Four Years Gone

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Life has been a little stressed for me lately. But today I’m taking time to pause for my poppy.

It’s been four years today since my dad passed away. Some days it feels like it just happened yesterday. I miss him tons and tons and wish he could be here with us all. If he were, I know one thing he’d say to everyone,

“Don’t forget to wear sunscreen”.

Kosmo Silhouette

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Recently I decided to throw my hat into the silhouette rage. But I added a little personal touch in the end. The subject, Kosmo, my 9-year-old, bouncing bundle of Shiba Inu energy. Here’s how I did it:

Step One: Take a Profile Photo.

It’s more difficult than you think to get your dog to look away from you in the right direction without anyone to help. Take plenty of photo’s, a dozen even, with flash or without, whatever looks good to you.

Step Two: Erase the Background.

After I chose the best image for a profile, I used Photoshop to erase the background. I should have had more of Kosmo in the photo. See all that negative space in front of him? But this was the best photo I had and I wasn’t willing to repeat this step. So my creative wheels were turning.

Step Three: Turn Your Subject Black

In Photoshop, again, this is a quick and easy step. Color your subject black and it’s pretty fast and fulfilling to see it almost done.

Step Four: Print on Cardstock
Step Five: Cut Your Subject Out

Some may print and stop right there. Even though you can use fade resistant ink in your printer, I just feel better having this on black paper. That’s also how it was done years and years ago, before the invention of digital. Print on a nice heavy cardstock as this will be used for tracing. After you cut the image, you’ll notice the edges of the paper are very noticeably white. The white edges won’t look quite right, so…

Step Six: Trace on Lightfast Black Quality Paper

Lightfast means it’s not prone to discolor when exposed to light. Available at any art supply store, ask a retail associate if you can’t identify if the paper is lightfast. Many well known paper manufacturers make both, so it’s important to know what you’re purchasing. Once purchased, I suggest labeling the paper in some way so you know, for future projects, which paper is lightfast. I believe I used Strathmore paper, but I can’t say for sure.

Step Seven: Cut

Use scissors, an X-acto knife, a scalpel, or try The Slice Precision Cutter. Have you seen these cool things? I think you either like it or you don’t, depending on what you use it for. I’m not sure I would use it for real heavy cardstock, but it worked for me. I also keep one in my utility/junk drawer to cut coupons and stuff from magazines. Don’t forget to use a self-healing mat to protect your surface! The Slice is less likely to cut you, but it will still cut your table or counter-top.

Step Seven: Mount to Background

I mounted the image to white acid-free cardstock using one of my favorite tools above. You can use matboard too. The 3M ATG Adhesive System is kind of big and clunky, but it really works great and the tape is super strong. Make sure you know where you want to place things before you tape, because there’s no turning back once adhered.

Step Eight: Frame

You see what I mean about negative space? It’s just missing something, don’t you think?

There, a little calligraphy and it magically fixes the problem! With a little Maria Thomas, one of my favorite calligraphers, flare too.

And now it looks perfect for wrapping and giving. What do you think? It’s not the traditional way to see it done, but I think the calligraphy gives it a special, personal touch. Tell me what you think in the comments. Would you buy something like this unframed? If so, how much would you pay? Just curious.

Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall by Coldplay

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Music inspires me. I always have music on when I’m working, getting ready in the morning and throughout the weekend. The type varies, but lately this song by Coldplay has been inspiring me. My favorite lyrics in this song:

“I’d rather be a ‘,’ than a ‘.'” (I’d rather be a comma than a full-stop) & “Maybe I’m in the gap between the two trapeze”.

At the end if it, it just makes me want to through my arms out and spin around. Then I saw this video below and noticed Chris Martin kinda does that too. The video & song inspire me and makes me feel happy. So colorful, just like their current stage sets and instruments. Definitely brings back the 80’s of neon, but done so much better!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Coldplay.

Creative Courage & Thank You

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Welcome to 2012! I hope it’s been a good start for you. I’m trying to focus on some good, uplifting goals (not resolutions) for myself in the months ahead of me.

To start, I’d like to share an e-course that has been VERY therapeutic and uplifting for me. The second Creative Courage e-course began today. Last year I took the e-course and it was one of the best classes I’ve taken online or in person. For anyone who has a passion or is trying to find their passion, whether it be art, writing, cooking, photography, it really helps one grow and also get past some of your fears that hold you back from growing and spreading your wings. It’s a course that truly makes me feel good inside.

Stephanie Levy teaches the course in a blog format with the help of a number of expert guest artists that are different with each course. Stephanie’s an American living with her husband and family in Germany. Stephanie is a very talented artist and she’s extremely nice.

I’m sure she’ll be teaching again if you can’t immediately join this e-course, so keep this in mind, bookmark it and consider making it a goal for your 2012. I promise, you will not regret it.

If you have a creative way of expressing yourself or even if you’re needing to find a way to do that, this is an opportunity for you. And please don’t limit that way to just art or painting. It’s really in any creative way, just as long as we find it and pursue it. Singing, writing, drawing, painting, cooking, dancing, photography, gardening, anything! If you have no idea or think you have no creative bone in your body, this e-course will help and surprise you too.

So this is one of the ways I’m choosing to begin my 2012. The course lasts 7 weeks, but I hope I can carry its teachings with me throughout the year.

Here is where you can find out more about Stephanie:

Blogs:
Artists Who Blog
Poppytalk Handmade Artists
Stephanie Levy : A Studio With A View
12 Countries in 12 Months

Etsy:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/stephanielevy?ref=em

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephanie-Levy-art-illustration/80928134462

Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephanielevy/5684641646/in/set-72157616433748907/

I’d like to also say thank you (Mmmmm…can’t you just smell those paperwhite narcissus flowers? Thanks Mom!) for your patience during the holidays and thereafter. I didn’t expect to be so quiet on this blog, but I got a Happy New Year cold/flu. Then just as I was getting well from that, I took a nice and clumsy fall, but I’m kind of a klutz. So it’s been an interesting beginning to 2012. I’m on the mend, so no worries!

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