As a digital artist most of my work starts with a photograph and I thought it would be interesting to share an example of a variety of styles from one capture.
The first picture is the original photograph. I captured a shot of one of the banana plants in our backyard at that time. Just a quick shot, but I already had an idea of a number of ways to turn this into a variety of art styles. The shot is very simple and includes imperfect leaves, but creates a nice template for me to work with.
The next art print was created using a subtle abstract watercolor technique. I chose to keep the look of the imperfect leaves to give it that “live, realistic” look.
A completely different look was created when I used a fauvism technique. This technique follows that style with strong colors and slightly abstract shapes and presentation. Same plant, completely different look.
The next approach was back to a subtle watercolor approach, but with the background eliminated focusing the eye on the plant itself. Again, I left in the imperfect leaves.
Then for the final look, a complete departure from any of the prints above. This style is a gothic look using just earth tones and that old world presentation. This particular look is very specific to a decorating style and creates a totally different visual experience.
The good news for me is that everyone has different tastes and as an artist I take absolutely no offense to someones likes and dislikes. I try and create what I find interesting presentations of subject matters and just wanted to share an example of one of the processes I use to create my art prints.
(As a follow up to last weeks post Tombstone, Arizona in Sepia, I asked for feedback on which sepia print was favored to help me narrow down to one or two. Ironically 1, 3 &4 got identical likes. Thanks!)
My wife and I just got back from a couple of weeks in Seattle. Two of our daughters and their husbands live there and this trip was great as we were able to spend time with all of them. One of the things I enjoy doing when we are up there is walking their dogs as needed. On one of my walks I was blown away by all of the spring blooms. On this particular walk the area is well established and the trees and bushes are very mature and large. I wanted to share some of the blooms I came across.
And to complete the captures, I had to share the following due to the shear size and look of this tree trunk…incredible.
In keeping with my post last week where I had been reviewing older photo shoots, I am attaching some of the shots I took from the same batch I shared last week. This week it’s from the drive between Vancouver and Whistler. I couldn’t help stopping the car and pulling over with the beauty of the mountains we were seeing (my family is so used to me doing this).
We have been living in Southern California for so many years (Colorado before that) and I miss the sheer beauty of lush green forests on mountains.
I have attached the last shot as I couldn’t do anything but pull over for this one. This log cabin structure caught my eye and I couldn’t help myself!!
I was going through some older photo shoots this week and came across a series of them I did in and around Whistler, British Columbia. From those captures I have attached a series of them around a zip line we did with our youngest daughter. I love zip lining and have done it a few times around the country. In this case it felt like we were in an old Star Wars movie getting to the zip line. The reference is these walkways we had to take to the launching “tree houses” (if you get the reference after seeing the pictures, great …if not, sorry). The shots don’t do justice to just how far off the forest floor you are walking. You get a slightly better perspective of how far up you are with the last two shots of the actual zip line. The zip line was strung over a mountain river and went back and forth zig zagging down stream. We would zip line from one “tree house”… cross the river, get off the line and zig zag further downstream on the next zip line.
The next set of pictures gives you a better idea of what the lines looked like as they zig zagged downstream back and forth across the rover.
This shows my wife on one of the runs to the next “tree house”.
This one shows our daughter and gives you a better adea how far up in the trees the “tree houses” are. The scenery was stunning and the experience was exhilarating.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have been sharing what happens when you present the same subject matter in two different artistic methods and how that can change the way an image impacts the viewer. This week I am going to dive a little deeper into that using a variety of abstract art methods. I used one of these examples in a post that I did in 2014, but this time around wanted to show how four different results came from one group of small statues.
OK, now that I have confused the issue, let me start with the process I went through using the original subject matter. That subject matter is two small statues that go together and represents a family; a mother holding a child and a father with a child on his shoulders. Having been married for 47 years and raising three incredible daughters, my wife and I celebrate family.
I started the process by taking those two statuettes and placing them in a light box snapping numerous pictures of the statues in slightly different positions settling ultimately on the three I have attached to this post. I was only using the photographs as a basis, so wasn’t concerned whether the shot was in perfect focus or not (which one isn’t). From that point I tried a variety of styles and methods creating numerous art prints and finally settling on the attached four.
Starting with the the first capture of the mother and child in the foreground and the father with child on his shoulders in the background:
With the resulting art prints being:
For the first print, I used an impasto technique (impasto done in acrylic or oil emphasizes strong and bold brush strokes).
On the second one I played with the colors using a fauvism style (fauvism: vivd expressionistic and non-naturalistic use of color).
Next up is the picture I used for the third art print. In this case I positioned the mother and father figure more side by side.
From this inspiration I created this:
Again, using a fauvism approach I created this art print with a complete change in colors.
My last example comes from the next picture.
This basis was just slightly different in positioning of the statues resulting in the following:
For this fourth art print I used an abstract watercolor technique and again bold color choices.
I had fun with this series and just wanted to share one of the ways I come up with my art prints.
The Saguaro And The Deep Blue Sky is a color photograph of a red rock outcropping and a Saguaro cactus. The setting is Tortilla Flats located east of Phoenix, Arizona in the Superstition Mountains. The day was obviously a clear day, but more importantly to capture a shot like this, the direction you are taking the picture has to be lined up in such a way (referencing the sun) for the sky to resonate with this deep color. I did a series of shots that day, this one being the perfectly framed capture with that deep blue sky as a back drop.
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.
I wanted to share a little hiking/photo adventure with you from our trip to the Pacific Northwest. My son-in-law and I love hiking and have been on numerous hikes together. For the last few years I have had to succumb to the fact that with my knees continuing to get worse, I was to the point I couldn’t do much hiking at all. As I have mentioned for those of you that follow me, I had knee replacement surgery on my right knee last year and in June of this year, my left knee. My personality is such that I am all over the physical therapy needed to get back to “normal”. I was looking forward to this trip for many reason, one being to get back into my love of hiking in the Pacific Northwest and the photo opportunities they present.
So on his day off, he suggested a specific trail he knew I would like called Lake 22 Trail near Granite Falls, Washington. It’s about 4 miles one way with an elevation gain of about 1500 feet. At the top of the elevation gain is a lake that the trail goes around….perfect!!
On the day of the hike, it’s raining and turns into a steady solid drizzle as we near the trail head. My backpack is waterproof along with my jacket, so we are good to go. The only thing I was concerned with was my camera getting wet. With that in mind, I pre-set everything to a landscape mode with exposure on auto. That way, all I had to do was pull the camera out and snap pictures quickly (I had it hanging around my neck under may jacket). Perfect….we start out and the rain picks up and we are hiking switchback after switchback gaining altitude. When I see a shot worth taking, I stop, unzip my jacket, grab the camera, snap a few and put it back under my jacket before it gets soaked.
As we started the hike, the trail was well maintained and smooth. The further we got and the longer we hiked, the trail turned into a rocky creek. I didn’t realize how long it had been since I had been able to walk by securing my footing on one rock….balanced myself as I moved my other leg to the next rock keeping me out of the water. At first it wasn’t at all natural and I looked like a drunk initially. We were both laughing at it and eventually it all came back to me. But of course he thought it would then be better if he followed me in case I fell, thus the attached two pictures. I got past that issue and all was good. We had a great hike and I took what I thought would be great pictures.
I was finally getting the balancing thing nailed!!
Well, when we got back to their house and I pulled my camera out to put it away, I noticed that the dial had gotten turned to “manual” for all pictures. In other words, somewhere in the “in and out” from under my jacket I ended up losing my automatic exposure and focus ending up with very, very dark pictures that even all of the digital support of photoshop couldn’t resurrect. I tried every trick in the book when we got home, but to no avail except for one capture and that is the one I have added to the end of the post.
This particular stream was halfway up the trail as we climbed in altitude. I snapped it on the way back down and believe me there was more water coming down this little stream then there was when we were headed up.
In continuing with my series of our road trip from Los Angeles to Seattle and back, this week I am sharing some of the photographs I took on the Northern California Coastline. The shots are from the Mendocino area of the coastline. That would be about halfway between Eureka (on the very northern California coastline and San Francisco).
The drive that day (Pacific Coast Highway) took us slightly inland for awhile and then rejoined the coastline. The slightly inland part was stunning as it took us through Redwood Forests. Unfortunately we weren’t able to stop and grab pics of that experience as the shots I would have liked to have taken occurred while we were driving without the ability to pull over. It was fascinating to see that you’re driving on this nice wide two lane (sometimes four) highway with broad shoulders, then suddenly the speed limit goes way down and you round a curve to the road narrowing down to just two lanes without shoulders. That was to protect the existing redwoods where their trunks are literally right next to the pavement. The road would wind between the trunks and I must say it was stunning.
When we were able to rejoin the coastline, I was able to get the attached shots.
I loved the rock structures along the coastline similar to what you see along the coastline in Oregon. You can tell from the white tips of the protruding rock structures in the water that birds spend a fair amount of time gathering there.
The other thing that is different along the northern California coastline versus the southern or central coastlines are the trees (similar to Oregon, but not as lush) that come right up to the coast.
It was a beautiful fall day for strolling the beach.
I love the different color shades of the ocean as the depth changes. Notice how clear the water is in the little bay.
We hit the weather perfectly along the entire drive. The prior day we had left Seattle very early and made it all the way to Arcata, California just north of Eureka along the coastline. On this day our destination was Santa Cruz along the northern portion of Monterrey Bay, which is south of San Francisco. The next day we drove the final leg home exactly two weeks after we left.
Because of the current pandemic I did want to touch base on how we handled that issue. We were diligent with our masks whenever we were out of the car. We brought sanitary wipes for pumping gas and hotel rooms. The hotel rooms were an issue we researched ahead of time and found that the Hilton chain of hotels seemed to have the best programs. We were able to do remote check-in prior to arrival so we just went to our room and keyed in the code we were given. The rooms had tags sealing the door to verify the room had been disinfected. To protect our family here in Los Angeles and in Seattle we got tests done before heading up and after returning just to verify we were ok.
As part of my continuing series over the last few weeks from our recent road trip to Seattle and back, this weeks post is of Crater Lake National Park. Located northwest of Klamath Falls in the south central portion of Oregon, it was formed 7,700 years ago when a violent eruption triggered the collapse of a tall peak. The collapsed caldera has become the deepest lake in the United States fed by rain and snow and one of the most pristine anywhere on the planet.
In all of our years going up and down the west coast to Seattle, we had never stopped at Crater Lake. I have seen it numerous times from the air flying back and forth, but seeing it up close and personal is an entirely different experience. One of the most recognizable features of the Lake is the island on the western side of the lake. Because of this feature, it makes it easy to spot even at 36,000 feet in the air.
The first thing you notice about the lake is the deep blue color of the water. It looks fake even in person it so so blue.
We drove around the entire lake and as you can see from this capture as we approach the island, it isn’t as small as one would believe, which gives you an idea just how large this lake is.
The next capture (Crater Lake 4) was taken from the drive as it took us around in the upper right coastline of the above capture (Crater Lake 3).
This next capture was a surprise as we continued the drive from Crater Lake 4 going left from that shot.
Love the unique feature that nature created here. Looks like a small castle on an island. To give you a point of reference, the island itself is on the far right side of this capture.
There is so much to do in the Park and so much to see. This just gives you a flavor of the lake itself. Again, the surreal deep blue color of the lake boggles the mind every time you look at it no matter which side of the lake you are on.