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Back to First Grade

After a pretty intense “school year” (a big job in AAUW, my photo class and club, preparing for my photo show, and the genealogy drama), I have been pretty exhausted and burned out creatively. So I decided to sign up for a little online class this summer that would be a radical departure from what I’ve been doing. It’s called “It’s Elementary,” and the teacher is Tricia Dewey, a very talented digital and mixed media artist.

The subject of the class is creating your own backgrounds and textures to use in photography and digital art- sounds right up my alley, right? You use paint, a gelli plate, a brayer, and stencils and mark making tools to make prints on paper which you combine in Photoshop or in your iPad- endless possibilities. But unfortunately, I brought my stressed out, left brain attitude to the class and found it pretty overwhelming at first. I watched the videos several times, bought the materials- and that was it.

I finally forced myself to start by announcing at my photo club Tuesday that I was hosting a group next week at my house to create textures and backgrounds- and I now have 4 very talented and skilled photographers coming to learn how to do these techniques.  I knew I love to teach and coach others- so now I am committed (or should be committed?).

I have had a very busy week, but did manage to play a little in the paint, which brought me back to my happy first grade teacher self. Oh, how I wish I had all the stamping and printing materials I used to have in my classroom!  It is fun!

 

I am finding it a challenge to incorporate the new textures and backgrounds into my images, because I normally tend to use textures in a more subtle way- but the idea is to step out of my comfort zone. I’m hoping that my creative friends who come over next week will inspire me to do things in new ways. I will report back!

Some of the textures I’ve created:

The middle one was created on the iPad- no paint involved. The other two started with paint- and then were modified on the iPad.

Skull Valley Shooting

A few more photos from our road trip with Joan and Rudy- this time we were shooting the Skull Valley gas station.

Unexpected Beauty

When we were in Yarnell with our friends, Joan and Rudy, Joan spotted a sign pointing to the Shrine of St. Joseph of the Mountains. We followed signs and came upon a beautiful, quiet path up and over a rocky hill which took you through the fourteen stations of the cross, with concrete statues created in 1939 set into the hillside. It was a deeply spiritual and moving experience to go around corners and come upon these beautiful works of art.

Some impressions:

 

Late Afternoon Abstracts

These blinds have become favorite subjects of abstract photos over the years. I don’t like them as blinds, but there is something about the light and shadows that captures my attention and makes me grab my camera.

Choo Choo

Tracks and Train Station in Skull Valley

Uke Time

Since retiring, I’ve been exploring photography and continuing my lifelong passion for family history. My friend Joan has gone an entirely different (and unexpected) direction; she has learned to play the ukulele! She plays in several groups, volunteers as a ukulele teacher for the blind- and who knows what else? I played the baritone ukulele in high school in my wannabe a folk musician days, and she is much, much better than I ever was. Bravo, Joan!

 

Windmill Country

Rudy and I worked on multiple exposures, which he had never tried with his new Canon 5D Mark IV (the camera I was coveting because of its fabulous features for multiples).  This is one I captured with my Nikon- but I had to fiddle some in Photoshop to get one of the windmills positioned right (you can do this in camera with his Canon. . .). It really doesn’t matter HOW you get the image, but there is something so fun about getting it right in camera.

I think his name was John. . .

When we visited Yarnell with Joan and Rudy last week, Rudy spent some time talking to and photographing this delightful gentleman outside a local eatery. I snapped a quick shot and went inside, because I was hungry. Rudy ended up with a wonderful portrait, and I got this candid shot.

Windmill Whirrrr

Different windmill- same day.

Rudy suggested I slow down my shutter to capture the motion of the blades- I like the effect! This is something Tom (my photo teacher) says to do with helicopters and propellers. Why have I never made that connection?

I’m a little bit country. . .

There’s nothing I like better than a windmill, a silo, or a grain elevator as a photo subject!

Our longtime friends, Joan and Rudy have been here for a visit and to celebrate Joan and my birthdays. On Friday, we took a drive over to Skull Valley and Yarnell so that Rudy and I could do a little photography. You will see a few of my photos in the coming week.

Heart Shaped

A daisy with a heart in the center!

Traditions

Over the weekend, we spent some time at ‘Tis, the gallery where my show took place. Yes, the Fourth Friday reception was wonderful, but the seemingly endless self-promotion part is finally done- so enough said about that! The main gallery had the annual Native American show- arguably the best show of the year- and it was phenomenal. On Sunday there was an exhibition of dances by an Apache family featuring their children, who are learning the hundreds of years old traditions of their people.

This image is a closeup of the dad playing one of several flutes he demonstrated .

iPhone image, edited in Photoshop and Topaz Impression

Memorial Day

In honor of all our veterans

 

Yes, I hiked . . .

I’ve been so inactive the past 6 months, alas.  But here is a bit of proof that I had to WALK to Red Rock Crossing- from the parking lot.

And to the right we have. . .

Another shot at Red Rock Crossing in Sedona- a little tranquil oasis.