Category Archives: Landscapes: Watercolor

Watercolor prints of landscapes from various geographies.

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 In 1914 it was designated a National Monument and that designation was later rescinded in 1930.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.

 

 

Thoughts?

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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.

Thoughts?

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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.

Thoughts?

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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!

Thoughts?

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Subtle Softening Photographs of Covered Bridges

This week, in keeping with the theme from last week (a behind the scenes peek of how I digitally create these art prints), I wanted to share a technique I used with these three examples of covered bridges in Oregon. As I stated last week, I have been using Adobe Photoshop forever. I love the variety of features and flexibility it gives me not only with my photography, but also in creating digitally painted art.

The three prints I have attached came from a photo shoot I did a number of years ago in Oregon. All three look like three photographs of covered bridges and in reality they are. If you look closer, you will see that the edges and detail are softened slightly…ever so slightly to just give the prints a subtle softness. It’s a minor change I created by using one of Adobe’s filters. I started with the photographs in Adobe and eliminated any background “noise” such as electrical wires. In these shots that was about the only doctoring I did to the actual photograph. The next step was to soften them slightly, so I used their watercolor filter. In that filter you can control numerous elements such as pixel size of softness..type of softness and intensity. With numerous trial and error attempts, I settled on a level I liked. A subtle watercolor effect that you see more easily in the trees, but it also soften the edges of the bridges…again very subtle, but an overall softening.

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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Fog – Featured Art Prints

I can honestly say I haven’t really ever tried to take pictures of fog….not saying I haven’t, but just not actively sought it out as a subject matter. Having lived here in the desert Southwest for over 4 years , I have almost forgotten what it looks like. Our house in San Diego was just three miles off the coast, so very familiar with it for all of those 20+ years we lived there. Having said all of that, these three art prints have that item in common…they all have fog in the composition of the setting. Not “oops” I can’t see anything fog, but subtle mood setting hints of fog. All three of these scenes were created from photographs where I used a classic watercolor technique to soften them up to complement the fog feature.

This first scene is along the Oregon coastline and the fog was just lifting from the surf as you can see along the top of the frame and also along the bluffs in the background.

The Rock in the Coastal Surf

This next feature is the entrance to a fishing harbor along the New England coastline. Again, the fog isn’t prominent in the scene, but sets a tone in the background against the trees.

“Morning Fog In The Village”

This last picture takes us back to Oregon, where the low-lying fog was burning off above this farm. It had been a morning of light rain, when the clouds started to break up. The farm actually caught my attention, but when I realized I also was capturing the fog drifting over the field, knew it was a perfect combo.

“The Fog and The Farm”

In all three, the fog adds a feel and look to the final scene that would convey an entirely different message without it. Thoughts?

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