Tag Archives: arizona

Desert Glow – Hot Air Balloons Simplistic Abstract

This week I’m going back to a subject I feature periodically and that’s hot air balloons. Having been fortunate enough to live in a couple of locations that have hot air balloons frequently, I have seen many different balloons during various stages of flight. This week I wanted to feature three balloons I have done using a simplistic abstract approach. All three are inspired by a “Desert Glow” event we went to in the Phoenix area a few years back. Fully inflated balloons are tethered to the ground after the sun sets. As the sky darkens, the balloons illuminate themselves as they turn their flames on and off to music….incredible sight to see. Keeping true to the dark background of night, I kept the colors of the balloons bright as the envelopes are lit up by the flame at the base. The simplicity of this technique allows the eye to focus on the color of the balloon envelopes.

With this technique, I start with ink strokes creating the envelopes of the balloon and the basket. I use strokes of different widths to keep it more suggestive rather than just a linear sketch. Using the same technique, I add just enough at the bottom to suggest a crowd of people and keep a focus on the flame itself. The fun part is recreating the colorful designs of various balloon envelopes I encountered at this event. Of course I was going to replicate the balloon with the large Saguaro Cactus on it since this was inspired by an Arizona event.

Thoughts?

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Colorful Arizona – Featured Art Prints

This week I wanted to feature two prints that highlight the colors of Arizona. Both scenes say “Arizona” because of the subject matter, but I wanted to highlight the colorful beauty that is seen in each of these locations. I used a fauvism technique (if you follow my blog and/or work, you are familiar with my use of this technique to create a somewhat colorful and abstract look) to highlight the tones and hues that nature provides.

The first print is the Grand Canyon. I used a lookout point as a portion of the foreground to add dimension and drama to the scene. You get a true sense of depth looking from the foreground out across the canyon. The ribbons of color from the different layers of rock strata are accentuated via bright colors and the bold brush strokes.

The second print features a saguaro cactus native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and the state of Sonora in Mexico. The sky becomes the colorful focal point in this print as either a sunrise or sunset can light up the desert with bright, vidid colors. Again, the strong brush strokes accent the colorful sky with a typical desert setting in the foreground.

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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Lakes, Mountains and Palm Trees – Two Featured Art Prints

The attached prints were created from views around one of the lakes in our community. Our community has two lakes (yes, man made…this is Arizona after all) with palm trees lining the shoreline of the park that goes entirely around both of them. The lakes sit side by side with a large wide sidewalk circling both and connecting to each other. Great walking, running or biking as the total distance around both is about 3 miles. What I love is from the northwest shore of both lakes is the view of the Estrella Mountains as depicted in these prints.

The first print is a small beach on what is called South Lake, with picnic pavilions and other amenities for kids and adults as part of the park encircling the lakes. The second art print is from the perspective of the northwest shore looking across the lake at the Estrella Mountains. The mountains are a very rugged and dramatic range creating the perfect background view. Thoughts?

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Stagecoach and Wagon – Featured Art Prints

Red Stagecoach and Blue Covered Wagon are art prints I created using a traditional oil technique to create this look. This technique uses strong, but narrow brush strokes with bright colors. I liked the way it accented the colors and structure of both vehicles.

The inspiration behind these prints are a stagecoach and covered wagon I came across in the Sharlot Hall Museum located in Prescott, Arizona.  The museum structure houses these two modes of transportation along with vintage cars.

I can’t even fathom having to travel across the wide open expanse of the Western United States in either of these vehicles. Every summer I reflect back to what it must have been like traversing the mountains and deserts back in that era as we drive on modern freeways with our air conditioning keeping us comfortable. I applaud the determination of our forefathers who settled this vast territory.  Thoughts?

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The Duck At Papago Park

My wife and I have not been home for a weekend since before Thanksgiving until this weekend. I am not complaining as we have had short weekend get aways to celebrate a first birthday for our granddaughter in Los Angeles, a wedding in San Jose and then our nieces graduation in San Diego for her Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy (two of her internships over the last year and a half were here in the Phoenix area where we were thrilled to house her both times) and next weekend finds us in Seattle for Christmas with the following one in Los Angeles for New Years. I share all of this (yes I am headed somewhere…) as to why it was that we found ourselves in the ever popular shopping malls and stores this past weekend doing our last minute Christmas shopping. This is not to say that Amazon has not received it’s fair share of our purchases, but there are those items you need to actually pick up or find. Having survived the masses, my mind went to a peaceful quiet place as we wound down Sunday night. The result is the attached photos.

Papago Park in Phoenix is nestled between the Desert Botanical Garden and The Phoenix Zoo. It has ponds and hiking trails and is very “quiet and peaceful”. Key point!! I was looking for a beautiful peaceful snow scene, but since I couldn’t find one (yes I have been living in warm climates for many years now), so I settled on this to represent a reprieve from the last minute hustle and bustle of the season. So back to the ponds. The ponds are home to many birds, but as the fall and winter migration occurs, it has a resident that calls the ponds home year ’round, the Mallard Duck. Both shots are the same duck, who appears not to have a concern in the world. So I give you my visual of a little peace and quiet during this busy season!!

Thoughts?

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Desert Sunset – Featured Art Print

Here in the Arizona desert, we do get some really spectacular sunsets. This location of the country often sees a number of high level clouds which are needed to create the colors of these sunsets. The attached art print was such a sunset, that I turned into an art print using a technique that creates large bold brush strokes mimicking an impasto style of painting.

The roof tops of homes and the palm trees silhouetted in dark create a contrast to the colors dancing in the sky. It never ceases to amaze how the colors change from moment to moment. Thoughts?

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