I do have something to show for all the time I haven’t been blogging. It just isn’t easy for me to get on the computer and start writing. It looks like I left off with the Anne Brooke Tag Challenge a year ago, and at times, that certainly was a challenge. But I got a lot out of it and really enjoyed slow stitching. Since then, I’ve done other challenges for fun, travelled a bit, continued knitting and I’m always enjoying time with friends and my expanding family.
I think I’ll work backwards, beginning with the most recent pieces. I can’t seem to get enough of collaging, making little books, journals, tags and such. Too bad I’m not a writer for all the journals I’ve accumulated! These are some of the tags I’ve been making from old book pages, vintage bits of ephemera, images from old garden catalogues and books, photographs, sheet music, labels. Pretty much anything that has to do with paper I will glue down.
Looking out my kitchen window, I saw a little sparrow in my forsythia hedge eating the flowers off the branches. I’ve been enjoying the birds in my yard for a long time now, but I had never noticed that’s what the sparrows were doing before! I couldn’t resist doing a quick little watercolor sketch of that little guy with a mouthful.
I can’t seem to get enough of birds these days. I love it when I’m sitting by the window and see the cardinals eating the dried seed heads in the garden, or hear the nightingales singing in the trees. A few times this summer, when I was awake in the middle of the night, I’d hear one lone nightingale off somewhere in the dark singing its beautiful song. Lovely. I guess I’ve gotten to that age where these simple things make me smile. Along those lines, I offer this collage.
These last two weeks have been spent trying to update my Photoshop skills (though it’s questionable if I can really call what I have “skills”). I’ve used Ps Elements for quite awhile and have always just done the basics that my daughter was patient enough to teach me years ago. Basically, after I do an art piece I’ll use the computer to scan it, crop, maybe alter it digitally, things like that. Or make cards and send them off to be printed online. And I have lots of photographs in files that I will print or use in collage work.
It seems, though, that my Ps Elements was kind of dated and Ps Creative Cloud is the new way to go. I read a bit about it, heard about Adobe Bridge, read about camera raw, smart objects…sort of understood it all, so decided to take a trial spin. I thought if I applied myself I could learn some of the essentials, and it shouldn’t be that different from what I have with Elements. I just had to remember to be patient. I’m a visual learner; I never read the manuals, I need to be shown how things operate. I had to update to OS X Yosemite for the Mac in order to download the new version of Ps. I had been trying to avoid that after reading some negative comments, but I did it anyway. I’ve noticed a few differences, but it shouldn’t take long to get used to them. So, after downloading the Creative Cloud version of Ps and Adobe Bridge, I took a look. A lot of new things there, but okay. I decided to follow some step-by-step tutorials on www.puglypixel.com which are very good. I was encouraged, things didn’t seem so bad. My one concern was trying to remember everything, so I started taking notes. Well, as I look at my pages two weeks later, I’m hard-pressed to understand a lot of what I wrote down.
Another good website for help with Photoshop CC is www.lynda.com. You have to subscribe and right now I’m doing the trial, but it looks very worthwhile to get a subscription to unlimited tutorials. They cover more topics than Photoshop, too. And, of course, the Adobe Help Page had lots of pointers and good info.
I do cheat once in awhile and go back to Ps Elements to get some things done for the sake of speed. When I try to do something on my own without following a tutorial it can get frustrating, but I am learning. (If things get too maddening, I’ll just take a walk around the block to get away from it for awhile). I have to remember it’s a learning experience.
Here are two examples of what I’ve been playing around with.