Monthly Archives: April 2010

Promotional Consideration

The quilting-blog world is all aflutter with talk of a new eZine launching today.

And while I’m pretty stoked to see what this group of creative minds come up with, I’m maybe even more excited to be seeing their logo and graphics all over the blogisphere. Why is that you ask? Because I designed them! Yep. Their site, blog and graphics were designed by none other than yours truly.

It occurs to me that I haven’t spent much time lately showing off any of the work I’ve done when I’m not here and I thought you might like to see. So, in addition to Fat Quarterly I’d like to introduce some of the blogs I’ve designed lately:

and my personal sites:

In addition to blogs, I also design traditional websites. More and more my clients are opting to design and host their sites on content management systems (often referred to as CMS) like WordPress and Squarespace and even Blogger and Typepad. Individuals and small business owners are discovering the benefits of using these systems for their entire sites because of a few main advantages: cost, flexibility and speed. This is where I come in.

If you want to find out more or see more examples, please visit me at: patchwo4k Folio and feel free to contact me with any questions.

And if you have a few minutes, stop by some of the blogs above and say ‘hi’ – tell them Amy sent you!

The Hardest Kind of Trust

I’ve made a lifetime worth of impulsive decisions in my forty-one years. I can tell you stories of lucky ones and mistakes alike. I’ve come to terms with most of them and I struggle with the rest. I believe there’s value in each decision in that I stand where I do today.

I’m not talking about predestination or fate. They were choices after all. They were my choices that make up the chapters in my story. If I have regret then I call it a lesson learned. If I relive a poor decision, I clearly have work to do. If I make better choices—it’s progress.

Somewhere along the way I abandoned my ‘throw caution to the wind’ attitude in favor of a more guarded style. The impulsive adolescent grew into a young woman and the decisions became weightier. The young woman become a protective mother and my decisions would impact the stories of my children. The gravity of parenthood made for more judicious appraisals.

A difficult lesson but a lesson learned—caring for others requires care for one’s self. With no reserves or personal interests a mother is an incomplete parent. But how far is too far? Sacrifice is inevitable. Compromise is reasonable. But to what extent?

I’m faced with a decision in my life. And the words I keep repeating to myself are ‘trust yourself’.

So that’s my plan.

On Photography and Editing Photographs

My husband and I have so many differences of opinion I sometimes wonder how it is that we manage to get along. One of our ongoing conversations is about whether it’s okay (and to what extent) to post-process a photograph.

He’s a purist, and I claim artistic freedom.

(Since he was an English major in college) I like to argue that the word ‘photograph’ comes from the Greek — ‘phos’ which means ‘light’ and ‘graph’ is translated as ‘to draw’. Photograph therefore means ‘to draw with light’.

Another one of my favorite arguments is the old standby about how many hundreds of hours Ansel Adams spent in the darkroom post-processing his amazing photographs. He burned and dodged until the tones and balance were perfect.

(Just so we’re clear here: I am in no way comparing myself to Ansel Adams.)

I think it’s important to start with a strong composition and from there I imagine my final image.

If I’m looking for something painterly I’ll process very differently then if I’m looking for something active or documentary.

I’m no professional photographer but I am a professional graphic artist and my Photoshop skills are something I worked hard to obtain and consider of ongoing importance to my work.

If you are a photographer and have the ability to achieve a final image that you’re happy with straight out of camera I think that’s great.

I sure can’t.

Today I thought I’d share some of my process with you.

Here’s a shot of my mother’s kitchen.

I like all the cheerful yellow and the varying shades and light. But I’m not happy with the shadows in the center of the forsythia.

In the image below, I sharpened the edges and dodged in the shadows a bit. I adjusted the levels slightly.

The effect is subtle but I think it’s just the boost the image needed.

This is a photo of my mother in her happy place.

Nice. I like the focus and the little burst of color of the flowers in her hand. But it’s a little bright for my taste and I want to convey the sweetness of the moment a bit more dramatically.

In the processed photo I warmed up the color, added a sheer haze to soften the whole thing, popped the pink of the flowers in her hand to draw attention to them and burned in the edges of the photo a little bit.

Sometimes I just use an image as a starting point for a piece of digital artwork.

This one is just plain blah.

But this one

well, you decide. After all, art is subjective.

Does editing the photos like this make me less of a photographer? Who knows. Does it really matter?

Do you process your photos? Discuss.