I was going through some old stock the other day and came across a photo shoot I did in Eastern Iowa circa 2013. The timeframe was February…no snow, but trees were obviously leafless. I love certain subjects in black and white and older architecture is one of them. I converted the original captures into black and white and the following are the results which I just added to my gallery.
The photo shoot was in and around the Amana Colonies ( Wikipedia) settled in 1856 and comprise 7 villages that sit on 26,000 acres of farm land near Iowa City.
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.
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.
Last summer I shared a couple of captures I took of our Bougainvillea blooms from our backyard. It took me until November to take those shots and create watercolor art prints of them. I also took them into two different directions, dark & bold and light & subtle. The original shots were taken to highlight the back lighting of the “colored bracts” surrounding the actual flower. That’s the technical and actual description, but most of us see the bracts as petals creating the bloom. The actual flower is a very small insignificant light colored center piece in the center of the bracts. Ok, so much for our botanical class lesson and let’s move on to what I did with them.
I wanted to present the look in a watercolor format as that lends itself to a soft warm presentation. What also caught me eye was the subtle difference in lighting and color saturation between the two. I decided to accent those differences which resulted in the attached art prints! I think the name I gave each says it all in what I saw as differences between the two.
I have attached two newer prints I created using orchids as a subject matter. In the case of these two, I used an impasto technique to create two strong visual experiences. This technique uses large and bold brush strokes creating a very distinctive visual texture. Add bold colors and the prints definitely stand out.
A good friend of ours has a green thumb with orchids and I used two of her plants as inspiration for these prints. I loved the deep purple of the one plant which inspired the first print.
I also like the look of back lighting these types of flowers (the blooms are thin enough to create a glow when back lit) and tried to replicate that look with these red orchids.
With last weeks picture of an abstract lighthouse, I thought it would be appropriate to go back to the lighthouse theme I did in August. I drew those lighthouses using an ink and watercolor technique. I have completed three more lighthouse drawings since those posts of Oregon Lighthouses, with these being in the state of Washington.
The first one is my rendition of the Mukilteo Lighthouse on the east side of Possession Sound in Mukilteo, Washington. The lighthouse is an operational navigational aid built in the 1950’s north of Seattle and just south of Everett. The Mukilteo location also sits next to one of the ferry terminals serving auto and pedestrian commuters between the mainland and the numerous islands in the Pacific Northwest.
The second one is West Point Lighthouse which is located in Discovery Park (Seattle, Washington) It sits on the north part of the park on a piece of land that juts out into Puget Sound on the north end of Elliot Bay (Elliot Bay is the body of water that downtown Seattle fronts opening into the Puget Sound).
The third and final one in the series is Admiralty Head Lighthouse constructed to replace the original structure in 1903. The location of this lighthouse marks the north end of Admiralty Inlet which connects The Strait of San Juan de Fuca with the Puget Sound (for ocean voyage between the port of Seattle and the Pacific Ocean, you would sail out of Elliot Bay into the Puget Sound heading north towards Canada sailing through theAdmiralty inlet to connect to the Strait of San Juan de Fuca which separates the two countries and then westward out to the Pacific Ocean).
I just wanted to post a reminder that now more than ever we need to approach the issues of the day with as much love in our hearts as we can muster. People are hurting and it’s up to all of us to reach out with all of the love and compassion we can muster. It may not always be received well, but we can’t quit trying.
This week I am featuring a series of sketches I created from a photoshoot I did last year of the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver, Colorado. I liked the concept of using a sketching technique to present these scenes in a more artistic form than just photography.
As I mentioned in the post from last August, my wife and I worked in downtown Denver for a number of years prior to our move to San Diego. We were there during the “oil boom” of the 80’s. The downtown quadrant was a mass of cranes building many of the high-rise buildings you see today and it also saw the opening of the 16th Street Mall in 1982. We found it to be a very vibrant downtown and loved working there. The changes we saw in our time there was incredible, but I must say in the 30 years since then, what has been created and added makes it a very appealing urban center mixing large corporate headquarters with urban residential neighborhoods. Add to that, the inclusion of the major sports arenas (Broncos at Mile High Stadium, Coors Field and Pepsi Center), the Colorado Convention Center, the Downtown Aquarium, Children’s Museum, Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park pulling the downtown experience out to the bike paths/park along the South Platte River and Cherry Creek.
The outdoor pedestrian mall spans about 15 to 16 blocks through the center of downtown connecting Union Station on one end to the State Capital on the other end. There are free shuttle buses continuously going up and down the mall augmenting the pedestrian experience.
The tree lined mall connects numerous restaurants and stores along its length serving the large influx of workers during the day inhabiting the many corporate high-rises along with the numerous residential high-rises that populate the area below Union Station.
Historic Union Station has been completely refurbished and remodeled and now hosts a boutique hotel along with numerous restaurants. The station is a travel hub serving commuter rail and bus service along with Amtrak cross country train service.
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In keeping with the theme over the last few weeks from my posts (peace and tranquility), I’ve added an additional element this week…human interaction. This type of human interaction is rooted in love and trust. The art print depicts a father and son walking on an otherwise empty beach with the beauty of the ocean in front of them. What I see is a bonding moment between a parent and their child. The conversation can be intimate and personal as they share the beach with no one else.
In creating this scene, the focal point is the two people in the lower bottom right. Typically your focal point is more centered, but I wanted the the ocean and beach to set a mood or tone for the overall look. To create the focal point I used black as a stark contrast to the rest of the scene. In the foreground as a row of black pulling the eye down. I envisioned this as the top of bluff overlooking the setting. Pulling your eye down you can’t help but go over to the right and see what I am calling the father and son.
Since this is an abstract work, to heighten the awareness of the ocean, I added sailboats in a slightly darker shade of blue so as not to become the focal point, but to solidify the setting. I envisioned a walk on the beach just after sundown, with light coming from a break in the approaching clouds (potentially fog or a marine layer rolling ashore).
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