Tag Archives: coastal sunsets

Balcony Sunset Photoshoot

This weeks blog has a number of pictures attached to it. I’ve been asked a number of times about the process I go through creating the digital art you see posted. Almost everything starts with a photoshoot. (I do create art prints digitally from scratch, but this post is about an example of creating from a photoshoot)

For this example I am using a photoshoot I did in January of 2011. The setting is a sunset over the Pacific Ocean taken from the balcony off of our bedroom overlooking the coastline of Carlsbad, California (Northern San Diego County). This is the house we raised our girls in and we lived there for almost 20 years. The house was at the end of a cul de sac in a neighborhood that was located on top of a ridge 3 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. To the immediate west of our neighborhood/property was a field owned by the Carlsbad Water District. The importance of that was that it was never going to be built on and offered an unobstructed view all the way down to the coast. I give that background because of this photoshoot. In all the years we lived there, this sunset was an exception to the rule and was only seen a few times. For this type of sunset, there must be high level clouds and an unobstructed view. We had the view at all times, but during the spring, summer and fall months it was more typical to have a marine layer come ashore late afternoon into the night. The marine layer typically was low level clouds (not fog), that hid most sunsets over the ocean. The only time we actually had clear skies at sunset was in the winter as the marine layer was less common. The high level clouds were also a rarity in this area preventing this type of a colorful sunset. On this particular day, we started to see the colors burst forth in our backyard. I immediately clued into what was happening and grabbed my camera, ran upstairs to our bedroom and the balcony. I have attached 8 of the 18 shots I took that day a number of them were redundant and the rest were poor shots looking towards the extreme south and north.

Balcony Sunset 1

This was the first capture I took using my telephoto lens focusing on the immediate west.

Balcony Sunset 2

I zoomed in a little more. The building you see with the “smoke stack” is a coastal power plant that was built quite awhile ago as a coal burning facility. It was converted to gas years ago and today the smoke stack has been removed.

Balcony Sunset 3

This shot is without extending the telephoto lens and is the view we had with the naked eye.

Balcony Sunset 4

Zooming in just south of the power plant capturing more of the clouds.

Balcony Sunset 5

Lowering the framing slightly.

Balcony Sunset 6

Zooming back towards the power plant…

Balcony Sunset 7

Pulling back on the telephoto to capture more of the clouds as the colors are deepening.

Balcony Sunset 8

Pulling back on the telephoto to capture a widening shot. These were the captures I narrowed it down to creating the art prints that follow.

Coastal Sunset
Pacific Sunset

These two shots were cropped and a subtle digital watercolor overlay to highlight the orange tones. Also I removed the smoke stack from the power plant (not knowing it was going to be removed in reality but not until 2020).

Love is Patient

Cropping “Coastal Sunset” gave me the background for this Inspirational art print.

Carlsbad Sunset

In this capture, I used an impasto style painting which creates large dramatic brush strokes.

Dusk on the Coast

Using the same impasto style on this one, but using one of the photos that had blue sky showing such as Balcony Sunset 1.

These five prints from this photoshoot were created after experimenting with cropping of the captured scene and then the different art styles. This gives you a taste of the process using a photoshoot with a singular subject matter. Multiply it by number of subject matters on a more intense photoshoot.

Thoughts?

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Abstract Sunsets

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.

“Carlsbad Sunset”

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.

“Dusk on the Coast”

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.

“Cloudy Ocean Sunset”

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.

Thoughts?

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Do Not Worry

From downtown Denver, we are popping over to the west coast for a sunset I took in Carlsbad, California located in the northern part of San Diego County. I added the quote from the bible as it seems an important reminder for all of us. I try really hard (and trust me it is hard), to take each day as it comes on its own merit. It doesn’t do any of us any good to worry about tomorrow as all that does is pull your attention away from the current moment. And the current moment is the only reality we truly live in.

Thoughts?

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Abstract Tropical Sunsets

From the winter forests of the Pacific Northwest in last weeks post, I take you all the way down the Pacific Coastline to Carlsbad, California. Carlsbad is located in the northern coastal area of San Diego County. The two sunsets I am featuring this week were along the coastline of Carlsbad just south of the downtown village. Carlsbad is probably best known anymore as the home of Legoland. The actual irony is that the featured prints were created from a photo shoot I did in February, so I’m actually still keeping the winter theme going……

For those of you that follow me, you know I like color and abstract techniques in my creation of art prints. These two were created using an abstract watercolor technique that highlights the bold colors of the sunset.

For this first print I kept the sun behind one of the palm trees for a not so typical rendition of a sunset over the coastal ocean.

This second one is more typical by centering the sun between the palm trees. I also added pedestrian walkers in the left portion of the scene.

Thoughts?

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Ocean Sunset – Carlsbad, Ca.

After spending the month of September unpacking (yes, we have a lot of stuff), my wife and I took an R&R and spent last week at the beach in San Diego County. We had a place in Carlsbad where we stayed with a fabulous ocean view. I have attached two shots I took of two separate sunsets.

Carlsbad Sunset 2

The lighting obviously is different between 1 and 2 with the first sunset captured as the sun emerged from behind a cloud versus the second sunset which was taken as dusk had settled in and the last sliver of the sun was ready to slip below the horizon

Having lived and raised our family in San Diego County for 24 years, we spent the week catching up with old friends, former co-workers and employees. My sister and her husband also live in the county, so was great spending time with them. It dawned on us that we did have an ocean view from our house (albeit 3.5 miles inland), but nothing compares to having the ocean at your door step so to speak. Was fun sleeping at night listening the sound of the surf and getting up each morning with surfers flocking to the beach to catch some waves before starting their day.

We left almost 6 years ago and have been back a couple of times for family functions with my sister, but it just felt calming being back in the “hood” where we had lived so long. I will be sharing a number of shots from that week over the next few.

For those of you geographically curious, you probably know San Diego lies south of Los Angeles (120 miles) and is adjacent to the Mexican border. What you may not know is that it’s the 8th largest city in the United States and the 2nd largest city in California. That last fact surprises most people as they assume San Francisco is. The Bay Area surpasses the metropolitan area of San Diego by a long shot, but San Francisco (the city of) doesn’t encompass the population you would think. The county itself follows the Pacific Coastline on the west and includes a mountain range on the east. The city proper encompasses a large portion of the county but there are numerous towns along the coastline going north to Camp Pendelton such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside and then inland along the northern tier.

One more fun fact: San Diego Bay is the site of the first European setting foot on what is now known as the West Coast of The United States.

Thoughts?

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Pacific Ocean Summer Sunsets – Featured Art Prints

Pacific Sunset

Coastal Sunset

The featured pictures are of a summer sunset over the Pacific Ocean in San Diego County. They are scenes that were captured just minutes apart as the coloring of the clouds changed moment to moment. In these captures, I came back and digitally soften them up just slightly with a very subtle watercolor technique. They still retain the detail of a photograph, but with a barely perceptible softening.

The setting is Northern San Diego County on a hill about three miles from the coast. This was the view from our house and on this particular evening the color of the sky was so vivid and bright, I immediately grabbed my camera. On the second picture you see a dark spot in the sky that looks like it shouldn’t be there. I have the ability to clear that out, but I was curious as to what it was. I magnified that portion of the print and discovered it was a commercial airliner flying the coastal flight pattern between San Diego proper (to the south) and Los Angeles (to the north) or points further north. Because of this I decided to leave the “spot” in.  Thoughts?

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Evening Sunset Along The Walk – Featured Art Print

Evening Sunset Along the Walk is a wall art print I created using an abstract watercolor technique of an evening sunset along the walkway. This technique uses abstract shapes and bold colors to create a clean modern look.

The setting is Carlsbad, California along the coast highway. Carlsbad is located in the northern part of San Diego County and is a popular beach town. In this particular area, there is a sidewalk up on the bluff overlooking the beach and surf of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a great place to take a sunset stroll and enjoy the cool ocean breeze. In this print, the sun is just getting ready to dip into the ocean for the night. The setting is beautiful with not only the sunset, but also the palm trees in the foreground of this print. Thoughts?

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Abstract Sunsets – Featured Art Prints

The wall art prints I wanted to feature this week come from my Abstract Watercolor Gallery. It’s a series of sunset wall art prints that are inspired by the same sunset in the same location. This allows me the ability to showcase a couple of elements as it relates to these prints. The first element is the use of an abstract technique and the second is the color changes that occur within one sunset.

 

So, lets start with the abstract approach in these prints. Not everyone is a fan of abstract art and the beauty of art is “that’s ok”. We all react a little differently to various looks, colors and styles. I like abstract art because I appreciate colors and shapes. I don’t need an art print to depict a realistic scene all the time; sometimes I just appreciate the use of colors and shapes. I approached these sunset prints with suggestive shapes and bold colors that were as true to the beauty I witnessed in the sky as I could replicate.

That takes me to the second element. The sunset in these prints was over the coastal area of San Diego County a few years back. The perspective is from a distance looking over the land towards the sea just after the sun has gone down. When you see one of “those” sunsets, you know that the color palette of the sky changes continually as it turns into dusk. This series follows such a sunset.

The first one is called Orange Ocean Sunset. The sun has just set and the bright colors dance off of the high clouds over the ocean. The ocean itself turns a bright orange reflecting the sky.

The second one I’ve titled Orange Hillside Sunset. The sun has sunk lower, beyond the horizon, creating deeper colors. The foreground in this print uses a hillside as a balance against the brilliance of the sky.

The third print is titled Blue And Red Ocean Sunset. The sun sinks even lower, creating darker hues of the numerous colors and the night sky starts to show as the deep blue towards the top.

The fourth print is called Red Ocean Sunset. Dusk has set in and the light fades, but not without a final burst of brilliant red lighting the sky and the ocean.

Thoughts?

I invite you to visit my Abstract Watercolor Gallery to enjoy these prints and many more.

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