Log Cabin Homes From the Sharlot Hall Museum

In keeping with the theme from last week, I have attached six different art prints of three particular structures that are located on the grounds of the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott, Arizona. (Sharlot Hall Museum Info on Wikipedia)

I have used two different approaches for each of the three structures. The first one for each of them was created using a colored pencil sketching technique. On the second art print, I used an impasto style (a type of painting style that uses very thick paint, creating strong brush strokes). The two different styles create a very different look for each subject matter. There isn’t a right or wrong as it’s more of a visual preference of the viewer. The sketching style creates a more subtle, softer visual where the impasto style creates a bolder look with stronger colors.

The first structure is Fort Misery. It is the oldest log building associated with the territory of Arizona. Originally built in 1863-1864 along the banks of Granite Creek (two blocks south of the museum) by a trader as a home and store. It was disassembled and reassembled on the museum grounds of the Sharlot Hall Museum in 1934.

Fort Misery Sketched
The Log Cabins

The inspiration behind the next two art prints is a reconstructed ranch house on the grounds of the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott, Arizona. This reconstruction was done in the 1930’s to represent a typical ranch house in this area during the mid 1800’s.

The Ranch House Sketched
Log Cabin In The Woods

The inspiration behind the last two prints is the original governors mansion built in Prescott Arizona. The structure was built in 1864 to house the governor of the newly aligned Arizona Territory. The structure is now located on the grounds of the Sharlot Hall Museum.

Governors Mansion Arizona Sketched
Log Cabin Front Porch

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Train Station Door

I have attached two different approaches to a singular subject matter. The singular subject matter is the train station door in Glendale, California. The train station was built in 1924 by the Southern Pacific Railroad using a romantic Spanish Colonial Revival style. The elaborate architectural details immediately become a visual focal point. The station now serves for both Amtrak and the Los Angeles Metro Link Rail system and was purchased by the city of Glendale in 1989.

Having been through this station numerous times over the last 20+ years, I was usually too busy coming or going to stop and really absorb the architectural detail. Finally in 2017 I did a photoshoot of the entire station and settled on this perspective of the door as a true representation of the beauty of the building.

I chose two different sketching techniques to highlight the beauty of the architectural details. Both techniques created totally different visual experiences of the same subject. There isn’t a right or wrong in either technique, just a visual preference by the viewer, which varies from viewer to viewer.

Sketched Train Station Door
Pastel Train Station Door

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Tropical Scenes in a Medieval Gothic Art Style

This may sound a little strange presenting tropical scenery using an earth tone medieval gothic art style and normally I wouldn’t have ever thought of it. That being said, I had an experience touring a Queen Anne style mansion years ago that illuminated me to this look. The mansion in question is called Brucemoore (wikipedia) located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is a National Trust Historic Site and was built between 1884 and 1886 on a 26 acre park like estate. The last owners (the Halls 1937-1981) added two basement recreation rooms, “The Tahitian Room”, and a “Grizzly Bar”. The Tahitian room is designed to resemble a tropical island, including a faux hut roof, and a switch that can create artificial rain. It is this room where the inspiration behind the prints I have posted came from. All of the tropical art prints decorating this room were done in a similar gothic style and actually gave the Tahitian room a very warm feel due to the earth tone colors.

These prints were created using the inspiration of a large tropical resort in Mazatlan, Mexico. Situated on the beach with the Pacific Ocean at its doorstep. The grounds include swimming pools, ponds and tropical foliage creating that inner sanctum feel to shed the worries of the world. Located on the Mexican Riviera, Mazatlan is straight across the Sea of Cortez from the tip of Baja (Cabo San Lucas) on the mainland.

“Afternoon at the Beach”
“The Beach Crowd”
“Tropical Paradise”
“Resort Palm Trees”

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The Saguaro And The Deep Blue Sky

The Saguaro And The Deep Blue Sky is a color photograph of a red rock outcropping and a Saguaro cactus. The setting is Tortilla Flats located east of Phoenix, Arizona in the Superstition Mountains. The day was obviously a clear day, but more importantly to capture a shot like this, the direction you are taking the picture has to be lined up in such a way (referencing the sun) for the sky to resonate with this deep color. I did a series of shots that day, this one being the perfectly framed capture with that deep blue sky as a back drop.

The Saguaro And The Deep Sky

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Hiking in Abstract Watercolor

From all of the hiking I have done in the Pacific Northwest over the years, I wanted to share three art prints I did from some shots I took. I used a watercolor technique that uses abstract shapes and clean lines to create a sharp contemporary look.

The first one is of a stump I came across along the trail.

Stump in the Forest

The second one gives you an idea of how narrow the path actually was at this point in the hike.

Forest Path

The third one shows the hiking trail opening up slightly as the terrain leveled off.

Forest Trail

I’m always trying to find an artistic look with the captures I take and thought this modern abstract look added a different element to the scene.

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Street Scenes in Fauvism

This week I wanted to share the captures that were behind three art prints I created using a fauvism technique. The fauvism technique creates a strong colorful and abstract look. All three that I am sharing today are of what I call “Street Scenes”.

The first one is a scene of a downtown sidewalk in Rockford, Michigan. You’ll notice on the photo that it’s Christmas time and on the art print I chose not to highlight that aspect. I didn’t hide it as you will see the red stripes on the street lamps, but didn’t want to make it about the time of year. What I was after was the depth of a view down a long block of small businesses in a small town.

Rockford, Michigan
The Lawyers Office And The Village Shops

The second series is the 16th Street Mall in Denver, Colorado. This capture is from the eastern end of the pedestrian mall about a block away from the state capital. You get a feel for just how long the mall is when you see the D&F Tower in the very background of the picture. The D&F Tower is on the western part of the mall, but by no means is it at the end of the mall. Again I was looking at depth with strong colors and that abstract approach.

Denver 16th Street Mall In Fauvism
Denver 16th Street Mall In Fauvism

In the third set, this setting is Roche Harbor on San Juan Island northwest of Seattle, Washington. It’s a beautiful setting with a large harbor filled with sailboats. In this scene I was attracted to the architecture of the hotel and the building above it. Again, I like the strong colors and abstract approach to the scene with this style.

Roche Harbor Street Scene
Roche Harbor Street Scene

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Sepia Tone For the Old West

As I have talked about before with sepia tone photography, the subject matter needs to fit the historic tone of this type of photograph. This week I am featuring four prints from the “Wild West”.

Tombstone Stagecoach


The setting is Tombstone, Arizona. The old stagecoach is now a tourist attraction for rides through historic Tombstone.

Old Mining Tracks

The setting here is Tortilla Flats, located east of the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area up in the Superstitious Mountains. Once a stage coach stop, Tortilla Flats is more of a tourist attraction with a great restaurant, small museum and gift shop all looking like an old west town including old wagons, wagon wheels and a replica of an entrance to a mine.

Old West Wagon

I used a sepia tone finish on these last two photographs, but then I pulled the original colors out through the brown hue. I then added a slight hint of texture to complete the old west look and feel to the photographs. The setting for these two old west wagons is Cave Creek, Arizona. Tourist shops are set up as an old west town. Throughout the town are actual old wagons, wheels, carriages and other western vintage items from the 1800’s.

Red Wagon Wheel

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Balcony Sunset Photoshoot

This weeks blog has a number of pictures attached to it. I’ve been asked a number of times about the process I go through creating the digital art you see posted. Almost everything starts with a photoshoot. (I do create art prints digitally from scratch, but this post is about an example of creating from a photoshoot)

For this example I am using a photoshoot I did in January of 2011. The setting is a sunset over the Pacific Ocean taken from the balcony off of our bedroom overlooking the coastline of Carlsbad, California (Northern San Diego County). This is the house we raised our girls in and we lived there for almost 20 years. The house was at the end of a cul de sac in a neighborhood that was located on top of a ridge 3 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. To the immediate west of our neighborhood/property was a field owned by the Carlsbad Water District. The importance of that was that it was never going to be built on and offered an unobstructed view all the way down to the coast. I give that background because of this photoshoot. In all the years we lived there, this sunset was an exception to the rule and was only seen a few times. For this type of sunset, there must be high level clouds and an unobstructed view. We had the view at all times, but during the spring, summer and fall months it was more typical to have a marine layer come ashore late afternoon into the night. The marine layer typically was low level clouds (not fog), that hid most sunsets over the ocean. The only time we actually had clear skies at sunset was in the winter as the marine layer was less common. The high level clouds were also a rarity in this area preventing this type of a colorful sunset. On this particular day, we started to see the colors burst forth in our backyard. I immediately clued into what was happening and grabbed my camera, ran upstairs to our bedroom and the balcony. I have attached 8 of the 18 shots I took that day a number of them were redundant and the rest were poor shots looking towards the extreme south and north.

Balcony Sunset 1

This was the first capture I took using my telephoto lens focusing on the immediate west.

Balcony Sunset 2

I zoomed in a little more. The building you see with the “smoke stack” is a coastal power plant that was built quite awhile ago as a coal burning facility. It was converted to gas years ago and today the smoke stack has been removed.

Balcony Sunset 3

This shot is without extending the telephoto lens and is the view we had with the naked eye.

Balcony Sunset 4

Zooming in just south of the power plant capturing more of the clouds.

Balcony Sunset 5

Lowering the framing slightly.

Balcony Sunset 6

Zooming back towards the power plant…

Balcony Sunset 7

Pulling back on the telephoto to capture more of the clouds as the colors are deepening.

Balcony Sunset 8

Pulling back on the telephoto to capture a widening shot. These were the captures I narrowed it down to creating the art prints that follow.

Coastal Sunset
Pacific Sunset

These two shots were cropped and a subtle digital watercolor overlay to highlight the orange tones. Also I removed the smoke stack from the power plant (not knowing it was going to be removed in reality but not until 2020).

Love is Patient

Cropping “Coastal Sunset” gave me the background for this Inspirational art print.

Carlsbad Sunset

In this capture, I used an impasto style painting which creates large dramatic brush strokes.

Dusk on the Coast

Using the same impasto style on this one, but using one of the photos that had blue sky showing such as Balcony Sunset 1.

These five prints from this photoshoot were created after experimenting with cropping of the captured scene and then the different art styles. This gives you a taste of the process using a photoshoot with a singular subject matter. Multiply it by number of subject matters on a more intense photoshoot.

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