Living and learning: that’s the secret

This week saw me enrol in a class to help me to get some mastery of at least a little of the stuff that Photoshop can do.

I’m very, very lucky to be friends with the most amazing equine photographer that I can think of, Jeff Anderson, owner and grand poohbah (as he describes himself) at the amazing Jeffrey Anderson Photography place. Truly an artist, what Jeff doesn’t know about photography is probably not worth knowing.

Not only this, but he is a brilliant teacher too – not for him the long-winded gobbledegook that the official Photoshop Help website offers. I’m sure you will find this quite shocking, dear reader, but I panicked (momentarily) when I opened his first tutorial.

O.M.G! (I'd love to credit the original author of this image, but couldn't find their name)
O.M.G! (I’d love to credit the original author of this image, but couldn’t find their name)

YES, I really do, just occasionally, lose the plot. I’m only human, get over it!

My fear was induced because I thought I had the

wrong software – there are SOOO many versions of Photoshop out there that it can be a tad confusing to us mere mortals. I was sweating, my heart raced and I truly, properly panicked.

What if everyone thinks I’m a complete ditz because I rocked up with the wrong bag?‘ I heard the eejit devil on my left shoulder complain.

Like I was in primary school and I didn’t have the very *latest* trinket that everyone else has.

Like I was performing in the Stockport Cheadle Section 2 Girl Guides Gang Show, singing ‘I’ll Go No More A’Wanderin’ With You Fair Maid’ as The Maid, with Julie Froggett as my duet partner The No More A’Wanderin chap from the song, waltzing down through the audience before clambering on the stage -still singing at the top of my lungs mind you – with my voluminous skirts conveniently tucked into my knickers at the back. And yes, that did happen.

You’re giggling now aren’t you? Oh, believe me, it was just the first in a whole series of mighty disasters that convinced me that the stage was not the life for me. Another time, I’ll tell you about them perhaps.

So, even though he had gently reminded us all that perhaps some of us would be working on one of the different versions of the software, and that we SHOULD NOT panic, under any circumstances, you now know that I failed at the first step.

I cried at my imagined inadequacies. This was awful! How on earth was I going to be able to even speak to my fellow group members ever again, once they knew how truly ditzy I can be?

But, OF COURSE I needn’t have panicked. With expert kid-gloves, my fellow students and the wonderful Jeff dried my tears (virtually – I had to actually, physically dry them myself, as I am sitting in my studio thousands of miles from where they were sat of course!) dusted my bruised ego off and set me straight with the deftness of  a true teacher.


His instructions suddenly all made sense now that I wasn’t panicking any more. What’s that first rule of problem-solving I always drilled into my Maths students? Remember R.U.C.S.A.C. ?


So, I went back to the first instruction.

And then I was away.

Seagull in his full glory! (Spot the difference!)
Seagull in his full glory! (Spot the difference!)
Seagull before sharpening
Seagull before sharpening

Sharpening images.

Better still, learning to recognize when they had been over-sharpened – it takes a finely tuned eye to notice the difference, I discovered!



Today’s lesson involves making elaborate mat surrounds for my masterpieces. Of course, that’s not exactly how Jeff phrased it. I justlike to play with stuff once I’m comfortable doing it. So today I did a lot of jiggery-poking about with my images to add a more professional, finished look to them.

Boats in Whitby Harbour, with a double mat
Boats in Whitby Harbour, with a double mat

I like how they look, frankly.

Pink Geranium, with several manipulations and double mat
Pink Geranium, with several manipulations and double mat

I’d be thrilled if other people like them too. ‘Cos that would mean I’d succeeded as an artist – creating images that give pleasure or convey a meaningful message to others.

Thanks for reading 🙂



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