Creative Therapy: Catalyst 85

2009_10_28_ birdcage pageweb

SO over at Creative Therapy blog, this week’s catalyst is “What’s the most daring or scariest thing you’ve ever done?”

When I left my first husband, I truly believed that if I didn’t get away RIGHT THEN, I would die.  He had been drinking and hitting me all afternoon as we drove down the coast from Sydney on our way back to Albury. When he eventually passed out drunk in a caravan park somewhere on the coast I grabbed my bag (no money, lots of cassette tapes, since that was where he insisted they be carried) and ran to the nearest phone box. (This was waaaay back when mobile phones were the size of besser bricks and were rare as hens teeth.)

I remember somehow getting connected via the emergency number to the only local taxi driver – it was a very small town – and he got me to the police station and waited with me until the police came back from patrol (two man station) and left me with them.

Long story short – the police got me to the next biggest town, then their police got me to the next biggest town and bought me a train ticket to Sydney, where my sister rescued me.  (She was always the brave one.)

Now you know that back-story – leaving my second husband was scarier.  Not because I was afraid of violence (although he did put on quite a show for the police and neighbours) – but because I was so ashamed that I was leaving another marriage. I was hurt, angry, miserable with snot and tears running down my face as I drove away  – but I knew that if I stayed I would keep slowly dying, becoming less me every day.

It was absolutely the right thing to do.

This piece took me ALL DAY to make! I really wanted to use the birdcage because it’s such an important symbol to me – but it was from an image I’d torn out of an old magazine, and the cage was hanging over a background of quite blurry leaves and tree limbs:

bridcage web

So it took me AGES to extract just the birdcage from the photo. (For those who care – had to do it ALL with the polygon select tool in small sections, some of it while viewing the image at 200%. Magic wand tool only works when there is a solid colour to select!)

Then I had to learn how to use a torn edge mask over the paper I wanted to use.  EASY in photoshop, apparently, but I’m pov and therefore open source and therefore use GIMP.  So it took me a while to work that out too (but geesh, I’m getting much faster at doing this stuff!)  – and after the second time I mistakenly saved the resulting image as a JPG (low information, doesn’t play well with other layers) instead of a PNG file (saves all the layer information, like saving something as a .PSD in Photoshop) I got even faster!

And so to bed. Ahhhhhh!

Credits:
Background paper: Thao Cosgrove paper from Simple Life Paper Super Mini collection (part of the October Scrap Girls Club package)
Thao Cosgrove paper (used under journaling) from Beautiful Life Paper Biggie collection (part of the October Scrap Girls Club package)
Birdcage extracted from magazine image
Thao Cosgrove leaves from from Beautiful Life Embelishment Biggie collection (part of the October Scrap Girls Club package)
Torn edge from Curled Edges Five kit by Anna Aspnes at Designer Digitals
Header font Angelic War
Journal font Andalus

5 Replies to “Creative Therapy: Catalyst 85”

  1. I'll bet doing that page was cathartic to the Xtreme [ and deciding to share it with us more than a little scary maybe ? ]
    I'm not as brave as you about what I share. You may remember I blogged about the hysterectomy art journal but I didn't SHOW any of it … today's award for bravery and honesty goes to Caity :]

  2. Bravo for sharing your journey! Best wishes for a happy life!

    Love the bird cage image you have made – i would love to have time to learn how to manipulate images like that.

  3. I'm sorry I didn't see this when you first posted. Now I'm afraid that commenting will bring the pain back!

    I really relate to your story. I'm so glad you got out of those cages. You were never meant to be caged anyhow.

  4. This looks great – thanks for going into detail about extracting the birdcage image. I’m getting into Photoshop a bit at the moment and am always on the lookout for a little ‘plain English’ tutorial. I had no idea there is an Open Source version like PS though – otherwise I would be using that one too!

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