Friday, April 1, 2016

430 Lovely Daffodil Photos

Who doesn't love spring in bloom. Temperatures turn balmy and neighbours meet outdoors while raking, dragging out garden paraphernalia and patio furniture. Decks and patios are readied for warm weather gatherings of family and friends. The warmth and busyness of body help shake off any remnants of the winter blues.

One of the nicest parts of spring, however, is the emerging blooms in flowerbeds and gardens. As green sprouts shoot from dark earth we anticipate the first fresh bursts of colour that will soon arrive.

This weekend two of our baby grandchildren will be visiting and outside activities are always on the agenda. Their parents are outdoors enthusiasts who chafe when inclement weather keeps them stuck inside.  It's a trait inherited by their kids. A weekend when they can venture into the playground is much calmer than one spent inside, no matter how creative the adults get in keeping them busy.

So, despite the fact that this weekend's weather forecast is predicting an unseasonable chill and even, oh dread, a bit of snow, we will be wandering our garden in search of adventure.

The older of these two was born a nature lover. While her little brother can't keep his eyes off trucks and tractors, she is fascinated by animals and all things born from Mother Earth.  As spring brings new life to the yard, she is happy to tour and see what new discoveries she can make.

While she loves trying to move in closer when she spies a dancing robin or frolicking squirrel, the merry chase can be tiring. It's then that her focus will turn to the quiet rebirth of nature. Inspecting dainty snowdrops and vibrant crocuses holds her attention for slow spring minutes.

And then we study the signs of emerging daffodils and hyacinths. Questions will be asked and answered and she looks forward to seeing the flowers on  her next visit.

For now, though, we all will need to be content with seeing spring in full bloom only in photos. As April is Daffodil Month in support of the Canadian Cancer Society, here are some gorgeous pictures of that perky spring flower and its cousin the sweet narcissus:

iPHOTOS.com Daffodil Photos

iCLIPART.com Daffodil Photos

Thursday, March 31, 2016

2 Collections of Cheery Daffodil Illustrations

Beaming a cheery aura with their bright yellow hue, they are one of the first blooms of spring. And they are front and centre of a major campaign when April arrives.

Tomorrow is the beginning of the Canadian Cancer Society's daffodil month. Like a ray of sunshine, these flowers are the symbol of hope and awareness in the fight against a terrifying disease, a symbol of strength and valour for those  living with cancer.

Purchases of bouquets of vibrant blooms assist  sufferers and support research and promotion. Or buying one of the sunny pins is a simple act with the power to make a difference.

So deeply entrenched is this vivacious bloom in the fight against cancer that even its presence in neighbourhood gardens raises awareness. I know that I can't walk past a flowerbed glowing with these sunny flowers and not, at least in passing, make the connection to the struggle facing so many people, and of the continuing fight to defeat this vile disease.

Over the month of April we will be seeing more images of the merry daffodil in promotions and advertisements for the Cancer Society. Here are some clipart  illustrations perfect for these or any spring project:

iCLIPART.com Daffodil Illustrations

Clipart.com Daffodil Illustrations

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

How to Take Beautiful Spring Photos

For outdoor photography, spring is a wonderful season. The landscape is an ever-changing palette, a constantly-altered playground.

Each morning as I head out the door I see a new sprout of green in a flowerbed. The tiny buds on trees are becoming more visible, the grass more green. The trill of robins and cardinals makes the need for music piping through earbuds obsolete, since their song is far superior to anything manufactured.

Squirrels sprint, cats prowl,  happy to be in gardens now bursting to life. Soon there will be colour and foliage to run through and hide amongst.

The season's capricious weather also adds interest, with sprinkles and puddles one day, sun glinting of dewy, damp leaves the next.

For photographers whose favourite subject is nature, the possibilities are endless. Given that, where to look and what to seek, then making the most of that, are the only challenges in taking great spring pictures.

Since temperatures have warmed, I've wandered out into the garden on a quiet morning, sat quietly to soak in the enlivening atmosphere. As I noticed a bug crawling up a tiny bud of green, I thought I should take a picture.  As I notice the sun sparkling off the dew I thought what a pretty picture that is.  As a robin stopped by to perch on the railing of my deck, I thought what a a fool I am for not having my camera to take a picture.

Getting outdoors to enjoy the new blossoming world is a great way to spend a day. Taking a camera outside with you makes it even better.

Here are some great tips to help you find your subjects and improve your spring photography skills:

Spring Photography Tips

Useful Tips for Spring Photography

Spring Photography Ideas

Photograph Your Kids in Spring Flowers

How to Photograph Outside in the Spring

Spring Flower Photography Tips

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Flourish Tutorials and Free Brushes

Whether it's words or a visual decoration, when it comes to just about anything more often than not, less is best.

Having worked in journalism, I learned to get the important details into a story as soon as possible since studies had shown that the majority of readers don't make it past the fifth paragraph. At best, they will scan the remainder of the story.

When first told this, I was doubtful. That is until I noticed that only a few newspaper articles held my interest throughout. I was, I realized a scanner.  And given that I'm an avid reader, it stood to reason that if I fell into this category it was unlikely  I was alone.

On the advertising side of the business, too, it's common sense that a design not be so full of visual elements and text that the eye is unsure what to take in and might possibly miss the intent. 

There was often chatter to be heard from our design and production people regarding effective use of whitespace, with the sales manager for one being a strong proponent of the less-is-more school of design thought. One of his most effective ads during his tenure with us actually was comprised of about 90% negative, or empty,  space, much like the design of the Google website.

The trap I've discovered with designing is over thinking the project. Our daughter, in crafting the stationery for her wedding, came up with beautiful products, using online clipart sources, that were simple but stylish.  Once she had what she liked, there wasn't time spent trying to decide if adding something could improve upon it.

One of the trickiest projects though was the place cards for the tables. Having gone with a black-and-white theme, and given the limited space, she settled on a pretty flourish as the best, and only, necessary decorative element for the design.

These swirls, which run the gamut of simple to elaborate,  add a touch of elegance without overwhelming. They are ornamental without being garish, attractive without being showy.

While lovely swirls and flourishes are available through subscription sites such as iCLIPART.com , iPHOTOS.com and Clipart.com it's also, if you're  looking to make the design even more personal, a project to be tackled on Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.  Since it's Tutorial Tuesday, here are some tutorials and resources for free flourish brushes:

How to Draw Vector Flourishes in Photoshop

Create a Flourish Frame and Brush Preset

How to Make Flourishes

Create a Flourish in Photoshop Elements

Floral/Flourish Design Tutorial

Create Custom Flourish Brushes in Photoshop

50 Free Swirl and Floral Brushes for Photoshop

Free Flourish Brushes for Photoshop

Free Flourish Brushes

Free Photoshop Brushes Flourish, Leaves and Vines

Monday, March 28, 2016

3 Collections of Spring Rain Illustrations

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend. A lovely surprise came our way in the form of a glorious spring day for our family gathering.  With the canopy of leaves still just a promise in the hint of tiny buds on bare branches,  a blazing sun heated the back deck to summer pleasure.  Faces turned towards it, we soaked up its energy.

Then this morning, the deluge. After thunderstorms through the night, we awoke to a rainfall warning and a day as grey as great-granny's hair.  So much change in 24 hours but nothing unexpected.

It is spring after all.

A good deal of life comes with this season. It's a rebirth and reawakening of the world around us, in the gardens that surround our homes, in the rural landscape that surrounds our communities.

Certainly it's dreary to look out the window into a damp, grey world.  But, unlike the same scene on a cold winter day,  there is something heartening in a spring rain.  Even the worst of them make me think 'fresh start'.

Part of the sense of  freshening and renewal that comes with the season is about cleansing and energy. Early spring rains wash away the detritus of Old Man Winter. They help to green the grass and burst the buds. They bring puddles for tiny feet to splash muddy boots in.

With spring, we begin to move outdoors — whether a sunny, glorious surprise of a day like Sunday, or one of drizzle. Confronted by the latter we cloak ourselves in rubber boots and raincoats, open the doors and raise umbrellas to the skies.

In celebration of the clean new world spring brings us, to lift our spirits on a dreary day, here are some wonderful rainy day illustrations:

iCLIPART.com Spring Rain Illustrations

Clipart.com Spring Rain Images

Acclaim Images Spring Rain