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.


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16 thoughts on “Desert Glow – Hot Air Balloons Simplistic Abstract

  1. Teagan R. Geneviene

    These are such fun, Kirt. I love the colors and the effect.
    I realize that Albuquerque is *the* balloon place, not my city, but I’m a little surprised that I haven’t seen one here… yet. Plenty of high winds though. I guess that might be the reason.

    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      We never really had any in the Denver area either…winds??? Was a nightly sunset event in San Diego….always about 10 of them in the air and you could see them from all over the county. The Desert Glow was an event that occurs a couple of times a year in the Phoenix area. I would love to do Albuquerque during the full blown balloon event…..

  2. lorriebowden

    Very cool, Kirt! They are really speaking to me as orange has become the color of the moment for me 😉 Thanks for detailing what you do…I am certain it is not as easy as you make it sound!
    Hope you are well and that the family is great! Have a super week!


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