Growing up in an artistic family, I found my venue was photography. In college I was able to work with equipment that I would not have had the chance to work with on my own, from the camera equipment to a dark room (yes, that was the era of film). Over the years and with the onset of the digital age, I have been able to augment my photography with painting, turning my photographs into oils and watercolors. Over the years, I have amassed a portfolio that has been enjoyed by family and friends. I have done a number of commercial and private projects utilizing whatever concept the buyer has given me and turned their walls into "Wall Galleries".
I have been married for 46 years and my wife and I have raised three incredible daughters. Please check out my online art gallery: https://thewallgallery.com and my facebook page: www.facebook.com/TheWallGallery.KirtTisdale
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.
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.
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.
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”.
The setting is Tombstone, Arizona. The old stagecoach is now a tourist attraction for rides through historic Tombstone.
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.
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.
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.
This was the first capture I took using my telephoto lens focusing on the immediate west.
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.
This shot is without extending the telephoto lens and is the view we had with the naked eye.
Zooming in just south of the power plant capturing more of the clouds.
Lowering the framing slightly.
Zooming back towards the power plant…
Pulling back on the telephoto to capture more of the clouds as the colors are deepening.
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.
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).
Cropping “Coastal Sunset” gave me the background for this Inspirational art print.
In this capture, I used an impasto style painting which creates large dramatic brush strokes.
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.
My post this week is totally different than anything I have done. I want to share a post that my daughter did on her blog called Arrows Above Us. Let me back up and share the background of her post. She started a motivational blog not too long ago called “The Picture of Faith“. It’s an inspirational blog written from her heart.
I have mentioned before that we have three daughters, all married. We raised our girls in San Diego and ironically all three live elsewhere. Our oldest and youngest live in the Seattle area and our middle daughter lives here in the Los Angeles area. Our grandchildren are here in Los Angeles, thus why we live here.
Our oldest daughter got married in her late 20’s and they are about to celebrate their 10 year anniversary. This Christmas, they shared with us that they were finally pregnant. There couldn’t have been a happier Christmas present for all of us. Her blog post covers her subsequent recent miscarriage. I share this only because miscarriages impact many, many people and are rarely talked about or shared. (Example: we suffered a similar situation after our second child and it devastated us as we had problems getting pregnant period. We did go on to have our third daughter a few years after that.) Miscarriages are unfortunately far more common than people talk about and the grieving sometimes is done alone. It’s real, but not often shared or appreciated.
I share her story as an inspirational way to approach such grief and encourage so many others that this type of situation should not be buried, but openly dealt with as appropriate to let others know….they are not alone. Please click on the link below to go to that particular post on her blog:
This week I wanted to share some prints that I created using a pastel chalk technique. The three that I have posted all have architectural elements to them. I haven’t created many prints using this technique, but thought it did bring a unique look to the subject matters attached.
The first one is the door to the train station in Glendale, California (Los Angeles area). The train station was built in 1924 by the Southern Pacific Railroad using a romantic Spanish Colonial Revival style. The elaborate architectural details immediately becomes a visual focal point. The station now serves for both Amtrak and the Los Angeles Metro Rail system and was purchased by the city of Glendale in 1989. I liked the way this technique highlight the colors and architectural detail of this door.
The second print is the Daniels and Fisher Tower located in downtown Denver along the 16th Street Mall. The tower was constructed in 1910 as part of the Daniels and Fisher department store. At that time it was the tallest structure between the Mississippi River and California. Again, this technique highlights the color of the brick facade and compliments the architectural details
The third print is from Union Station in downtown Denver, Colorado. Behind Union station is the transit center where Amtrak, light rail and RTD buses come together. The difference between the first two examples and this one, is that this structure is is very modern in design, but again the subtle colors pop out with this technique complimenting the design element.
In keeping with the sailboat theme from last week, this week I’m attaching two prints I created of sailboats. These prints differ from last weeks post in that the technique I used on these two was a subtle watercolor. The scene is a rainy (drizzle, not heavy rain) day on Bellingham Bay. Both prints capture a subtle rainbow in the background. The technique and coloring reflect the look I saw on that day. No bright colors without full sun, but a more subdued peaceful mood with the light rain.
Bellingham Bay serves the town of Bellingham in the state of Washington. Bellingham is located just south of the Canadian Border and north of Seattle. It’s just one of the many places in the Pacific Northwest of natural beauty.
This week I’m sharing a print I just finished. It’s based on a capture I took a few years ago. It’s a sailboat on San Diego Bay with downtown San Diego as the back drop. The point of view of the scene is looking across the bay from Coronado Island towards the downtown skyline. With this print, I used the original photo and did a Photoshop “abstract” creation. Using those two as a guide, I digitally painted this final print. I liked subduing the buildings for the background to have the sailboat stand front and center. I also took the liberty of creating abstract foliage for the majority of the coastline at the base of the buildings so as to not have to put in detail actually found there (such as the USS Midway floating museum). I kept to a linear abstract approach keeping clean lines where needed creating the various shapes.
My post this week takes a look at three different sunsets that I created using an abstract approach to the subject matter with an impasto style of brush strokes. There are two things going on with these prints. First, I created the scene by making general shapes in various shades of color for the clouds and ocean. Next, I took those creations and did an impasto style of brush strokes. This type of brush stroke is bold and creates depth to the painting.
In this first one I stayed in the orange and yellow family for color. I also added a coastline for the foreground. Carlsbad Sunset is based on a dramatic sunset over the Pacific Ocean in Northern San Diego County. The view point is a hilltop a few miles inland overlooking the ocean.
This second one represents a colorful sunset again based on an actual sunset in Northern San Diego County. The general viewpoint of both is the type of view we had from our house in San Diego County. What makes these prints even more impressive is that in the 18 years we lived there, these were some of the few colorful sunsets we had. Living close to the coast in this part of Southern California does have its advantages in moderate temperatures year round typically not getting either real hot or cold. That said, the ocean keeps the air temperature moderate, but also does create what is called a marine layer (low level clouds that are close to being fog if they were to get lower). Dramatic sunsets require high level clouds to reflect the colors from the setting sun and a marine layer blocks all of that.
This last abstract sunset is based on a look I saw from a Northern California coastal beach that had actual fog roll in just as the sun was setting. It created unique colors through the fog that I took into the blue and purple color family to make this a unique abstract print.
Last summer I shared a couple of captures I took of our Bougainvillea blooms from our backyard. It took me until November to take those shots and create watercolor art prints of them. I also took them into two different directions, dark & bold and light & subtle. The original shots were taken to highlight the back lighting of the “colored bracts” surrounding the actual flower. That’s the technical and actual description, but most of us see the bracts as petals creating the bloom. The actual flower is a very small insignificant light colored center piece in the center of the bracts. Ok, so much for our botanical class lesson and let’s move on to what I did with them.
I wanted to present the look in a watercolor format as that lends itself to a soft warm presentation. What also caught me eye was the subtle difference in lighting and color saturation between the two. I decided to accent those differences which resulted in the attached art prints! I think the name I gave each says it all in what I saw as differences between the two.