Soft Abstract Roses – Featured Art Prints

I love taking macro photographic shots of rose buds and blooms. The colors, texture, etc. create such beautiful visual imagery. Today, I wanted to feature a softer take on rose blooms and then explain how I created them by taking a step back through the process I use to create this type of digital art. I have used Adobe Photoshop for years….probably since it first came out. I remember taking classes from the University of San Diego on how to get the most out of it from an artist perspective. Trust me, it was many years and many versions ago. What I love about the program is the ability to do layers for each of the steps I go through. These roses are a great example of the process, so I will walk you through a simplified version of it.

I start with my macro photography of the rose bloom as the background layer. I then open an empty layer on top of it and using an ink stroke tool (Photoshop), draw the edges and shapes I want to highlight in black. Then I create another layer and pick a digital brush style I like (the brush style I picked here creates an almost air brush look..soft edges). On the blank layer I paint larger areas of colors by painting over the photograph if you will. The large areas of similar colors create the abstract look. I then move the “ink stroke layer” to the top of the layers, eliminate the bottom photograph, merge the layers and the end result is what you are looking at (simplified version as I actually open many laters typically for each color tone).

I also would like to mention that for the painting layer, there are numerous programs out there that can take your photograph and turn it into just about any style of painting. I use these programs in cases where I want to keep the detail of the photograph and am looking for more 3-D brush strokes as you would see in oil paintings. Even in that scenario, I come back in and work the resulting art print with some of the detail I described here.

This is a quick and simple walk through of my process that in actuality is very tedious and for every print I publish, five to seven are trashed by me for not liking the end result.

Thoughts?

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Carlsbad, California – Coastal Sunset

Carlsbad, California is located in North San Diego County – north of the city of San Diego proper.  It sits along the coastline and the village center is just blocks from the beach. This particular setting is just south of the village center where there is a walkway along the coast just above the beach (notice the fence as it lines the walkway above the beach). To get down to the beach there are long stairs scattered periodically for access. I have a number of art prints done in various styles from this setting. What I wanted to feature today was this particular print I did using more subtle earth tones instead of bright vibrant colors. It creates a different visual experience and supports a more relaxed mood with the setting sun. I used the same technique I talked about last week (impasto) to create the thick bold brush strokes.

Thoughts?

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Street Scenes – Featured Art Prints

I have a gallery that focuses on “Street Scenes”, which is where these three prints come from. Most of my art in this genre is more pedestrian oriented and/or simple scenes of streets to highlight architecture of the buildings along that street or to create visual depth.

With these three prints, I used a technique that creates an impasto style (impasto: the process of laying on paint or pigment thickly to allow the brush strokes to stand out from the surface). With this style I also use bright colors to compliment the bold brush strokes.

The first print is of Whistler, British Columbia during the fall. Whistler is a beautiful village known for great winter skiing. What I liked about the village was the architecture and pedestrian friendly streets. You can feel yourself wandering down this street just enjoying the afternoon.

With this second art print, same concept just a totally different location. This particular print is of a New England Village in the spring. I was drawn to this scene because of the angle giving the street depth and intrigue with the pedestrians scattered.

My final art print is again a New England village, with the line of quaint street lights creating depth and complimenting the brick sidewalk.

Thoughts?

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Vintage Sepia Photography – Featured Art Prints

I like playing with the sepia look in photography. It conjures up images of old vintage photographs. My wife and I had our picture taken in an old west jail years ago…they decked us up in clothes from the time period. It was done in the sepia format giving it that old look. That experience started my interest in the sepia look.

In my years of photography, I have turned a number of shots into a sepia format (example my Chichen Itza post from last year). I typically feature old items such as the old cash register and chair from another post. Today I wanted to feature three such pictures from my photo shoot in the Sharlot Hall Museum located in Prescott, Arizona.

The first capture is a desk and chair located in one of the log cabins. I like the two architectural elements together and felt that putting a sepia vintage look to them would fit the time period they represent.

The second print is of that same log cabin from the exterior.

The final capture is a pot belly stove located in one of the log cabins on the property.

Thoughts?

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The Masts Have It – Featured Art Prints

Here in the United States, we celebrate Memorial Day the last weekend in May. It is a national holiday to honor our fallen soldiers. Since it is a three-day weekend, it also has become the unofficial beginning of summer and summer activities. As we honor our fallen, we also celebrate life with family and friends and for many parts of the country it is a time to finally get out and celebrate sunshine and outdoor activities. I was fortunate enough to be in New England a few years back at this time of the year.  I can’t help but think of the scene I have featured here when I think of this three-day weekend. Boating, fishing and enjoying the great outdoors.

I created these two prints using an abstract watercolor technique. This particular technique creates sharp lines and shapes. With the detail of the masts, I wanted to keep them and the harbor as the focal point. What you are seeing is two, two mast boats side by side in both prints.

Majestic Boat

I love the majesty of these boats and can only image the splendor with their sails unfurled.

Docked Masts

Thoughts?

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Fog – Featured Art Prints

I can honestly say I haven’t really ever tried to take pictures of fog….not saying I haven’t, but just not actively sought it out as a subject matter. Having lived here in the desert Southwest for over 4 years , I have almost forgotten what it looks like. Our house in San Diego was just three miles off the coast, so very familiar with it for all of those 20+ years we lived there. Having said all of that, these three art prints have that item in common…they all have fog in the composition of the setting. Not “oops” I can’t see anything fog, but subtle mood setting hints of fog. All three of these scenes were created from photographs where I used a classic watercolor technique to soften them up to complement the fog feature.

This first scene is along the Oregon coastline and the fog was just lifting from the surf as you can see along the top of the frame and also along the bluffs in the background.

The Rock in the Coastal Surf

This next feature is the entrance to a fishing harbor along the New England coastline. Again, the fog isn’t prominent in the scene, but sets a tone in the background against the trees.

“Morning Fog In The Village”

This last picture takes us back to Oregon, where the low-lying fog was burning off above this farm. It had been a morning of light rain, when the clouds started to break up. The farm actually caught my attention, but when I realized I also was capturing the fog drifting over the field, knew it was a perfect combo.

“The Fog and The Farm”

In all three, the fog adds a feel and look to the final scene that would convey an entirely different message without it. Thoughts?

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Take a Deep Breath and Focus on What is Truly Important

This simple message has been true throughout human history. It seems so relevant today with all of the negativity and anger we are exposed to daily, but the reality is….that environment has been with mankind always. None of us are perfect and we all have our agendas, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a step back and hear a message we were given long ago.

Love is very powerful, even amongst the chaos of negativity. I chose these two pictures to use with an overlay of this message as a perfect fit. I took both shots as summer afternoon monsoon thunderstorms were dying down here in the Arizona desert and the sun was setting. Both shots depict a small clearing in the sky with brilliant color reflecting off of the powerful and chaotic thunderstorms. Simple, yet powerful message amidst the chaos…..

 

Thoughts?

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