This week I’m sharing a print I just finished. It’s based on a capture I took a few years ago. It’s a sailboat on San Diego Bay with downtown San Diego as the back drop. The point of view of the scene is looking across the bay from Coronado Island towards the downtown skyline. With this print, I used the original photo and did a Photoshop “abstract” creation. Using those two as a guide, I digitally painted this final print. I liked subduing the buildings for the background to have the sailboat stand front and center. I also took the liberty of creating abstract foliage for the majority of the coastline at the base of the buildings so as to not have to put in detail actually found there (such as the USS Midway floating museum). I kept to a linear abstract approach keeping clean lines where needed creating the various shapes.
My post this week takes a look at three different sunsets that I created using an abstract approach to the subject matter with an impasto style of brush strokes. There are two things going on with these prints. First, I created the scene by making general shapes in various shades of color for the clouds and ocean. Next, I took those creations and did an impasto style of brush strokes. This type of brush stroke is bold and creates depth to the painting.
In this first one I stayed in the orange and yellow family for color. I also added a coastline for the foreground. Carlsbad Sunset is based on a dramatic sunset over the Pacific Ocean in Northern San Diego County. The view point is a hilltop a few miles inland overlooking the ocean.
This second one represents a colorful sunset again based on an actual sunset in Northern San Diego County. The general viewpoint of both is the type of view we had from our house in San Diego County. What makes these prints even more impressive is that in the 18 years we lived there, these were some of the few colorful sunsets we had. Living close to the coast in this part of Southern California does have its advantages in moderate temperatures year round typically not getting either real hot or cold. That said, the ocean keeps the air temperature moderate, but also does create what is called a marine layer (low level clouds that are close to being fog if they were to get lower). Dramatic sunsets require high level clouds to reflect the colors from the setting sun and a marine layer blocks all of that.
This last abstract sunset is based on a look I saw from a Northern California coastal beach that had actual fog roll in just as the sun was setting. It created unique colors through the fog that I took into the blue and purple color family to make this a unique abstract print.
Last summer I shared a couple of captures I took of our Bougainvillea blooms from our backyard. It took me until November to take those shots and create watercolor art prints of them. I also took them into two different directions, dark & bold and light & subtle. The original shots were taken to highlight the back lighting of the “colored bracts” surrounding the actual flower. That’s the technical and actual description, but most of us see the bracts as petals creating the bloom. The actual flower is a very small insignificant light colored center piece in the center of the bracts. Ok, so much for our botanical class lesson and let’s move on to what I did with them.
I wanted to present the look in a watercolor format as that lends itself to a soft warm presentation. What also caught me eye was the subtle difference in lighting and color saturation between the two. I decided to accent those differences which resulted in the attached art prints! I think the name I gave each says it all in what I saw as differences between the two.
Lighthouses are a great symbol of guidance to safety. I’ve attached two art prints I have created of lighthouses using entirely different approaches. On both, I added the same verse which I thought fit perfectly with a lighthouse. The verse refers to the “Light of Life”, which I think of as Love, Hope, Peace and Joy. We all seek that and find comfort in these feelings. With the Christmas Season upon us, especially this year, we definitely could use as much Love as we can muster for each other and the Hope that we will conquer this pandemic sooner rather than later. Peace and Joy we all seek in our everyday lives on a daily basis. All of this is within our ability as individuals and is one of the few things we can actually control on a daily basis.
This first print, I created the lighthouse in a very abstract matter.
The second print, I created using ink drawing to outline the lighthouse structure and then filled in the color with a watercolor/airbrush technique.
May your holiday season be filled with Love, Hope, Peace and Joy!
I have attached two newer prints I created using orchids as a subject matter. In the case of these two, I used an impasto technique to create two strong visual experiences. This technique uses large and bold brush strokes creating a very distinctive visual texture. Add bold colors and the prints definitely stand out.
A good friend of ours has a green thumb with orchids and I used two of her plants as inspiration for these prints. I loved the deep purple of the one plant which inspired the first print.
I also like the look of back lighting these types of flowers (the blooms are thin enough to create a glow when back lit) and tried to replicate that look with these red orchids.
I wanted to share a little hiking/photo adventure with you from our trip to the Pacific Northwest. My son-in-law and I love hiking and have been on numerous hikes together. For the last few years I have had to succumb to the fact that with my knees continuing to get worse, I was to the point I couldn’t do much hiking at all. As I have mentioned for those of you that follow me, I had knee replacement surgery on my right knee last year and in June of this year, my left knee. My personality is such that I am all over the physical therapy needed to get back to “normal”. I was looking forward to this trip for many reason, one being to get back into my love of hiking in the Pacific Northwest and the photo opportunities they present.
So on his day off, he suggested a specific trail he knew I would like called Lake 22 Trail near Granite Falls, Washington. It’s about 4 miles one way with an elevation gain of about 1500 feet. At the top of the elevation gain is a lake that the trail goes around….perfect!!
On the day of the hike, it’s raining and turns into a steady solid drizzle as we near the trail head. My backpack is waterproof along with my jacket, so we are good to go. The only thing I was concerned with was my camera getting wet. With that in mind, I pre-set everything to a landscape mode with exposure on auto. That way, all I had to do was pull the camera out and snap pictures quickly (I had it hanging around my neck under may jacket). Perfect….we start out and the rain picks up and we are hiking switchback after switchback gaining altitude. When I see a shot worth taking, I stop, unzip my jacket, grab the camera, snap a few and put it back under my jacket before it gets soaked.
As we started the hike, the trail was well maintained and smooth. The further we got and the longer we hiked, the trail turned into a rocky creek. I didn’t realize how long it had been since I had been able to walk by securing my footing on one rock….balanced myself as I moved my other leg to the next rock keeping me out of the water. At first it wasn’t at all natural and I looked like a drunk initially. We were both laughing at it and eventually it all came back to me. But of course he thought it would then be better if he followed me in case I fell, thus the attached two pictures. I got past that issue and all was good. We had a great hike and I took what I thought would be great pictures.
I was finally getting the balancing thing nailed!!
Well, when we got back to their house and I pulled my camera out to put it away, I noticed that the dial had gotten turned to “manual” for all pictures. In other words, somewhere in the “in and out” from under my jacket I ended up losing my automatic exposure and focus ending up with very, very dark pictures that even all of the digital support of photoshop couldn’t resurrect. I tried every trick in the book when we got home, but to no avail except for one capture and that is the one I have added to the end of the post.
This particular stream was halfway up the trail as we climbed in altitude. I snapped it on the way back down and believe me there was more water coming down this little stream then there was when we were headed up.
In continuing with my series of our road trip from Los Angeles to Seattle and back, this week I am sharing some of the photographs I took on the Northern California Coastline. The shots are from the Mendocino area of the coastline. That would be about halfway between Eureka (on the very northern California coastline and San Francisco).
The drive that day (Pacific Coast Highway) took us slightly inland for awhile and then rejoined the coastline. The slightly inland part was stunning as it took us through Redwood Forests. Unfortunately we weren’t able to stop and grab pics of that experience as the shots I would have liked to have taken occurred while we were driving without the ability to pull over. It was fascinating to see that you’re driving on this nice wide two lane (sometimes four) highway with broad shoulders, then suddenly the speed limit goes way down and you round a curve to the road narrowing down to just two lanes without shoulders. That was to protect the existing redwoods where their trunks are literally right next to the pavement. The road would wind between the trunks and I must say it was stunning.
When we were able to rejoin the coastline, I was able to get the attached shots.
I loved the rock structures along the coastline similar to what you see along the coastline in Oregon. You can tell from the white tips of the protruding rock structures in the water that birds spend a fair amount of time gathering there.
The other thing that is different along the northern California coastline versus the southern or central coastlines are the trees (similar to Oregon, but not as lush) that come right up to the coast.
It was a beautiful fall day for strolling the beach.
I love the different color shades of the ocean as the depth changes. Notice how clear the water is in the little bay.
We hit the weather perfectly along the entire drive. The prior day we had left Seattle very early and made it all the way to Arcata, California just north of Eureka along the coastline. On this day our destination was Santa Cruz along the northern portion of Monterrey Bay, which is south of San Francisco. The next day we drove the final leg home exactly two weeks after we left.
Because of the current pandemic I did want to touch base on how we handled that issue. We were diligent with our masks whenever we were out of the car. We brought sanitary wipes for pumping gas and hotel rooms. The hotel rooms were an issue we researched ahead of time and found that the Hilton chain of hotels seemed to have the best programs. We were able to do remote check-in prior to arrival so we just went to our room and keyed in the code we were given. The rooms had tags sealing the door to verify the room had been disinfected. To protect our family here in Los Angeles and in Seattle we got tests done before heading up and after returning just to verify we were ok.
As part of my continuing series over the last few weeks from our recent road trip to Seattle and back, this weeks post is of Crater Lake National Park. Located northwest of Klamath Falls in the south central portion of Oregon, it was formed 7,700 years ago when a violent eruption triggered the collapse of a tall peak. The collapsed caldera has become the deepest lake in the United States fed by rain and snow and one of the most pristine anywhere on the planet.
In all of our years going up and down the west coast to Seattle, we had never stopped at Crater Lake. I have seen it numerous times from the air flying back and forth, but seeing it up close and personal is an entirely different experience. One of the most recognizable features of the Lake is the island on the western side of the lake. Because of this feature, it makes it easy to spot even at 36,000 feet in the air.
The first thing you notice about the lake is the deep blue color of the water. It looks fake even in person it so so blue.
We drove around the entire lake and as you can see from this capture as we approach the island, it isn’t as small as one would believe, which gives you an idea just how large this lake is.
The next capture (Crater Lake 4) was taken from the drive as it took us around in the upper right coastline of the above capture (Crater Lake 3).
This next capture was a surprise as we continued the drive from Crater Lake 4 going left from that shot.
Love the unique feature that nature created here. Looks like a small castle on an island. To give you a point of reference, the island itself is on the far right side of this capture.
There is so much to do in the Park and so much to see. This just gives you a flavor of the lake itself. Again, the surreal deep blue color of the lake boggles the mind every time you look at it no matter which side of the lake you are on.