I was inspired the use a parasol in a photo shoot and really wanted to take advantage of a new prop. Now granted I have used umbrellas numerous times, yet I thought that the delicacy of a parasol would add a new dimension and allow me to focus more on texture. My vision for this image was to use a lot of texture to create a painterly look, so the more texture the better. I ordered a blue parasol and then went to Goodwill to find a blue bed sheet, and I was ready to go!
I shot this on top of a rock and wasn’t very concerned with the background as I knew I wanted to create a separation of sky and fabric. It went very quickly, taking about 15 minutes from the time I parked to when I cleaned up, and I was feeling really good about the images.
When I got them into Photoshop that night, pieces started coming together. I went through a process to create a more painterly effect, and when I was finished…I didn’t like it at all. I felt like my vision wasn’t coming together despite the fact that I did everything I had planned.
“The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry…”
And such is life. You have a plan, you execute that plan exactly, and then you wait to reap the rewards. But sometimes they don’t come, and that’s okay. That is not failure but instead an opportunity to do more, to do better, to create something more fulfilling for yourself.
I slept on the image and decided to take a fresh look the next day. And when I did, it all made sense. I had to alter my vision slightly, but only a nudge from where it had been. I added just a couple of details and it started to come together. My imagination was feeling very happy.
And that was when I decided to just let go and have fun. I created 5 new layers of the same image in Photoshop, and then changed the colors drastically on each layer. Slowly I peeled back the colors to see which I liked best, and landed on red. It was the opposite of what I had envisioned. I specifically bought a certain color parasol and fabric just so that I could execute this calming concept, to create an ocean-like effect.
Yet when the red popped up, it instantly felt more painterly, as if it flowed more naturally. I felt I understood the character better, because even if you are the creator of a character that person can still change and grow if you allow it. And when I settled on the red, and let the red become the new image, it felt finished.
Allow your life to lead you where it will. Have goals and desires and wishes, yet know when to trust your instincts. If something isn’t working, ask yourself why. If you don’t know why, come back to it later. And if you never come back to it, be confident you will move on to bigger ideas that let your heart pulse.
Everything is a process.