I have attached two different approaches to a singular subject matter. The singular subject matter is the train station door in Glendale, California. The train station was built in 1924 by the Southern Pacific Railroad using a romantic Spanish Colonial Revival style. The elaborate architectural details immediately become a visual focal point. The station now serves for both Amtrak and the Los Angeles Metro Link Rail system and was purchased by the city of Glendale in 1989.
Having been through this station numerous times over the last 20+ years, I was usually too busy coming or going to stop and really absorb the architectural detail. Finally in 2017 I did a photoshoot of the entire station and settled on this perspective of the door as a true representation of the beauty of the building.
I chose two different sketching techniques to highlight the beauty of the architectural details. Both techniques created totally different visual experiences of the same subject. There isn’t a right or wrong in either technique, just a visual preference by the viewer, which varies from viewer to viewer.
As I have talked about before with sepia tone photography, the subject matter needs to fit the historic tone of this type of photograph. This week I am featuring four prints from the “Wild West”.
The setting is Tombstone, Arizona. The old stagecoach is now a tourist attraction for rides through historic Tombstone.
The setting here is Tortilla Flats, located east of the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area up in the Superstitious Mountains. Once a stage coach stop, Tortilla Flats is more of a tourist attraction with a great restaurant, small museum and gift shop all looking like an old west town including old wagons, wagon wheels and a replica of an entrance to a mine.
I used a sepia tone finish on these last two photographs, but then I pulled the original colors out through the brown hue. I then added a slight hint of texture to complete the old west look and feel to the photographs. The setting for these two old west wagons is Cave Creek, Arizona. Tourist shops are set up as an old west town. Throughout the town are actual old wagons, wheels, carriages and other western vintage items from the 1800’s.
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.
This was the first capture I took using my telephoto lens focusing on the immediate west.
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.
This shot is without extending the telephoto lens and is the view we had with the naked eye.
Zooming in just south of the power plant capturing more of the clouds.
Lowering the framing slightly.
Zooming back towards the power plant…
Pulling back on the telephoto to capture more of the clouds as the colors are deepening.
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.
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).
Cropping “Coastal Sunset” gave me the background for this Inspirational art print.
In this capture, I used an impasto style painting which creates large dramatic brush strokes.
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.
My post this week is totally different than anything I have done. I want to share a post that my daughter did on her blog called Arrows Above Us. Let me back up and share the background of her post. She started a motivational blog not too long ago called “The Picture of Faith“. It’s an inspirational blog written from her heart.
I have mentioned before that we have three daughters, all married. We raised our girls in San Diego and ironically all three live elsewhere. Our oldest and youngest live in the Seattle area and our middle daughter lives here in the Los Angeles area. Our grandchildren are here in Los Angeles, thus why we live here.
Our oldest daughter got married in her late 20’s and they are about to celebrate their 10 year anniversary. This Christmas, they shared with us that they were finally pregnant. There couldn’t have been a happier Christmas present for all of us. Her blog post covers her subsequent recent miscarriage. I share this only because miscarriages impact many, many people and are rarely talked about or shared. (Example: we suffered a similar situation after our second child and it devastated us as we had problems getting pregnant period. We did go on to have our third daughter a few years after that.) Miscarriages are unfortunately far more common than people talk about and the grieving sometimes is done alone. It’s real, but not often shared or appreciated.
I share her story as an inspirational way to approach such grief and encourage so many others that this type of situation should not be buried, but openly dealt with as appropriate to let others know….they are not alone. Please click on the link below to go to that particular post on her blog:
This week I wanted to share some prints that I created using a pastel chalk technique. The three that I have posted all have architectural elements to them. I haven’t created many prints using this technique, but thought it did bring a unique look to the subject matters attached.
The first one is the door to the train station in Glendale, California (Los Angeles area). The train station was built in 1924 by the Southern Pacific Railroad using a romantic Spanish Colonial Revival style. The elaborate architectural details immediately becomes a visual focal point. The station now serves for both Amtrak and the Los Angeles Metro Rail system and was purchased by the city of Glendale in 1989. I liked the way this technique highlight the colors and architectural detail of this door.
The second print is the Daniels and Fisher Tower located in downtown Denver along the 16th Street Mall. The tower was constructed in 1910 as part of the Daniels and Fisher department store. At that time it was the tallest structure between the Mississippi River and California. Again, this technique highlights the color of the brick facade and compliments the architectural details
The third print is from Union Station in downtown Denver, Colorado. Behind Union station is the transit center where Amtrak, light rail and RTD buses come together. The difference between the first two examples and this one, is that this structure is is very modern in design, but again the subtle colors pop out with this technique complimenting the design element.
Lighthouses are a great symbol of guidance to safety. I’ve attached two art prints I have created of lighthouses using entirely different approaches. On both, I added the same verse which I thought fit perfectly with a lighthouse. The verse refers to the “Light of Life”, which I think of as Love, Hope, Peace and Joy. We all seek that and find comfort in these feelings. With the Christmas Season upon us, especially this year, we definitely could use as much Love as we can muster for each other and the Hope that we will conquer this pandemic sooner rather than later. Peace and Joy we all seek in our everyday lives on a daily basis. All of this is within our ability as individuals and is one of the few things we can actually control on a daily basis.
This first print, I created the lighthouse in a very abstract matter.
The second print, I created using ink drawing to outline the lighthouse structure and then filled in the color with a watercolor/airbrush technique.
May your holiday season be filled with Love, Hope, Peace and Joy!
In continuing with my series of our road trip from Los Angeles to Seattle and back, this week I am sharing some of the photographs I took on the Northern California Coastline. The shots are from the Mendocino area of the coastline. That would be about halfway between Eureka (on the very northern California coastline and San Francisco).
The drive that day (Pacific Coast Highway) took us slightly inland for awhile and then rejoined the coastline. The slightly inland part was stunning as it took us through Redwood Forests. Unfortunately we weren’t able to stop and grab pics of that experience as the shots I would have liked to have taken occurred while we were driving without the ability to pull over. It was fascinating to see that you’re driving on this nice wide two lane (sometimes four) highway with broad shoulders, then suddenly the speed limit goes way down and you round a curve to the road narrowing down to just two lanes without shoulders. That was to protect the existing redwoods where their trunks are literally right next to the pavement. The road would wind between the trunks and I must say it was stunning.
When we were able to rejoin the coastline, I was able to get the attached shots.
I loved the rock structures along the coastline similar to what you see along the coastline in Oregon. You can tell from the white tips of the protruding rock structures in the water that birds spend a fair amount of time gathering there.
The other thing that is different along the northern California coastline versus the southern or central coastlines are the trees (similar to Oregon, but not as lush) that come right up to the coast.
It was a beautiful fall day for strolling the beach.
I love the different color shades of the ocean as the depth changes. Notice how clear the water is in the little bay.
We hit the weather perfectly along the entire drive. The prior day we had left Seattle very early and made it all the way to Arcata, California just north of Eureka along the coastline. On this day our destination was Santa Cruz along the northern portion of Monterrey Bay, which is south of San Francisco. The next day we drove the final leg home exactly two weeks after we left.
Because of the current pandemic I did want to touch base on how we handled that issue. We were diligent with our masks whenever we were out of the car. We brought sanitary wipes for pumping gas and hotel rooms. The hotel rooms were an issue we researched ahead of time and found that the Hilton chain of hotels seemed to have the best programs. We were able to do remote check-in prior to arrival so we just went to our room and keyed in the code we were given. The rooms had tags sealing the door to verify the room had been disinfected. To protect our family here in Los Angeles and in Seattle we got tests done before heading up and after returning just to verify we were ok.
In continuing from last weeks post from our recent road trip up to the Seattle area from Los Angeles, I wanted to share some captures from the Hood River Valley in Northern Oregon. We stopped here after visiting Crater Lake in Southern Oregon (pics from that coming soon). Hood River is a town located on the confluence of the Hood River and The Columbia River. Just south of the town is a stunningly beautiful agricultural valley. The valley is known for its tree fruit agriculture—including one of the world’s largest pear growing areas. There is a mapped out drive around the valley called the “Fruit Loop”. It lists a number of places to visit where the twenty-nine member stands offer you a variety of wines, fruits, vegetables, flowers, ciders, and food. We chose to stop at an apple orchard where we were able to pick our own fruit. Loved the experience as neither my wife or I have picked apples from an orchard since we were young. It also high-lighted an old country store where in respect to covid, goods were displayed outside in front of the historic building.
This weeks captures were taken along the fruit loop and as Mt Hood is a prominent backdrop in the valley, I couldn’t resist these shots with the fall color.
My wife and I just got back to Los Angeles from a 2 week road trip back up to Seattle. For those of you that follow my blog, you will remember my post from mid September of the thick smoke in Seattle that we experienced when we were up there then. Yes, we turned around in a couple of weeks and returned this time via car. The early September trip was a last minute one to help on a family matter. This trip we had been planning all summer to take a few days going up, stopping at Crater Lake and Hood River Valley in Oregon. On our way back down we went through Oregon and cut over to the coast to drive down the extreme Northern California Coastline through the many redwoods that populate that geography. So for the next few weeks, I will be sharing some of my favorite captures from our trip.
I’m starting this week with two captures of Marymere Falls located in the Olympic National Park which is on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. This was an awesome day trip we did with our two daughters and their husbands that live in the Seattle area. We took one of the many ferries that connect Seattle to the surrounding islands and the peninsula. From the arriving ferry port, we still had another 1.5 hour drive to the park.
There is so much to see and do with the many trails, etc, but my favorite one for the day was the attached two captures of Marymere Falls. The trail is just a quick 1.7 mile hike and ends with this 90 foot waterfall. There are two viewing platforms at different elevations to choose from. This first capture is from the lower platform and the second one is from the upper platform.