Full Moon in Leo aka Tarot Strength, a strong woman and lion. I was inspired to create this image after reading The Tarot Lady tweet the Full Moon in Leo. I’m born on cusp of Leo, in Year of the Tiger, and felines are my favorite animals.
While showering, my best place for inspiration, other than first thing when I wake up, the image of stained glass windows appeared. I pulled my large book of Tiffany windows and quickly glanced through it. I’ve studied this often that I only needed and wanted a quick look. When I get an idea, I just want to get started.
I usually start with a feeling, an idea of the elements needed to convey the stories, the feelings, the era(s) I want to evoke and inspire in others. The images express what is in my heart, mind and mind’s eye. What I am feeling, expressed in images. But so many images! When will I know when I find the “right” ones? Takes time and exploration, til it comes together. Which often changes while creating.
Ideas are not fully formed from the start. Being fluid, willing to change, discard, modify, fine-tune, is all part of the creative process.
I always start with Adobe Lightroom. Unlike many who write about the “ten top things” you must do in Lightroom, I have my own list. It starts with Lightroom’s superior, one of a kind abilities as a visual library. You can find and see every image in every folder, hard drive, cloud, flash drive that you’ve imported into a Lightroom catalog.
I’ve collected licensed clip art, stock photos, my own photos and scans from copyright-free books for many years. Due to the size of my image library, I keep files on external hard drives. I teach how to organize and use Lightroom, with many varied images. Plus using it in a very creative way, beyond merely finding and making minor changes to photos. Numerous images and clear details in my Lightroom Productivity and Creative Tools online workshop.
I usually “export” a copy of an image to a new working folder. Keeping all the files in a project folder improves productivity. Keep the original where it was, to find again. Don’t move the image of the moon to the new folder. In the future, you’ll look in your moon folder, having forgotten this project or buried it somewhere. This increases the size of both the Lightroom catalog and hard drive/cloud usage, but keeps you organized.
You can open or edit files directly from Lightroom into many graphics programs you’ve installed. I always start with Adobe Photoshop. I show you how to Create Marketable, Branded Images Using Photoshop. Despite owning numerous graphics and image processing programs and apps, Photoshop is the best for layering, resizing and so much more!
I opened an image of a labradorite crystal I photographed years ago at a gem and mineral show. I had already increased the saturation, using Lightroom (but could do the same in Photoshop). It was perfect for my stained glass window effect.
I found a scan of a woman and her lion, taken from a copyright free book. Using an old Wacom Intuos digitizing tablet, I changed her hair, redrew many of the lines, and using Photoshop, duplicated it as a layer on top of the crystal layer.
The rubber stamp and smoothing, blur tools were used to create a colorful layout that fit the entire shape of the woman and lion. I replicated areas of colors I liked, and removed areas I didn’t like. It’s vital to not totally copy/paste one section into another. You want to avoid a repetitive pattern that looks unnatural. Spontaneity is key, although that takes diligent, focused work.
Then I was ready to really get to work. Or play. Or create. It’s all the same to me.
I used a layer mask to erase areas outside the outline of the image. I kept the two layers separate to modify in the future if I needed.
I returned to my Lightroom catalog. I found a photo of a full moon, and a few watercolor moons. I layered the photo over a watercolor, used Photoshop’s Luminosity blending mode to add color to the grayscale photo. (You’ll find similar terminology in many graphics apps, but started with Photoshop’s layer blending modes.)
I wanted a frame to show the woodsy outdoors, but also the changing of the seasons. Most regard March 19-21 as first day in Spring. But I read that many regard February as start of spring.
The frame is mostly wooden branches, with only an owl on the left side and a frog (to leap into the leap year) on bottom right. I painted both the frog and the owl, and gently blurred the colors.
The few leaves are symbolic of fall and winter. The frame was originally tall and narrow. I resized, deleted center section, and painted lines throughout the whole frame, to unify it.
The arrival of spring is represented by replacing the barren top with the blooming flowers on the bottom. I made the flowers large, to appear closer to us, and to give depth to the image.
I like using one style of art in my creations, which tend to be collages or assemblages of various images. The frame is clearly vintage, taken from an old etching or engraving, maybe 19th century, maybe earlier. The flowers could have been late 19th up to mid-20th century greeting cards.
I added the watercolor flying bird because I always hear more birds singing in February than any other month. I am always reminded when I walk outside and hear the birds. I don’t hear many birds because so many trees cut to make way for buildings and homes. I didn’t change the colors of the bird. I could find a line drawing of a bird that expressed what I was feeling. I felt that although it introduced a new element, looser watercolor, it clearly works for the image.
I scoured my Lightroom catalog to find just the vintage flowers I wanted. I chose these flowers for both the season and colors to flow with labradorite crystal background.
Spring has always meant the arrival of daffodils, plus the golden yellows are in the stone. I don’t know the name of the blue and yellow flowers, but their colors perfectly match the others. Finally, colors of the morning glories match the bird and the woman’s dress.
I used a decorative Photoshop brush to create the frame with leaves around my name. I painted it green, plus changed the shape from circle to oval, using the selection tool.
To add more depth, I gave each element its own layer effect, both with embossing and drop shadows. The drop shadows are really minimal, because it’s not daylight, but only moonlight. Still dark on the ground.
Many rely only on Canva or a variety of other apps to create images. I start and end with Photoshop.
Now, the biggest challenge is to re-do this so it’s tall for Instagram and Pinterest. Which I didn’t want to do … then, ok, I DID redo it, much to my chagrin. Which means fury.
That is why three versions of same image. Effin’ social media. Social media empowers us and makes me full of raging tears because it demands several versions of the same image. Every time a big time successful social media bully, I mean, guru, leader, voice, so-called friend and admirer tells me this software or that app is “superb” for resizing (they mean cropping the soul outta the image), I want to unleash all the power of Kali I can muster, which means not much against those who control what we post … anyway, this is about strength … so let’s make the best of what we have, right.
Captions on only my Instagram posting:
“Full Moon in Leo. Tarot Strength card. Wise owl telling us spring is coming. Frogs welcome warmer weather, especially in leap years. My photo of a labradorite crystal, with increased saturation, rubber stamped, with other blending tools, creates my desired stained glass effect. Flowers chosen for colors and season. Singing birds greet me when I venture outdoors. Licensed vintage clip art. Image created entirely in Photoshop CC.”
“I usually design horizontally or landscape. We see peripherally or sideways. Instagram & Pinterest demand vertical orientation. What would Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas, Matisse, Picasso or Warhol do? 3 versions: 1920×1080, 2048×2048 and 1080×1350. Shed many tears & wasted time due to tech demanding how our art should appear.”
Another version, square for Facebook, although usually not a problem posting 1920×1080 horizontal images.
More about Labradorite, Opals, Hollywood High, the Screamers, X and the Oscars … (why I always say I’m not six degrees separated but about 1.5 degrees from major name dropping).
I only discovered labradorite recently, compared to my life-long love of crystals. I always loved opals, especially fire opals. When I was in college, I created “lost wax castings” using gold or silver. Then added opals.
During punk, I traded a Hollywood High School ring I bought at a pawn shop for a three opal ring, which I wore til the stones fell out, many years later. I traded with KK Barrett, future Oscar nominated art director, then the drummer for the legendary LA punk synth band, the Screamers.
KK was dating the girl X sang about “She had to leave Los Angeles … she started to hate all the . … and Jews.” She gave this Jewish girl a hard time. She gave me my name, Jenny Lens, in her usual anti-Semitic rant. So it all worked out just fine. When I admired the ring KK gave her, she said she’d trade it for a Hollywood High ring. So we traded. I kept the ring on for many years.
Opals, labradorites and full moons (the moon’s all full like a lovely wife, “The world’s a mess, it’s in my kiss,“ X.)
The feldspar family of crystals includes opals, labradorite and moonstones (my birthstone, being a moon child). Labradorite is my fave, with its peacock butterfly wings colors.
I was finally able to do something lovely with this amazing crystal I photographed many moons ago.
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