The Plateau

This space has witnessed the start of many new photographic interests and subjects. I have experienced that frisson of excitement, that discovery of something “new”, many times.

But many of these passions have also been short-lived. After that initial flurry of all-encompassing activity, I seem to run out of gas. At that point, I don’t know where to go next. My creative plateau is littered with abandoned projects.

I don’t in any way regret these bursts of activity – each one expands my skills and feeds my creative soul.

But I would like to push myself beyond – to climb a little higher, dig a little deeper. To stick with it, even when it is no longer quite so easy.

The same pattern happened with my recent “Window Dreams” series. After the initial burst of creativity, I was stuck. The subsequent pieces I created didn’t offer anything new but were simply repetitions of what had already been done.

But then this artwork came together – and I knew I had climbed just a little bit higher. Maybe not off the plateau, but a step or two further up the mountain.

I do like the air up here.

Texture Tuesday Processing (Photoshop CC)

  • Mask the arch, separating it from its background. Add the arch as a layer to the main image, applying the mask. Position at the top of the grass ridge and size to fit. Select the grass along the top of the ridge and use the “Refine Edge” feature to fine-tune the selection. Create a mask for the arch so that it appears to nestle in the grass.
  • Process my Surreal Painting action which applies an oil painting effect to the image:
    • Create a combined image layer (Alt-Ctrl-Shft-E). Repeat so that you have two combined image layers. Convert each to a smart object.
    • Using the first smart object layer, apply the Median Filter (Filter>Noise>Median) with a Radius value of 25 pixels
    • Apply the Median Filter again with the same settings
    • On the second smart object layer, apply the High Pass Filter (Filter>Other>High Pass) with a Radius value of 7 pixels
    • Group the two layers, naming the group “Surreal Painting”
    • For this particular image, lower the opacity of the group to 80%
  • Add the Isobel texture, blend mode = Multiply
  • Add a Levels adjustment to increase overall contrast, especially in the highlights

Below are the original images and the Photoshop layers palette:


Linking with Texture Tuesday, hosted by Kim Klassen

Note: I don’t remember where I found the “surreal painting” tutorial so I am unable to give credit to the original author.


Posted on October 8, 2013, in Photoshop and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. This is stunning! I love it.

  2. I do love this too, Brenda. The mix of nature and architecture is really appealing and beautifully done here.

  3. Such a beautiful composition – you have a lovely touch!

  4. So glad you are going deeper, Brenda — the results are wonderful! Love these colors and the wonderful mood of this image.

    (short hand for Brilliant and I love it and it’s extraordinary.:)

  6. Nicely done. Beaitiful result.

  7. Gorgeous. I love this edit. So glad you climbed a little higher – I need to do this as I also have rather a lot of abandoned projects. Great image, well done. 🙂

  8. Wonderful combination and I love the textures of the trees! Gorgeous image!

  9. I prefer to think of abandoned projects (especially when they are as wonderful as yours are) as the foundation for new explorations. In fact, I think your creative pursuits exemplify this approach. No experience, no photo, no experiment is wasted. If it worked, great–you build on that. If it didn’t work, you work through the problem in order to learn from it.

  10. You are creating a fantasy world.

I greatly appreciate your comments!

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