Digital Cyanotypes

foto-rx-digital-cyanotype-wilted-tulip

A few months ago Michelle and I decided to focus.  We are way behind on sharing exactly what that focus is, because we have been too busy focusing to come up for air on that, but we shall! I did want to share with you a little update on the ‘fruits’ of our focus. This month, with a solid (uhm, solid for us) focus we have created two new Photoshop action sets for Foto Rx, another two creative sets to launch in November, we finished recording our second Skillshare class, we are almost ready to launch our new site (!) and we have a pretty thorough plan laid out for at least the next quarter with products and classes, and we have worked tirelessly on a top secret project that is launching early next year. All that crammed into only two day a week work weeks. We are both tired and pretty proud, previously just a small portion of that list would have taken us at least an entire summer to complete, so if you ask me if this focusing is paying off I am going to give it a thumbs up. We have been a million times more productive and in turn we have seen even in this small amount of time a shift in what our potential revenue could be (a heck of a lot more than it was with all of scattered projects). It’s all very exciting and we want to share more soon for those still struggling with this! And now a little drum roll for our new release today…Read More

Creative Experimentation

Dinner plate dahlia via besotted blog

Michelle and I are finally on the other side of our focus angst (we promise to share the step-by-step on how we got here). One of the most exciting results of this is that we have freed up a ton of mental bandwith and you know what? We are both feeling more creative than we have in years! I have to say being able to pour our creative energy into one thing instead of spreading it amongst a million little things has been an eye opener. I have always succumbed to my every interest and whimsy and they have been far and wide with no real connectors except for maybe me sharing them here on the blog with you. We have been doing a ton of experimentation with different techniques, just trying to think as outside the box as possible and not worrying if the results will be a success. Happily we have had a bunch of little victories and it makes us feel like we are ‘on to something’. We even have a new Foto Rx Photoshop action set that we think will bring out the inner artist in you, we can’t wait to share it! We just finished the first beta action on it today, we were giving ourselves high fives all around (in our new studio space that is oh, so very beautiful, thank you very much). We hope we are not being too evasive with you right now, we definitely will share our focus decision soon and we do hope that we can help others that are struggling as well to find that mental sigh of relief.

P.S. If you want to be the first one to know about the upcoming new FotoRx Photoshop action release (it will be a goody) and be privy to amazing freebies and tutes than sign-up here to be in the know!

P.P.S. We will be giving away free sets to a few lucky winners on our mailing list when it’s closer to launch date!

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Focus | Simplify + Clear out clutter

BESOTTED-SIMPLIFY

This quest for focus has been quite the uphill  journey for us. It has been rife with self reflection, tough questions, analysis of every aspect of our work lives, crystal ball reading (or attempts at it anyway), and seeking advice from trusted friends and family. Consideration of all of the variables has been EXHAUSTING, and left both Tristan and I feeling drained and overwhelmed for weeks. Ever the optimists, we were determined to find the light at the end of the tunnel, and after roughly a month of soul searching, the light appeared with glaring clarity (a giant lightbulb may have floated above our heads at that moment).

So now that we have our sights set on a specific target, we have to figure out how to move toward it. As with any new and ambitious project, the to do list is long and constantly evolving – in other words, yet another opportunity to feel overwhelmed. Speaking for myself,  I’m going to need every ounce of brain space I can muster, and that means clearing out any residual clutter both figuratively and literally.

Here’s my confession: the studio closet has been haunting me daily with it’s overstuffed shelves (Tristan isn’t even allowed to peek in there!). My Mom is an artist who always claims she couldn’t paint with dirty dishes in the sink. Even if clutter is out of sight, it’s lurking somewhere on your mental to do list, trying to steal your focus. This week, while Tristan has taken a rare and much deserved break, I have fought the beast… and won.

Have any of you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? I haven’t, but my sister in law gave me the cliff notes. She was greatly inspired and took the book’s message to heart (but did point out that in order for there to be significant life changing magic, everyone in the house would have to read the book). I made a huge mess pulling out every single item in the closet and dutifully asking myself “does this spark joy?”. Unfortunately, as is the case with many designers, YES – the stacks and stacks of paper samples from Neenah and Mohawk do bring me joy, but I can’t recall the last time I needed to reference one of them, so they had to go.

I also completely dismantled our old mood board (mood wall actually), and replaced it with an inexpensive but freshly painted white canvas. We’ll tack up inspiration with artist tape to keep things tidy and fluid. The stage is officially set, now for that to do list…

 

RESOURCES

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Canvas

Artist Tape

I even ordered this pretty white table to replace 2 old desks, so exciting!

 

Author / Miss Michelle P.

Miss Michelle P. is a photographer, and the co-creator of Foto Rx Premium Photoshop Actions. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her muse is light.

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Finding Vivian Maier Review

finding vivian maier review via besotted blog

I did it!  I watched my FIRST documentary since my daughter was born (2.5 years ago), yes, it has been that long. This must be what it feels like for an athlete to make a comeback. I need to watch a movie next, it’s on my goals list (open to suggestions). I was actually going to watch another one that was suggested by Michelle, but it wasn’t available on Netflix, but when this popped up I knew that I wanted to watch it, we have written about Ms. Maier a few times and I find her story endlessly fascinating. The concise version– Vivian was a nanny and an avid street photographer who not only shot  extensively but did the very odd thing of never developing her film. One day a young man bought her storage locker of film, developed it, showcased it on his blog and Vivian became viral. The most interesting thing of the documentary to me was that the young man that discovered the undeveloped film rolls, his story is equally as fascinating. It’s just really thought provoking and if you love photography, a good treasure hunt and/or a feel good story, I think you’d enjoy this doc!

//RESOURCES//

Finding Vivian Maier trailer

Vivian Maier posts here + here

Doc featuring a Camera Obscura ( Michelle’s doc recommendation)

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and the fastest way to clean + digitize your lettering and line art –Lettering Rx | Paper to pixel and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

Being successful with multiple passions

Jen ck jacobs via besotted blog

Last week I felt like I opened up a veritable personal Pandora’s box with the admitting of my non-focused ways (post 1 + 2) and my current struggle to see what that would look like if I did (I am not having an easy go of this focus thing). I really do believe your focus and end goals from said focus can be based on what you deem a success and that’s something you will need to sit down with yourself and write down, it does look different for everyone (for me that now includes a financial number that never factored into my former goals or focus, I was happy before just getting by on my endeavors). I thought we could feature a Creative today that has had a ton of success and notoriety for her work and that work and passion (and person) seems to be constantly evolving. Jen Ck Jacobs, formerly Jen Altman (she has since re-married and added 3 more children to the mix-6 kids AND a new business?). I first came across her when she wrote a Mommy blog, she then became a jewelry designer, a graphic designer, then she picked up a Polaroid and well the rest is history, she became a huge internet success, has published multiple books as both an author and photographer the list goes on and on. She recently launched Robert + Gene, vintage turquoise and curated collections, which I am confident will prove to be another one of Jen’s big successes. This is from her ‘About page:

Over the years, Jen has sailed the seas as a salty Sailor of the US Navy, designed her own line of jewelry, penned books, photographed food and lifestyle for some of the most notable titles on the newsstands and in 2012, fulfilled a lifetime dream with CISTHENE.

Since, I have followed Jen from her seedling stages, I can tell you that she didn’t just snap her fingers and become this great creative force, her photos in the beginning were just sweet snapshots any mom would take, there were no glimpses there of what she would become, but she obviously focused, practiced, shared and honed her craft, this with 3 babes underfoot?! I am sharing about Jen because if you do have multiple interests and passions I think you can figure a way to combine them, make it cohesive and make it a success (that is what Michelle and I are trying to do!). Jen now has the design prowess from trying on the graphic design hat, and of course her passion + talent for photography that she has merged with her love of vintage jewelry, that combination has resulted in her new shop as it did with her former shop (gorgeous images!).  I might also add that she is able to leverage her love of writing with the store descriptions, and use her obvious eye for curating and styling. Will this business make her millions?  I don’t know if that’s even her goal, that’s why I mentioned that you need to write down what your goal is with your focus, because it may be like mine was before to just make enough money with my creative business to pay my bills and have a little left over to buy some of the things I would like, like a class or shoes. I honestly used to be thrilled that I could make any money from doing something I loved from something that I made. If you have the support from a spouse/partner or from family that may be fine for you to (and for a time it was very fulfilling for me). Michelle and I know that we want to take the shipping equation off of the table, it’s not feasible for me with my curious toddler and lack of space and something Michelle has always been emphatic about not doing. I wanted to share Jen’s story, because I think it’s okay to re-invent yourself, multiple times, as many times as you seem fit to in this lifetime until you find the you that fits. Or maybe this is who you are and that’s fine too. You can go from a sweet mama, to a tatoo’d bad ass and it can still be you and authentic, look at Jen. Of course you don’t have to do either of those things. I love that Oscar Wilde quote, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” That should make it easier for you to figure that bit out of who you are;)

My sincerest hope is that this motivated you in some way, it has for me, because it made me really evaluate during this phase of trying to find the convergence of our multiple (and varied) interests and see if that could be made into one entity that we call focus and if Jen is an example it seems it can happen! It may take a little more time to figure it out and of course some interests will need to be just that interests and not commerce, but I am feeling a bit more optimistic today than I was yesterday…And you?  Have you met anyone that has had multiple interests that they were able to parlay into one successful venture? Have you done it? Do you think this is a cop out to focusing? Would really love to hear your thoughts on this! Wishing Jen super success on her new endeavor with Roberts + Gene!

P.S. Thank you everyone that has added to the conversation, has emailed links and book suggestions. I will be adding those links to a post so others can have access to them and in hopes that it helps another fellow Creative!

//RESOURCES//

Thought it would be inspiring to share some links to Jen’s evolution, it is a study in perseverance and creative harnessing:

Early sweet images 1 | 2 | 3 that have evolved into these magnificent ones: 1 |2 | 3 | (Michelle and I are big proponents of just shooting to get better at your photography, we have taught classes with this as the main take away and have seen people that went from zero to 90 very quickly! It can work for many mediums! Again there’s that focus popping up!)

In the kitchen with Jen Altman

Jen on Momfilter

Gorgeous new bride

Jen Ck Jacobs portfolio

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and the fastest way to clean + digitize your lettering and line art –Lettering Rx | Paper to pixel and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.