Hi ho friends. I hope you’re all healthy and safe in these bizarre times.

It was time to upgrade the apparatus. Thanks to our Uncle Sam, I got a new iMac and did what I thought I wouldn’t do: signed up for the Photoshop subscription.

To be honest, I’d reached the limit of Gimp. I found the lack of clipping masks very limiting, along with all the plugins, certain brush sets and actions that Gimp did not play well with. I haven’t tried Smart Layers yet, but baby steps.

I’m dipping my toes back into Awake and Photoshop Artistry Grunge classes, but in no particular order. Today, I went back to the first lesson in Awake and watched the first 1.5 videos to run through a Billa Bozem canvas. You can check out Billa’s work on her site. I love her work; it is so inspiring to me. And it doesn’t hurt that one of her canvases features a Dollshe Hound in a very subtle way, “Gouthami” is one example. Unless you were familiar with Hounds, you probably wouldn’t realize the subject is a ball jointed doll. It is one of my goals to integrate my bjd portraits as wonderfully as Billa does.

“Cadriel” is very influenced by Billa. For this piece, I used almost all Awake class content: 2 Lil Owls Artist 119 background, Distressed Textures Tin Type, Distressed Textures Grass Hill for House, ItKuPilli Pink Poodle Paper 3 and Effect 3, Foxy Squirrel Strangeness Background Builder 4 and Wings 2, Foxy Squirrel Hallow Face 3, and the model is from The Colby Files Fae. I also used one of my own photos, a macro photo of moss and stone. I used layer masks, clipping masks, filter gallery, Gaussian blur. Twenty-one layers in all, with no visible slow down.

I’m surprised that I remembered a number of keyboard commands from Sebastian’s classes. There are still some I’m struggling with, including The Move, which is a 4 key command on the Mac and no menu option that I can find.

My inspiration from Billa in this piece is primarily the background, which has 7 layers, masked to varying degrees and various blend modes. I like the background so much, in fact, that I could see reusing it in another composition.

Overall, I’m very happy with “Cadriel.” This canvas shows me that I can take my art to the next level with Photoshop.

Stay tuned for more.

Happy creating!