Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Painting My Ancestors

Ahem. Hello!

It's been a while. Like just short of 7 years since I've posted to this blog. Yikes! I never intended to take this long of a break, lol!

Time flies by like the blink of an eye. Here we are in 2016. I still create the occasional scrapbook page here and there but another outlet for my creative spirit has taken digi-scrapbooking's place. I've taken up painting. Not digital painting but the old fashioned way. I started with watercolors, then tried gouache. After that I gave pastels a try. Then I moved into oils. And the last thing I tried was acrylics. Of course, my photography has continued all this time as well and it provides me with most of the reference photos I use for my paintings. Most but not all.

Mostly I paint nature things... landscapes, flowers, etc. But I guess it was inevitable that one day I would combine my love of painting with my love of genealogy and family history. And that finally happened a few weeks ago. Out of nowhere I got the inspiration to paint a picture of my great grandparents. One photo in particular popped into my head and once there it wouldn't leave. So I had to paint it! This photo was taken in Poland, probably in the 1930s but possibly as late as the early 1940s. It was a very small photo, about the size of a standard business card. It isn't in color and the tonal values leave much to be desired. But it's one of only two photos I have of my great grandparents and the other photo is an even poorer image.

As you can see, my great grandmother was wearing her special occasion folk costume so I'm guessing it was a special occasion. Great grandfather has his heavy winter coat on but the trees are in full foliage. So it can't have been a summer festival or Christmas. There are no leaves on the ground as you would find in late autumn so I'm guessing it was taken in early spring. Possibly Easter. As I understand it, the folk costumes differ around the various regions of Poland. Most likely the outfit my great grandmother had on was typical of the area where they lived (southern Poland).

When I decided to try painting this image of my great grandparents I just knew I had to do it in full color. I did some online research about the costumes from this area and discovered that the stripes in great grandmother's skirt would likely have been intense bold colors. Just my style! But what colors to use? I had no idea. So I just went with what felt right.

The photo was taken in bright sunlight, probably midday. That made for harsh shadows that sort of hid a lot of details making it difficult for me to determine what some things were. I guessed the best I could and added some flowers and foliage of my own here and there. Here's my interpretive version of my great grandparent's photo. It's a watercolor, 8"x 10" matted in an 11"x 14" frame.

It took me 2-3 weeks to paint it. I only paint a couple hours a day to avoid getting repetitive stress pain... writer's cramp with a paint brush. I'm pretty pleased with the way it came out considering it's the first time I've tried painting people. I like to think that my great grandparents would have liked it. I never met them. They died long before I was born. I'd also like to think that my mom would have liked it. She'd never met her grandparents either. It's been 9 years this month since she passed away.

I'm not going to try to teach how to paint your ancestors here but I will encourage you to do it. I found it created a more intimate connection with my great grandparents than just looking at that photo did. Buy some paints, take some classes, and connect with your ancestor too! I know, I know, you don't think you can do it, do you? Well, I challenge you to try! When you get done, post a link on Facebook or send me an email. I look forward to meeting your ancestors!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Favorite Guy

There's a new blog train comin' through town!

Just in time for Father's Day, a new blog train has been created. This one is called "My Favorite Guy" and it features colors and elements you'll appreciate in creating digi-scrap pages of the dads, uncles, brothers, nephews, and friends in your life. Check it out when you have ooodles of free time because this is a big one!

Now go get creative with your genealogy!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Seven Months of Digital Scrapbooking Articles

I haven't given up on blogging about creating digital scrapbook pages for family historians and genealogists, I've just been doing it elsewhere. Here's a list of the past seven month's articles I've written for the Shades of the Departed blog:

If you haven't read them yet, by all means check them out!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Around the World

Today is the day! The Christmas Around the World collab kit has been posted. This is the kit of kits. It's colossal and it's absolutely beautiful. In my opinion, they couldn't have picked a more appreciated color pallet to work from. I know I'm having a blue Christmas this year (3rd in a row for me) and many others are too. It's hard times for many folks and sad times for some too. But there is nothing hard or sad about this collaboration. You can make beautiful, fun, elegant, cheery, somber, sophisticated, quite or joyous scrap pages from the all the freebies offered here. There is something for everybody!

Here is one example from the 113 designers who are participating...

Isn't it wonderful?

So clear yourself some room on your hard drive (a lot of room!) and free up some time to download this fabulous collab kit. And don't forget to thank the designers who are giving us this kit for free!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm Back!

You're probably thinking I've given up on this blog. OK, I guess I have. But I didn't intend to!!! I never intended the hiatus I started back in June to last 5 months. A funny thing happened when I took a short break from blogging about scrapbooking... I realized I like designing scrapbook pages more than I like writing about designing scrapbook pages. And I just don't have time to do both :-(

However, I have now started a monthly column called "Captured Moments". It's about scrapbooking and it's hosted on my friend footnoteMaven's blog, Shades of the Departed. It's a part of her "Weekend With Shades" series and my inaugural article was published last Sunday. Elements of a Great Scrapbooking Page, suggests things to think about when designing a genealogy/family historian's scrapbook page. There's more to a good page than just throwing up some photos and a few decorative elements. I invite you to head over and check it out and see if you can't pick up a tip or two. Let me know what you think!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Genealogy Charts for Digi-Scrappers

I know I've really been slacking off on posting to this blog and I apologize for that. Unfortunately, the pace of my blogging won't be picking up any time soon either. I'm starting my summer writing project which means the time I would have spent posting blog articles will have to be channeled into time spent writing my family history (one branch of my family history that is!).

Before I completely refocus in another direction, I'd like to share one more digi-scrapping kit that will be appreciated by all my genealogy buddies. This kit is called Wyvern's Lineage Series and it's offered on the Wyverns Scrap Den blog by Susan. This kit consists of a series of beautiful genealogy charts designed in the standard 12"x12", 300 dpi format. The pastel colors have a nice vintage look to them and there are even a set of blank pastel pages to use with them for companion pages. They're just lovely! Take a look...

And here's a sample image that Susan created using these pages...
Susan has included a few coordinating elements and may have more to come in the future. I think these pages are absolutely fantastic and I want to send a note of thanks out to one of my favorite digi-scrap designers, Kyra, for letting me know about Susan's kit. THANK YOU, KYRA!
And a very special thank you goes out to Susan for creating and sharing her beautifully designed pages with us all! THANKS SUSAN! You can download Susan's Lineage kit here. Don't forget to let her know of your appreciation!

Now go get creative with your genealogy!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Digital Scrapbooking for Genealogists

For those of you who don't follow footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed blog... I'd like to let you know that I have a guest post on Shades today. The article, Digital Scrapbooking for Genealogists, makes the case for why you should consider creating digital scrapbook pages to display your family history. If you get a chance, head on over and check it out. I hope you will enjoy it and maybe learn a thing or two.

And I'm hoping to see some of your creations on your blogs too!