Category Archives: Abstract Watercolors

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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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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Bright Colors – Abstract Watercolor – Hot Air Balloons

This week I’m featuring three of my hot air balloons. The technique I used creating these three art prints was an abstract approach. I used the sketching to define the subject matter of the balloons and then filled them with bright colors. Not being one who every stayed in the lines when it came to art, I let the bright colors bleed into each other, creating an abstract look.

 

We are all attracted to hot air balloons rising and floating in the air. The serenity of the scene as one looks skyward and sees these bright colored balloons quietly drifting through the sky. What drew my eye when my wife and I did the adventure in San Diego, was the prep work of getting them inflated and launched. To me there was an incredible beauty watching these large bags of color transformed into what we see drifting across the sky.

 

As the balloons slowly fill with hot air, they go from laying flat on the ground to slowly rising and when you see the different stages of inflation with a group of balloons together…it really is a beautiful sight.

 

Thoughts?

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Barren Branches Go Colorful – Featured Art Prints

In keeping with the theme from last weeks post, I am featuring two art prints where the subject matter is pretty simplistic, barren branches. These are shots of trees along the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids, Iowa during winter. I took this simple subject matter and started giving the branches a subtle abstract look to create images with more geometric patterns. As part of that process, I also changed the background to larger abstract shapes to keeping the focus on the barren tree branches. I created the Purple Barren Branches first and then wanted to use some of the same elements in the second one. I liked the power of purple and pulled it into the branches on the second one and notice the hint of green on the first one. I used it as the background on the second one, creating a different look altogether.

Thoughts?

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Four Corners Of Apples And Pears – Featured Art Print

This print has a fall feel and look to it, so I use it to say goodbye to Autumn. It seems that as soon as Thanksgiving is over, we are full speed into winter and Christmas. All of the decorations change into a festive winter look and the fall colors are no longer seen.

It was a year ago this last weekend that mother nature called and our daughter gave birth to our first grandchild (granddaughter). Our son-in-law and daughter had hosted their typical large Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends with our daughter not missing a beat being the perfect hostess, even though she was almost upon her due date. The next day, my wife and I went with them to find their Christmas tree, which is always very tall and large. Again my daughter was feeling great and was helping decorate the tree that evening when all of a sudden she stopped, got very quiet and turned to her husband and said; “Ok…it’s happening, we better get going to the hospital”. The next day our granddaughter was born.

Same type of Thanksgiving this year, they hosted their typical large dinner with family and friends plus one (she was in her element). Did the Christmas Tree shopping with them on Friday (she was in awe). Started decorating it that night (she was mesmerized and helping with ornaments). Then they hosted her 1st Birthday celebration with friends and family the next day (she was having a great time with the other kids). Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Birthday!

Hope your Thanksgiving was great!!

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Dainty Red Series – Featured Art Prints Part Two

As a follow-up to last weeks post “Dainty Red Series – Part One” , I wanted to show where that series of prints took me next.

For my “Inspiration Gallery”, I use existing prints I have created and marry them with words of inspiration, motivation, prayers or Bible verses. Actually it truly is the other way around, I usually come up with the verbiage first and then figure out a photograph or print that best highlights the words. I featured the first print during the Easter Season last spring. I was working with this Bible verse and this print come into view as perfect for a very direct simple message.

Love Each Other Red Single Stem art print featured on my blog last April.

 

With this message in mind, I wanted the same simplistic look with just enough spacing to keep the message from getting lost, thus the double stem.

Being on a roll as they say, this verbiage seemed perfect to use the single stem again. All three were created one right after the other as the verses I was working with fit perfectly with these simple prints.

Thoughts?

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Dainty Red Series – Featured Art Prints – Part One

The series I am featuring today was originated by a request from one of my clients. They wanted a series of art prints for a room they were working on. The request was for “something” using the color red, floral in subject matter and simplistic in look. I would like to say I immediately envisioned exactly what that would be, but in all candor I played with a number of designs before I arrived at what ultimately became these prints. I settled on small red flower blooms on stems. The series included bouquets and singular stems. I used two different techniques to create these prints. The first technique created an abstract look that took on sharp clean lines defining the blooms and the stems. When that was finished, I then used a very subtle watercolor technique to soften the look just a bit creating the final result.

The watercolor technique creates a softening on the petals and in the background, giving the white background a hint of texture.

This particular print “Dainty Red Double Stem” has become the most popular print in my entire gallery.  For me it complimented the single stem and played into the bouquets that follow.

This print and the next were used on a wall next to each other…

Thoughts?

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