Let’s take a break from sunsets… an art break…

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While I was in the Bay Area, I pulled out some old watercolor art to work on.

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I can’t wait until I finish that one, and mount it on a nice piece of varnished wood… or maybe gold foil… or even just a nice, thick piece of black paper. Notice I cut all the background away with an Xacto knife.

But this piece of art is also interesting for another reason…

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It doesn’t have a top or bottom. It isn’t oriented in any particular way…

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I can hang it any way I want…

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And even rotate it every day… see if anybody even notices.

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I am sort of proud of that one. I did the preliminary sketch when I was in Rome, back in the 80’s. I wondered what the Coliseum would look like back in the day.  Sorry about the shadows… I didn’t draw those. I mean, I did draw some of them, but not the two, long stripes.

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Just practicing some eyes.

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Yup, still working on that Morro Bay one.

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Here is a tip. I think a lot of people are nervous about watercolor painting because they think you have to know how to draw. Yes, being able to draw gives you some real advantages for any kind of painting. But just using watercolors is fun. Just take a piece of paper, and a cheap brush and a cheap watercolor paint set, and sit down and start playing. Fart around. Have fun. Try doing background washes… don’t worry about getting the paper too wet. Let the colors run like crazy.

You can try making the bottom half of the paper green, and the top half blue… or shades of reds and pinks and purples. Let it dry, and all of a sudden, you have a background. But here is something else you can try…

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Get yourself a coloring book… not the little kid ones, that paper is too absorbent… and cheap… but I found a civil war coloring book at a store once.

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A coloring book lets you skip over that whole ‘but I can’t draw’ thing. You get to start right in with the painting. Another tip. I did a pink wash for the sky in the picture above. Always do the background… especially the big part… first. Work on another picture while that dries.

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The thing about this method is that right away, the picture starts to pop… to come alive… as soon as you begin to add colors. And you can work on shading and highlighting if you feel adventurous. Notice that I took a lighter and burned the edges of some of these. I am going to stick them up in the garage, and tell myself they were found in the memorabilia from some civil war artist.

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This isn’t cheating… it’s practice! You aren’t selling these to the freekin’ Louvre. It is just so you can get used to using the right amount of water and paint on different kinds of paper. Some paper absorbs the water, and the colors bleed, but you can either use this, or use less water, or dab the brush on a paper towel after loading it. But notice how that Confederate soldier in the foreground is starting to look like he has depth and dimension, just because I made the paint a little darker where I thought the shadows should be.

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Try painting on different parts of the picture while other parts dry, because if you paint beside wet parts, you might have trouble.

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That one is barely started. I think I used a little blue glitter glue in the water to make sparkles. This one will be cool because the only bright colors will be on the flag, and some yellow for the firing canon in the far ship, half hidden in the smoke.

Maybe next time I get these out, I will work on one, and take step-by-step pictures, so you can see the progress. This time, I just did a little work on a bunch of pictures.

So go out there and add some color to the world!

 

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The sunset chronicles… part 6…

Hey, look, part 6, and we are actually getting to the part of the sunset where the sun sets!

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I can’t believe nobody played my guessing game/test of your observational skills game from that earlier post, but whatever man.

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The thing is… hello, thing!… that I am actually back in San Diego now, after one of my early morning wake up and drive adventures.

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Because I am going to Comic Con tomorrow here in San Diego. Ironically, my wife said I could just stay in the Bay Area and she would fly up… because, you know, we have Hamilton tickets for next weekend… but no, I am driving 1,000 miles so I can share some pictures of Comic Con with you.

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On top of that, I still have tons of pictures from this Bay Area trip to share… no… they aren’t all of sunsets, silly! I mean… a lot of them are… but… uh….

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I’m sorry, I can’t waste a photo of a sunset.

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Or a picture of me and a sunset.

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I am going to get so far behind on things. Maybe I will just mix it up, and do posts about whatever in random order. Maybe I will even put pictures of unrelated stuff in the same post. Who knows?

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I just do what the crack squirrels that live in my head tell me to do.

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The sunset chronicles… part 5…

More random pictures I took while waiting for the sun to set the other night… leaping ahead to one of the actual sunset, which I put at the top, just to keep the anticipation level high.

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Yup. That sun is setting, all right.

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If you don’t know what that is, you haven’t been paying attention.

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If you don’t know who that is, you really haven’t been paying attention.

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Speaking of paying attention, did anybody figure out the riddle in the last post in the series… the post before the one of my head exploding?

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That one is kind of artsy.

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Still waiting… come on sun, set already.

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mmmm… splashy…

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Now we are getting some color.

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Almost there.

 

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Uh, I think I just scored a ticket to Comic Con for Saturday, one week before we go see Hamilton…

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Yup… the two hardest-to-get tickets in the known universe. I will let you know if this all works out.

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The sunset chronicles… part 4… and this one has a game you can play, or at least a test of your observational skills…

Okay, these photos were not taken from my favorite sunset spot on the top of the hills behind Berkeley, these were taken from my mom’s deck, much lower down in the hills, so you won’t see San Francisco or the Golden Gate Bridge. But they are still photos of a sunset, so I will add them to this series.

There is something odd about these pictures. Well, not odd, exactly, but, when taken as a whole, these photos are unusual, and contain a mystery, or at least a test of your observational abilities. I will post the pictures… 9 of them, which is how many I usually put in each post, if you hadn’t noticed… without putting words in between each picture… like I usually do, if you hadn’t noticed.

Compare the photos. Tell me what the mystery is, the thing that is hiding in plain sight. A miracle of nature.

***Hint… try comparing every pair of pictures with each other… I mean, compare the first and second to each other, and the third and fourth, and so on.***

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Yes, I know, there is an extra photo that you can’t compare as a matching set. That isn’t the mystery. Just scroll down and compare each picture with the one above it, and the one below it. See if you can figure out what I am not telling you.

I will give the answer in the comments if no one guesses it.

HA!

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The sunset chronicles… part 3… and look, you get a sunset and ME!!!

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I know, it’s almost too good to be true, right?

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So anyway, there I was, in the hills above Berkeley, killing time until the sun went down… taking some pictures… waiting for the sunset…

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Wondering if the haze would clear, or the fog would roll in and ruin everything.

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Hey, look, that blob of land sticking out into the bay is where Big Johnny and I took Willie, my godson, the other day.

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Oooh… the sky is turning golden over beneath the sun… hey, they don’t call it the ‘golden gate’ for nothing.

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Still can’t tell if it will be a great sunset or not… well, of course, you already know, because I showed a photo in the very first post of this series, and ruined the surprise.

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But just play along here… I am building to a climax… uhhh… so to speak…

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And one more picture of the tip of the water shooting out of the fountain… because it goes with that last sentence. HA!

 

 

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The sunset chronicles… part 2… and, yes, I know that isn’t a sunset…

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But, as I mentioned earlier, I had to hang around for three hours while the sun was setting and beyond that, so I took some pictures of a fountain… oooh… next time I am in the Bay Area, remind me to go up and take pictures of the fountain with the setting sun behind it… that would look awesome!

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Doo-de-doo… waiting for the sunset… taking some pictures of San Francisco… wondering if the haze a fog and clouds will make the sunset better or worse…

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Wondering how cool these pictures will look when I can see them in a proper size.

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Wondering if you can even see the Golden Gate Bridge through the fog, because on the little camera screen, I really couldn’t.

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Wondering how many of these pictures I would just delete… because the best thing about digital cameras is that you can take 500 photos and get rid of 499 to get the one perfect shot… I mean, I never do, but you can.

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Man, the sun moves slowly.

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Seriously, once the sky started turning orange, why did I not walk back to the fountain and take a back-lit photo?

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Yeah, I probably could have deleted some of these. I did delete a few, just so you know.

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Fine, I will skip ahead to one sunset photo, just to make this official.

 

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