Full Moon Rising – Behind The Scenes Layer by Layer

I have been working on a series of art prints creating abstract sunsets, sunrises and the one I’m featuring today is a full moon rising. The series is a simplistic abstract approach to these subjects.

One of the features in Photoshop I use with creating these prints is layering. I create just portions of the entire subject on each layer and then “lay” them on top of each other for the final look. Todays blog takes you through each step as I layer what totals out to be 8 layers to create “Full Moon Rising”. Full Moon Rising shows the rising moon coming up over a mountain range and is reflected in a mountain lake.

The base layer is called the background layer and is totally white. So starting with the “1st” layer on top of the base, I am creating the sky using a blue tone that I created by drawing a large rectangle filling the top half of the print and filling it with blue. I then used a gradient tool that filters the blue going light to dark (or visa versa) from the horizon line to the top of the page.

Layer 1 Blue with gradient tool

Layer 2 is adding the same rectangle and reversing the gradient tool filling the bottom half of the piece.

Layer 2 reversing the top layer for the bottom half.

Layer 3 is the addition of white stars on the bottom half. The stars are drawn on a “blank” layer and by adding it next over the the previous layer all that shows are the stars.

Layer 3 adding stars to the bottom half

Layer 4 is the addition of the rising moon as a full circle of color. Again, the layer is “blank’ with the exception of the round moon, so when it is layered on top of all the other layers…all that shows is the addition of the yellow circle.

Layer 4 adds the rising moon as a full circle of yellow.

Layer 5 adds an identical circle below the first one to prepare for the reflection in the mountain lake.

Layer 5 adds another yellow circle below the first one.

Layer 6 adds the mountain range as a black silhouette across the top starting with the horizon line. The mountain range was inspired by the view we had from our house in Arizona of the Estrella Mountains using the same cragginess and various peaks of that range.

Layer 6 adds the mountain range

Layer 7 duplicates the mountain range upside down to continue the look of a reflection in a mountain lake.

Layer 7 adds an upside down mountain range.

Layer 8 completes the print with the addition of stars into the nighttime sky.

Layer 8 adding nighttime stars into the sky to complete the print.

End result – Full Moon Rising – a simplistic abstract look!

Thoughts?

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Old World Look to Tropical Resorts

Seems like kind of a strange thing to create art prints with an old world gothic look using current tropical resorts, but there is a method to the madness or a reason I went down this road.

A number of years ago I toured this old historic victorian mansion in a midwestern town and let me just say it was truly a very large mansion. It serves as a museum with the house furnished as it was in its’ glory years. The decor is very formal and truly stunning throughout. The surprise factor was in the basement. The original owners loved to travel to the tropics and had a large bar (almost cantina in size) decorated in an old world tropical motif. What does that mean you might ask. The furnishings, including the artwork reflected a tropical paradise, but not in bright tropical colors. The color scheme was earth tones reflecting a look you would expect from an era of old worldwide explorers. The art work was all done in a “gothic style” from the middle ages. The whole look worked really well in creating a very subdued, casual and inviting atmosphere. That look really stuck in my head all these years.

So, fast forward to current times and I have taken that same look using a “gothic” technique on scenes from various resorts we have visited over the last number of years. I attached five prints created using this technique.

Thoughts?

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Tropical Bird of Paradise – Three Different Looks

On most of my work, as part of the creative process, I create my subject matter using different techniques to see which presentation I like the best. As is true with a number of my prints, I can never quite settle on just one look. A perfect example of this are the three different prints I have attached based around the same bird of paradise.

All three looks came from one drawing. I created this bird of paradise bloom by using a pen and ink style. This style creates the black outline and accent points of this flower. From there I created the first print which was Bird Of Paradise Abstract Watercolor. I added the color using a style that almost looks like it was sprayed….a very light and loose watercolor style that not only puts the color in the subject but also “outside the lines” to create a more abstract look. I liked the result and kept this as one of the final prints.

The next step I took was to use this same print, but this time I cleaned up the colors “outside the lines” creating Tropical Bird of Paradise Watercolor (notice the background color stays the same).  I liked this result also and this as one of my prints.

The third process was a multitude of attempts using various techniques to create different brush strokes using the second print as a basis. Looking at the different results, I Iiked this look the most creating A Bird Of Paradise Bloom.

Thoughts?

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Desert Glow – Hot Air Balloons Simplistic Abstract

This week I’m going back to a subject I feature periodically and that’s hot air balloons. Having been fortunate enough to live in a couple of locations that have hot air balloons frequently, I have seen many different balloons during various stages of flight. This week I wanted to feature three balloons I have done using a simplistic abstract approach. All three are inspired by a “Desert Glow” event we went to in the Phoenix area a few years back. Fully inflated balloons are tethered to the ground after the sun sets. As the sky darkens, the balloons illuminate themselves as they turn their flames on and off to music….incredible sight to see. Keeping true to the dark background of night, I kept the colors of the balloons bright as the envelopes are lit up by the flame at the base. The simplicity of this technique allows the eye to focus on the color of the balloon envelopes.

With this technique, I start with ink strokes creating the envelopes of the balloon and the basket. I use strokes of different widths to keep it more suggestive rather than just a linear sketch. Using the same technique, I add just enough at the bottom to suggest a crowd of people and keep a focus on the flame itself. The fun part is recreating the colorful designs of various balloon envelopes I encountered at this event. Of course I was going to replicate the balloon with the large Saguaro Cactus on it since this was inspired by an Arizona event.

Thoughts?

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Colorful Arizona – Featured Art Prints

This week I wanted to feature two prints that highlight the colors of Arizona. Both scenes say “Arizona” because of the subject matter, but I wanted to highlight the colorful beauty that is seen in each of these locations. I used a fauvism technique (if you follow my blog and/or work, you are familiar with my use of this technique to create a somewhat colorful and abstract look) to highlight the tones and hues that nature provides.

The first print is the Grand Canyon. I used a lookout point as a portion of the foreground to add dimension and drama to the scene. You get a true sense of depth looking from the foreground out across the canyon. The ribbons of color from the different layers of rock strata are accentuated via bright colors and the bold brush strokes.

The second print features a saguaro cactus native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and the state of Sonora in Mexico. The sky becomes the colorful focal point in this print as either a sunrise or sunset can light up the desert with bright, vidid colors. Again, the strong brush strokes accent the colorful sky with a typical desert setting in the foreground.

Thoughts?

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Stop and Take a Pause on Your Journey

Day in and day out each of us have so many things going on albeit it physically or mentally. It is usually what needs to get done or what do I need to accomplish today. It can be your mind racing about current issues in your life or stressing about the future….it’s a multitude of ongoing things. When I feel myself getting a bit overwhelmed, I remind myself to pause, take a deep breath and quiet my mind. I like to picture myself hiking one of my favorite trails in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest….the peace and quiet of the forest takes over…….

Thoughts?

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Balboa Park – More Spanish Revival Architecture

From my post a few weeks ago of the door at the Glendale Train Station in the Los Angeles area, I featured an example of Spanish Revival architecture. Continuing on that same vein, I wanted to feature another structure in California that was built in the same tine frame with the same style. In my attached sketches I have include three art prints that feature the Museum of Man in Balboa Park, San Diego, California. Built for the Panama – California Exposition (1915-1916) in Balboa Park, this style of architecture is prominent throughout the park. I chose to feature the Museum of Man, as it stands out so prominently as a representation of this style.

For those of you not familiar with the history of Balboa Park in San Diego, here’s a link to their main site: Balboa Park. The park features numerous museums, restaurants and the world famous Old Globe Theater and sits right next to the San Diego Zoo. Having raised our family in San Diego, needless to say we visited the park and the zoo numerous times over the years.

So the prints I decided to feature start with the main entrance to The Museum of Man. This sketch shows the ornate architectural detail just above the main entrance.

The next sketch shows the top of the tower connected to the museum…..

And this last sketch  shows the entire tower along with the dome to the Old Globe Theater.

 

Thoughts?

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