Ocean Sunset – Carlsbad, Ca.

After spending the month of September unpacking (yes, we have a lot of stuff), my wife and I took an R&R and spent last week at the beach in San Diego County. We had a place in Carlsbad where we stayed with a fabulous ocean view. I have attached two shots I took of two separate sunsets.

Carlsbad Sunset 1

Carlsbad Sunset 2

The lighting obviously is different between 1 and 2 with the first sunset captured as the sun emerged from behind a cloud versus the second sunset which was taken as dusk had settled in and the last sliver of the sun was ready to slip below the horizon

Having lived and raised our family in San Diego County for 24 years, we spent the week catching up with old friends, former co-workers and employees. My sister and her husband also live in the county, so was great spending time with them. It dawned on us that we did have an ocean view from our house (albeit 3.5 miles inland), but nothing compares to having the ocean at your door step so to speak. Was fun sleeping at night listening the sound of the surf and getting up each morning with surfers flocking to the beach to catch some waves before starting their day.

We left almost 6 years ago and have been back a couple of times for family functions with my sister, but it just felt calming being back in the “hood” where we had lived so long. I will be sharing a number of shots from that week over the next few.

For those of you geographically curious, you probably know San Diego lies south of Los Angeles (120 miles) and is adjacent to the Mexican border. What you may not know is that it’s the 8th largest city in the United States and the 2nd largest city in California. That last fact surprises most people as they assume San Francisco is. The Bay Area surpasses the metropolitan area of San Diego by a long shot, but San Francisco (the city of) doesn’t encompass the population you would think. The county itself follows the Pacific Coastline on the west and includes a mountain range on the east. The city proper encompasses a large portion of the county but there are numerous towns along the coastline going north to Camp Pendelton such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside and then inland along the northern tier.

One more fun fact: San Diego Bay is the site of the first European setting foot on what is now known as the West Coast of The United States.

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Abstract Flamingos – Featured Art Prints

While helping Mom and Dad introduce our granddaughter to animals at the Los Angeles Zoo last fall, the Flamingos caught my attention. I have always loved the look of Flamingos and their coloring. Looking at some of the images I took from a photo shoot, I visualized them in a unique abstract colorful form. I started by drawing the Flamingos in various stages of walking and feeding. I then filled the forms with a variety of vibrant colors. I took those creations and ran them through a digital painting process that creates strong “impasto style” brush stokes. The attached art prints are the resulting images.

 

 

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Papago Palms At Papago Park – Featured Art Prints

This week I am featuring two art prints I created representing some of the palm trees surrounding a small lake in Papago Park which is located in Phoenix, Arizona. Papago Park has a very unique history starting with being named a reservation for local Maricopa and Pima aboriginal Americans in 1879. In 1914 it was designated a National Monument and that designation was later rescinded in 1930. During the Great Depression, the state established a fish hatchery on the land (thus the lakes that are still here today) and during WWII it housed a POW camp. Ultimately the land was sold to the city of Phoenix in 1959 and currently is home to the Desert Botanical Garden, The Phoenix Zoo and the park itself with hiking trails and unique red rock geological features.

Walking around one of the lakes I was mesmerized by the palm trees lining one of the lakes and chose to recreate the scene using a digital painting technique that was true to the colors and shapes I was seeing.

 

 

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San Antonio River Walk – Featured Art Prints

I’m featuring four art prints this week that I created from a photo shoot I did a couple of years ago from a visit my wife and I took to San Antonio. I hadn’t been to the River Walk since I was a young adult and my wife had never been. We had business in Austin and since the two cities are only about an hour and a half apart, we took a day for me to introduce her to the infamous River Walk. From that shoot, I used a two different watercolor techniques to soften up the images.

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of visiting the River Walk, it is along the San Antonio River in downtown San Antonio. It sits about one story below street level and winds throughout the downtown area. When you descend onto the River Walk, it feels like you have just entered another world. The hustle and bustle of street traffic disappears to the quiet of a peaceful river walk lined with restaurants and shops.

The first two pictures I created using a slightly abstract watercolor technique that creates small abstract shapes to “paint” the picture. They give you a better perspective of the walkway as it winds along both sides of the river. Love the trees as they shade all of the outdoor cafes.

The last two pictures, I used a more traditional watercolor technique giving you a view of two different outdoor cafes.

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Covered Wagons or the Family Car sure has changed

I use the sepia filter in my photography for old vintage subjects to reinforce the historic look.  Today I am featuring two covered wagons I came across in Oregon when I was doing a photoshoot of covered bridges. They were on the grounds of a local museum and of course I couldn’t resist the opportunity to shoot them. Presenting them using sepia tone to duplicate the old chemical process in developing film seemed an obvious choice for the subject matter.

As I looked at these covered wagons, I couldn’t help but think how it would have been traveling cross-country in this type of transportation. To traverse across vast distances of landscape with your family and all your belongings for months, to start a new life blows my mind.

As a child, I can remember loading up the family station wagon, (mom, dad and four kids) traveling from the midwest to visit relatives in California. I can recall that we would always drive the desert stretch at night since this was before air conditioning was common in cars (ok…I’m old). We did eventually get a new station wagon during those years that had AC and us kids thought we were in heaven during those later trips.

I applaud our forefathers in the eastern parts of the United States and Canada that headed west in both countries with this mode of transportation. Some settled in the plains and others continued westward through the Rocky Mountains to settle in the far west of both countries.

(on a side note: for those of you that follow my blog…after two weeks as I write this, we just today finished unpacking all boxes from our move… it has been a grueling but wonderful two weeks. We have had the pleasure of “much” time with our granddaughter, our daughter and son-in-law!! After getting everything set up in the house, we now have a garage full of furniture and assorted storage boxes that will find their way into a storage unit. We downsized with the move, but have a number of “heirloom” furniture pieces from my wife’s family and mine that that we will use in our next move to Seattle in about three years. What I haven’t shared is that in May, my wife had knee replacement surgery and then during recovery found out a prior injury months before surgery was actually a bone fracture in same foot as knee surgery. Bottom line…she is now in a “boot”, but has she let that slow her down in unpacking, etc…nope!! Bless happy hour and wine…wine mostly me!!)

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Lighthouse and Sailboat in Abstract Sunset

With the post from last week, I used a desert sunset with saguaro cacti that I created using the same technique that I used originally with these two art prints. Using a few of the filters on Photoshop, I originally created a background where the top half of the picture was sky and the bottom half of the picture was ocean. I used the gradient filter to take the sky and the ocean from light to dark at the horizon line. I then drew the lighthouse and sailboat and filled them with black to look like a silhouette against the background. The look is very abstract and the simplicity with the colors creates a unique look.

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Goodbye to the Desert Saguaro – We Moved

 

We bid adieu to our friends the Saguaro cactus as we have moved back to Southern California. This time not San Diego, but Los Angeles. We have had a hard time saying goodbye to the many friends we have made in our 5 years here in the desert, but are excited for the next chapter in our life being near our granddaughter and her brother when he is born early next year.

Five years ago, my wife and I created a 5 year plan. We are very family oriented and didn’t want to be too far away from any of our three daughters and future grandchildren. At that time, since none of our girls were staying in San Diego, we wanted to give it 5 years to see where they  would land. Knowing all three, we knew they would stay somewhere in the western part of the US. Denver had been mentioned, Seattle and Los Angeles, so moving to Phoenix wasn’t that far off the map. Fast forward to today, all three are married (terrific son-in-laws). We have one daughter and her husband in Los Angeles and the other two and their husbands in Seattle area. Our Los Angeles family has our first grandchild with one on the way. At some point in the not too distant future we expect to see some grandchildren in Seattle, so time will tell where we ultimately end up.

I used this picture I created of the Saguaro Cactus as the poor thing has been the brunt of family jokes with my wife. They spook her out…she says they look like large people in the desert and at night it just creeps her out. I find them very unique and of course symbolic of the “Old West”. Knowing we have all given her a hard time about the large people in the desert, just couldn’t resist adding some eyes and mouth as they say “goodbye” to us!

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