If You’re Feeling a Little Blue…

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.

Enjoy it.


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  • August 7, 2014 - 8:02 am

    Margherita Introna - Brooke, the detail of the parasol is just wonderful… love the whimsical feeling it adds to the image… and I love whimsical 😉 <3

    These look amazing together as a collection and I loved reading your blog. I just did a shoot this weekend and I thought I messed it up and redid it the next day. Only when I started putting it together later I noticed that I did have it right in the first place… funny how that sort of thing happens. Whereas another shoot I thought was perfect, but didn't quite work out. Either way, the journey and magic of creating is what makes my heart happy and at peace… and I know you know what I mean <3

    Have a wonderful time at your retreat. Oh how I wish I could join. Please know you are welcome here in Cape Town anytime… we would love to host you here… xxReplyCancel

  • August 7, 2014 - 8:06 am

    Amani - This is absolutely stunning! Even though I love the blue one, the red is more.. you.

    I needed this today, thank you Brooke <3 I've been planning on making some changes in my life, and worried that things won't go the way I want. But this made me realize that that's totally okay.ReplyCancel

  • August 7, 2014 - 8:12 am

    Luisa - Are these available for purchase? If so, how much? I just love them all!ReplyCancel

  • August 7, 2014 - 8:13 am

    Melanie - I wish I had your knack for finding such amazing pieces/props/clothing/fabrics for your images. I have been looking forever for certain things and I end up not being able to shoot what I see in my head. I suppose that’s the process I’m going through right now: that I may not find THE perfect prop/article of clothing and that I need to be more creative and make what I CAN find work for what I want to accomplish.

    I love this image. The yellow/gold version really grabs me (but that may just be because yellow is my absolute favorite color), but I agree with amani that the red is more you.ReplyCancel

  • August 7, 2014 - 10:16 am

    Robin Casey - “Everything is a process. Enjoy it.” I really love that message! Probably because I struggled with that for a long time, not enjoying the process but only anticipating the result and in a hurry to get there. I usually enjoy the journey now, but sometimes do need a reminder!

    Thanks for sharing YOUR process! Beautiful images, and your stories are inspiring.ReplyCancel

  • August 7, 2014 - 10:28 am

    Thomas Oscar Miles - i think i may have seen the photos of this shoot on your camera when we saw the ones from the meet up in london 😉 can’t believe what the result turned out like! Such a fascinating photo 😀 miss you already! but thank you for the london meet up, it was an amazing experience! now saving up for a workshop 😀ReplyCancel

  • August 7, 2014 - 10:40 am

    Gerri Bird - I find this to be a very strange parallel. This very image, and its message of patience, truth and intuition, resonates strongly with me. If the art is collaborative, even a static piece can whisper to you, that there is another direction to head in. I enjoy the process as much as I enjoy the imagery. Thank you for your simple clarity and wisdom.ReplyCancel

  • August 7, 2014 - 2:32 pm

    Diana - Awesome shot and I appreciate the journey of how you got to the final image stage. It is pretty similar to anything in life too, isn’t it! You take one road thinking it is the sure way, but then life happens and you take another route, still getting to your destination. I hope to do a workshop with you in the future. That is something I would like to do for myself!ReplyCancel

  • August 7, 2014 - 3:46 pm

    Paulo Alexandre Carvalho - I love these images, whatever the color. My favorite color is blue, however, it seems to me that, at the end, the red looks better.
    And yes … Everything is a process…ReplyCancel

  • August 8, 2014 - 12:39 am

    Jen Sulak - u lil playful with colorrrr youuu!
    have an amazing time in london at the retreat!!!!

  • August 11, 2014 - 10:28 am

    Tara - Wow, those images together are so fabulous! For some reason it reminds me slightly of the Beatles album cover that is the word LOVE in a box of different colors! Very nice!ReplyCancel

  • August 12, 2014 - 1:36 pm

    burcu yolgecti - this is fantastic, how did you create the background?ReplyCancel

  • August 12, 2014 - 5:37 pm
  • August 17, 2014 - 7:27 am

    Carin - ahhh you got the brolly afterall. Mines the same but white.

    Beautiful image – Love the yellow version of this best 🙂ReplyCancel

  • October 4, 2014 - 10:19 pm

    Moira - You are such an inspiration to me, love the way you think. XxxReplyCancel

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