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.