Friday, August 5, 2016

Need to Weave Inspiration Into Your Music Projects? Find 2 Tantalizing Collections of Absolutely Entertaining Clipart Here

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent."— Victor Hugo

We know the sounds of music. Soft notes wafting like butterflies on a gentle breeze, surround us in a tender embrace. Grinding guitars drive feelings to the gut, while a drum's tribal rhythms set bodies in motion. A saxophone's dreamy melody soothes the raw edges off a rough day, while the capricious flute delivers tunes both haunting and lilting.

Yes, this is music — a medium capable of stirring emotions without words. Its power is tangible. It can transport us, revive us, restore us. One need only watch people's reactions to it to understand that. Whether it's the song that takes us back to another place and time, or a tune that targets our deepest feelings and raises them to the surface, music moves us.

But what about its images? Yes, images. What do we see when we listen to music. There is the pianist's intense concentration or the guitarist's insular immersion. The dreamy gaze of a jazz musician, the upbeat country countenance, rock stars' antics and the frantic energy of the fans — these are among music's many faces.

One of my favourite things to do when attending a concert is to watch the reactions and expressions of folks around me. You can see when a particular song affects them, and how they respond to it is almost as entertaining as the music itself. My son is a guitarist and when I attend his performances, while I love to watch him first and foremost, attention is often diverted to the crowd. The first few notes of a song are played and you can see the effect it has, the pleasure it can bring. And wonder what about that particular tune spoke to them.

This weekend, a major blues festival is being held in our area. It's an event my hubby and I have attended since its inception. We've watched it grow and change. Venues have been added and the numbers of attendees has increased exponentially. While in the early years, the festival was comprised of important blues names, they tended to exemplify the genre, a group of gritty musicians known well to fans, less so to the mainstream market.

However, with demand comes a change in supply. More familiar names are taking the stage, though the connection to blues is a stretch. Also, since the event is free, with the exception of the dollars spent on beer, food and merchandise, a grand opening night with a headlining act has been added. Entry to this costs the big bucks.

For us, these changes are a bit disappointing. We liked the rootsy vibe the event once had. When we think of the blues, we think of boozy clubs, lazy bayous and dusty backroads. We also envision the stories that are part of the culture, along with the images that illustrate those stories. We enjoyed watching true blues fans cluster around the stage, listening with rapt attention, letting the music soak into their souls, shouting out the occasional response to what they were hearing and feeling.

These images, of course,  show us what music looks like live. But even if we're pumping that sound through our Beats by Dr. Dre,  pictures appear — of the places we were, of the people we knew, of the artist. Music can connect us to feelings that make us ponder all of these things and more. Ultimately, as its sound overtakes us, music becomes not just audial but visual.

When we need to draw attention to a physical music project or design, obviously we must rely on illustrations to create the proper aesthetic. Here, then,  are some highly appealing music-themed clipart collections:

iCLIPART.com Music Illustrations

Clipart.com Music Illustrations


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Helpful Tips for Taking Amazing Advantage of Cheery Summer's Beautiful Photo Ops

August has arrived, all torpid temperament and ardent attitude. Sluggishness hangs in the air like Spanish moss from ancient Georgia trees, while the sun above breathes heat around the edges.  It's a lazy month, a time to kick back under shade trees with a cold one or two, a chance to soak up the final delights of summer.

There are still plenty of weeks remaining before summer fades to autumn and there's no better way to preserve memories of this sunny season than with photographs. The beauty that defines the landscape and the faces delighting in sunshine and flowers around us are images worthy of preserving for the future.  With so many opportunities  during these cheerful days, I thought it might be interesting to highlight a few examples and share some expert advice on how to perfect them.

• At the Beach: This one is a no-brainer. Those picture perfect moments during vacations at the lake are as abundant as shells on a shore. Since there's nothing more refreshing in the summer than a visit to the shoreline, there are endless ways to capture the bliss. Of course, among the most popular are sunset shots. One of my favourites over the years was a moment between my two youngest kids at the fading light of day. It reflects not just the beauty of the scene but of the moment. Here are two resources to help you get the most from your beach photography:

iPhone Photography School's Beach Photo Tips

Beach Photography Tips From Digital Photography School

• Sports: Getting great action shots will puff out the chest of any photographer. Some require an eye to make them special.  The billow of a sail and surge of the wake from a sailboat or the graceful swoop of a paraglider can be amazing pictures in the hands of a talented and imaginative photographer.  Others present their moments in a millisecond— in the aggressive dive of a beach volleyball player or in the grimace of exertion on the tennis court.  For me, the greatest success came in my newspaper days while covering a swim meet. A close up on the competitor's face turned out nicely enough that the chest did swell just a little. This link offers tips on how you can get those great sport shots:

photo.net Sports Photography Tips

• Outdoor fun: There is no end to the fun and games we enjoy during the summer months. From picnics to street parties, we are everywhere celebrating this golden season of sunshine. Among my favourite pictures over the years are the ones of the faces I adore, graced by expressions of joy and pleasure. Here are some tips for getting pictures out and about of folks you know and those you don't:

Street Photography Tips

Tips for Perfect Picnic Photography

10 Ways to Take Great Candid Pictures

• Birds and Bees: They flit, they fly, they dance away. The nervous nature of our feathered friends and insects makes them among the most difficult to capture. Getting close isn't an option and they are uncooperative about posing. As I've mentioned in this blog before, one of the best pictures I've taken, of any subject, ever, was of a cluster of butterflies at a lakeshore. Proof that it can be done. If help is what you need, here are some terrific tips:

How to Photograph Insects


Photographing Insects

How to Photograph Birds

• Flowers: Each summer we are surrounded by the riotous colours of gardens in bloom. They produce a veritable bounty of subjects for photographers. From macro to landscape there is nothing but loveliness to be seen through the lens. The favourite flower photo in my collection was of  hydrangea bushes bursting with luscious blooms. While it wasn't exactly a macro shot, I did fill the frame with verdant leaves and hot pink flowers. Taken in early morning, sunlight sparkled on dew making the end result even better. If you're still trying to do justice to these summer beauties here are some helpful tips:

Digital Photography School's Tips for Photographing Flowers

Tips for Creative Flower Photography


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Need Construction Clipart for Your Big Summer Promos? You Will Absolutely Find What You Need in These Amazing Collections

It was a quiet summer evening when I first saw her.  On a  bicycle jaunt around town I happened down a street I'd never been on before and there she stood. Though a little old, a little tired, even a little plain, there was something proud, almost majestic in her bearing.  I felt a connection and decided then and there that I needed to get to know her a bit better.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Way, way back in 1980, my husband and I were the proud owners of a nice little piece of property on a town street across from a conservation park and backing onto farmland. The plans were done and we hoped to start building soon.  Everything changed, however, when the aforementioned meeting occurred.

The fateful bike ride that evening took me past a wonderful old house on a tree-lined street across town, that just happened to be for sale. The friend riding with me, knew a bit about the place and said it was priced low. An elderly gentleman, who was a friend of her parents, had lived there before moving into a retirement facility, so the house had sat empty and neglected for the past two years.

Enchanted by this old relic, and teased by the notion that here was a place we could move into almost immediately, rather than wait for a new build, I rushed home to tell my hubby we should take a look. Arrangements were made for a visit the next day and the stage was set for a love/hate relationship that has lasted close to 40 years.

Entering the front door the first time, this starry-eyed newlywed saw a house meant for family. Tall ceilings, an impressive staircase with a railing that could only have been intended for sliding down, bedrooms galore and a spacious country kitchen painted daydreams of a home full of life and love.  That the decor was not just dated, but couldn't possibly ever have been fashionable, that the floors sloped and the plaster was cracked didn't matter a whit. It was love at first sight and everything was perfect.

My husband, who recognized the work facing him if we bought this ramshackle abode was captivated by the property with the majestic maples in front and the backyard abutting the school grounds. Our kids, he noted, wouldn't even have to cross the street to get there.

An offer was submitted and accepted. We moved in and those first few months were heady times, with all the excitement a young couple will have for their first home. That, however, got old fast. I wouldn't say the love affair has ended exactly, but the rose-coloured glasses are definitely off.  The renovations began almost immediately and have been ongoing ever since as time and money have allowed my poor partner to get the job done.

Most recently, I've set him on the task of  gutting the old back kitchen and its upstairs counterpart. The plan decades ago had been to renovate them as a family room and fifth bedroom respectively with an additional bathroom. Four children grown and gone, a bundle of adorable grandchildren later, the dream is finally being realized. Not that we need the space, but, we hope we are creating a place that some other young family will fall in love with in the future.

Summer inspires home renovations and construction. Roofs are being replaced, decks and additions are being constructed and new builds are underway. Carpets are being ripped out and new floors laid.

Building suppliers have everything from home decor to tools to promote these days. To create eye-catching ads, banners and signs, here are some fantastic construction clipart collections:

iCLIPART.com Construction Illustrations

Clipart.com Construction Illustrations

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Words Have Power. Fonts Do Too. Find the Perfect One in These 2 Terrific Collections

"Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book." — John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

"Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts."

I remember the first time I heard Shakespeare. A friend had invited me to attend a a production of The Merry Wives of Windsor at beautiful Stratford, Ontario with her and her mother. I was not yet in high school and while much of the dialogue was beyond my comprehension, I was captivated by The Bard's poetic prose.  I sat at the edge of my seat, transfixed not by what was happening on stage but by the power of the words the actors spoke.

The love affair continued in high school as my classmates and I were introduced to such memorable works as Romeo and Juliet, King Lear and the Merchant of Venice.  Though English Lit might already have been my favourite subject, studying and dissecting that elegant dialogue became a great fascination. I recited monologues in front of mirrors and read from a collection of Shakespeare's plays in my spare time. In the naive mind of a teen I believed myself to be quite erudite.

While I still enjoy the words of Shakespeare, it's usually in a theatre these days.  I've long forgotten most of what I learned in those English classes of yesteryear. In my downtime now I prefer a good thriller or tale of espionage. And with the wisdom of age, I no longer have any highbrow notions about the levels of my intellect.

What I do still know, however, is that words are very important to me. Light, fluffy romance novels will entertain occasionally when surrounded by the distractions of a lovely summer day at the beach. But please, no insipid dialogue. Implausible the tale might be, but if it's  well-written I can forgive. At least when reading it in a hammock or at the lake.

Seldom, in all my book-loving years, though, did I give much thought to hwo those words appeared. It was only when beginning a career in journalism some 30 years ago that I learned the type of font used can also impact readability. For example italic should be used primarily for impact as it's much harder to read than regular type.  Many studies showed that serif, those with little finishing strokes on the ends of the letters, was preferable to sans serif — though there are also arguments that there really is no difference.

Regardless of opinion, since words have power, choosing the right font to deliver them shouldn't be ill-considered. This past weekend while travelling a busy highway, my eyes were drawn to a company name on the side of a truck. The type style had an almost Asian flare. It was weak, did not suit the brand and was somewhat difficult to read.

I suspect the decision makers were thinking of something unique, something with a special flare so folks would notice. To a degree it worked. It certainly got my attention, but not for any of the right reasons.  I don't remember the company name, just the nasty typeface. Others might disagree but to me it was out of place, looked unprofessional and was a negative reflection on the company.

There are so many wonderful fonts available on websites such as iCLIPART.com and Clipart.com finding one that brings the right attention to you or your project is a breeze. Check them out here:

iCLIPART.com Fonts

Clipart.com