Monday, May 25, 2015

Holiday bonus: B.W. and Brittany's "wedding announcement"

This weekend, I stayed up all night on Friday/Saturday as I always do.  I was looking to overhaul some of my personal files when I came across one in which I referenced an announcement of a wedding that took place in Mississippi on Dec. 21, 2002.  Memorie McCreary and William Finney got married that day; as I noted, the maid of honor for that event was a real-life namesake, Caroline Barefoot, who is McCreary's cousin.  I then concocted a scenario in which he married a cousin of the groom's, Alden Belk, and had a Rev. Bobby Baker (also referenced on the page as he wed Shannon Henderson and Daryl Morgan in a ceremony six months later) officiate.

Of course, I don't know whether any of this occurred, but I was surprised to find out that the announcement is still available to view on the website of a local newspaper.  With that, an idea came to me to use that as the template for the renewal of wedding vows of my Buddy Wayne Barefoot and Brittany (Raylene) Spears characters.

Before I post the "happy news," I have to explain why it's a renewal.

As I wrote in The Buddy Wayne Chronicles, B.W. had already married a local (Meadow, NC) woman named Shayla McLamb.  However, as he was touring the country as a musician, he met Spears, a young singer in her family's bluegrass band who wanted both professional respect and personal companionship.  Buddy Wayne was so smitten by Brittany that he dumped Shayla right away and started dating Brittany.  Because the Barefoot family disapproved so much of his divorce - and because Brittany was just 18 years old at the time - it was decided that the new couple would elope in Las Vegas.  (This is the first picture you see here; I would actually set it in 2011 rather than 2010; just another one of my character-development errors.)

But B.W. still wanted the wedding of his dreams, and wanted to bond more with Brittany.  (Remember that both live separately with their families in different states, North Carolina and Kentucky respectively.)  Besides, it would be quality time with their daughter, Blanton Elizabeth who everyone calls "Lizzie."  So in 2013, the marriage would be re-enacted publicly at the Barefoot Family Farm.  Here's the happy couple - again - and below it is the official announcement.

Brittany Raylene Spears of Beattyville, KY and Buddy Wayne Barefoot of Benson, NC, renewed their wedding vows at 2 o'clock in the afternoon on October 19, 2013, at the Barefoot Family Farm in Meadow, NC.  They were originally married in Las Vegas in 2011 and are parents of a daughter, Blanton Elizabeth "Lizzie" Spears.

Ralph Barefoot, uncle of the groom and pastor of Long Branch Church in Meadow, performed the ceremony.

The bride is the daughter of Blanton Boyle Spears and Rebecca Leah Spears of Beattyville. She is the granddaughter of Mildred McGrubb and the late John Henry McGrubb of Lee County and the late Breckinridge Spears and Amelia Spears of Beattyville.

The groom is the son of Brenda Barefoot of Benson and the special friend of Alonzo Hoyt Barefoot of Meadow. He is the grandson of Rozelle Barefoot and the late Alfred E. Barefoot of Benson and Laura Raynor and the late Tommy Raynor of Benson.

The Spears Family Band provided most of the music, consisting of Brittany Spears, Blanton Spears Jr. (brother of bride), Bunch Spears (brother of bride), Bradshaw Spears (uncle of bride), Brashears Spears (uncle of bride), and Breckinridge Spears (grandfather of bride), all of Beattyville.  The soloist was Bubba Brister (friend of groom) of Meadville, MS.  Dancing was Bethany Spears (sister of bride) of Beattyville.

The church was decorated with the windows adorned with fall harvest leaves accented with ribbon. The altar had fall harvest leaves accented with ribbon and candelabra with purple bell flowers, white gerberas and bridal roses. The bride was given in marriage by her father.

The bride's dress was a Lillian M design. It was white satin with organza overlay and a strapless neckline. Special details included re-embroidered lace with a floral motif. The bodice was pearl and sequined covered with self-covered buttons to waist. The waistline was natural and enhanced with seed pearls and iridescent beading. It had an A-line skirt with embroidered lace of floral. Special details included motif with pearls and sequins scattered over skirt with a satin edging around the hem. The train was chapel length. The bride's bouquet was hand tied of Charlotte roses accented with white minicalla lilies.

The maid of honor was the cousin of the bride, Rachel Mullins of Lexington, KY. Bridesmaids included Kellie Jo McPooh of Booneville, KY (friend of bride), Lindsay Ratterree of Booneville (friend of bride), Brandy Barefoot of Raleigh, NC (cousin of groom), and Kimberly Strickland of Four Oaks, NC (cousin of groom). The attendants wore satin claret red colored dresses with a chiffon overlay and a small flowing train.

The flower girl was Blanton Elizabeth Spears, daughter of the bride and groom. The ring bearer was Bryson Barefoot (half-brother of groom), son of Brenda Raynor of Benson and James Lockamy of Coats, NC.

The best man was Bobby Ray Barefoot (brother of groom) of Pineville, NC. Groomsmen were Britton Barefoot (cousin of groom) of Raleigh, Brandon McLamb (friend of groom) of Plain View, NC, and Blanton Spears Jr. and Bunch Spears (brothers of bride), both of Beattyville.

Ushers were Brett Breathitt (friend of bride) of Jackson, KY and Mike Barbour (friend of groom) of Smithfield, NC.

The bride's mother's dress was a champagne tea-length two-piece suit. The top was adorned in pearls and iridescent beading. Her bouquet was hand-tied nose gay of white tineke roses.

The bridegroom's mother's dress was violet tea-length two-piece suit of crushed crepe adorned with iridescent buttons. Her bouquet was hand-tied nose gay of Charlotte roses with French ribbon.

The maid of honor had a hand stein bouquet of white calla lilies, bridal roses, white miniature gerberas accented with purple bell flowers and ivory sheer ribbon. The bridesmaids had hand stein bouquets of white miniature gerberas, bridal roses, gypsophlia accented with purple bell flowers.

The reception was in the common room of Long Branch Church. Presiding at the register table was Harvey Barefoot (uncle of the groom).

Serving at the reception were Candace Peele, Ruby Elizabeth Barefoot and Bailey Rebecca Barefoot (cousins of the groom), Joshua Mullins (cousin of bride), and David Ratterree, Brianna Breathitt, and Michaelle Breathitt (friends of bride).

The couple honeymooned on a Caribbean cruise before returning to Meadow.

Between the template and the above notice, I made two significant changes:
  • Because B.W. has cut ties to his biological father, his great-uncle and "father figure" Alonzo replaces him in that slot.
  • The Christmas garlands and greens in the real wedding were replaced by fall harvest leaves and other related accents.
Two different couples' pictures in The Daily Record (Dunn, NC) were used as the bodies on which I put B.W.'s and Brittany's faces.  For the first picture, the backdrop is the Las Vegas Strip as published by and  The second backdrop is a combination of the bridge and land from Raven Rock State Park near Lillington, NC (as published in The Daily Record) and water from a picture of a lake supplied by my former Photoshop teacher, Brady Poirier.

Finally, the first syllable of Brianna's name is pronounced "dry" instead of the usual "free," and Michaelle's first name is pronounced as if were spelled "Mikayla" or "McKayla."

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Buddy Wayne is money - literally

This is a personal project I have thought of for quite some time, and I finished it just moments ago.

In 1999, the United States Mint began to put out a series of commemorative coins celebrating all of the 50 states.  The idea was to select an iconic landmark, person, or event for each state and place it on each coin on the other side of a new profile picture of George Washington.  It was an immediate hit among collectors and in fact was later expanded to include Washington, D.C. and all of the territories.  (For more information on the program, visit

I then had the idea of replacing Washington's face on the North Carolina coin with that of Buddy Wayne Barefoot.  This coin would be for collection only and would not be accepted as legal tender at any retail store or other location.  It turned out to be a harder task than I thought, and even now I don't know if the result is acceptable.  However, given what I had to work with as it relates to Photoshop, this is as good as it got.

I began by taking B.W.'s face and resizing it to fit approximately the size of the profile of Washington.  I also had to position it so as not to cover up two very important elements: the word "LIBERTY" on one side and the words "IN GOD WE TRUST" on the other.  After that, I tried to "stamp" the face to match how "the father of our country" is depicted on the real coin.  Just to get close to that, I needed six different effects layers within "buddyface": Bevel & Emboss, Inner Shadow, Inner Glow, Satin, Gradient Overlay, and Pattern Overlay.

You can judge how I did by looking at before and after.



The source of the original photo is at this address.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Meet Hambone and her friends

I was inspired to create this by a quote in a book by reality television star and celebrity dancer Sadie Robertson called Live Original: "No one can choose their family, but all of us can choose our friends.  Whether or not you have a great family or a family you think is not so great, you can still choose awesome friends." 

That leads to Hambone, who has butted heads with the rest of the house because of her laidback attitude toward life.  Buddy Wayne belittled her by not allowing to go around New Jerusalem before the big show without a chaperone, Brenda hates it that she enjoys the occasional beer, and she has battled Brandy for quality time with Annie (and resents it because Annie is Hambone's mother).  So what to do?  Make some good friends and make sure to have their back.

I based the frame of the photo on one I found in (the real) Brittany Barefoot's photo gallery on Facebook; this was from a party for the Greenwood High School senior class of 2008.  Part of the picture was washed out and dim so some adjustments were needed to make it more presentable.  Then I substituted the original faces with these six:
  • Sammy Bizzell: Nancy Bowling, junior softball pitcher, University of Arizona
  • Carlie McLamb: Kelsey (don't know her last name), student at Union University in Tennessee
  • Elizabeth "Beth" Barefoot: Her late namesake who lived in Clinton, NC
  • Reba Pearl "Hambone" Barefoot: Alyssa Barefoot, Meadow, NC
  • Laura Jean Johnson: Brandy Rapp
  • Bellamy Wood: Bethany Bowling, teacher at Northern Kentucky University
And of course I had to replace Beth and Hambone's "shoes" with bare feet.:)

The backdrop photo was taken at the Hacker Martin Gristmill and Cantilever Barn at the Museum of Appalachia in Norris, TN.  John Rice Irwin established the replica 1850s homestead and it is now a tourist attraction and an affiliate of the Smithsonian.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Another reality show for Ralph

It's time for another mythical crossover episode in which one of my characters appears on an actual nonfiction TV show.  This time, the show is 90 Day Fiance, which airs on TLC.

The idea of this program, which debuted in 2013, is to pair an American citizen with an immigrant from another country.   The immigrant is in the U.S. on a K-1 visa, which shows the intent of that person to marry the citizen and stay in the country permanently.  But here's the deal (as Hambone would drawl): If the wedding doesn't take place in 90 days, the immigrant is effectively deported back to his or her country of origin!  Obviously, the rush for the couple to know each other, plan the marriage, and get the support of loved ones on both sides was too much for TLC to resist making into a TV show.

In this case, Ralph, our 26-year-old preacher/outdoorsman from North Carolina, has fallen in love with Beatha, a 23-year-old Irish folk dancer.  They meet at the New Jerusalem talent-show festival (more on the Barefoot family show here), and both show mutual love for each other.  Once Ralph returns home, he arranges for Beatha to join him in the U.S., he helps her sign the visa papers, and the rush is on.

There is huge drama on several fronts:
  • Is all of this happening for the right reasons of true love?  Or is it just so to fulfill Popeye's longtime desire to become a grandfather?
  • How much can Beatha get used to the quirky lifestyle of rural people in the South?
  • Finally, will the ceremony even be allowed to take place, given that Jesus Christ is symbolically the "bride" in a "marriage" to his church (Ephesians 5:31-32)?

While we ponder these questions, here's the publicity photo the network would create.  As always, Ralph is University of Mississippi employee Brett Barefoot.  As for Beatha, she's portrayed by Katie Yeakle, a trainee with American Writers and Artists, Inc.  AWAI, based in Florida, provides training and support for advertising copywriters.  (That's something I would like to do someday from my home for much-needed income, but so far all the training has been expensive and frankly I haven't been able to squeeze in the time I would need to devote, either.)  The TLC logo comes from Wikipedia, while the 90 Day Fiance graphic is a screenshot I took from the show's webpage.

As for the background shot, it comes from a picture originally with folk-music artists Brian and Lynn Hefferan, also known as the Fabulous Heftones.  One of their songs, "Bye Bye Blues," has become a favorite of mine since I first saw it on YouTube.  I had to make sure that Ralph's and Beatha's profiles were big enough to cover the Hefferans' original images; I also used the clone stamp to account for significant differences that arose.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Barefoot Mommas' Club revisited

Two months ago, I redid a photo of Kay Robertson of the A&E series Duck Dynasty and her fellow members of a "muffins for mom" social club into a supersized version of my Barefoot Mommas Club, as seen below.

However, upon closer inspection, there was a significant problem: The photo was slanted at an angle above ground level, and was blurry.  Even though I cloned the source picture, it could have looked a whole lot better.

Then I stumbled on a solution: On my way back from a recent visit to a local optometrist, I walked to a library that is part of the Los Angeles County system and checked out Miss Kay's Duck Commander Kitchen, the same book I used for the source.  This time, since I took it home, I could tear the picture on page 150 out, put it on a scanner I have at home, and save it to my hard drive so I can use it in Photoshop.  (Don't worry, I will reattach the page before I send it back to the library.:))

At that point, I did what I did before, assigning faces for my 24 characters and placing them on top of the bodies of the actual subjects.  The difference this time is that the resulting picture looks better since the background photo is closer in appearance to the original than the "picture of a picture" I took in a bookstore where the lighting was just too bright.

Here's how it looks now:

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Hambone joins the 'ducky' Robertsons

This week, my task was a little easier: Make a commemorative photo montage of a recent "breaking of the fourth wall" in which my Hambone character "visits" the real-life Robertson family made famous on the A&E series Duck Dynasty.  (It's not the first such crossover; recently, I used a photo of Miss Kay and some of her friends to help expand the Barefoot Mommas Club.)  This would result in an episode in which Hambone visits the company headquarters (and even makes her own duck call with the infamous "blow me" phrase on the package, which Willie has her cross out before she leaves), takes a trip to one of the Robertsons' duck blinds and pretends to hunt even though it's out of season, and steals an ATV from Jase and almost flips it over.  At the end, she leads the end-of-show prayer, which no woman has actually done so far (usually Phil does it).

This shows Hambone as she's about to hunt, in a camouflage shirt and face paint on her, to make sure she doesn't blend in with the ducks.  The pose is based on a picture of "farm to table" chef Georgia Pellegrini, who often hunts for her food.  I took a selection of Pellegrini's body, set it aside, then placed and shaped Hambone's face and shirt so it would match the dimensions identically.  The clone-stamp tool was used to account for the differences.  The hat came from a picture posted at the Sportsman's Warehouse website, then re-sized and skewed the hat to fit on Hambone's head.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Part two: Huge retro 'photo' with five residents

Now, as promised, I present the biggest project I've ever done, in terms of how many elements it contains.

For quite some time, I have sought older photographs that were taken decades ago, to represent the history and heritage carried over to modern times by the Barefoot Family Farm.  About a week ago, as I updated an extended pedigree of the real-life descendants of Miles Barefoot and his son Miles "Pink" (who I have also adopted as the family patriarch of my 13 characters),  I came across a photo showing 36 people posing outside a building.  I found it on the Find A Grave page of Ida Barefoot, who was one of them.

I then got the idea to do two things: 1) Colorize the picture; 2) Somehow work some of "the 13" into my version.

Originally, I wanted to place some of their faces into the colorized version, but I eventually figured it would be better to present them as younger versions of themselves instead.  And since Popeye, his wife Annie, and their children Ralph, Harvey, and Hambone are the oldest residents in the collective sense, that's who I chose to be featured.

All the colorization took place using the "colorize" feature (of course) of the hue and saturation layer.  The thing is, it took over 50 such adjustments to get it to look how I wanted it.  The trickiest part was the skin color; if I did it wrong, some of them would have had overly-reddish skin and look more Native American than Caucasian.

After looking at the faces, I found the best portrayals of the quintet in their younger days.  Here, Alonzo and Annie are recently married and in their 20s; as for the kids, Ralph is 8 years old, Harvey is 6, and Reba Pearl is 3.

Here is the before:

Now, here is the after, with the family farm residents' names pointed out via caption:

Also of note in the "after" is that the person sitting down is Noah Gideon a/k/a "Gid", Popeye's father and the nearest direct relative to everyone at the Barefoot Family Farm (except for Bryson, who has a half-brother relationship through Brenda, who is the wife of one of Gid's grandsons). 

The setting of my new version is Unity Presbyterian Church, which was where most family members who lived in Meadow went until Long Branch Disciple Church on Barefoot Road became available; Ralph, of course, is now the minister at Long Branch.  Gid was the pastor at the time.  To Gid's left and at an angle slightly is his wife Velma, and on the ground to his immediate left is Noah, who went on to teach Belinda, Bryson, and others in the extended family's one-room schoolhouse on Meadowbrook Road.