Tag Archives: historic furnishings

Tropical Scenes in a Medieval Gothic Art Style

This may sound a little strange presenting tropical scenery using an earth tone medieval gothic art style and normally I wouldn’t have ever thought of it. That being said, I had an experience touring a Queen Anne style mansion years ago that illuminated me to this look. The mansion in question is called Brucemoore (wikipedia) located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is a National Trust Historic Site and was built between 1884 and 1886 on a 26 acre park like estate. The last owners (the Halls 1937-1981) added two basement recreation rooms, “The Tahitian Room”, and a “Grizzly Bar”. The Tahitian room is designed to resemble a tropical island, including a faux hut roof, and a switch that can create artificial rain. It is this room where the inspiration behind the prints I have posted came from. All of the tropical art prints decorating this room were done in a similar gothic style and actually gave the Tahitian room a very warm feel due to the earth tone colors.

These prints were created using the inspiration of a large tropical resort in Mazatlan, Mexico. Situated on the beach with the Pacific Ocean at its doorstep. The grounds include swimming pools, ponds and tropical foliage creating that inner sanctum feel to shed the worries of the world. Located on the Mexican Riviera, Mazatlan is straight across the Sea of Cortez from the tip of Baja (Cabo San Lucas) on the mainland.

“Afternoon at the Beach”
“The Beach Crowd”
“Tropical Paradise”
“Resort Palm Trees”


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Simplistic Composition – Simple Subject Matter

Sometimes the simple approach to a print is the best way to go, whether that is the composition of the subject or the subject itself. If you look at still life art prints, the subject matter is usually very simplistic like a bowl of fruit or floral arrangement. In composing the piece, the artist or photographer keeps the print clear of unrelated objects to allow the visual focus on the main subject.

In taking this approach with other items, you can create art prints or photographs that have a very defined visual focus to tell a story. The manner in which the presentation is created can also help keep the focus on the subject or object you are presenting, by creating an overall mood or look.

I have attached two samples to highlight what I’m referring to. The first example is a bookcase located in a log cabin from the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott, Arizona. By it’s very nature there is a lot of objects in this print, but by keeping the composition of the presentation limited to the bookcase, you have simplified that aspect. To further tone down the variety of objects, I chose a sketching technique to soften the presentation. The overall result is a more simplistic presentation with a simple subject matter.

The second attachment has less subject matter to begin with and the composition keeps the eye focused on this part of the log cabin. By having a suggestion of a window with a small desk and chair between that and a door, it creates a small intimate space where you can imagine someone working at the desk. The sketching technique softens the overall look, creating a simplistic warm and inviting visual effect.




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Sharlot Hall Museum Two – Excerpts From A Photo Shoot

My last post was about a weekend getaway my wife and I did to Prescott, Arizona. The post focused on our visit to the Sharlot Hall Museum. I included some shots of the log buildings that are on the grounds of the museum and this week I wanted to include shots I took inside some of those log structures.

The first two photographs are of a kitchen and then a bedroom within the log Governor’s Mansion.

Sharlot Hall - Kitchen

Sharlot Hall – Kitchen

Sharlot Hall - Bedroom

Sharlot Hall – Bedroom

This third shot focuses in on the chair and chest by the bedroom window. Notice the chair, it folds up. What caught me eye wasn’t just the fact that the chair folds up, but the fact we actually have a similar chair from the same era that also folds up, but ours is a rocking chair. When we first got married (many moons ago), we were trying to acquire furniture and both of us still being in college (yes, I said many moons ago), we were willing to take anything. My parents remembered some old antique furniture stored in the attic and offered us anything we wanted. We did acquire a few pieces and the chair was one of them. I was told the chair was called a “wake rocker” and had been handed down from grandparents. I stripped it and reupholstered it and all these years later, it now sits in storage at our house waiting for one of our daughters to take an interest in it.

Sharlot Hall - Chair and Chest

Sharlot Hall – Chair and Chest

The rest of the shots capture other furnishings within these log buildings.

Sharlot Hall - Desk and Chair

Sharlot Hall – Desk and Chair

Sharlot Hall - Cabinet

Sharlot Hall – Cabinet

Sharlot Hall - Pot Belly Stove

Sharlot Hall – Pot Belly Stove


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