Most of us appreciate the beauty of a hot air balloon sailing gracefully through the air, rising and descending. What draws our attention is the balloon itself which is called the envelope. Today the colors are typically vibrant with bright shapes and colors. This week I’m featuring three hot air balloon art prints I created using a soft, somewhat abstract watercolor approach.
This first print focuses on the envelope being heated up, which I thought was a unique look to feature with the bright flame shooting upward. I used strong bold lines to create the overall shape and then filled in the areas with bright colors using a soft air brush look.
This next one is still on the ground, but getting ready to rise. Same technique with the bold lines, but I wanted the contrast between the colorful envelope and the sky (ground at the bottom of the print) to be highlighted.
This last one highlights the many colors of this particular balloon and keeps that the focal point.
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.
This week, I’m really mixing it up and pulling two prints out from my Abstract work. In both cases, I created the art prints using an ink sketching technique and then a watercolor air brush to color it “outside the lines”. In both cases, I chose bright and somewhat surreal colors making a bold statement.
Well that’s nice Kirt, but what is the subject matter based on?? Both prints are based on a Frank Lloyd Wright house that was built in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The house is called the Meyer May House (wikipedia here). It is located in the Heritage Hills area close to downtown. The area houses a number of Victorian Mansions that are in stark contrast to this Frank Lloyd Wright design. Having said that, it is definitely not a “sore thumb” to the neighborhood, but continues a very classic and beautiful look to augment the other mansions.
In keeping with the theme from last weeks post, this week I’m featuring some more abstract prints. All four of these prints have a common theme…..foggy coastal sunsets!! You’re looking at these prints thinking….really?….these are sunsets?
It began on a trip my wife and I took up the coast of California and Oregon. It was in the fall and as seasonal temperatures change along the coastline, it’s not unusual to have fog role in about the same time as the sun sets. What was really interesting to me was the way the colors changed as the sun would come and go through the fog as it settled on the horizon. You go from a very strong gray to small burst of light creating moments of unique colors through the fog onto the beach. Some of the moments were very subtle and some were muted bright colors. I took a number of shots every evening to have a point of reference in what I wanted to create in the way of different abstract prints. Using digital drawing and painting I created these four prints.
Over the years, I have featured a number of prints from my Hot Air Balloons Gallery. I love hot air balloons and especially love to create prints that are not typical for them. You usually see pictures of the balloons floating in the sky, but I like a different approach. I find the process of preparing these big, bright, beautiful balloons fascinating. Watching them get unpacked, stretched out and then inflated creates an interesting visual experience which I have tried to capture. Over the years I have used a variety of techniques in my presentations. Today, I am using a technique that creates a slightly abstract approach, using bold ink pen strokes to outline the balloons and then filling in with bright colors and strong brush strokes.
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.
The two art prints I am featuring today are simple items – three decorative balls. These are the typical kind you would find in a large decorative bowl to add a design element to a room. I took these three balls and did my usual photo shoot with various positions and arrangement changes to give me some choices to work with. Narrowing it down to a couple of shots, I then proceeded to do my magic utilizing an abstract technique to create the drawn elements and then started to play with colors. The final piece of the process was to take the resulting colorful “flat” prints and give them a final element of texture which is the impasto technique I employ on a number of my pieces creating large bold brush strokes. From simple decorative balls to bold and colorful abstract art prints.