I'm still practising what I read about in the Photoshop 7 Wow! book (note: there are newer editions out there!), especially about adjustment layers. The one thing I've really latched onto is adding a mask to change the transparency levels. Click on the layer you want to modify, then in the layers palette, go down to the bottom and click on the little mask icon (a square with a circle in the middle). A new little window appears in your layer. Anything in black will hide the actual image, anything in gray will be a middle level of opacity, and anything in white will allow the original image to appear unaffected. If you fill the mask (make sure you click on the mask so it has a white highlight around it) with a gradient, then the image will gradually let through what's behind it and fade into it very nicely. You can further mask portions by actually painting on the mask, which is what I did for the close-up of Allen's painting--I wanted to get rid of the lines bounding the smaller painting, and brushed those out with a softly shaded brush.
This--again--isn't one of my favorite layouts, but it was technically interesting!
Note the fist clenched in concentration...
Background papers (recolored) from Lynn Grieveson's super "Crisp" web challenge freebie over at Designer Digitals, and journaling strip (recolored as well--can't I leave anything alone?) from Katie Pertiet also at Designer Digitals, for this week's ad challenge freebie.