I'm trying to get as much creative work done before I have to go backs to my 'day job' in January. Although, even that will be a bit of a short duration. I have one more quarter of teaching at the University of Denver before I am basically retired, though not officially until June 30, 2019. Then, I hope to turn my full attention to my art and art business. So, far I've been a bit of a dilettante with that endeavor. Trying to maintain focus of the immediate tasks at hand rather than spreading myself too thin.
My latest piece is "Near Sunset, Deva, Thor, Brahma and Zoroaster Temples." This is the third piece I have done of these formations, but this digital painting is at a different time of day and from the perspective of the Bright Angle Lodge overlook. The San Francisco Peaks are in the background.
I'm definitely getting the hang of the wireless mouse with my new iMac. Over the past three weeks, I have completed two brand new pieces.
I've never been happy with my first attempt at creating a digital painting of The Great White Throne, but this second version captures both the early sunset and the impending thunderstorm that would roll in that night. From the torrential downpour that erupted, water gushed off the sides of the canyon walls to flood the Virgin River and wash out sections of the park road. This piece will replace my first attempt on this website.
I had also wanted to capture the imaginary border that separates Arizona from Mexico through both the inclusion of this stand of organ pipe cacti and saguaro cacti in Arizona against the backdrop of the Sierra Madre Mts. in Mexico. For me, in some ways, the transversing clouds and jet trails indicate just how permeable this border is and how impossible it is to contain life through that border.
The hardest part of acclimating myself to my new iMac is getting used to the wireless mouse as my paintbrush tool. It is much more sensitive than the my old wired mouse. But, I have completed a new digital painting of The Organ from the Virgin River Trail in Zion National Park using the new tool.
I thought that I would try to visually illustrate how my digital painting techniques differ from my digital photograph. On the left side of the screen is my original jpeg photograph. It is definitely nothing to write home about as it is underexposed, problems with contrast between the rocks and sky, etc. Indeed, in most instances, I would consider this particular photograph a failure.
However, after applying a number of techniques in camera raw filter, in choosing colors and saturation filters that grow from my memory of seeing this site, using a dry brush filter and digitally painting to eliminate chromatic aberrations of the camera lens as well as utilizing the burn tool to create a better sense of visual depth, the image on the right is the digital painting that I have completed.
It's been a while since I've been on my blog. At the beginning of September my 92-year-old mother was diagnosed with a aortic heart valve problem. After a couple of visits to cardio-surgeons, she was offered the chance for an aortic valve replacement, superseding her own valve with one made of titanium mesh and pig valve. She was schedule for surgery at the end of September. In addition to the valve replacement, she had a defibrillator implant. Consequently, I took care of her for the next few weeks after the surgery. I didn't have much access to wireless internet service at her retirement community, so I wasn't able to get on line that ofter.
Since my return to Denver, I have been recuperating for a moderately debilitating, but longer lasting cold. This also impacted my work on this site.
However, I was able to work on several pieces of art, one brand new piece and two revisions of previous pieces.
The new piece, "Sand Dune Arch, Morning" is a piece I had been wanting to work on for a while. Given the high contrast between illumination of the secluded arch and the sky, I had to work on making the sky something other than washed out in order to get the detail I wanted on the rock formations.
The other two pieces have been favorites of mine for a the past three years, though I wasn't completely satisfied with what I had done. With "Landscape Arch, Afternoon". I again worked on the sky to give it some character by adding clouds. I also worked to get better separation between visual planes. "West Mitten, Early Evening" need a bit more attention to detail between brighter and darker portions of the image.
In addition, I have just purchased my new iMac with a 4K resolution and a wireless mouse. The wireless mouse is taking a bit of time to get used to, even after making a few adjustments. However, I am working on three new pieces which I hope to post to this site soon.
I am also in the planning stages for a trip to Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks next spring.
In browsing through my digital photo albums, I cam across a couple of me from past trips. On the left is a selfie I took in Olympic National Park in one of the forests. On the right, this is a pic of me taken by my partner John Sisson after we had climbed up a steep trail and were on a relatively level section in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.
Although not a big art fair and only open for six hours, I consider the Artists in August in Lowry a success for me, especially since it was my first art fair. I sold two pieces, one 11" X 17" and one 8" X 12". After deducting booth and electricity costs and the costs of producing both prints, I came away with a little bit of profit. Below are some pics of my artist display panels and one of me at the fair. Notice my new banner hanging in the one pic.
The larger digital painting that I sold is "The Narrows, Late Morning" in Zion National Park. The smaller piece is "Crestone and Cleveland Peaks, Sunrise" in The Great Sand Dunes National Park.
As I wind down my teaching career with an overstuffed quarter that ends June 8th, I am also excited about an upcoming trip to Tucson, Arizona to visit Saguaro National Park and Pipe Organ Cactus National Monument. With the goal of capturing hundreds of images over the four days, this trip should provide me with a lot of new material for my digital paintings of national parks.
I will also be participating in the Artists in August in Lowry on August 26th in Denver, Colorado, my first foray to sell my work at a booth. The show will be at the Lowry Air Museum from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m.
Though somewhat slowly, I have also been revisiting a few of my earlier pieces to fine tune them with the digital painting techniques I have developed over the past year. One of those earlier pieces that I've worked on is this piece of the Painted Desert from Tawa Point. I worked very hard to get rid of tiny pieces of pixilation debris usually caused by a combination of chromatic aberration and high contrast of colors in the image. This was especially challenging given the variations of reds, yellows and the background colors/ I'm quite pleased with the results. Please let me know if you like the revised version by shooting me an email. I've included the original somewhat digitally enhanced photograph, my first version as a digital painting and the final version of the digital painting.
With only three more weeks of the quarter to go, but a lot of grading included in that time period, I plan to move full steam ahead once the quarter is complete in upgrading this website into an on-line store and adding a mailing list. Oh, and the other thing that will happen this summer is that I will be having cataract surgery. I'll be getting a new lens for my right eye on June 13th, with the left eye to follow soon after. Hopefully, I will get used to the changes quickly.
It's been a bit of a slog this winter, with John having had knee replacement surgery and me back to teaching full time. It's taken me longer to complete digital paintings, plus I'm getting a bit more picky in how I do so. Presently, I'm trying to finish a set of images for my Colorado series to then market as greeting cards, etc. Below are a few of the images I've been working on.
In addition, I found a photo that I'd forgotten about. This was taken by another couple when John and I were hiking up the Queens Garden Trail in the Amphitheater in Bryce Canyon National Park. I think that this was taken somewhere in the middle of the 800 foot incline.
We're hoping to take a trip to Tucson this spring to catch the Saguaro Cactus in bloom in the Saguaro Cactus National Park.
Though it took nearly three hours to hang my ten pieces for the "People, Spaces and Places' Show, I'm happy with results. Of course, two other artists -- Deanna Gusman and Chrissi Sholl -- are in the show as well. Be sue to check out their respective web sites as well: http://deannagusman.wixsite.com/deeniee and www.chrisshollphoto.com.
Once the opening reception is over, I can take some time to breath and relax. With two show opening in the past two weeks, it's been quite hectic. Now, maybe I can sit back and enjoy the end of summer/beginning of fall.
This past weekend was the opening reception for the Gateway to the Rockies Art Show at the Aurora History Museum. Below are my three pieces accepted in the juried national show: Candlestick Tower, Afternoon; Double Arch, Morning; and Green River Overlook, Afternoon. It was a packed opening reception. I will be conducting a "Meet the Artist" on October 21st, from 11 - 1:30 at the Aurora History Museum. Hope to see some of you there.