Month: August 2016

Two Page Design

Kate celebrated her fourth birthday this past weekend. As she gets older, more of her personality comes through in her photographs. I actually try to make photos that convey her personality and show her different expressions, photos that express her pleasure with a gift, the way she licks the frosting off a cupcake, the way she laughs and smiles. Those expressions are what I wanted on this two page spread which I will add to this year’s book.


One of my favorite photos from her birthday party was this one of her delight upon receiving a pink car. No, it isn’t a perfect photo. 2016-08-27 145446It’s grainy because I had set the ISO high to give me the shutter speed I needed. It’s also much darker on one side. Before exporting the photo from Lightroom, I adjusted the white balance and increased the exposure and clarity.

After placing the photo on a new 24×12 inch document in Photoshop, I ran it through Topaz Detail module to smooth the grain. Then I added two levels layers, one on screen and another on hard light. Rather than extract Kate from the scene, I added an inverted layer mask and blended in just the parts that I wanted with a soft round brush.


My next step was to figure out how to include the other nine photos I had exported from Lightroom and placed with their visibility turned off on my new blank document. Not many templates have spaces for more than five or six photos. In addition, I needed to balance the weight of the large blended photo on the left side of my two page spread. I found Anna’s MonthReview Template No. 34B in my stash, a template I bought several years ago but hadn’t ever used.


After deleting a couple of textures, I duplicated one frame, reduced it’s size and moved it into the blank space on the template. Although there are nine photos on the right side, the light background and simple white frames do not overwhelm the large blended photo on the left.


I added or stamped on blank layers additional stains, recolored them pink and changed the blend mode to linear burn.


Next, I began building the background for my title. I opened three different psd files from WatercolorBalloons No. 1. I recolored the individual balloons to coordinate with Kate’s tutu. Below the balloons, I placed a light leak from LightLeaks No. 3, changed the blend mode to linear burn and reduced the opacity.


To finish my page, I added a title just above the watercolor balloons and gave it a sticker effect. Next, I placed balloons from ArtPlay Palette Happy Birthday and recolored them with a style layer. I tacked them down with button threads from ButtonThreadz No. 2. On the balloon on the right, I added text and warped it with the warp text tool. With a few splatters, buttons and additional threads my page was finished.


Combining templates with a little blending made it easy to create this artsy two page spread. I think these MonthReview templates are especially effective to scrap an event with all the white space and multiple masks with simple white frames. In a way, this two page spread looks similar to the design I used in last year’s book. For many of those pages, I combined a one photo artsy page with multiple photos on one of Anna’s FotoInspired Double Templates to create my two page spreads. This year I am looking for simple, informal artsy templates that accommodate more photos to create a book. I need to remember that just because a template is titled Month Review doesn’t mean that’s it only use, not when I want more spaces for photos from a party, trip or event.


Texture Supports a Story

At the beginning of August, I shared some photographs of the Anne Frank exhibit at the Museum of Intolerance in Los Angeles. I have asked myself how so much cruelty could have been allowed to occur to so many during this period of modern history. A statement, part of one recording, stayed with me as we walked through the exhibits: if you repeat the lies often enough people begin to believe them.

For this page, I wanted to contrast the photo of sisters Anne and Margo Frank as little girls with the time in which Jewish families were torn apart and murdered during World War II.

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I am really a very traditional scrapbooker by design, often dividing my pages into three parts: framed photo, blended photo and journaling. However, my basic page components alone did not convey my feelings as I viewed the exhibit.


Conveying a feeling or look is one reason that I love different shapes and textures combined on background papers or paper frames, i.e. MultiMedia Frames No. 4, for traditional page designs for my photos.  In Anna’s new ArtPlay Palette Cosmopolis, solid paper 5 is a beautiful blend of a simple, more traditional solid with an unusual texture.


For this page, I arranged my traditional page components to fit solid paper 5. I extracted the background photo and placed it so that Anne Frank’s writing hand fit into the space between the torn edges on the paper. I blended some of the layers from set 5 of Artsy Transfers Cosmopolis with two png transfers from the ArtPlay Palette Cosmopolis to fill in the paper background. I could have stopped here, but I didn’t think my page conveyed just what I was feeling yet.


Adding texture changes the feel of a scrapbook page. To create additional texture on my background, I layered brushes from ArtPlay Palette Cosmopolis and ArtPlay Palette Antiquity along with the texture layers from frame 1 in MultiMedia Frames No. 4 and two png textures from Taped Textures No. 6.


Finally, I placed small clusters of elements on my page to create visual triangles that help move the viewer’s eye across the page. I also added a faded words from Art WordART Mix No. 1 just to the right below the frame layers.


For this page, I think that a special paper in combination with brushes and textures contributed to the poignant feel of the story that I was trying to convey with these photos. Artistic pages are more than page design; they are also a feel or a look that support the photos and tell the story.

Art with a Mask, an Artsy Transfer and Word Art


The wind churned the water on the beach, making the waves pile high against the rocks. I set my camera to f/22 on aperture priority in the late afternoon sunlight and waited until just the right moment to capture the spray as the waves crashed against the rocks.

There are times I really like my photos just as they come out of the camera without any special photo treatments. I loved this capture of the spray of the waves against a rock formation at Little Corona Del Mar and wanted to use it on a page. However, I wanted to ground the waves with some of the other rock formations on that beach using another photo that I captured when I zoomed back to get more of the scene.

To create this page I used the two photos above and two masks from Coastline FotoBlendz No. 1. This page came together quickly. I sized the photos to fit my page and blended them together after clipping the two photos to mask 2. I added adjustment layers to each photo copy to increase the contrast just a little.


I duplicated mask 2, moved it toward the right and then clipped and blended two more copies of the photos. Then I duplicated the mask a third time, moved it further toward the right and clipped two more photos.


To finish the photo blended scene, I placed mask 4 from Coastline FotoBlendz No. 1 below the other photo layers, clipped one more copy of the photo with the spray and blended it with a layer mask.


I placed one more copy of the photo with the rocks in the foreground at the top of the photo layers and blended back in just the foreground rocks using a inverted layer mask to make them appear heavier and darker in order to balance the the rock formation in the distance.


Next, I added sand transfers from ArtPlay Palette Beach.


Then I placed the layers from Artsy Transfer Coastline 5. Two layers of the psd transfer file are above the photo layers and the rest are below the photo and sand layers.


Finally, I added two elements from Beach WordArt Mix No. 1. I placed them between the layers of the MultiMedia Shells No. 1. In addition, I added a few splatters and two additional transfers from ArtPlay Palette Coastline.


There are times when I like the simplicity of creating a page for my photos without a feeling that I need to add a special photo treatment, times when I think that my photos are strong enough to stand on their own. At those times, combining a few masks, an artsy psd transfer and word art, allow me to easily create a blended piece of art. In some ways, these are the pages I like best!





Simple Template Changes

Experimenting with Anna’s products can be as simple as switching out one mask for another. Or it can mean giving all the background photos on a double page spread a different photo treatment so that they contrast with smaller framed photos. I’ve been playing with a new watercolor action which I described in a previous post and wondered how it might change a template’s look for a garden page.

After playing with a photo of me and my sister in front of a rose trellis, I decided that I didn’t like the effect on us, but I did like it on the climbing roses. So I selected a photo with more of the flowers visible for the background. I adjusted the size of mask 4 from WaterColor FotoBlendz No. 3 with the warp tool in Photoshop so that the mask covered only the roses in the photo. I duplicated the original mask and changed the layer name of the copy to “brush” as required for the action to work. Below is a screen shot of the photo and mask before I adjusted it with the warp tool and filled in parts with a soft round brush.


I ran the action a couple of times and chose the one that I liked best before adjusting the settings for the background color and other layers created by the action. I used this action on all the photos on the background for this two page spread. Then I followed these steps.

After running the action on a photo, create a 24×12 document. Drag the photo with the watercolor treatment on to the new document and resize to fit the right page edge. Change the blend mode to multiply. Open template 6 from WaterColor Template Album No. 3 and drag the layers to the left side of the two page spread above the watercolor photo.


Replace the fotoblendz mask included with the template with mask 4 from WaterColor Fotoblendz No. 6. Flip it horizontally. Clip another photo with the watercolor treatment to the mask. Duplicate the photo, link copies and clip to each of the stain layers.


Run the watercolor action on the third photo for the background. Clip the photo to the mask. Duplicate it, link copies and clip to the stains.


Clip photos to small frames.


Extract figures from the focal photo and place on page resizing as necessary. Note: the shadowing technique is from Anna’s last class, Flipping Clipping.


Drag the frames and text box of template 7 from WaterColor Template Album No. 3 to the right side. Adjust the position of the frames to accommodate the extraction. Clip photos to the small frames.


Recolor the texture on the left. Embellish the layout with splatters, buttons and threads. Add a title and write journaling.


Simple changes with photo treatments can create an artistic look for your scrapbook pages with Anna’s templates.



Watercolor Play



It would appear that I can’t get enough of the watercolor action I described in a previous post. For this page, I blended and merged two photos before running the action. To create the brush layer needed for the action, I used several of Anna’s WaterColor Fotoblendz Masks. After I ran the action and made some adjustments, I created a composite.

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Next, I dragged the photo composite and  original photo onto a new blank 12×12 document. I blended it into ArtPlay Palette Coastland solid paper 1. I created another composite.

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Finally, I dragged that composite, original photo and background paper to a new 12×12 document and reduced their size. I wanted my piece of watercolor art to look like I had been painting on a board. I placed mask 3 from 12×12 Fotoblendz No. 2 (retired product) and reduced the mask’s size. Then I clipped my composite, photo and background paper to the mask. I blended out a bit of the watercolor composite to reveal more of the original photo before adding an overlay and a transfer from ArtPlay Palette Coastline.

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To finish my page, I added a thread from UrbanThreadz No. 11, word art from Beach WordArt Mix No. 2 and foliage from ArtPlay Palette Coastline.

One More Beautiful Day

Every time I visit my sister, we have tea at the Huntington Library and Gardens. It’s our biannual tradition. Just as we finished tea and started to take photos of one another in the Rose Garden, a man passing by offered to take a photograph of us together. I handed him my camera and hoped. We don’t get many shots like this, but we agreed that this was a keeper.

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I didn’t make as many photographs as I usually do on our walks in the gardens. We were talking about sad family news my husband had received that morning.

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The Chinese Garden is one of our favorites. My sister found a bench and began sketching that bridge.

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I continued walking the paths, practicing with my camera before returning to the bench where my sister was still sketching.

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The water lilies were blooming.

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On our walk back through the Rose Garden, I wondered how it might have looked in May or June when it was at its peak.

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Time is really a gift from God; for us, one more beautiful day together!


Little Corona Beach

After a lovely lunch, I walked among the rocks at Little Corona Beach. I was surprised how few birds were there in comparison to what I saw on my last visit to this beach a couple of years ago. At that time, birds covered the rocks.

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Walking on the beach and climbing on the rocks provided a wonderful opportunity for me to experiment with my camera. In aperture priority, I set my aperture to f/22 in order to capture as much of the landscape in focus as possible. I let the shutter speed adjust to the light at 4:30pm. In these photos, I focused on the arching rock in the distance. Yet the foreground is also sharp.

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I have a lens that zooms from 18 to 135. This was my first time playing with it at a beach. The wind and surf were fairly strong. At f/22, the spray is clearly visible.

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I think I prefer the shots with my horizon in the top third of the view finder frame. The waves rolling over the rocks seem more interesting than the blue sky, although the water spray was impressive. Had there been interesting clouds, I would have been more inclined to place my horizon line on the top or lower third of my view finder.

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While the mossy areas of the rocks are slippery for walking, they are supposedly a home for sea life. However, I haven’t generally found much to photograph besides rocks.

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On this visit, I found hermit crabs. Posted signs warn visitors not to take rocks or wild life from the pools among the rocks. I wonder if people generally respect those warnings since there have been so few specimens for me to photograph on my visits.

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While movement is not visible in this photograph, I watched these hermit crabs crawl over the rocks.

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I enjoyed playing with my camera, remembering tips from lessons and experimenting with different settings. The only thing I don’t like about the beach is that the air makes my hair curl. That’s one reason why I didn’t take a selfie.

Anne Frank

When my sister suggested that we see the Anne Frank exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance while I am here in California, I thought that was an excellent idea. I had read the book years ago, but I enjoy museums and history.

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Anne was so young when her family had to go in hiding. She didn’t get to finish school, but she loved writing.

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There were a number of family photos in circle frames along the walls.

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The exhibit contains a beautiful, detailed replica of Anne’s original diary. Miep Geis, the woman who protected the family during the Nazi occupation, found the diary on the floor of the secret room after the Nazi soldiers found and arrested the family.  The Nazi soldiers had dumped the journal out of the family’s bag and replaced it with what they considered valuables.

Miep wasn’t taken only because an arresting solider from Austria recognized her Austrian accent as she spoke German. I would hope I had the courage Miep Geis did, bicycling 8 miles to fields outside the city in search of food not only for herself but also for those living in the secret room hidden by a bookcase built to conceal the entrance to the attic.

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Only Anne’s father, Otto, survived the Holocaust. Anne and her sister died of Typhus only weeks before they would have been liberated. There were walls of rolled fabric throughout the display. They changed from the gray and stripes to all black as a tribute to the darkness of the atrocities and to Anne’s death. Her journal is displayed in the circular container.

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However, in the next room, where a collection of published copies of Anne’s journal were displayed, the walls are covered in bright colored fabric from the clothing of the children. It marks hope, I was told by a guide. Upon Otto Franks’s return to Holland, Miep gave Otto the diary. It wasn’t long before he was encouraged to publish his daughter’s writing. Otto said that while he thought he knew his child, upon reading the diary, he was struck by how self-critical and reflective she was, revealing just how little he knew of her.

When I asked whether the diary had been edited, the woman said that Otto did edit the version that I read. Anne didn’t like some of the people with whom she lived, so she changed their names. There were also parts that described Anne’s difficult relationship with her mother. Those parts were taken out of the original book. In the last few years, an unedited version has been published. I’d love to find that edition.

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The photographer in me saw these mirrored walls as I walked behind my sister on the way out of the exhibit. I asked her to turn around before handing off my camera so that she could take my photo.

We stayed to listen to a Holocaust survivor share her poignant story of first losing her grandmother and then her mother as they were taken from Romania as a seven year old child. When she was finally liberated by Americans, she was sent to an orphanage in Sweden. Two years later, her father found her through the Red Cross. However, as a young college student in Budapest protesting the communists, she decided to immigrate to the United States.

One wonders how so much cruelty could have been allowed to occur. A statement, part of one recording, stayed with me as we walked through the rest of the exhibits: If you repeat the lies often enough people begin to believe them.

If you’re going to see the exhibit and want a nice salad, there is a Tender Greens not 5 miles away. However, I don’t recommend Google Maps. My navigator had difficulty getting us there until she made a telephone call. In addition, Google Maps provided a convoluted route on the way home. I thought we were going to take surface streets all the way from Culver City back to Fullerton before we finished all the right turn then left turn, right turn then left turn instructions.

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