Flying High


Since I can find no words of my own to share with you today, I give you instead one of my favorite poems.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed,
and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds
and done a hundred things you have not dreamed of.
Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence.
Hov’ring there I’ve chased the shouting wind along,
and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never the lark, nor even eagle flew
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high, untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee
Battle of Britain

Texture Tuesday Processing (Photoshop CC)

This art piece owes much to Mark S. Johnson Photography – his Photoshop Workbench series is a treasure trove of post-processing and compositing inspiration. In order for the airplane to disappear into the texture, I modified his “Paint Splatter Border Effect” tutorial.

  • In Camera Raw, convert to black and white using the CoffeeShop Blog Regular Cup of Joe preset
  • Add Stained Linen texture, blend mode = Normal. Desaturate (CTRL+ Shift + U). Add a layer mask. Using a paint splatter brush, paint on the mask with black, revealing the plane. Using Mask Properties, set the density of the mask  to 50%
  • Add the Vintage Craquelure Texture from Shadowhouse Creations. Desaturate. Set blend mode to Overlay
  • Process my Midtone Contrast action. Add a layer mask. With a soft brush, paint out the bottom details of the plane
  • Add a Levels adjustment to bring out the contrast, especially in the highlights

Below is the original image and the Photoshop Layers palette:

May-20-Layers-Palette May-20-Before

Linking with Texture Tuesday, hosted by Kim Klassen 


Posted on May 20, 2014, in Photoshop and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. So love this, I’m off to check out the tutorials…

  2. Such a perfect image for this beautiful poem.

  3. inspiredbyjune

    Fantastic, Brenda! Love your texturing on this! Nicely done!

  4. Brenda, I have to thank you for this! That’s one of my favorite poems, too – I remember it from grammar school. But I knew nothing about the author and was shocked to see, from the dates you included, that he was only 19 when he died – just a boy! When I looked him up to learn more, I discovered he’d had a very interesting life, and that, ironically, he’d been killed while flying. I also found another poem he’d written, “Sonnet to Rupert Brooke.” He had a beautiful way with words. I have to wonder what he might have given us if his life hadn’t been cut so short.

    Your image is a fitting tribute to his life and loss, as well as to his words.

    • Lee – I think that is partly why his words are so emotional and poignant to me – because he was so very, very young when he died – I tear up every time I read his words. I didn’t realize he was an American, flying for the Royal Canadian Air Force either – as much as I have loved this poem, I never did any research on Magee – you inspired me to do so! How much he packed into his 19 years on earth.

  5. This was a marvelous image to start with–an example of your excellent eye for composition and line. The final image is even better. Excellent processing and wonderful result. I like seeing the propeller of one and the cockpit and nose of the other. Together, they tell me a lot about the airplane in an unusual and interesting way. Also, thanks for the link to Photoshop Workbench.

  6. Bravo, c’est un beau traitement !

  7. Love your crop on this! The image would make a beautiful book illustration!

  8. Really fantastic preocessing on this image, Brenda!

  9. Oh that’s really fun!

  10. What an inspired poem, with such soaring imagery! I love what you did with your airplane — so dramatic, and tells its own story.

  11. I share those thoughts from others on how lovely your image is and how perfectly the poem and image go together. Well done!

  12. I’ve never read this poem before. It’s beautiful, thank you for sharing it. Your image is a perfect accompaniment too.

  13. Wonderful. The airplane shown looks like it could be a B-26. The poem and the image brings back memories of my being stationed in Germany in the 1950’s. I have flown in the B-26 and the poem captures the feeling of being up above the birds. While the silence can be in your mind, the airplane is very noisy.

  14. You have, once again, turned an ordinary image into a work of art.

    Wasn’t it you, just a few weeks ago, wondering out loud how it seemed that all your texture work seemed so similar? Now look at you–beautifully exploring another creative endeavor.

I greatly appreciate your comments!

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