Monday is for

Sharing art—at least this Monday is all about sharing art. I’ve been recovering from full-on wedding mode. While being the mother of the groom may not have the same “trials and tribulations” as being mother of the bride (I wouldn’t know; I’m a MOB, mother of boys), there are all kinds of stresses—getting the right dress and shoes (sheesh! My sister and sister-in-law are tyrants when it comes to the right shoes! They didn’t like my “comfortable” choice) and planning the rehearsal dinner. Never mind that the rehearsal and wedding fall right in the middle of the April mod at Remington College, where I teach part-time. Add to the stress, the director of education for the Columbia Campus asked me to sub in three days a week for the first two weeks! And then, on top of everything else, I get hit with bronchitis and sinusitis.  Everything came to a screeching halt. Imagine the sound of train wheels on railroad tracks as the engineer and brakeman try to stop the train “on a dime.”

Creating and making art has been the last thing on my mind.

But, I am in create mode, sort of (still trying to get through the day without coughing). I made some images last week of the spring wild flowers (aka weeds), and on Sunday, I worked on transforming them with Photoshop using textures, overlays, and other techniques. Ever since Kim Klassen introduced me to using textures, I have been in love with the way they can enhance the mood or even transform the mood. And then came Denise Love of Two L’il Owls (beautiful textures and other design elements) and Sebastian Michaels’s Photoshop Artistry class (I keep repeating the first two modules over and over; I still have worked through the one on vectors!), and a host of other photographic artists. I keep learning more and more tools to use.

This is a long-winded introduction to the reveal of the creations from Sunday’s work.  Monday is for sharing art.


I love the various graphic elements that come from the Graphics Fairy website. Many of them are free, and the monthly subscription is reasonable, less than $10.00 a month. The downloads are incredible. And the downloads from Ephemera’s Vintage Garden are so beautiful. In the top image, I used a cabinet card cover that was intended to be used as a junk journal cover, layered it with a photograph of a trumpet vine growing in the crepe myrtle tree in the backyard, a postcard from a collection of ephemera and design elements from Denice Love and Two Lil Owls in a bundle put out by Design Cuts, and some textures to blend everything together.

In the second image, I did a web search for a vintage postcard that had a vertical orientation rather than a traditional horizontal one, and I didn’t find what I was looking for. I did find a page of script that I liked. I used the script as an overlay over the image of the wildflower (I don’t know what it is), used a soft brush to mask out the script over the flower, applied a Denise Love texture and a custom gradient to unify the elements.

One of my business goals is to create products from my photography to sell, and I am practicing and working on the artistic elements. Another goal is develop a series of images for a gallery showing.  I think I am on the way. There is a lot of learning to be done.

Today, think about how you can share your creative pursuits. You don’t have to be a photographer, an artist, a writer, a musician to be creative. Your everyday life is “art.” When you cook and substitute allspice for the nutmeg the recipe calls for, put those fresh flowers you bought from Publix in a vase, arrange that rocking chair your mother made in just the right spot at just the right angle, you are being creative. And more importantly, share your creations with others.


21 Days

“They” say that it takes twenty-one days for an action or practice to become a habit. “They” also say that if you repeat something to yourself three times you can memorize it, but that didn’t necessarily work for me when I had to learn Latin! Still, repetition helps to instill habits.

I have been working through Sebastian Michael’s Photoshop Artistry class for a couple of years now. I love his approach, and I have learned a lot about using parts of Photoshop that I wouldn’t have learned on my own. Every so often, I have to go back into the class for refreshers—how to blend textures, how to create different effects, and so forth. I haven’t gotten the knack of using brushes and vectors for effect yet, but perhaps one day I will.

So, today, when Sebastian sent his newsletter with information about new postings on his Quill and Camera website, I began reading. And there was the mention of his twenty-one day course “21 Days to Creative Abundance.” I need some abundance in my life right about now. I think it’s the winter doldrums or something, even the spring is blooming all over the place down here in South Carolina.

I am just getting started with the class. I am looking forward to it. There are some habits that I need to change and develop, especially when it comes to creative work.

Today’s assignment had three or four parts, depending on how you look at it. The first is to get a journal. I keep blank composition books all the time. I get them from the dollar store, from Walmart, or any other place I can find them on sale. They aren’t pretty, but I can fix that! I have a ton of patterned scrapbook paper and Mod Podge. Instant pretty covers! The second assignment is all about the goals for my artistic and creative work. What do I want to accomplish?

This year, I some work in January to make a plan for one year, five years, ten years, life time. That is hard for me, and I need a way to keep the goals front and center so that I don’t forget them. After all, it’s no good making goals unless there is a plan to follow through.

These are my goals—again—in front of me:

1. To engage in photography regularly, whether it’s every day or not. My realistic goal is to engage in some kind of photographic experience every week. To me, that means either making images with the camera or working with images in Lightroom and Photoshop to create something “artistic.”

2. To write regularly. I already “do” morning pages, daily writings in my personal journal, but I want to expand that idea to focus on creative writing or at least writing more creatively.

3. To publish blog entries regularly. I guess that could go along with number 2 above, but I tend to write for the blog when I feel like it. I may need to go in and do a total revamp of the blog to figure out what it is supposed to “be.” But that’s another thing altogether.

4. To have a gallery show of my photographic art. Lately, I have been doing “stuff” with my images. For Christmas, I gave my father- and mother-in-law a photograph of the old barn that still stands on their house place. I had doctored it up in Photoshop. Then I mounted it on a 13 by 12 piece of board that I had stained. I gave my children the same thing! Last week, I attempted to do a photo transfer on a canvas.  My goal is to get my images off the computer and into the world. I suppose I should start looking for some kind of venue for the show.

5. Along with number 4, to get some photographs in the State Fair in October.

Sebastian said in the video for today, that telling others about goals forces accountability. So, by writing these words where people will read them, I suppose I am asking that you all, the readers, be my accountability partners, to hold me accountable for following through on some, if not all, of the goals I have in mind for this year.

So, for the next twenty-one days, between now and March 21, I will be working toward creating the habits that will help me achieve these goals in my creative and artistic life.


What IF. . . .

This morning, I made my creamer with a little coffee (you see, while I like the way coffee smells, I don’t really enjoy the coffee flavor, so I add LOTS of creamer and flavored syrups and honey), and I sat in my corner of the couch where I can see the bird feeders and the birds. I picked up one of my favorite fountain pens and my nearly full journal to write my morning pages. Last year, I made a commitment to myself that I would follow through with three handwritten pages a day, and I can honestly say that, for the most part, I have maintained that commitment. Most of the time, my morning pages are just drivel, but, as Julia Cameron discusses in her book The Artist’s Way, as well as in other books, those morning pages sometimes lead me to nail down some rather vague ideas. Or at least, the writing brings out and makes concrete some things that are floating in my brain, capturing them and forcing me to scaffold them.

And that’s where I am this morning. I woke earlier than usual, started writing earlier than usual. I know I need to concentrate on the third prompt in my ReFrame Pilgrimage series. I think I know the direction it should take, but that’s not where my morning pages directed me today. I found myself daydreaming a little bit.

What if I turned these prompts into an in-person retreat for women who needed to reframe the way they see things?

And I began dreaming. . . .

I also read an article this morning, “25 Things Creative People Do Differently.” These articles are really a dime a dozen out there on the Internet, but sometimes, I need to read them again because they remind me that I’m not so screwy or zany after all. There were a couple of points that relate directly to this dream I’ve been contemplating.

The one that struck me:

They daydream. Creative people let their minds wander, and don’t ask any questions until later. They simply enjoy traveling to new lands and thinking up new concepts through their imaginations, and know that daydreaming can lead to the most profound, unparalleled ideas.

And that’s what I’m doing now, if you will allow.

I dream of a retreat

for women who love photography but who are not necessarily professional photographers.

For women who see the value of capturing the everyday in its good, bad, and ugly forms.

For women who want to see the beauty in everything.

Why a retreat? Why not just create this as an online retreat or a class or even write a book about it? The reason is simple: even though creative women like their solitude, they also crave community.

We want to be with other women who share our same ways of thinking, to connect with flesh and blood, to build a tribe who will support each other through the journey, to find others who will understand why we receive images through our lenses of bands of sunlight on black scarves hanging on door knobs, of images of aged ivory piano keys, of died roses long past their prime, of spider webs, stumps, peeled paint, or painted toe nails.

We want to share lives.

We want to learn new things.

We crave inspiration when our wells are dry and we feel empty.

We want to bring beauty into our lives, to learn to see through “new” eyes. Sometimes, we want affirmation that we are beautiful ourselves.

This is what I envision for my ReFrame Pilgrimage: A retreat to take us out of the ordinary so that we can re-enter into the extraordinary. A pilgrimage takes us out of our comfort zones for a time, but then returns us “home.” And the result is that we see “home” differently.

This is a ReFrame.

Will you join me?