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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Photoshopping with The New Creative Artist

Several days ago I received email from Jerry Walter that brought a big smile to my face. Here is the content of his three emails, along with pictures that he and his friends, Rick Finney and Bev Teagle in Taos, New Mexico, have created using my book as their source of ideas:

"We want you to know how we are using your book. The three of us get together once each week for 4 or 5 hours (!) in front of a computer and work at Photoshop. One of us ran across the 1990 edition of The Creative Artist at a used book store, and we decided your guidance would stimulate us and lead us along the path to artistic Photoshop endeavors. So we each bought copies of The New Creative Artist. We're taking it slowly -- maybe 10 pages per week. During the week we each work at our own computers to create images, develop ideas, and face roadblocks. At our mutual sessions we "Share the Ride", discuss unique situations, solve problems, and work out tutorials. So far we are only on page 41, but we already know the path you are laying out is the right one. We find that so many of your words and thoughts apply directly to Photoshop. This would be a good example of experimenting with techniques and tools we've been afraid to use on something "good". We'll check in again to share our progress. Thanks for this wonderful book!"

"That first image I sent was my creation. Here is one of Bev's, which is just about as autobiographical as you can get, inspired by the earlier part of The New Creative Artist. I think we decided we were going too fast in your book, because each page gets each of us thinking about a new idea we'd like to explore. Each of us is somewhat proficient in Photoshop; it is the artistic guidance that we are looking for, and we think we found it."

"Okay, just one more. This is Rick's piece, combining the same image multiple times. Rick is the most playful of the three of us in our little Photoshop group. He takes your suggestion to the limits, and if we don't have differences, variations and patterns, we create them."

"I recently took a short writing class from author Natalie Goldberg. She helps her students to ignore criticism (often imagined) from the outside world, and also ignore the inner critic, which she calls "Monkey Mind" -- that little person sitting on your shoulder that tells you you can't do it, you can't write, you can't create, you can't be introspective and write about what's inside you. But with her writing exercises, and practice, practice practice, you find that indeed you can do it. So far I've seen that same philosophy reflected in your book, frequently."

Thanks for writing and sending the images, Jerry. It means so much to me when people write me about how they're using my books. This makes it all worthwhile. These images are so exciting. Now I'm wondering if I could do more with Photoshop by using my own book to generate ideas to get started. Hmm.

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A surprise outside my window

I was sipping my orange juice this morning when I noticed something blooming in my side garden that I hadn't seen before. Two tall, white spikes rose out of lush foliage and danced lightly in a gentle breeze. I remembered the foliage--it has come up every year since a friend gave me some from her garden. But the plant, called cimicifuga (or black cohosh or black snakeroot), has never bloomed for me. It might be the wet spring. A nice surprise. Such a graceful plant. There's a nice display of purple spiderwort on several plants near this one. I haven't been able to do any grooming of this little garden yet. I'm afraid in time it will be swallowed up by English ivy. I should move some of my treasures to a safer spot.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Busy June, a worry, and good news

I was looking forward to a break after the B.C. workshop, with nothing scheduled until July 21. An opportunity to apply for a grant came up, so I decided to give it a try. The deadline was June 16. Needless to say, it was a push to meet the deadline, but I made it. While working on the proposal I had a questionable mammogram, which led to a needle biopsy. That wasn't my idea of a good time, but turned out to be negative, thank goodness. I also had my final eye check, after two cataract surgeries this year, and came out 20/20 in both eyes. Still need driving glasses, though, because of astigmatism. No big deal. It's wonderful to have such clear vision now, especially for color. Our granddaughter 5 1/2 had her first dance recital June 16. That wasn't too cute--a chorus line singing and dancing to "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" with little outfits (not bikinis!), sun hats and sunglasses. I'm still baby-sitting our 10-month-old grandson, whose a sweetheart and a buster at the same time. He's napping as I write this. I'll write more later. Hope to get back on track now. My birthday was this week. I've hit the 3/4 century mark. How did I get so old? (I know, a year at a time). My brain seems to think it isn't 50 yet. My body has other ideas. Even so, I'm working out at Curves and signed up for a weight-loss program that has knocked off 6 pounds so far. Whatever works.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Color site--check it out

Colourlovers is a fantastic site for anyone interested in color. Everything from fine art to color theory and design, with international scope, is on this site. I've been enjoying it ever since Charley Parker wrote about it on his blog, linesandcolors.