My First Recording (LOL)

Oh dear. The things you come across thanks to digital technology and usb drives.

Disclaimer #1: I HOPE that this is the worst sound quality I will EVER upload. There is no way I could ever recreate the horrific-ness that is this recording.

Disclaimer #2: My guitar playing does not sound this bad in real life.

Believe

Guitar recorded into GarageBand, percussion and synth added in GarageBand

Image courtesy of Google

The Backstory

This is the first song I ever (tried) to record. I had no idea what I was doing with GarageBand. I no longer have access to the original GarageBand file for this. I deleted it and have never shared this because it was SUCH CRAP quality. I have a reason for sharing it now, though.

I have since learned many things, not the least of which is to invest in a midi controller or a quality recording mic if you want to record your guitar playing and not to use the built in mic on your computer. You work with what you’ve got, though, and that’s what I had (and still have if I want to record my own guitar).

I also learned that using the pedal I used with this was a no-no for raw recording. It sounds like a dying cat in this file. Baha! 😂

So, anyway, back to the story. I was trying to learn to use GarageBand and so I tried to mimic some of the sounds I was hearing in some of the GarageBand instrument loops and managed to (sort of) play by ear this guitar track and record it into the app. I then added percussion and synth loops with the guitar bits to create a full song.

Let’s be honest: it’s not all that good. It kinda…well…sucks. But THAT’S OK! That’s the whole point of sharing this.

I came across this video I made of the song and laughed so hard at myself. I decided that I wanted to share this as an example of how you never stop learning, and how practice will never make perfect because we are human but it DOES make you better.

I thought I’d deleted every single attempt I had made to make this recording work – I even tried a noise reduction software and it was so noisy that there was hardly any sound left when it was finished converting.

Listening to it now? The song itself was not bad. It was just that I had no idea what I was doing with the tools I had to work with and I gave up trying with this song because I didn’t believe in myself, and now I don’t even remember how the song goes.

I tend to create stuff on the fly with guitar. I never write down chords or score anything, I just fool around and play what sounds nice and try to create something out of it.

Lesson number three from this for me was to always make notes of what you’re doing because two years down the road you will NOT remember how you did it or what you did unless you write it down. Dorie always used to say, when we were working on servers or computers, “WRITE IT DOWN. You’re gonna regret it if you don’t write it down, I guarantee you.”

Well. That applies to lots of things in life, and making music is one of them.

Ultimately, the point is this: if you wanna make music, make music. Just start. Don’t be afraid of it sounding bad – you will only learn from what you do wrong and the more you screw up the better you will be (and the more comfortable you will be with it).

That, too, is true regarding lots of things in life – if not life itself. Don’t be afraid. Just do it. Believe in yourself.

I know. “You hardly leave the house, what are you talking about – don’t be afraid and just do it?” That’s what you’re saying to yourself if you know me or follow my blog. Truth is, yes, I’m still working on that in general. It’s still not progressing very far; nonetheless, I’m working on it.

But, I believe it’s worth using your own flaws to try to help someone else while you’re trying to help yourself. I do that with my kid all the time. I have an 8 year old who thinks he is 17. The internet no longer scares or intimidates me. Heh… 😉

Now then, I’m gonna eat my 10PM yogurt and take my night pills and leave you with this: it will not hurt my feelings if you’re sitting there laughing, or cringing as (if) you listen to/read this. I know you are. I see you cringing. Cringe on. We all gotta start somewhere. 😂✌️👌

**it really will sound less cringe-y if you use headphones.

A Thank You

Today I received the most unexpected “thank you” note. It’s said, “thank you for sharing your story with me,” and had a nice note alongside that spoke about art and creativity and the healing of trauma, grief and broken spirits.

I want to thank YOU, for much the same thing.

I think we often forget that a person’s art IS their story – regardless of the type of art they create – and that’s where I’ve focused my mind this afternoon. When we create any kind of art, even when it’s not a piece of writing that “explains” what’s in our minds, we are actively releasing SOMETHING. Whether it is good or bad, whether it is joy or pain, beauty or darkness, we are actively expressing our hearts in any creative endeavor that we are a part of.

I truly appreciate the kind feedback here, at Instagram, and all the other places. I appreciate YOUR art and stories so much. It’s a wonderful way to remember that we are really all the same, just living our own stories…even when we aren’t sharing our own out loud.

Thank you for the kind response to my sharing of my music. I was really very unsure whether it was “worth” sharing, since I only create it as a hobby. Turns out it’s much like my experience with sharing photography and writing – people enjoy other people’s art, they enjoy SEEING another human being, and you get to know other people who create the same kinds of art, whether it’s photography or writing or music…

I’ve enjoyed “meeting” so many different people since I started putting that stuff out there. It’s a blessing to get to know and learn from you.

It’s always been one of my greatest joys to share my creative pursuits and my spirit with the world. Thank you for encouraging and reminding me how important it is for a creative person and artist of any kind to do that.

I’m thankful for, and blessed by, you. Keep expressing yourselves in your ways, too. And stay awesome.

All the love,

C. 💜

Mextures Formulas #11 | Winter Stuffs

Hi there. Hope you’re doing well…

I have been hoarding Mextures formulas again, as I’ve spent most of winter messing around with the app but I’ve not shared much in the way of the creations or the formulas for a while. Hope you’ll forgive my selfishness as I’ve dealt with “winter stuffs.” It’s been quite a winter – warm on the outside, bitter cold and frightening on the inside. I digress…

Alas, here we are moving into spring and here are some of those formulas. Hope you’ll enjoy them.

**Please remember that blend modes of layers (and the layers themselves) may require tweaking depending on the light/style/tone of your image and they will not necessarily look exactly the same on your images as they do in the provided versions.**

If you have any questions about Mextures or using formulas, feel free to ask them in comments or via e-mail or social media/messaging.

Have a lovely day out there.

Art on, friends.

**The four following images were used with permission, via Unsplash’s free use image gallery**


Mextures Formula:  NAXJIHC

Snapseed

Mextures Formula:  BNWWATN

Snapseed

Mextures Formula:  XRVSQLB

Snapseed

Mextures Formula:  TCYTFKH

And here is one more, for good measure as we head into spring (from my own gallery)…

Snapseed

Mextures Formula:  YUXPHNJ

Thoughts in Flight

It’s been a weird several days. Aside from life being life, I am basically at a loss for what I want to share as far as subject matter of images, or how I want to share them – especially on my photography blog and on my social media platform of choice (Instagram). I mean, I don’t like the random. It feels too chaotic. I like things to sort of “match” and to blend and flow. I’m into themes (you can probably decipher that if you look at my Instagram profile as a whole for the past several weeks of posts). It’s got something to do with symbolically maintaining a bit of control of myself and my life.

I feel a lot of panic lately. I feel a lot of panic in general but my death panic is the worst part of it. My death panic is BAD lately. Not just my death panic for myself (I’m not afraid of death, but of leaving my son without a mother), but also my death panic about my mom (who, even though we are…not the best of friends, is my only living relative left), death panic about friends, death panic about my son’s family and him facing grief. It’s like all the loss has caught up with my mind and the CPTSD stuff is not helping.

I’m oversharing again, as I do. This is why I have a blog. Sigh.

I’m trying to think and exist in a positive space. I’m focused a lot on my illness and restoring my physical health (new probiotics in the mail!!). I’m also spending a lot of time planning the food I’ll grow this season and preparing my raised beds and backyard for all those grand ideas. That helps. It’s good to hang out in the outdoors in shorts and tshirt and get dirty and sweat already. I like that a lot. I didn’t think I was ready for winter to end this year. I WAS WRONG. Nope, still not a winter person.

I digress (as usual). Here’s where I was going to begin with:  Sometimes my thoughts feel like they are (almost) literally flying around in my head. It’s like this very demanding, exhausting experience of what feels like mental gymnastics to try to flip and bend, leap and stretch, desperately trying to both understand what all these thoughts mean and how they entertwine, and to somehow make something graceful out of it because otherwise it’s just going to be an extremely tangled and not very asthetically pleasing mess. Nobody likes a tangled, un-asthetically pleasing mess, especially if it is one inside their mind that they have to carry around all day, every day.

Sometimes there are so many thoughts, encompassing such a vast expanse of ideas and issues, that they seem to crash into each other and meld into a fleeting fusion of momentary wonder and I really have no full idea what they have actually become before they disintegrate into the mental exhaustion that envelopes me from trying to sort and understand them. It’s a bit depressing, really. When that happens I feel so…unintelligent, incapable, and silently swallowed. If I can’t express my thoughts – my words – then I am silent, and when I am silent I feel like I can’t breathe.

It’s not a need to express myself and be read or heard, necessarily. It’s just expressing in general, whether it is in a private journal I keep or the notepad on my phone that nobody ever sees, or a blip of an Instablog on Instagram or a full blog post here. It doesn’t matter if anyone sees it (much less understands it). It’s just getting it out. What matters is that I am understanding myself. That’s what this entire blogging/instablogging/online conversation is about for me – that, which is where my writing comes from: the depths of my being; and, it is about hoping someone else finds inspiration or support of some kind as I make my way through my now.

So, when I find myself left in silence, it’s because I am not understanding myself and I can not find or even create the words necessary to do so. In a general sense, that has never bothered me; recently, it has become unacceptable for me. In the last few years this experience has come to create a choas and a discomfort within me. I hate it. But what I have found in the last few years is that in those times the words are not what are important. It’s the feelings – and sometimes there just aren’t any words that are appropriate. Feelings are a language all their own, and I am reconnecting with that, within myself.

It’s especially complicated on the days after nights when I haven’t been able to sleep. It’s a consistent – perhaps chronic – theme for me lately, this not being able to sleep. Not being able to sleep means that a) I have this plethora of constantly running ideas and thoughts and feelings overwhelming me and b) I’m forever exhausted and being exhausted does NOT help me to cope with the mind noise that is always there. I always try to write it away, and for years and years (most of my life) that has worked. It works better than music, better than meditation, better than escaping into a book…writing is what works best for me. So why can’t I write now, when I so desperately need my writing and to break my silence? I don’t know.

What’s changed? What’s happening? Most of my followers/people I actually have gotten to know and have followed ANYWHERE online have long since wandered away from the different sites and forums. So have I. I’m no longer on Facebook, post on deviantART about once every six years, blog about once a month (except for this blog, which I started this year for the precise reason of thinking that a fresh, new slate would open new possibilities for my inspirations and my creative drive), and I am even getting really sparse with my posts on Instagram, which is a complete shock to even me.

I don’t know what changed, really. It’s been a very slow decline for YEARS – after having my son in 2009 I just kind of…fell away from the world in general. I was too busy for anything else. Then, I got myself involved in a whole bunch of exquisitely beautiful crazy that brought me back to my creativity and desire to be expressive (gotta be grateful for having a muse cross your path), but then my dad died in July 2015. At that point, I was foundering… When my best friend Dorie died of cancer in March of last year (March 22, 2016), I just kind of died along with her in a lot of ways.

There’s been SO MUCH DEATH and loss and destruction of me over the years – especially throughout Dorie’s cancer, because of the cancer and because of the things that were going on my life during that time. I am STILL trying to comprehend that period of my life. My creative side has always remained, and always continued to be my sanity, but lately I find myself in a desperate struggle to express it. It’s not even that I fail because I try to force it. I don’t even have the oompf  to do that.

I tried to start over on dA and created a new account and everything, but I never use it. No one really connected to it – no one was really left there that I knew anyway… I have taken up with the Instagram community, and that’s mostly where I share my photos at this point, and has been my hub for about two years now. It’s really easy to share my photos with my mobile devices there, and I rarely touch my computer anymore except to blog. Instagram is convenient. There are also a lot of friends there who help me through the ups and downs of grief, cptsd, anxiety, panic, and my celiac diagnosis… I appreciate them, but I haven’t even been active there for the last week and my activity for the last few months there has been sparse, to say the least. I don’t know what’s going on, really.

I’m not in a creative slump. I just feel like there’s too much whirling around in my head. I can’t sort it. I can’t see any of it clearly enough to do anything useful with it. Dorie used to say,  “You’ve got to step outside the tornado.” It was kind of our little process, together. Step outside of the tornado, and start identifying and picking up the pieces, even as they still fell. That always worked amazingly, because we would help each other through that process. We both understood the process and how it worked so we didn’t even really have to talk to do it. It just happened. Now, she’s not here and I can’t seem to do it on my own. Not effectively or efficiently, anyway. My last post, where I shared about deleting my past, was the most effective way that I could step outside the tornado. I managed that part. But even though the mind noise has become quieter, I don’t know what to do with what I’m observing about myself.

I feel like I’m stuck in this weird, empty limbo. I don’t even know why I’m choosing to share this because I know that the likelihood is that it makes little to no sense. I suppose the point is that I’m grasping for straws and just hoping for something useful and solid to grab onto. I think it’s safe to say that in a very general sense the year 2016 sucked for EVERYONE. I feel like that’s carried over into 2017 with my newest life situation – my mother has begun the fall into dementia and that’s very hard to deal with. Caring for her is the hardest thing I’ve ever done because we don’t even like each other. That cptsd thing I mentioned before is rooted in my childhood with my mother.

It’s all very stressful and emotional and I think the truth is that I’m just exhausted. I’m exhausted from figuring out and dealing with life without my Dad or Dorie here to be my guides. But, we all eventually face that time where “we’re it.” You know what I mean? It’s hard. It’s doable though – we’ve been doing this for thousands and thousands of years, right? The cycles, the whole “life” thing. Life on life’s terms – I cringe to say that phrase but it’s the truth…

Alas, I hope YOU are all doing much better than I feel like I am doing with my life in 2017. I hope 2017 is treating you kindly. I hope you are still feeling inspired and driven and still making art, whether with words or paints or cameras or your hands…whatever medium you’re into. I’m not feeling very present today, so I admittedly have no idea who is doing what, where, or how – especially not those I have lost touch with online or in real life… But I do think of everyone I “know” every so often, and I find myself thinking, “I miss the ‘old days…'”

I will end my “catchup post” here, as my cat’s snoring is taunting me to rest (and my tired muscles, after having worked in the gardens all morning and early afternoon – I’m so unfit since winter, but working on it!). Hope you’re all doing well and having a lovely start to your week! Much love and happy arting…

C.

Collab, New Formulas, and Happenings

Heyyyyy, friends. How are you? Long story short, we apparently have the flu. Good times, I tell you. It all stems from socializing and reinforces my strict no socialization policy. Ha. Ha. Ha. Germs. They suck.

A better bit of news and current happenings is that today the mail lady delivered some books to me that I’d ordered a while ago and forgotten all about until they arrived today. One I wasn’t excited about even when I bought it BUT I was compelled to buy it, and it’s the one I started out with. It’s called “Waking the Tiger – Healing Trauma,” by Peter Levine, and to be perfectly honest…I’m actually in love with this book. It’s not because it’s necessarily helping me, or even that it’s all that interesting unless you are dealing with trauma or unless you are dealing someone else who is dealing with trauma. It’s because IT GETS ME. I read things in this book and I literally and loudly say, “yessssssss! Yes yes yes!!!!” I have been pleasantly surprised and pleasantly impacted by it. I’m only halfway through but will likely finish it by or in the morning. The other two are “Chaos, Creativity, and Consciousness” and “Food of the Gods,” authored/coauthored by Terence McKenna.

SO. It’s been an eventful day…lots of kleenexes and Robitussin and kid-crying fits… But also lots of compassion and family growth, as sickness is prone to bring to a mother and son (or at least THIS mother and son).

I’ve also worked on some collab art with @leinsview via @mexturescollective on Instagram and created three new formulas to share with my Mextures peeps:

Orange Morning MC | Formula: XRHWILA

img_2838

Spiderweb Sunset MC | Formula: CDGPDRI

Feels Like Home MC | Formula: JCSEMNZ

I hope that you enjoy these formulas as much as I enjoyed creating them. Be sure to check out the Mextures Collective website if you’d like to participate and create your own Mextures edits of stunning shots from amazing artists, and check out the @mexturescollective
Instagram. Don’t forget to tag your edits and share your formulas with your edits if you decide to participate!

Hope you’re all having a great week. Thanks for your continued support here. I appreciate you and I appreciate all that you do.

❤️

C.

Mextures Artist Feature | @terri_calico

This installment of our Mextures artist feature series is a day late, and I do apologize. Here we are now and I know you’re going to love this one! Today we are getting to know Terri (@terri_calico on Instagram). Terri’s art is art after my own heart, as her primary focus is macro/nature work and she is fabulous at it! Her beautiful shots are complimented by her editing skills with Mextures and other amazing texture/art apps. Terri’s gallery, like many of our galleries, spans the board of photography styles and subjects – while her macro/nature work is my favorite, her urban/city shots are as amazing and her portraiture is inspiring and full of emotion. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know Terri today, and please don’t forget to show her your love and support on Instagram if you love her art and personality as much as I do. Enjoy!


Getting to know @terri_calico

Hi, Terri! I’m so excited to get to know you a bit more! To start off, who are you?

Hi! My name is Terri, aka @terri_calico on Instagram, and I’m from Sydney, Australia. I’m 40, married, and have a 4 year old son called Ethan – you might know him as my main little model on IG.

Yes, I know Ethan! Cute little guy – hi Ethan! What do you do, Terri?

First and foremost I’m a full time mum, and my four year old keeps me on my toes. I’m also a freelance photographer, happy to accept any photography related job from family portraits to commercial work and also events. Hubby and I have a business, Calico Visual Creations. I also driver uber part-time, which I admit I absolutely love. All the stories I hear – it’s awesome.

Wow! I bet that can get very interesting very quickly! Why do you do what you do?

Photography is my passion. I see beauty in everything. I love capturing nature – especially up close. I find it fascinating! Nature is my happy place. I’m a photo addict, obsessed, completely mad! (laughs out loud) I just can’t help myself – it’s part of who I am. If I don’t capture it, I can’t stop thinking about it.

Oh, how well I, and likely many others, understand that! Sometimes I’ve joked that having a photographer living inside me is like being haunted by an annoying relative that you love very much – it’ll drive you crazy at times but you just can’t stop! That’s part of the reason I got involved with Instagram – I was shooting everything I saw with whatever camera I had in my hand and I had all these photos that I desperately wanted to share but I didn’t know what to do with them. How did you get involved with Instagram?

I downloaded the app pretty soon after it’s release. My main purpose for it at the time was to just use their filters. Slowly I started exploring and came across some talented people – which I’m proud to say, some of them have become great friends.

That’s my favorite thing about Instagram – the community and the people. These guys and gals have helped me to keep my head up and keep my sanity, especially this last year. Love them so much! How did you get involved with Mextures? Was that linked to Instagram or did you come across it elsewhere?

I was fascinated with some of the art I was seeing on IG – the way they edited their images was mind blowing to me. I was so inspired and wanted my images to look like that. The moment I downloaded Mextures, I have never stopped using it. It is my favorite app.

I am pretty sure that’s how your art effects all of our brains! What is it that keeps you interested in IG and Mextures/Photography?

I adore seeing all the amazing photos and edits. I love seeing other people’s perspectives and other parts of the world, and mostly I love the interaction with all my amazing and talented friends.

What’s your background in photography? When/how did you start out and get to where you are now?

I’ve always had an interest in photography, from a very young age. I did photography in year 11 and throughout my late teens and 20s I was always the one with the camera at friend’s birthday parties and outings. After my son was born, that’s when I took it a little more seriously. I did a beginners course and started up my photography business. That was five years ago.

It doesn’t seem like it, does it – after kids, it seems like everything is on fast forward! That’s how I often feel, anyway! (laughs) How has your practice with art/photography changed over time?

As they say, practice makes perfect. I have learnt so much through Instagram. So many people I follow have inspired me with their amazing work. I’m not even sure how it’s changed, I just know that my love for it is so strong and I love learning new things regarding photography.

That’s one of the most inspiring things about your gallery, I think. You’re not afraid to try new styles and things and you are always learning. I find myself often stuck in ruts in my photography – comfortable with a particular subject or style and afraid to venture away from it because I know that particular thing is probably going to turn out good. Your art and your example help keep me (and others, I’m sure) from being so afraid to try new things. What do you enjoy most about your art/photography?

Taking photos and editing is my stress reliever and happy place. I love the calm and inner peace that it brings me.

Absolutely – I love that! What themes do you pursue?

I absolutely love macro nature, I think that’s my favorite.

What inspires you the most, in general?

I think beauty and kindness inspires me. Is that weird? I see beauty in most things.

Not weird at all – I think, for me, kindness is the most inspiring thing in the world…especially lately. Do you have a “dream project?”

To one day exhibit my art in a gallery!

(Smile) What couldn’t you do without, regarding your art?

Mextures, of course!

And finally, my favorite question: if you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

Hahaha! I would have to say flying – so I could capture the world from a bird’s eye view. Wow!

That is perfect. I could never do it, as I’m afraid of heights and flying (no shame here!), but I do love the idea of being able to fly anywhere and see things from that amazing perspective. 

Thank you so much, Terri, for being a part of this series with me and all of us!! This has been so much fun and it’s wonderful to get to know you better. We appreciate you so much, and wish you all the best and most wonderful things in your photography/art adventures and in life! Thanks for sharing it with us!

 

Sampling of Terri’s Mextures Formulas

More Magical Drops – JLLGQAF

Sea Seagull – VIJIGXV

Love Drops – GDCZQYN

Leaf Magic – JILZUQX

Kristi P2 – MJMFFGM

 

Art from the Instagram Gallery of @terri_calico

 

Mextures Artist Feature | @joannakatd

It’s Monday and that means it’s time for another Mextures artist feature. Sorry this one is coming to you so late – it’s been one hell of a weekend in my world and I’ve only just had a moment to sit down and write it up for you. Today we’re featuring @joannakatd, an amazing Mextures artist and photographer whose gallery focuses around nature and landscape photography. I hope you’ll enjoy our interview and her beautiful art! As always, thank you for visiting the blog and don’t forget to visit Joanna’s Instagram gallery (@joannakatd) and show her your love and support!

 

Getting to know @joannakatd

So, to start off, who are you?

I am Joanna, I just turned 42, I go by joannakatd on Instagram as my middle name is Katherine, and d is the initial of my last name. I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta and I don’t think I could live anywhere else. I’ve tried, moving to Northern Manitoba in my early 20s but after 2 years I came right back. I’m also a moderator for 3 hubs on Instagram. @mellow_mextures @cloudzdelight and most recently @macro_mextures. It keeps me busy in my spare time!

Canada is such a beautiful place! I hope to visit someday… Modding on IG is a fun thing to do in your spare time. What is your “job?”

I’m a cataloguer for books of public libraries. I’ve always loved books, and I used to write poetry daily. If I come across any photography book, or poetry book at work, my productivity really slows down as I look deeply at the art, or read the poems. In my spare time I edit photos I’ve taken on the weekend, or I look for things around the house to photograph and then to edit. I think I love the editing process as much as I love collecting the photos. Collecting the photos is always an adventure we have as a family. We usually go for drives on the weekends outside the city or to parks inside the city. It always turns out to be a memorable time for all of us as we go about exploring.

Books. I’m a bibliophile, myself… How did you get involved with Instagram?

I’m not sure how I discovered the app, but I remember one day about 4 years ago being out for coffee with my brother and telling him about it. I was so excited that it was an easy way to connect with people through pictures. I’ve never been into Facebook, so this was perfect for me! I especially loved the filters and the way they turned my photos into something much more interesting. I had no idea about hashtags back then!

Facebook never worked well for me for photos, and then I just finally tired of it. It’s so much drama and junk…I find that Instagram is much less silly and much more inspiring. How did you get involved with Mextures?

I think what changed everything for me was one day searching through Instagram and coming across a photo that had what looked like brush strokes on it, as if it had been painted. Someone asked what app was used, and the answer was Stackables App. I immediately downloaded the app, and my photos then became transformed. Soon after I discovered Mextures. It took me awhile to really grasp it and all it had to offer, but as soon as I did, I was hooked. I edit most of my photos with Mextures now.

I LOVE Stackables – I enjoy mixing Stackables and Mextures together, myself! What is it that keeps you interested in Instagram and Mextures/Photography?

I guess what keeps me interested in Instagram and Mextures/Photography is my goal of one daily post. 4 1/2 years ago I was diagnosed with a not so nice disease (begins with the letter C) and my way of coping is to focus on one photo a day, to look for the beauty in life and to share it. I’ve always been a very private person, so to share my photography and edits with so many people was at first scary! But now I know that it is such a blessing! And the encouragement and support I get from Instagram is incredible.

Oh no – not another mention of the C word!! In seriousness, it’s wonderful that you found a release and process through your art. I think that’s a very important aspect of coping with any sort of hard part in life, so I’m super glad you chose to share in the way you did! What’s your background in photography – when/how did you start out and get to where you are now?

Honestly, I don’t really have a background in photography. I know I’ve always been drawn to it, I’ve always loved looking at it. While at college, in front of a computer at a lecture, I only wanted to look at wonderful photographs so I’d Google whatever I could think of (usually some sort of animal) – long before Instagram existed. Instagram was a real game changer for me 12 years later. I started with suggestions of photo-a-day themes, but I soon found that to be much too forced. Once I found these editing apps, everything changed. I found that nature photography was for me. Mextures enhanced the beauty. Images I saw on Instagram were so inspiring and I’ve learned so much through them.

How has your practice with art/photography changed over time?

I think my photography can only get better as I keep learning every day from such wonderful artists on Instagram. Living in Alberta I have such amazing landscapes to photograph. There’s the mountains to the West, the prairies to the East, and the foothills to the South.

What do you enjoy the most about your art/photography?

What I enjoy most about my photography is going for our weekend country drives to get photographs as a family. Because of Instagram, it motivates us to get out and search for beautiful things and in the process it’s giving us all wonderful memories. As an example, we were driving down a country road and I saw some wonderful old barns. I had my husband turn around and we drove right into the old property. My kids complained and moaned, ‘do you HAVE to take pictures of this??’ Yes, I do. We all got out to explore and it turned out to be one of my kids favorite times ever. Searching abandoned chicken coops and running to the silos to find grain, then running all over to ‘plant’ that grain. Eating it, my son trying to spit it out the car window only to have the wind splatter it all over his face…. We laughed so hard! (If only I’d got a picture of that!) One of my photos from that day was featured on @rsa_rural.

I love that! My son loves taking photos (probably because he grew up around people who were constantly taking photos) and we often do the same. Can’t say that I can get anyone else in my house into it but my son and I have a blast sharing the hobby. It’s interesting to see the difference in themes from his photos compared to mine. What themes do you pursue?

I love landscapes – mountains especially because I’m always in awe of them, but what I would love to get more into is macro. I always love galleries with macro shots. They’re always so elegant looking.

What inspires you the most (anything – from music to food to people to places to anything that you find inspiration from)?

What inspires me most is all the amazing artists on Instagram. I’ve learned so much from them through this app and the artists who use mextures to transform their photos into works of art. I’m always so impressed with the creativity and it always pushes me to try harder, to go further with a formula, or an edit.

Agreed – it’s hard NOT to be inspired by that amazing artists and art in the Instagram community! In fact, you are one of those inspiring artists for so many! What is your dream project?

Since I have a lot of poems collecting dust in their books in a box in my closet, my dream would be to one day pair those poems with images and create some sort of photo book.

That sounds like a brilliant project. I did a similar project years ago, just for myself and not to sell, and it was very healing for me during that time. Do you have any professional goals with your art?

No, this is all for pleasure, something I just love doing.

Same here! I used to try to grow it into this “professional” thing, mostly because people would always tell me how well I would do, but I never did well with it. I finally realized that the reason was that my heart was in the art itself, not the business of it, and so I just continued on as my heart wished – to enjoy myself and the art. What couldn’t you do without regarding your art?

I couldn’t do without the constant support I get from all the wonderful friends I’ve met on Instagram. They feed me, they give me confidence, and motivation and inspiration. The community here is incredible.

I couldn’t either, come to think of it! And finally, for a fun ending to our chat, if you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

I would love to have super human strength.  That way if my car was ever stuck in slush in the winter, I could just pick it up and move it. Or it would be super easy to vacuum under couches, or beds, or dressers, etc. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Hahaha!! Yes!!! As a homemaker and stay at home mom, I would LOVE to share that cleaning super power with you. Thank you so much for being a part of this adventure with us, Joanna. I’ve enjoyed this chat, loved your answers and getting to know you better, and I know everyone who reads this will, as well. You’re a fabulous artist and Instagrammer and we all wish you all the best as you continue to grow and share your amazing visions and art with us! And thank you for all you do in the community as a mod and cheerleader for so many artists!!

 

 

Sampling of Joanna’s Mextures Formulas

It’s Like This – HQMEGRX

Cold – JXCJBRG

Waiting for the Sun – VSCBUNH

One – YSRCKDP

Hideaway – BJPHKTT

 

 

Art from the Instagram Gallery of @joannakatd

Mextures Artist Feature | @hptuk

Good afternoon and welcome to the latest Mextures artist feature. Today’s article features Instagram user and artist @hptuk, and is a bit different than the last feature. @hptuk and I had ourselves a sort of “interview session.” I thought, “I’d really rather let the artists tell us about themselves versus talking about what my own opinions are. I’d like to just talk with them, and let these features become whatever they become from artist to artist.” That is, after all, the whole point of these articles: to allow the artist to share their own story and expressions about their art, Instagram, and selves as an artist. I hope I’ve given Heather an opportunity to do that, and I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know Heather (@hptuk) and fall in love with her art as much as all of those who follow her work have. As always, thank you for visiting and supporting these features, artists, and blogs!

 

Getting to know @hptuk

Hello, @hptuk! To start, could you tell us who you are and what  you do?

I am Heather, I’m  British and have been living in Florida for 19 years.

For many years I homeschooled my daughter, who is now a sophomore at University of Florida. Once my daughter was dual-enrolled at college a few years ago, I started working part-time as a computer skills teacher for preschoolers. I also own an online vintage store (coming to IG soon!).

That’s so exciting! You’ll have to link us to that when you create your IG account. How and why did you get involved with photography/art/Instagram?

Photography has always been part of my life. My father was a newspaper photographer in Yorkshire, England as a young man. He always had, and still has, a camera with him. At a young age I started taking pictures and loved getting my processed film back.  When I started working for the travel industry, based in London, I became even more passionate about photography, capturing shots from all the different destinations I was lucky enough to go to.

In my late twenties, I decided to leave London to pursue a job as a scuba instructor, a hobby I had fallen in love with over the years, having dived in many different countries. I worked on a liveaboard dive boat in the Turks & Caicos Islands for 2 years and became the underwater photo pro, using a Nikonos V camera and developing the film for myself and our passengers, in the boat’s darkroom.

Life then brought me to Florida and I continued with photography, as a hobby. I had my own darkroom and developed black and white prints on fiber-based paper, then hand tinted them with Marshall’s oils, the same way photos were colored a century ago. I did the art show circuit around Florida and had my work exhibited in several galleries and establishments. I was adamant that I would never stop using film…and here I am with a Nikon DSLR posting photos on Instagram every day, while my film camera gathers dust 🙂

I have taught kids’ photography classes over the years and sometimes do family portraits and headshots locally. I created a website a few years ago, and being involved in Instagram has provided me with the impetus to get it active again.

I started my Instagram account in May 2015, thinking it would be another way to keep in touch with people, and post photos of my daily life. I had no idea that there were so many creative and wonderful hubs showcasing people’s work. Instagram has been an uplifting and enriching experience for me, I have formed incredible friendships and always feel validated and encouraged by followers who engage regularly and comment on my work. They, in turn, really inspire me. There are some incredibly talented people on Instagram and I love seeing all the different styles of photography and editing. I have an android, but typically post photos from my DSLR, and sometimes my iPad, which I purchased last summer in order to download all the amazing editing apps! I use Mextures, VSCO, Unionapp regularly. I fell in love with Mextures because I almost feel like I am hand-coloring again, adding layers of color and / or texture to the piece. I tend to be drawn to warm, soft tones and feel that they complement my subject matter, which is primarily Florida scenery and nature. I am most inspired by the ocean, I love capturing images there and listening to the sounds of the sea. I find it both soothing and rejuvenating.

After a few months on Instagram, I was asked to be a moderator for @Mellow_ Mextures, a hub featuring artists who edit their shots with Mextures. On January 1st, I took on a similar role for @Flowerzdelight, featuring..flower shots. It’s been a wonderful experience, curating beautiful work to share with others. The level of talent is astounding and inspiring. It motivates you to step up your game!

Wow! What an interesting journey it has been… What has been a seminal moment for you since you began your journey on Instagram? What memorable responses have you had to your work?

A huge IG moment for me was when Walgreens chose one of my photos to be used as part of an advertising campaign, last summer. The photo was used on social media in August, and will be shared again on Instagram in April 2016. Also, I was very happy and honored that @Mextures featured one of my formulas (Foggy) last week.

That’s fabulous! “Foggy” is one of the formulas featured at the bottom of this post, as well – a beautiful one, indeed! What’s your next goal for your art and photography?

Going forward, my next goal is to master the GoPro that I got for Christmas. I plan on posting underwater shots etc once the weather warms up. That will probably be under a separate IG account. I would also like to expand my editing skills and spend time learning how to use some of the other apps.

I love it! Those are both goals for me here on the blog this year, as well! So, what’s the most important or best advice you’ve been given to reach your goals?

The most important advice people have given me is to enjoy each moment, I do tend to be impatient and rush through things, so I am working on that.

Excellent advice. What is your favorite form or style of art?

My favorite form of art is definitely photography, especially black and white. I also love hand-colored landscapes by artists like Wallace Nutting.

And what would be your dream project?

My dream project would be to capture some different, dramatic landscapes. I love Florida but some mountains once in a while would be awesome.

This has been quite an interesting adventure, interviewing you. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat! Let’s end with something super fun. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

If I could have a superpower, it would be flying. That would be cool. And I could get rid of my car.

Sounds good to me! Thank you so much, Heather (@hptuk) for being a part of this feature series. We all wish you great success and joy as you continue your art and Instagram journey!

 

Sampling of Heather’s Mextures Formulas

(find more at her Instagram, @hptuk)

Foggy – KDKYBJX

Alive – PFSWPFC

Reach – BIBBGFM

Glow – VTVRREP

Palms – PUVLPSR

Purple Sky – SMMHAPP

 

Art from the Instagram Gallery of @hptuk

 

If you love Heather’s work, be sure to follow her on Instagram @hptuk so you’ll never miss her fabulous posts!

Thank you again, Heather, for being a part of this series!