Saturday, March 12, 2016

There must be 50 ways....

"There must be 50 ways to leave your lover." Paul Simon said so in a song I loved, though I rarely had occasion to use the advice.

Now the song is stuck in my head. No, I'm not leaving anybody. I'm just trying to finish a project for the carousel* and what seemed relatively easy and fun has turned into The Really Hard and Frustrating Project From Hell. Or maybe The Project That I Can't Figure Out And It's Driving Me Crazy.

We are creating new display panels for the carousel pavilion telling some of its story--its history and restoration, how volunteers can help, etc. When we opened the carousel in Como Park 16 years ago, Peter and I created six panels using lots of newspaper clippings (now yellow) and photos (now faded). Our new executive director and I decided to make new printed panels with sepia-toned images very light in the background, and with type over the images. Everything was going well until I tried to screen the images to be really light.

If there are 50 ways to leave your lover, there must be 250 ways to take a color photo, turn it into a black-and-white in Photoshop, add a sepia tint, and screen it way back to a ghost image. I've tried them all. I spent days experimenting to get a result I liked...and the file was so huge it crashed my computer WITHOUT being saved. I have spent long, frustrating days getting back to that place while keeping the file size manageable. As of today, after trying about 50 more ways, I think I've got it. Which is good, because I am very ready to move on to other things.

There's a hitch, though. When I print a version on my ink-jet printer, I like the results. But how will it look when a commercial printer uses my files to create a panel 34 by 40 inches? I'm keeping my fingers crossed. If all goes well, I get to do this five more times for the other panels. Let's hope I can learn from my mistakes!

* In case you don't know, my husband and I founded a nonprofit organization in 1988, saved the old Minnesota State Fair Carousel from being auctioned to collectors, and have operated the carousel with volunteers ever since. A year ago we hired an executive director so we can cut back on our own volunteer involvement. Clearly, we haven't walked away just yet.


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