Category Archives: Watercolor Painting

Beach Tranquility

Periodically I go back through some of my old photo shoots to see if anything grabs my attention that I haven’t already worked with. The attached art print was actually from a photo shoot I did in 2009. We were living in San Diego as new empty nesters because our youngest had gone off to college the prior fall to the University of Washington. My wife and I decided to do a coastal drive up to Seattle to spend some time with her before the 2009 school year started. Along the way I was doing photo shoots of lighthouses and other coastal scenes. I had a number of captures that ended up in my gallery (many of them still there) and as I was looking through those shots, this one popped out at me. I remember the setting and the look and feel of this area. A marine layer (low coastal clouds) had come in as the sun was going down. The beach was empty with the exception of what looked to me like a father and son walking and talking. I capture a few shots of them playing with the way I framed them. I migrated to this one with them in the bottom right of the shot as it highlighted the desolation and peacefulness of the beach setting. For me using a digital watercolor technique seemed to be a perfect fit for this scene as the color pallet was pretty consistent from the sky to the ocean to the beach. The tranquility aspect of it was not only the empty beach, but the marine layer also softens sounds and the father and son looked like they were relaxed and enjoying each others company.

Beach Tranquility
Beach Tranquility

Thoughts?

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Tulip Art

I wanted to share five of the art prints I created from my tulip photoshoot in April. I used a soft watercolor technique on all five prints. I certainly had a number of shots to work with and I narrowed those down to ten. After working with all ten and satisfied with what I had created, I saved them and didn’t revisit them until the end of last week. I spend so much time with each print making numerous changes, etc until I feel like I have a completed piece of art. I found over the years that by “sitting” on them for a week or two, I can view them with a lot less bias and narrow that group down to what I like the most. I go through the narrowing process a few times until I don’t see the need anymore. Having said all that, following are the final five:

Family Of Red Tulips
Soft Purple Pattern Tulips

Dark Purple Tulips Opening

Yellow Tulip Cluster

The Land Of Tulips

Thoughts?

(on a personal note: our third grandchild entered the world this last week. He is our second grandson and arrived on the projected birth date….go figure. All are doing well!!)

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Soft Rose Buds

I wanted to share some prints I created of rose buds. Roses are so beautiful as they go from a colorful bud to a full bloom. This is the time of year we start to see them spring forth in a number of flower gardens.

The delicate beauty of a new bud starting to open.

Peach Rose Bud In Watercolor

As they continue to open……

A Pink Rose Bud In Watercolor

and widen the bloom, their beauty only grows with.

Watercolor Orange Bud

Thoughts?

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Mauve Orchid Blooms

In keeping with floral pictures like last week, I thought I would share a process I often go through to arrive at a print that I like and looks good. Sometimes the final product is the original capture and in cases like this post it’s the starting point to create something better. Having said that, the following pictures start with the original photographic capture and the resulting two art prints created from that.

Back up 10 years ago right after I had upgraded my 35mm camera. I was getting use to all the options it offered and made a number of experimentation shots I usually don’t share. This is one of them. I was working on the macro focus, lighting, exposure and as always framing the subject. I took a series of shots of an orchid plant we had on our patio. This was just a few in a series of shots I did that day and didn’t really have a chance to look at all of them until later. Of all the shots of the blooms from this plant, attached was one that I liked only because of the framing of the macro shot. My next step was to take the file into my digital art programs and start working on changing the look of the capture into something I liked.

Original Photograph

I worked through the various options I had to create a change in the appearance. I kept with the actual framing of the original, but started working on the lighting and coloring to create a more interesting art print. I softened it with just a slight touch of a watercolor presentation.

Mauve Orchid Blooms

I then decided to create more of a soft watercolor look and that is the next one.

Soft Orchid Blooms

I liked them for different reasons and decided to keep both in my gallery. As a side note it was six shots of that particular plant that day that led to one capture I wanted to work with.

Thoughts?

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Isolation

This week I am featuring an inspirational art print called Isolation. I used a lighthouse to depict isolation and guidance. Then I added my inspirational thought to complete the print.

Isolation

Thoughts?

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Butterflies in a Variety of Colors

This week I am sharing a series of new prints I created of butterflies. The process for these prints started a couple of weeks ago when out of the blue I remembered a couple of photos I took of butterflies over a year ago. Not sure where that came from, but I dug out the photos. They really weren’t much to work with as I only took them to remind me to pursue butterflies as a possible subject. It only took that long for that particular process to work for me…duh!! Anyway, I took the subject matter and started drawing butterflies. Still not sure what I was going to do, I kept after the drawings and finally was able to complete a look I liked. To pop the color, I used a photoshop technique to make the butterflies colors take on a texture. After trying to recreate more butterflies, I simply copied the one drawing I liked the best…resized it as needed and pivoted them in different directions. I then started playing with colors as I wasn’t sure what the final color was going to be. This led to more experimentation and various colors. To finish the look I was after, I chose a soft background in similar shades to the butterflies. In Photoshop one of the brushes paints in leaf shapes, so I used that in the various colors and sizes. I then lowered the opacity to soften it as a back drop. The final result was five different colored butterflies on five different prints and then one print combining all five.

Yellow Butterflies
Red Butterflies
Purple Butterflies
Blue Butterflies
Green Butterflies
Colorful Butterflies

Thoughts?

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West Coast Lighthouses

I love the architecture of lighthouses and have done a number of prints from both the east and west coasts of the United States. As a wrap-up from the coastal theme over the last few weeks, I have attached some of my recent work from the west coast. Some of these lighthouses have been featured on past blogs, but these are all new prints of five of them. So, going south to north along the Oregon Coastline into Washington

The first one is the Cape Blanco Lighthouse. The lighthouse is located on the southwestern coastline of Oregon. The lighthouse was built over a three year period and was opened in 1871. (For more info: Wikipedia)

Cape Blanco Lighthouse Watercolor

Moving north up the Oregon coastline, we encounter Umpqua Lighthouse. The first print is the top portion of Unpqua (I wanted to capture the red light light used as the beacon) and the second print is the lighthouse itself. The first Umpqua lighthouse was built in 1855 and was lit in 1857. It had to be replaced due to seasonal flooding with the current one, which was started in 1892 and first lit in 1894. (For more info: Wikipedia)

Umpqua Lighthouse Watercolor
Umpqua River Lighthouse Sketched

Still moving north along the Oregon coastline, we encounter Yaquina Head LIghthouse which is the tallest lighthouse in Oregon at 93 feet (28 m). It started operation in 1863. (For more info: Wikipedia)

Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Watercolor

Going further north along the Oregon coastline, we encounter Cape Mears. Cape Meares was built in 1890 to serve Tillamook Bay. In 1963 the original was demolished and replaced with the current tower. (For more info: Wikipedia)

Cape Meares Lighthouse in Watercolor

And last but not least on this little tour, we just cross the Columbia River into the state of Washington and find North Head Lighthouse. The North Head Lighthouse was constructed in 1897 to replace a prior lighthouse that couldn’t be seen by ships coming from the north. (For more info: Wikipedia)

North Head Lighthouse

Thoughts?

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The Bluffs and Surf in San Diego County

From the last two weeks of abstract coastal art prints, I thought I would keep with the same general subject (coastal and ironically same coastal area), but a completely different visual venue. This week I am featuring two of my newest prints I created using a soft watercolor style. The location is the same; the coastline of Carlsbad, California in northern San Diego County. The perspective is from the same general area but one print is looking south and the other print looking north. The San Diego coastline is beautiful all the way from the southern tip on the border to Mexico running north to Camp Pendleton and Orange County.

The perspective of the first one is looking south from Carlsbad down towards San Diego proper. The bluffs are stunning as they frame the beach and the surf.

The Bluffs And The Beach

The second print is almost liking turning around and looking north along the coastline. The bluffs are still there, but not as dramatic. The beach and the surf take your eyes up towards Oceanside and Camp Pendleton.

Ocean Surf In Carlsbad

Thoughts?

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Summer Sailing on San Diego Bay

With summer in full gear (and many parts of the planet experiencing unusual heat waves), I thought I’d cool it off slightly with gentle sea breezes gliding across San Diego Bay powering your sailboat. I have attached four art prints I recently created of sailboats on San Diego Bay. Enjoy that cool summer breeze.

The first one is looking across the bay from downtown San Diego towards Coronado Island.

The Sailboat On San Diego Bay

The next print is from the opposite perspective, looking towards downtown San Diego from Coronado Island.

Sailboat In San Diego Bay

The third and fourth art prints are multiple sailboats on the bay with the Coronado Bridge as a backdrop.

The Coronado Bridge With Sailboats
Sailing by the Coronado Bridge

Thoughts?

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The Many Looks of A Banana Plant

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.

Original Photograph

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.

Ornamental Banana Plant

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.

Abstract Banana Plant

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.

Banana Plant

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.

Tropical Leaves

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.

Thoughts?

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