I want to start this post with clarifying that everyone sees “art” differently and we all have certain preferences when it comes to visual appreciation. I say this as it does not offend me when someone doesn’t like what I have done and can be honest about it. No offense taken for the reasons stated above. Todays post compares the same subject mater presented two different ways. I have attached a photograph I took on the grounds of a resort in Hawaii (2005). I have also attached a digital art rendition of that photograph that was created earlier this month. I wanted to change the original by eliminating the background building and creating some watercolor texture.
In my opinion there is nothing particularly wrong with the original capture. However I wanted to eliminate the resort itself from the background and add some texture and drawing detail to pull the details forward on the entire capture (gazebo architecture and details of the landscaping).
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.
Seems like kind of a strange thing to create art prints with an old world gothic look using current tropical resorts, but there is a method to the madness or a reason I went down this road.
A number of years ago I toured this old historic victorian mansion in a midwestern town and let me just say it was truly a very large mansion. It serves as a museum with the house furnished as it was in its’ glory years. The decor is very formal and truly stunning throughout. The surprise factor was in the basement. The original owners loved to travel to the tropics and had a large bar (almost cantina in size) decorated in an old world tropical motif. What does that mean you might ask. The furnishings, including the artwork reflected a tropical paradise, but not in bright tropical colors. The color scheme was earth tones reflecting a look you would expect from an era of old worldwide explorers. The art work was all done in a “gothic style” from the middle ages. The whole look worked really well in creating a very subdued, casual and inviting atmosphere. That look really stuck in my head all these years.
So, fast forward to current times and I have taken that same look using a “gothic” technique on scenes from various resorts we have visited over the last number of years. I attached five prints created using this technique.