Pausing Life . . .

“A photograph is the pause button of LIFE.”

On April 29th my first grandchild was born, a baby boy.  He is without a doubt, the most beautiful baby.  He has kept us busy with visits, snuggles and just loving him to pieces.

I took a few weeks away from photography, just to spend time with him, my daughter and son-in-law.  Now that they are getting acclimated to their new life as parents and a family of three, it was time to resume my photography.

I hope you are all doing well, I’m glad to be back.  This week I visited my friend Cheryl, Cheryl has a love for decorating and especially for growing flowers.  Her peonies finally bloomed this week, so I went for a visit this cloudy and rainy Memorial Day.

I photographed her yard in August 2016, the year my daughter was married.  That day the sun was shining and the temperature was in the 90’s, humid and extremely hot, quite a difference from the weather today.  I must say, it was much easier to photograph today vs. the 90 degree day of two years ago.  Of course, August is typically much hotter than May in NJ.

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No words are needed . . .

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Nature gives us such beauty to behold.  The softness of each petal, with the hint of red poking though is breathtaking.  It was nice to get outside and photograph flowers instead of taking photographs inside.  Welcome Spring!

Until next time, stay well . . .

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inspiration . . .

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”  ~ Helen Keller

Inspiration is an amazing tool in any artists life, it’s where we get our ideas from, where we feel what we express to others.  Inspiration can come from many sources, close friends and/or family, something seen on TV, in a magazine or from friends in a community such as Instagram.  I’ve written before about the amazing group of friends I’ve come to know while on Instagram, most I’m sure I’ll never actually meet in person, yet I feel as though I know them so well.  Continue reading “inspiration . . .”

the gift . . .

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”  – Pablo Picasso

Many years ago a family member said she did not understand why anyone gave flowers to another, “all they do is die, such a waste” she said.

This is very true, but all living things eventually die, and what a waste if we do not take the time to enjoy them, even a flower.  God put living things on this earth so they could be nurtured, loved, and yes, enjoyed.

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I find the solitude of photographing flowers to be very therapeutic and inspiring.  It’s a time when I don’t think of the worries in my life, I am in a carefree and worry-less place.  So, flowers have an important purpose to me and I would imagine to many others.  It is one of the first items on a bride’s list of wedding to do’s, visiting a florist for their bouquets, flowers are given to your love on Valentine’s Day, and sadly, they represent a life lived, which has come to it’s physical end.

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For me, I just enjoy the colors, the shapes, the textures and how they smell, some are pungent but most have a heavenly scent.  This week, I bought three beautiful orange tulips from Jennifer at Lilies, I love visiting Jen for uplifting conversation and also her beautiful flowers.

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As the week progressed, I took various photographs of the tulips, noticing the difference in their texture, color and shape. I noticed how as the days went on, and one of the flowers perished, the remaining two flowers became intertwined.  Their stems began to bend toward each other, almost as if they were hugging. I wanted to share those photographs with you, as I took notice of how the flowers changed during the 5 or so days, it reminded me of how people change.  We come into this world so new with soft skin and wide eyes, as time goes by our skin begins to wrinkle and our eyes may droop, maybe we don’t see as well as we once did, but we are still beautiful just as the tulip was beautiful in it’s end stage.

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So you see, everything lives and eventually dies, it may not be physically here with us, but it sure left its mark.

Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to our visit next week, until then . . .

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landscape or portrait?

“a good photograph is knowing where to stand” ~ Ansel Adams

I was asked for photographs for a large collage frame my daughter was hanging over her couch in their living room.  The frame called for portrait format photographs.  As we looked through the many photos I’ve taken, I realized that I very seldom take photographs in a portrait format.  I am prone to taking photographs in a landscape format, I guess because it just looks more natural to my eye.  Continue reading “landscape or portrait?”

The Canvas in my Mind . . .

“The things that make me different are the things that make me.” – Winnie the Pooh

Thoughts wonder in my head, they are endless.  Sometimes I wish they would just take a holiday and enjoy some down time.  That never seems to happen, those thoughts and ideas keep swirling around.

I believe people who have a creative side may have similar experiences.  I am always thinking about what prop would work with a particular flower.  What color scheme might be nice, given the time of year or my mood.

This past week, the holiday season began and my thoughts turned toward Christmas colors and festive scenes.  I follow so many creative people on Instagram, their work inspires me, sparking more creativity and ideas.  This week, I decided to play around with some dark and moody images.  Many I follow create beautiful dark and moody images, so I decided to have a go at it.

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I have a particular fondness for white flowers, but with Christmas soon upon us, I thought some red flowers would be a nice contrast, giving the white flowers a festive pop of color.  The Christmas balls are classic and timeless.  My mom decorated our Christmas tree with red glass balls in various sizes, nothing more.  Maybe that’s where my love for this simple ornament originated.

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Who can resist a mason jar, especially one painted red adorned with a pine cone and twine?

The real magic takes place after I upload the images and choose which I feel will become the image I had in mind as I shot the scene. Sometimes, an image can be crisp and bright and other times it could be softer and a bit smokey creating a moodier feel.

Of course, I had to play around with some light and airy designs too, I already had quite a mess going, flower stems and pieces of ribbon everywhere.  So, a light and airy design was a must.  I try and utilize the flowers whole before taking them apart for the flat lay design, pictured below.

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As you can see, white is the prominent color with that pop of red and green.  I get a sense of calmness from this image, maybe it’s the flow of the flowers or the lack of color, whichever it is, it has a soothing feel to it, which is a nice way to end today’s story.

I hope you are feeling in the holiday mood this year, I am and will bring more fun and festive images next week.

Until we meet again, thank you for stopping in and catching up with me . . .

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A Teapot & Pink Roses

Back in the Studio . . .

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

I believe I’m a creative person, who makes mistakes along the way, but I always seem to find my way. As I set out to write (and photograph) this weeks blog, I was a bit uncertain, how many ways can I talk about photographing a teapot or a flower?  I’m sure it must be a bit mundane for someone reading my story each week.

I thought, maybe I could share with you my process for arriving at my final image.  I took a few photos of what I purchased before it was propped and primped and made to look how I envision it in my mind.

The props used this week were:

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In many of my images I like to give them a vintage feel, in order to do that I incorporate textures, overlays and sometimes presets or actions.  Each step brings me closer to the final image. Many of the textures I use are either from Kim Klassen or Leslie Nicole of French Kiss Textures .

First, I place the texture over the image, then by using a layer mask in Photoshop, I begin to erase or remove, with a brush, the parts I do not want to see.  When I first began using Photoshop I was so intimidated to use a layer mask, it seemed so foreign but it’s really quite simple.  Basically what you are doing is placing the texture OVER the actual photograph like so:

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Once I’ve placed the texture over the photograph, I then adjust the blend mode and opacity of the texture to achieve the feeling I desire.  The final step will be to “brush” or “erase” off the portions I do not want visible, allowing the photograph to show through.


Two textures were used for this final image, some of the texture was “brushed” off of the photograph, but I did leave most of the texture on the plate, but brushed most off of the flowers and cupcake to make them pop and become more prominent in the overall final image.

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For this next image, I did not use any textures or overlays, just simple white and pops of color gave me the feel I wanted for this flower teapot.  At first I wasn’t sure of the fabric color but it seemed to match the flowers in the teapot, so I decided to keep it.

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In this image, I used two textures, one which had more of a watercolor brush stroke and the other had a golden brown tone, with a nice border around it.

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So, that’s most of my workflow for creating the images today.  I was a bit more chatty this week, but I hope you enjoyed my process and also enjoy my images.

If you would like to see what I’m up to during the week, please follow me on Instragram. All of my images are for sale as birthday, greeting cards or customized invitations.  If you are interested, please contact me.

Have a fabulous Fourth of July … Until next week  . . .

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Imagination

A Black Pitcher … imagine the choices

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” – Albert Einstein

Imagination is an amazing tool, as humans we can escape from the world simply by imaging something. I often wonder, what about our dog, does McKenzie ever imagine anything, sometimes she sits, just staring into space, so I wonder, Continue reading “Imagination”

A Sunday Morning in June

Well life is short
And love is rare
And we all deserve to be happy while we’re here ~ Little Big Town

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Sunday Morning …

As the warm summer breeze blew through the window, my entire day was brightened. It has been a cold and rainy spring here in New Jersey and the bright sunshine was a welcomed change.  Spring typically has some warmer days but usually more cold days, then without notice summer shows up.

Today, I wanted to share some beautiful bright colors with you, which for me, represents what summer is all about.  Summer has an easiness about it, relaxed summer nights sitting on our front porch, watching the humming birds feed and play with each other.  Neighbors walking their dogs and stopping by for a small conversation and let’s not forget the beautiful sunsets and the smell of the sweet summer air.

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My blue chair featured today was quite a find in a craft store, which sadly, is not longer there.  I could not believe my ears when the owner said $20, so in my car it went.  It has served me well in the last two years that I’ve owned it.  It’s old and worn and the bright cheery blue instantly makes you feel happy.  Pair it with some vibrant orange flowers and beautiful tulips and you cannot go wrong!

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When I search for flowers, I don’t always have an idea or composition in mind.  As I begin to arrange the flowers, and play around with some of my props, the picture and story seem to unravel.  This is what brings the quiet in my mind and the peacefulness. There could be complete chaos outside my studio, but in my world, there is just calm and peace.

I’m sure there are hobbies or things that would bring the same quiet peacefulness for you, the secret is to find that one thing and bask in it.  Make it a point, if even for 10 minutes a day, to find that quiet in your mind and enjoy it.  It will change your entire perspective on how you look at your day.

If you are interested in more of my photographs, please follow me on Instagram.

Until next week …

Debra