Friday, May 15, 2015

Embrace Your Uniqueness

I want to encourage women to embrace their own uniqueness. Because just like a rose is beautiful, so is a sunflower, so is a peony. I mean, all flowers are beautiful in their own way, and that's like women too.
Miranda Kerr

And here we are at Friday again.  TGIF!  Another busy day filled with real estate shoots, a quick drop in to The Gallery at 122 Main, and then back to my home office to edit!  This evening I am looking forward to seeing Dirty Dancing live at the Hippodrome Theater in Baltimore.  Perhaps I will take along my camera tonight to shoot a bit before the show.  Maybe not...I might have my fill of cameras by the time I head out tonight.  We'll see.

I loved this quote by Miranda Kerr.  Uniqueness...what makes you stand out from others?  What gives you that certain beauty that no one else seems to have?  I believe it is a difficult question for most women to answer because our society has pigeon-holed beauty into such a tiny almost unattainable list of traits that have nothing to do with real women.   I think it is interesting that when women are interviewed about what beauty is, they normally will answer with physical characteristics. When men are interviewed about what makes a woman beautiful, many often give internal traits, character traits, as it were, as an answer.  Women are so worried about their outside appearances to impress men, yet most men are looking for good values in a woman.  That is not to say that we shouldn't take care of ourselves and care nothing about our appearances.  It just means that we as women need to give ourselves a break and teach our girls that the inside is way more beautiful than the outside.

I am working hard with my two girls to make them see that clothes, make-up, and physical characteristics don't make a woman beautiful.  It is the inner qualities that shine through that make a woman glow and attract others to be in her company.  It is not an easy battle to fight with all the media bombardment they get from society, but it is a worthwhile fight that begins with me.  I had to change how I saw myself before I could teach my girls to judge themselves by their insides, not their outsides.

For this piece, I was first inspired by the above quote and then I found this vintage photograph to begin working with.  

Next, I colorized her arms and hair in photoshop.  Then I took an image of the flower and merged the two into a collage, painting and merging her body into the shape of the flower.  I didn't like the image quality of the face in this original photo, so I found another vintage photo of a woman that had better image quality and used that to paint the features onto the our flower woman's face.  Once I had everything the way I wanted it, I imported the flattened file into Painter and used oil brushes to paint the overall image.  Back in Photoshop, I then layered the painted file with several textures to create the crackled, texturized image in the background.  I also cloned the middle of the flower and replaced the stars in her headband with the center of the flower since it felt a little Wonder Woman to me with stars.  Next, I tweaked colors, shading, and levels and then it was complete.  I hope you all like it!  

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

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