As a child and young teenager I felt like the most unwanted, unloved, motherless human being on the planet. This morning I am reminded that I have had more mothers than I prayed for in those days (and probably more than I deserved), and that blooming takes time but it’s beauty is worth continuing on to experience, to behold within, and perhaps someday express or offer to someone else.

This morning I am reminded that the universe has ALWAYS surrounded me with strong, courageous, positive, mothering and loving women who have given me the lessons and the benefits of their strength and even sometimes their weakness, their hope, their courage, their experience and their love – even when they haven’t realized it, even though they weren’t my birth or adoptive mothers.

This morning I am grateful – grateful for who they were and are, and grateful for who I was, have become, and will be because of the many lights they have shone in my life. I am reminded of my personal belief that we do not become who we are and we don’t bloom into our whole selves because we do it all alone – there are always those lights in our lives to outshine our darkest moments and feed our souls like sunshine. Sometimes the sources of that light are people (and animals) – whether strangers in the market line or at the post office, strangers online who make us smile or even become true friends and inspirations, or people in our daily lives who become our friends, whether they remain in our lives for long or a short time…whether they still live or they pass away.

This morning I am…very simply put…overwhelmingly grateful – for the lights that have shone on me in th past and the ones that continue to do so – the glints and gleams that illuminate and encourage my spirit, that help me to grow and ever evolve into a better me than I was each day that’s come before.

Finally, this morning I am reminded of a very important thing for my soul self: Motherly love is not a label or a static characteristic – it’s a state of being…and it can come from just about anywhere, if you’re open to receive it. I am. ❤️

Vision: iPhone 6, Olloclip

Tools: Mextures (formula SRPVZKE)

I’ve become obsessed with succulents as of late, as well as pastel-ish, faded VSCO looks, so here’s this succulent photo I played with in VSCO and decided to save earlier in the week:


And, here are the rest of the Unsplash samples edited using this preset:






If you like/use VSCO I hope you’ll enjoy this preset. Have a beautiful weekend, friends.

This edit is inspired by Jesse Martineau’s love of mountains. I love mountains, too… Mountains again, Gandalf! It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen snow covered mountains so I’ve taken a cue from one of my favorite editing artists @boco_blondie and chosen this fabulous image from the Unsplash free-use gallery. At the time of this posting, the Unsplash gallery search was unavailable. I will update this post with the OP info as soon as possible.

The only edits I did with this image were in VSCO, and it is a very simple preset. I just loved the result so I thought I’d share. Lately I am really into faded images and images with a sort of rustic feel to them. I hope you enjoy this one. Due to how dark this image was to begin with, this preset will likely be a lot lighter of an effect on a lighter image, so you may need to fade more, skip bumping shadows or decrease them to get a darker fade on a lighter image. And, of course, there plenty of other tools in VSCO to help you achieve a darker look with a lighter image – my suggestions are just where I would begin.

All the love,

C.

Two things. Firstly, this post is a long time coming. Secondly, winter is almost over. Better late than never? Long time followers know that I hardly believe that, but have gotten very good at it. Life. What can I say? Hashtag no excuses.

SO! Hi. How ya doin’? Very good, I hope. It’s been a super long time since I’ve posted anything art or app related but I’m excited to say that I have a new Mextures formula post coming this week, and I’m also very excited to have finally jumped on board the VSCO train. Hence, this post in particular.

VSCO is one of the original filter apps (at least for iPhone, I know nothing about Android devices and can not lie). It’s been around a while – almost as long as Instagram, I believe. It’s also been insanely popular for a while. I’ve had the app since it was released but at the time I had an infant and I had ZERO time. To be honest, I never really utilized the app when I DID have time. I only started halfway using it when the Journal feature became available and even that was so clumsy to use at the time that it was originally added in that I tired of it quickly. Now, here it is a few years later, and here I finally am, actually using the app to a more full extent.

In the spirit of my “honeymoon stage” with this app I’ve decided to share some of the filters I’ve created and saved for myself with it, because FILTERS. Admittedly, even with Mextures I don’t “over edit” my images. I tend to have a light hand, if you will, when it comes to that stuff. I generally get mildly uncomfortable, especially with the grungy effects, when editing my photos. It’s not that I pride myself on my images too much – I think the majority of them could be far better than they are based on what my mind wanted them to look like compared to what they actually look like. Nonetheless I am extremely fond of a nice fade and/or a muted or even darkened tone to my images, and that’s why I’ve come to enjoy VSCO as of late. Mextures will likely always be my preferred and go to editing app – my favorite. But VSCO has a lot to offer, too, including a fresh new perspective for me of images old and new. And, it works nicely in conjunction with Mextures I think.

So, here is my first preset share from VSCO, with a sample of images that have been edited with the preset. I hope you’ll enjoy it, and I hope you’re having a lovely winter.

Love to all,

C.


I am like a boat in the sea, and my seemingly never ending grief is a storm. My storm is raging, and yet again I find myself amidst a hurricane. I’m tired – I’ve barely gotten past one life altering storm before another has begun, over and over, for the last few years. Yet somehow I keep going, and somehow I am still here.

I think…hope is the anchor that keeps me from foundering and going under. I do have hope – some valid and some false and I try to differentiate the two within myself. Regardless, an anchor is dependent on two things: the chain that tethers it to the boat, and the solid ground that it grabs hold of when it is thrown out. But to have hope – to have and to hold on to faith – in the midst of my life’s storms…that’s what carries me. To believe in SOMETHING – sometimes myself, sometimes fate and the Universe and “something bigger,” sometimes the existence of some unseen and indescribable sixth sense – what my hope and faith is changes for me from day to day but to believe in something and to never allow myself to stop believing in SOMETHING… That’s how I go on.

My chain is invisible and I’m not sure what it’s made of…and it’s as though the ground my anchor digs into is my faith itself. Yes, it has wavered and the anchor has lifted and I begin to float and rock about every now and again. Ultimately, though? There is only one way for me, and it’s how I’ve been my entire life – forward.

Sometimes it’s slower than others, but it’s always…onward. Life goes on and so do I. But I’ll tell you, it hurts like a son of a bitch most all the time lately, even when I’m focusing on what’s real and good and right in my life; even as grateful and aware as I am and try to be.

💙

Happy Monday, y’all! I hope you’ve all had a pleasant start to your week this week – I have, as I’ve been given the opportunity for a quick interview with the amazing @orbabgirl for today’s Mextures artist feature article. Kristi (@orbabgirl on Instagram) shares with me a love of the details of nature, and with all of us a love for all things Mextures. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know her a little better and, if you’re not familiar with her amazing photography and art, I hope you’ll find yourself as enthralled with her work as all of her followers and fans are. Enjoy the article, and have a beautiful week, friends!

 

Getting to know @orbabgirl

Hi there, @orbabgirl! It’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to chat with you. Let’s start with getting to know the girl behind the username. Who are you and what do you do?

Hi! My name is Kristi, aka @orbabgirl, and I am from BC, Canada. I am married and the mother to a bunch of cats and one awesome little 6 year old boy. I live on a small island of about 3500 people and I work in the local pharmacy. I love to garden and spend as much time as I can outside taking photos. I love nature, art, and photography and with Instagram I am able to combine all 3.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in pharmacies lately – I wish I was getting paid for it! ((laughs)) How did you get involved with Instagram/Mextures?

I started Instagram 4 years ago as a way to keep in touch with a friend who had moved overseas. My first posts were of the usual things: cats, coffee, inanimate objects around my house (lol). But, it wasn’t long before I discovered new friends there and was introduced to the JJ forums and all of that. Fast forward 2 years and I see an edit a friend did for an @mexturescollective editing challenge. I had never heard of Mextures before but I had to try it out. I hadn’t really done much editing before then but I was really interested in giving it a go. Especially to have the chance to edit such beautiful photos! So I downloaded Mextures and I was hooked! Such an amazing little app.

Yes it is! How and why do you do Instagram and photography? How has it changed for you over the years?

I just love photography and have always loved taking pictures. Over the years I’ve had lots of different cameras but getting my iPhone 4S for Christmas in 2011 was a huge game changer for me. Not only was it super convenient, I could take it with me everywhere, but the camera was also really amazing, too. I’ve upgraded since then to an iPhone 6 and new Olloclip setup. As for why I do Instagram, I do it as a way to express myself and share my photos but also as a way to connect with others. I just love the sense of community and all of the friends that I’ve made over the years there. There are truly some amazing people out there. I just hope one day I have the chance to meet them in person.

Me, too – I’ll be staying in New Orleans for an extended time in a couple of weeks and I hope that while I am there I’m able to meet up with some of the great friends and amazing artists I’ve gotten to know through Instagram. It’s interesting to step back and really look at the role Instagram and art plays in my life. What role does Instagram and art play in your life?

Instagram plays a huge role in my life. It is an amazing little community that not only connects me to so many incredible people, but also helps to inspire and motivate me to create more and push myself further. Every single day I am inspired, encouraged and motivated. It is amazing! I have always loved taking photos but now I feel like I have a purpose and a drive to get out and find new places and new angles. Of course those macro treasures are my favorite finds.

Same! The macro aspect comes naturally to me because I’m so aware of details in general. I suppose my obsession with macro photography helps me to channel that constant, overwhelming sensory input and focus it somewhere that allows me to express what I’m seeing/realizing. In doing that I’ve been able to help myself to not feel so overwhelmed by my sensitivities (both physically and spiritually) and those two things have changed my daily practice with each them dramatically – if that makes any sense. How has your practice changed over time?

I have definitely matured as an artist, especially over the last 2 years. I’ve found myself stepping out of the box more – trying new styles with my edits, collaborating with crazy talented people, and really trying to create some sense of emotion with my work. That’s where Mextures fits into my world perfectly. Before, I would rarely edit my work. I was proud of the fact that my photos were unedited. I would maybe add a little lux but I tended to stick to more no edit/no filter images. But since discovering Mextures I’ve found this ability to take my work a step further, to create more than just a photo but an actual piece of art. It’s magical and I love being able to do that. I still do post quite a few unedited photos but my go to editing app is always Mextures. I just love it.

One of my favorite things about Mextures is that it allows the opportunity to create any mood/theme out of almost any shot. What themes do you pursue?

I’m not are I ever really base anything on themes but more so on my emotions or the emotional feel or potential of an image. But, I tend to post based on the aesthetic look of my entire IG gallery. I try not to post back to back photos of the same things or have it so that similar photos are on top of each other in the rows. Not sure if that really makes sense…

Yes, it does! I have my own little system lately where I tend to post in threes and using the same style/theme to the image (as far as the edit). Sometimes it’s different angles/interpretations of the same subject, sometimes completely different subjects. But lately, color themes in my edits are a big thing. Hahaha. It’s interesting because I’ve gotten a lot of feedback where people have noticed the change in my posting style. What memorable feedback and responses have you had to your work?

I’ve had some great responses over the years, many on IG and quite a few in real life, as well. I love knowing that someone else has a connection with my work. To me, that is what art should do. It should speak to someone, almost call to them. That is what I want from my work – to create a connection.

So very true… Do you have any professional goals with your work? What’s your dream project?

I just want to keep growing and perfecting my craft. I would like to get more comfortable photographing people as well as nature. I don’t have any specific project in mind, but I would love the opportunity to collaborate more with some of my favorite artists and friends on Instagram, either my editing their work or vice versa. I recently had the opportunity to do this with the incredibly talented @ja_s0n and I just loved what he created with my photos.

You mentioned a bit earlier on the great inspiration that comes to you from Instagram and the people there. Do you have a favorite or most inspirational place? 

My favorite place to take photos is just around my own yard.  I have a tag #kristisgarden for all the photos I have taken over the years around my house and it’s a huge percentage. It’s just so easy to step outside my own door and find the treasures I’m after, whether it is a droplet covered spider web, a beautiful dandelion puff, some foggy trees, or some flowers.

I dream of finding that droplet covered spider web someday. I go out hoping it’s there regularly in the warmer seasons and I haven’t found it yet. I find that my favorite subjects live in my own back yard, as a general rule. Maybe it’s the comfort zone I’m in at home…who knows. Hahaha… What is your favorite or most inspiration subject?

My favorite subject would definitely be a tie between dandelions and spider webs covered in droplets. I am madly obsessed with both of them. All you have to do is look at my photos and you will see it for yourself.

I think your work with droplet covered spiderwebs was the first time I’d ever seen that subject really showcased. It fascinated me and inspired me so much, and I’ve been after that shot ever since. Someday I will find it. Any advice on that? Hahaha! Speaking of advice, what is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

One thing that happens a lot on IG and in life is that people get caught up posting for other people and what they think other people want to see. Obviously this will probably get you more likes, but at the end of the day you have to post what makes you feel happy – what you want. It should’ matter what other people think. If they like it half as much as you do, bonus!

Well said. I often get frustrated with the ever-shouted “rule” that you should limit your IG gallery to certain styles and subjects because that’s what makes viewers/followers happy. I disagree with that “rule” completely, but you see it all over the web in articles and such about Instagram. I don’t tend to do well with rules – especially those related to gear and how to use it. Besides your camera(s), what couldn’t you do without regarding your art?

Well besides my camera, I couldn’t do this without my Olloclip lens attachment. It’s like my trusty sidekick and it goes with me everywhere. I have a 4 in 1 lens but I only ever use the macro lenses, particularly the 10x zoom. I would be lost without it.

I have been so close to buying the Olloclip so many times. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, and I’ve tried other lens kits for iPhone but they don’t really do exactly what I want them to. I should really look into Olloclip again! 

This has been a lot of fun, Kristi. One last question – my favorite “fun” ending question: if you could have any super power, what would it be and why?

I wish I had a magical finger snapping power, so I could snap my fingers and make whatever I needed or wanted to happen, happen. I don’t know how many times I’ve uttered the phrase, “wish  could just snap my fingers…” Hahaha!

That would be a perfect superpower because you could use it to make other superpowers happen! Hahaha! Thank you so much for taking the time to be a  part of this series, Kristi. We love your work and wish you all the best going forward!!

Be sure to check out Kristi’s work by heading to @orbabgirl on Instagram. While you’re there don’t forget to show her some love and support!

 

Sampling of Kristi’s Mextures Formulas

Lace – JLWNTRZ

MC MYA – XDTLEEG

Forest Rays – SBKJTBW

Childhood – QEQFYWC

Daisy – EYEACWR

Path – JILYEFK

Broken Fence – SFFWBZE

Foggy Days – FMVMLDM

 

Art from the Instagram Gallery of @orbabgirl

Hey, y’all. Happy Thursday – hope you’re having a good one. I have been very busy for the past couple of days, but in my down time I’ve sat and worked with a few of the iPhone images I took during my Christmas holiday and I’ve saved quite a few new Mextures formulas from that arting/art therapy adventure. I have a lot more formulas to share in the near future, also, as I created many during the fall.

I hope you enjoy these formulas and find some use for them in your own Mextures adventures. As always, remember that blend modes of layers (and layer opacity) 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.

**All of these images were shot with iPhone using the “stock” camera app…

Formula Name: Light Fog
Formula Code: SLCUKDK
 Formula Name: Forest Sunset
Formula Code: TFJKCGK
  Formula Name: Pine Sunset
Formula Code: ZQRFZPT

 Formula Name: Digital Darling
Formula Code: GBEMCQT