with a soft round brush.


I ran the action a couple of times and chose the one that I liked best before adjusting the settings for the background color and other layers created by the action. I used this action on all the photos on the background for this two page spread. Then I followed these steps.

After running the action on a photo, create a 24×12 document. Drag the photo with the watercolor treatment on to the new document and resize to fit the right page edge. Change the blend mode to multiply. Open template 6 from WaterColor Template Album No. 3 and drag the layers to the left side of the two page spread above the watercolor photo.


Replace the fotoblendz mask included with the template with mask 4 from WaterColor Fotoblendz No. 6. Flip it horizontally. Clip another photo with the watercolor treatment to the mask. Duplicate the photo, link copies and clip to each of the stain layers.


Run the watercolor action on the third photo for the background. Clip the photo to the mask. Duplicate it, link copies and clip to the stains.


Clip photos to small frames.


Extract figures from the focal photo and place on page resizing as necessary. Note: the shadowing technique is from Anna’s last class, Flipping Clipping.


Drag the frames and text box of template 7 from WaterColor Template Album No. 3 to the right side. Adjust the position of the frames to accommodate the extraction. Clip photos to the small frames.


Recolor the texture on the left. Embellish the layout with splatters, buttons and threads. Add a title and write journaling.


Simple changes with photo treatments can create an artistic look for your scrapbook pages with Anna’s templates.



Watercolor Play



It would appear that I can’t get enough of the watercolor action I described in a previous post. For this page, I blended and merged two photos before running the action. To create the brush layer needed for the action, I used several of Anna’s WaterColor Fotoblendz Masks. After I ran the action and made some adjustments, I created a composite.

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 6.42.42 PM

Next, I dragged the photo composite and  original photo onto a new blank 12×12 document. I blended it into ArtPlay Palette Coastland solid paper 1. I created another composite.

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 6.47.31 PM

Finally, I dragged that composite, original photo and background paper to a new 12×12 document and reduced their size. I wanted my piece of watercolor art to look like I had been painting on a board. I placed mask 3 from 12×12 Fotoblendz No. 2 (retired product) and reduced the mask’s size. Then I clipped my composite, photo and background paper to the mask. I blended out a bit of the watercolor composite to reveal more of the original photo before adding an overlay and a transfer from ArtPlay Palette Coastline.

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To finish my page, I added a thread from UrbanThreadz No. 11, word art from Beach WordArt Mix No. 2 and foliage from ArtPlay Palette Coastline.

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.

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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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