Swallowtails, palms and why procrastination is sometimes a good thing for an artist

"Swallowtail on lilac" by Cindy Garber Iverson
digitally painted photograph
Fine art reproductions available here 

Around here it's still too hot outside to start the big garden projects Hubby and I have lined up. Based on the weather forecast, we'll probably have to wait until the first of November to get a cool down significant enough to go out and start moving big rocks, digging post holes with an auger and breaking a sweat. No one wants to do that when it's threatening to be 90F (32C).

And lest anyone think this is due to global climate change... it isn't. This is typical for October.

"Queen palm" by Cindy Garber Iverson
digitally painted photograph
Fine art reproductions available here 

Because our days are shorter now, I don't get the lovely twilight hours I get during the summer to putter in the garden. So that means I'm mostly inside in the studio creating and keeping busy.

I've been creating some "for fun" pieces the past couple of days. It's nice when I can just hunt around in my photo archives and pull something that strikes me fancy. Then I bring it into Photoshop and start to play. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it's just nice to have my stylus in my hand making "brushstrokes" and digitally painting something. I find it therapeutic. I have lots of time to get lost in my own thoughts and ponder things. It's a form of meditation for me.

And sometimes I'll have something that I got about two-thirds of the way done years ago and then never got back to finishing for one reason or another. Like this...

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I don't know why I never got around to finalizing it, but I'm glad it stayed in the archives for the past few years. I've learned more about my digital tools since then and have a better idea of how I like to use them to achieve a certain style. Because I waited on this, I was able to finalize a version that I think is more representative of what I do now in that style. Had I pushed myself and finalized it back then, it would have ended up as one of those pieces that I would always look at and say, "Eeew. That's definitely a practice portfolio piece." I have too many of those already. I'm glad this didn't become another one. Trust me. It would have based on what it looked like when I reopened it earlier today.

The swallowtail butterfly photograph (above top) was a photo I took 5 years ago and didn't really do anything with. Again, because I waited, I know my tools and my own style better now then I did then. I can create something now that I wouldn't have even ventured to create back then. I didn't know how, and I couldn't have envisioned at all.

Then there's the case of a photo like the one of the palm tree (above middle). I took that only a month ago when visiting my brother and sister-in-law. They have gorgeous queen palms lining their backyard. I took the photograph, got it home and wasn't impressed with the backlit result I'd gotten. It wasn't until I had the time to just play with it yesterday that I happened upon the right post-processing techniques for that particular image. If I'd pushed it when I first took the photo (and was busy with other creative work for clients), I probably wouldn't have gotten the result I wanted.

Sometimes procrastination pays off.
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  1. These are beautiful, Cindy. I wish I was better at digital art. I have Adobe Illustrator, but I kind of plod along in it, not really knowing what I'm doing :)

  2. Experienced your October heat first-hand last week. It was weird ... 90s one day, 30s at home the next morning.

    I love what you did with the butterfly photo!

  3. I love how we all evolve in steps, sometimes they are large steps, and sometimes they are tiny, but it's all moving forward.

    Your work is amazing!

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  4. The whole digital painting thing is way out of my league. The butterfly image is particularly beautiful!

  5. You are incredible. Your talent is truly remarkable! Love the butterfly, so delicate.

    In addition, I find the fact that you understand what and how to use the software ...astounding.

  6. Love your pictures - just beautiful!! I have absolutely zero knowledge in anything digitally artistic. Zip. Nada. If only... I'd love to learn and play with some of my thousands of pics. Mine are all straight out of camera because that's all I know how to do. :) I adore the softness that you add to your shots, so pretty! Where are you that it's still so hot??

  7. C-ingspots: I live in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. We're almost 400 miles (644 kilometers) north of the California most people think of when they think of Hollywood and Disneyland. Southern California. Unlike down there, we almost have four seasons here but they're skewed from the traditional seasons.

    Spring = mid Feb to mid May
    Summer = mid May to late October (no rain)
    Autumn = late October to early December
    Winter = early December to mid Feb

    Summer always gives one last gasp of heat around the third week of October and then suddenly it becomes autumn when the rain arrives as it did late Sunday night. Our days and evening are cool and crisp now.

  8. Oh, for some reason I was picturing you in Florida. I'm familiar with much of California. So, are you inland from the actual Bay area? I'm accustomed to that as being coolish and mild with rare heat flare-ups. So actually, our climates aren't that much different. We're cool tropics, up here where we get much more rain, but mild temps for the most part. Heat comes generally July-September. You have a much shorter winter. I consider cold rain winter. Ack!

  9. C-inspots: We're right in the Bay Area... East Bay to be exact. As a fellow West-coaster, you probably know all about Sunset Western Garden Book and the intricate way they've mapped the microclimates of West. We're Sunset climate zone 15 because we have the influence of the Bay and the Carquinez Straits but are still inland enough to have the warmer temps (unlike SF that stays really cool). Cold rain is winter for us too. That and lots of fog. Snow only falls on the peaks around us. I think our climate is similar to yours. I can grow sub-tropicals outside because winter overnight temps usually go no lower than 28F on the frostiest night.

  10. Of course I'm familiar with that book - love it!! We're Zone 6, Northern portion of the fertile Willamette Valley. Ok, now I think we're sistas!! We're practically neighbors!! :)


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