Magical Mystical Butterflies

Colorful beach butterflies

For a long time now, I've had ideas roaming the halls of my imagination. 

I haven't known how to set them free.

I have a limited skill set when it comes to Photoshop (PS) and other photo software applications. But I want to do more than take photos.

I want to bring them to life. 

I would open PS and go to and find tutorials. Then I'd work and work learning how to use layers and masks so I could keep or erase portions of the photo I didn't want so I could combine the photos I was using. 

It's a tough process. 

I searched the City of Atlanta for classes. There are a lot of different Photoshop classes, but most of them are workshops. The workshops are affordable, but all they have time to do is show you the tools and how they work.

It's like bailing out the ocean with a teaspoon. It barely scratches the surface of how to use PS to create what's in my head.

I was hoping I could find an extension class at one of the local colleges and take a semester or even a year-long class. luck with that. That sort of class doesn't exist around here. And the intensive week-long and two-week long workshops cost thousands of dollars - they're geared toward big businesses. 

I was toying with online CreativeLive classes from Adobe but hadn't yet pulled the trigger on one. Then I got an email offer for a year-long all-access pass to CreativeLive for less than the cost of an inexpensive workshop!

I believe the universe responds when you're passionate about something.

I bought the pass without hesitation. That was in late December. 

I've been obsessively taking classes since January. I've got about 10 classes going right now. I take them in the evening when I'm done writing articles, working on my website, and marketing.

I'm a bit of a hermit lately!

My favorite teacher is Brooke Shaden. She has a teaching style that works great for me, and her art is AMAZING!

I have learned more in the last five months than the previous two years. 

PS no longer seems so intimidating, and I'm finally able to bring some of my ideas to life.

Baby steps.

The images look a bit amateurish as I experiment with how to do this. 

And I get so frustrated sometimes.

I catch myself talking to my computer...a lot! There are typically dozens of ways to do one thing in PS, so it's all about learning several ways and then discerning which way works best for what I'm trying to accomplish.

I'm feeling vulnerable putting this out here so soon. 

But, remember last year about this time? I said I was ditching perfection. I meant it. I'm no longer waiting until something is perfect to reveal it.

This is one of my first attempts at setting free one of those ideas in my imagination. 

I love taking city photos and landscapes, and I'll continue to do that. But, I'll be adding photo collages to my collection too, albeit slowly.

The above photo, Magical, Mystical Butterflies, took me about a week to make. And, this wasn't supposed to be the finished photo. But, I saved it the wrong way and lost all my layers. So I couldn't finish it the way I wanted. Argh. 

I decided to show it to you anyway. I may go back and try again from scratch. Or I may move on to something else.

But this photo collage is special to me. It reminds me of being in Destin with my friend Marla back in late September of 2017 during Monarch butterfly season. 

It was amazing. There were butterflies everywhere - even on the beach. 

They're so alluring and delicate. They come from the lowly caterpillar to turn into magical creatures. I love butterflies.

They're new beginnings. 

I took a few photos of the butterflies on the bushes in front of the condo. It's a labor of love and patience to get photos of butterflies. They don't sit still much. 

I wanted to capture some of the butterfly magic and put it in a photo. I wanted a painterly quality to the image. I've always aimed for a painterly look to my images.

So here it is. 

See you between the raindrops!