Susan J Delving Into Altered States

A door floating in space with a hand coming through itAltered States

I failed to post last week. 

I was busy working on the above image. 

I cranked up my music and dove right in. I lost track of all time. 

I love working on composite pieces. It's taken me so long to gain the necessary Photoshop (PS) skills. I still have a long way to go, but I'm getting there. PS is the most robust, complex, and frustrating software I've ever worked with. 

It drives me crazy. 

I love it. 

I was well into this piece when I got completely confused with the layers. I was having a problem with a couple of aspects of the piece. I could not figure it out no matter how many layers I turned on and off. I finally deleted the whole thing.

As my daughter, Claire, said later, "Well, that's the creative process!" 

Yep. Ugh.

I started over a few days later and spent an entire day working on it. 

The final piece was made from six photos. It has about 20 layers. 

I've watched hours and hours of tutorials to get to this place. 

So far, Brooke Shaden is one of the few teachers who resonates. She demonstrates and explains things in a way I understand. 

I've watched a lot of other teachers. Some are so hard to follow. They rush through demonstrations like a runaway freight train. They go slow through simple stuff and speed through hard-to-follow concepts. 

Brooke is one of my favorite contemporary artists. I know I've mentioned her here before. Her work is amazing.

And she's so personable and encouraging.

She describes herself as incredibly introverted, but she's really put herself out there. And her vulnerability has cost her. When she first started posting her work, a lot of Internet haters told her she wasn't beautiful enough to pose for her own images.

Most of her pieces are self-portraits. But, that doesn't begin to describe the depth of her work. 

Not beautiful enough? Geez.

She's talented, smart, and beautiful. But what does that matter? It's her art. She can do whatever she wants!

Her videos, tutorials, and her workshop have helped me in so many ways. 

Ever since returning from Brooke's workshop in Joshua Tree in October, things have started clicking. We went through a ton of mental exercises (some of them very uncomfortable) in releasing our minds to our creativity.

She had so many great speakers at the conference. Joel McKerrow - performance poet and masterful wordsmith - really got me thinking. Gillian Gamble was amazing as were the other artists. 

While I was working on the above piece, the title came through loud and clear - In Through the Out Door. I laughed when it came, remembering it as an old Led Zeppelin album. Dating myself there. 

In Through the Out Door was the last album the band made together.

The tracks were different from a lot of their other work.

This piece is a bit different for me. But it's the direction my work is headed in, albeit slowly. 

As I edited this photo, I thought about the book Altered States by Paddy Chayefsky. I read it many years ago. It's a story about one man's drive to discover existence beyond our perceptions of reality. There are some interesting concepts in the book, and it's great fodder for the imagination. 

I was also thinking about the body on the other end of the hand (yes, it's my hand), struggling to come back in through the dream door of her know that moment when you wake up, when you're still dreaming, but the dream is slipping away?

If you follow my work on Instagram, you know that @SusanJPhotography is about Georgia, Atlanta, and travel. IG followers like laser focus when it comes to the accounts they follow. So to avoid confusing my followers, I've created a new account for my composite artwork. 

I'd be honored if you'd follow me @SusanJ_AlteredStates.  

I won't be posting as prolifically on that account since creating a piece takes me awhile. But eventually, it won't take me so long. 

I'll still be posting plenty on my @SusanJPhotography account. 

Hope you have a great rest of your week!

And see you between the raindrops! There've been waaayy too many raindrops lately!