While I do not have the full Photoshop, I have an older version of Elements. There is still plenty of things to play with there.
This week’s assignment was to manipulate a photo using any technique including filters composing either a very abstract piece or a recognizable image.
Last Sunday I spied a set of abandoned water pipes and took several photos from different angles. Unfortunately I could not get very close as there was a bog in the way and a sign saying that there were aggressive alligators on the loose.
I spent a pleasurable two hours with filters and one of the images—all on my smugmug site but this is the one I submitted.
more images are here:
Today was spent waiting for the FedEx delivery truck. The delivery was extra special and had to be signed for—and if I wasn’t here to sign for it, it would be returned. It wasn’t fancy jewelry or chocolates or a new sewing machine or plane tickets to an exotic location. No, it was simply medication—medication that must be kept refrigerated and I am hopeful will alleviate much of the pain that plagues me.
And so, I opened the front door and the blinds to the windows, positioned myself within clear view of the street and set for myself the task of organizing my photo files. I figured out how to rip my newly acquired remastered Beatles albums and play them in the background while displaying two windows side by side and worked on a printed outline of the categories. Most of the files had been sorted into ‘best’ and ‘extras’ which really meant duplicates and blurry ones and ones I needed to just delete. At first I looked at every photo, moved a few that were extras into the best group; relabeled some, but then just went for the gold—and deleted all the extra files. My laptop is nearly full and just barely crawling along. The final outline is printed and stored neatly next to my laptop and I promise myself I won’t let it get into such a mess again.
What was really depressing was the volume of work I did not produce this year compared to previous years. There were only pieces made for assorted challenges—all very small and four donation pieces—with only one being truly new. Most of the year was spent in finishing up what I call ‘regular’ sewing projects—nothing new or interesting—just regular ‘stuff’.
But the year is not yet done—and maybe with that new medicine I’ll feel more like working—if my sewing machine and brushes and paints remember who I am.
Over the past two years I have made a concentrated effort to learn Spanish. It’s not easy and I commiserate with immigrants attempting to learn English. I could wish for some sort of magic to occur and wake up one morning fully fluent in Spanish and giving Michealangelo a run for his money.
But I think I’ve made some progress. And it occurred to me that perhaps I’m applying the same process to my art. Although my accent isn’t quite right, my grammar sometimes—no make that frequently— not correct, my vocabulary so limited I use funny words, i.e. ‘all your ears’ instead of ‘both ears’, patients and their families are impressed. And judging from the response of my first art show this past weekend, art patrons and fellow artists are pleased.
To Learn and Improve my Spanish I did the following:
- Studied and took classes from experts.
- Take every chance I can to speak it, the cleaning folks, the kitchen people, my yard man, the bus driver. They are always delighted when I ask them a question in Spanish.
- Watch Spanish soaps on television when I get a chance. The noviellas are really fun! I tried the news but that was pretty depressing.
- Go to church services conducted in Spanish and read in my Spanish Bible.
- I’m not afraid to sound stupid when I speak it.
- Practice conversations in my head while driving to work.
- I’m not afraid to ask ‘how did I do’ when a translator is present.
If I translate that to art:
- I have the luxury of Houston quilt festival being readily accessible; however, I’ve also taken classes in other media.
- Look at art every chance I can, regardless of media and particularly non-fiber.
- Read biographies of artists, subscribe to painting forums, go to lectures.
- Go to openings and quiz the artist (nicely) about techniques and processes.
- I participated in an art sale/show this past weekend. (this was a huge step for me)
- I look. And look again—at my surroundings—and translate it into colors or shapes.
- I send work to juried shows.
Probably the most important aspect is not being afraid to try. I am clearly not expert in either arena but I see slow but steady progress. Moving forward and improving only happens with work and a lot of it. While I am waiting for the magical fairy to dust me with instant skill –she must be busy with other artists and people who need to speak Spanish more than do I— I need to keep working.