"The proper use of imagination is to give beauty to the world..." Lin Yu-T'ang

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ordinary Things

"Some of our most wonderful memories are of beautiful places where we felt immediately at home. We feel most alive in the presence of the Beautiful for it meets the needs of our soul."
John O'Donohue

Ordinary Things are just normal, everyday things. Things we use everyday, or things that we pass by on our way to somewhere else. Most often it is these Ordinary Things that we hold in our memories, that remind us of places we've called home and people we love. Ordinary Things embody inescapable beauty and grace. They are the things that make us feel alive. Pema Chodron says it takes guts to rejoice in the ordinary things. Each Tuesday, I post an image, poem, quote that celebrates an ordinary thing from my week. I invite you to join me in posting an Ordinary Thing from your week to your blog or flickr stream and leave a link in the comments section. A found treasure of inspiration, everyday good fortune, the key to your "warrior's world".

Do you remember...being a child with a nickle in your hand, standing in front of a gumball machine with the light shining in your face and all you could see were the gumballs? All those beautiful, bright, sweet, mouth-watering colors just waiting for you to put in your nickle and turn the handle. Which color would you get? Life is like a gumball machine. Filled with options and choices for you to make. What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? What makes you feel alive?

I saw this gumball machine in a cafe the other day and it took me back to my childhood. Visiting my grandma at her fabric store in a cute little downtown block. Grandma and I would walk down a few doors to a bakery to buy some bread. I was always distracted by the people walking on the sidewalk and the things in the windows of the shops and Grandma would tell me to keep up. The bakery had this same kind of gumball machine by the window. I so admired all those bright colors even as she told me that eating those gumballs would either break or rot my teeth. Across the street the train would come through, carrying it's logs and other cargo, blowing it's whistle and we would walk back to the shop, she with the bread and me happily munching on a cookie.

Until next week...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Encouraging and Inspiring Talk

If you do creative work, this could be very helpful. I found it encouraging and inspiring.

and anyone starting out, you need to hear this:

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Try new things. Be gracious to yourself. Honor and enjoy where you are at in your process.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ordinary Things

"Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior's world."
~Pema Chödrön

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Bridge in the Forest and Cannery Row

Mouse over to see before image

I took this picture a while ago during one of our hikes. I like the ethereal quality of it. I used my new texture Cannery Row inspired by my recent hiking trip to Big Sur and the fact that I am in the middle of reading Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. Thanks to Twitter, I learned that it is also the birthday of Cannery Row today. So, without further adieu...may I present...Cannery Row.

Click here to download a free high res copy. Make sure you post in the comments section so we can see what you do with it!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Big Sur::Big Love

"It was here at Big Sur I first learned to say Amen!"
Henry Miller

Yesterday was not only my birthday, but also my blog's birthday. To celebrate, on Saturday, we drove the couple of hours south to do some hiking in Big Sur. Hiking is one of my most favorite things to do, I just love being in nature. Big Sur is every bit of gorgeous that it is known for. A beautiful combination of turquoise blue ocean on the west side of Highway 1 with majestic redwoods populating mountainous areas on the east side. I'm sure I will be spending more time much as I can.

The expansiveness of the ocean never ceases to produce within myself a sense of peace and awe.

"To live is to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware."
Henry Miller

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cantor Arts Center

A few days ago I visited the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. It's a beautiful museum with a collection of Rodin sculptures, contemporary/modern and asian art. It's not far from where I live and I will be going back again and again. Here are a few things I found inspiring:

Hassel Smith, The Tune is Red, 1960.

Elmer Nelson Bischoff, Untitled, 1950.

I was thrilled to find these by Joseph Cornell:

Cornell was so meticulous that he even collaged the back and you can clearly see his signature. How cool is that?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Beautiful Home

I know the holidays are officially over and we are into the new year, but I couldn't help naming my new texture, Holiday Spirit, because it just looks like it. In looking for a winter-y, nature-y image to try Holiday out on, I ran across this one that I took last year in Washington state. The trees are just gorgeous in the Pacific Northwest and Holiday brings out their truest and most beautiful colors, showing off all the subtle nuances of the colors.

You can download a high res copy of Holiday Spirit here.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Paradise Beach

Mouse over to see the before image
This is Paradise Beach, a cafe at Capitola Beach. I used three textures in my new Painted Stucco series and another texture called Warm Ginger. I'm very happy with the results. It seems to express just what I felt that day. Here are the textures from my Painted Stucco series. Click on the links to download a free high res copy.

Painted Stucco 4
A go-to texture. The gray softens the image but there's still texture. You can use this one on just about any image and it plays well with others.

Painted Stucco 6
My favorite out of my series so far. I love the depth and the colors. There are hints of plum, olive, brown and cream. Looks great on multiply if you bring the opacity down and contributes an edgy, grungy look to an image. You can also use it on soft light and it will bring the brown and red tones out of an image.

Painted Stucco Magic
I love magic textures and I've got to say, I'm really happy with this one. In my opinion, magic textures look best on screen mode. Try this one and see what you think!

Warm Ginger
One of the first textures I made and it remains one that I use most often. I love how it warms up the image and contributes a soft textured look. It looks especially good on soft light blend mode.

Have fun with these and if you use them, I'd love to see what you did with them. Be sure to leave a link in the comments section. Thanks!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Time Machine

"We should strive to welcome change and challenges, because they are what help us grow. Without them we grow weak like the Eloi in comfort and security. We need to contently be challenging ourselves in order to strengthen our character and increase our intelligence."
H.G. Wells, The Time Traveler

I went looking for the post of this piece on my blog today and to my surprise, found it missing! So, I've re-posted it here. The Time Machine is a piece that I created a few months back and was published in the July/August 2011 issue of Somerset Studio. I used a bit of paper from Graphic 45, Steampunk Debutante, a compass mask, metal gears by Tim Holtz as well as tissue paper, acrylic paint and a copy of the cover from the original book.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Old Steel Bridge

Mouse over to see before image

This bridge reminds me of growing up in Portland and the old steel bridges across the Willamette River. I used my new texture Orange Stucco (below) along with my texture Storm Clouds from this post. I've used Storm Clouds on a number of images and it always looks good. Brightens up the image and gives just the right amount of texture. On top of the whole thing, I placed Chaos by Jerry of Shadowhouse Creations. If you haven't seen his textures, you must check them out, Jerry does awesome work! Chaos seemed to pull the whole things together. Isn't that the way with art...and life...a little chaos seems to bring out the best.

You can download Orange Stucco for free here.