Tuesday, March 26, 2013


This is my "snow" photo from our latest round of a few inches. It also qualifies as a personal version of an inside out photo for a Beyond Beyond challenge.

One of the many wonderful things about living in Virginia is that we get snow and it melts, then we get snow and it melts.  Sunday evening the yard was white, today most of it is gone.  I'm ready for the warmer temperatures to show up. I'm tired of pulling dead leaves that have blown into the rosemary and picking up fallen limbs. I'm ready for some green! There is promise out there. Walking around the yard today I can see the pink tint in the tight blooms of the little redbud tree and our lilac is showing shades of green.

Tomorrow hubbie and I are headed to a large nursery to browse and gather inspiration. I'll buy annuals  for the pots on the front porch (cheaper now because they are smaller--besides I can't wait any longer.)  And I know I'll find some other annuals and perennials that would look perfect in just the right spot. Then we begin the daily task of putting them outside to soak up the sun and bringing them back into the garage to doze in safety from freezing temperatures at night.  Even that task has a hopeful quality to it of things to come.

Walking through a nursery in March nurtures my soul. The smell of moist earth mixed with the glorious riot of colors brings out a creative frenzy in me. I have to restrain myself from seeing more potential than the yard can hold. 

It's fun to welcome spring with dirt under my fingernails.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


In the room where I journal and read there are three book shelves. One contains more photography or business books, another are just books I want to read or reference and on the top shelf that is so high I need a step ladder to reach it, I put the books that made me think. No novels---those favorites have their own shelf, but here you can find small precious books such as, A Gift from the Sea, A Year by the Sea, The Invitation and The Four Agreements

I'm reading The Four Agreements by Don Miquel Ruiz--again.  The premise is that we are taught or agree to certain behaviors from the time we are small.  Many agreements are based on culture--how to speak, act and talk. We don't have a lot of choices, our parents and teachers dictate what is right and what is wrong. Unfortunately, as we grow and learn to get along with others, we still manage to find ourselves surrounded by our insecurities and self-judgement, even self-disdain. The Four Agreements is an offering of four simple statements that for me, need to practiced everyday for the rest of my life!

 Reading this little book I've felt haunted to "create something" using the author's words. My original is 12"x12" that may end up on the wall as a daily reminder.

Each agreement reminds me that change is always possible.

1. Be impeccable with your word. I am reminded this means to everyone, all the time. That includes communication with someone I don't agree with, it means gossip, or the way I talk to myself when no one else is listening. Ouch! 

2. Don't take anything personally. Big One! Mr. Ruiz claims that we all have our own agendas and to base our lives on someone else's opinions or actions opens us to needless suffering.

3. Don't make assumptions. Alleluia! Isn't that the way misunderstandings flourish? I've been guilty of that one.

4. Do your best. The reader is reminded that our best changes with our moods, the situation, our health, etc. Guilt isn't part of the equation! If we do our best in the moment, that is all we can expect from ourselves.

What do think of the Agreements? Agree? Disagree? Do you think using them in your day to day life will make a difference?  I look forward to hearing from you!

with peace and gratitude, Angela

PHOTO NOTES: For this project the texture was the initial focus with the photo of a lily as an afterthought.  Kim's texture already includes the subdued text, I added the darker text creating 5 different text layers so I could play with font, size, leading and placement. Finally, I added the photo of the lily. It is above the texture (in Photoshop layers) however I reduced the opacity so the texture shows thru. Then I added a layer mask to the photo layer and using a black brush with about 70% opacity, I "masked" the edges of the photo and around the flower so you can't see hard, straight edges. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

INTENTION - no snow photos

The title may be misleading. Actually, I love snow photos. I just didn't take one today despite the yard full of the white stuff.  In Virginia near the Blue Ridge Mountains, snow isn't unusual, but it is an event.
I promised myself last night to focus my work today on my 2013 word, "intention." So I "intentionally" avoided the snow photos (It's still white out there but raining now.)  This afternoon I got out my Wacom tablet, my updated PhotoShop CS6 and my experience.
Here's the result.
My intention was to create a slide for PowerPoint that can be used at our contemporary service when someone is baptized. This week also was about experimentation because I normally work in Manual Mode but tried Aperture Priority (a challenge from one of Kim's classes.)  
Looking at the end result, I am pleased, but even more satisfying was the journey--working alone in a darkened, quiet sanctuary with a tripod and my camera was a spiritual experience. And having the time, the creative energy and the tools to make something a little different and new is satisfying. Thank you for a snow day that reminded me to slow down and just take the time to listen.   
What's your creative voice telling you?
Photo Notes:
To get the reflection of the window in the water I took two photos. The focus point on the first one is at the front of the bowl. For the second photo, the focus point was the reflection. In PhotoShop, I pulled one over the other, created a mask and use the tool brush at 20% opacity to brush away the out of focus window.