Skybirds

Ravens over MSJ
I was recently struck by the fact that the “greenery” on the mountaintop looks golden in the photos the webcam captures at 7 a.m. I decided to revel in that a little bit, working with one of the photos in Photoshop to enhance the color. The result is from three layers, the original, one with a dry brush filter, and one to emphasize the gold, and varied levels of opacity to achieve the blend.
I also enjoyed watching a large black bird performing aerobatics over a field. It would rapidly flap its wings, hovering in one place, and then suddenly dive-bomb to the ground. It may have hunting. It was fun to watch. And so I added a pair of frolicking ravens to my design, with a snippet from Skybird from Neil Diamond’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull soundtrack.
I thought about a couple of things while putting this together. For one thing, you don’t have to climb the mountain to find gold. But isn’t the view lovely from the top? And secondly, what joy there is in just being yourself.

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Song Sung Blue

Song Sung Blue

Two things are going on in my mind here.
First is the background. It’s a variation of a photograph of a small garden at the side of my house. When the sunlight hits it just right, the pinks and the greens just glow. I made a different design featuring fairies. After that, I kept coming back to that photograph, trying this effect and that effect, and really liked when this one turned blue. There’s a space there, just right of center, where I feel like I could get lost in this blue garden as if it would take me to a new dimension.
Second is the text. I was finishing junior high school in May of 1972, when Song Sung Blue was released. I thought it was the first I’d ever heard of Neil Diamond. All I really knew was that to me it was a happy little tune that I enjoyed so much, I went out and bought the 45-rpm. In fact, I still have it.
So I think it was a matter of time before the blue garden and the song title and lyrics came together, here. My tribute, I suppose, to my first favorite song by my favorite singer.
“Before you know it, start to feeling good. You simply got no choice.” – Neil Diamond

Rainy Day Songs

Rainy Day Songs

I decided to review my design textbook and randomly chose the chapter on values. There are exercises at the end of the chapters, so I chose one about depicting a mood using values. I was experimenting with the umbrella shape recently, so it was natural to continue with that idea. This was done with a series of layers, and artistic, color, and lighting effects. The text is from a tune by Neil Diamond, aptly titled Rainy Day Songs.
The West coast is in the midst of a heat wave. Perhaps this will help us to think cooler thoughts, especially those of us in the desert mountains.

“And I keep hearing rainy day songs
Tapping on my window sill
Some that soon won’t be forgotten
Some that probably never will
Say, I know you never did believe in rainbows
But hey, you know the sun is somehow gonna shine
And babe, we only have to look and we can find it
If we want to, if we need to…”
– Rainy Day Songs, Neil Diamond.

And the Grass Won’t Pay No Mind

The Grass Won't Pay No Mind

I was walking past an apartment complex one morning and happened to notice there was still dew on the lawn. The sun was hitting it just right, so that it looked like tiny sparkling diamonds in the grass. I held that image in my mind, trying to think of how I could recreate that effect. I’m pretty satisfied that this is very close. Once I had the sparkling dew on the grass for a background, adding the butterflies seemed a natural choice.
“And the Grass Won’t Pay No Mind” is the title of a Neil Diamond song. As a Neil Diamond fan, that, too, seemed a natural choice.