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Mike Finn
04-20-2004, 08:49 PM
Hello all...

This is my first post here and hopefully not my last :-)
I am not a painter, I can not draw water from a well, but I have the urge to try..... But I am a Photographer and therefore thought maybe I could use those skills and Photoshop to do the drawing for me.... Then just paint over the printed image with acrylics... Here are my first two efforts, one with a knife and the other with a brush. My main trouble is mixing the colors, but that just takes practice I guess. I also think it maybe considered "cheating" but as they are only for my pleasure I may be able to get away with it :-)

Comments, tips etc are welcome.
Mike Finn

terriv
04-21-2004, 01:40 AM
Hi Mike. No, I don't think of it as "cheating". I think of it as a form of art all it's own. People have been "colorizing" photos for what a hundred years? How creative you can be with that is up to you. You can buy a set of "photo oils" and use them to just colorize the photos. The photo oils are very transparent and the original photo shows through.

On a different note, my sister-in-law wanted a huge portrait for over the fireplace in her new $700,000 home. (It's amazing that we are related.) After checking around she found an artist who rather than put three small children through the painfully process of "sitting" simply took their photo with a digital camera, blew it up huge on canvas, then painted over it in oils. In the process, she made whatever changes she wanted to to original. She enhanced the garden background to put the flowers in bloom though it was mid-winter, changed their position a little, made them holding flowers in their laps, enhanced their clothing to make them look more Victorian. Of course she charged them a fortune to do it.

Did she "cheat", or is she just "very market savy"?

I'm not sure how she transfered the photo to the canvas but I would like to know. I do know that you can go to Wal-Mart or somewhere and get a photo made and they will print it on canvas. Maybe she just took it somewhere and had it done.

I think that might make me a MUCH better "portrait artist" actually. LOL!

terriv
04-21-2004, 01:49 AM
Oh, and a tip. Buy a Blender Pen (it's a colorless marker filled with xylene). Copy your photo on a high quality photocopier in reverse (if possible for accuracy). Lie the photocopy face down on any paper surface (haven't tried canvas but it might work), tape it in place, then color the back with the blender pen small areas at a time. (Open a window it's deadly!) It will transfer the photo to the paper then you can paint over it, watercolor, turn it into a drawing, etc. You can experiement with the darkness setting used when photocopying to get the effect you want.

I haven't tried painting anything using that process but I have transfered black and white photos to bound books.

You can buy xylene (it's a paint stripper) in bulk quanity at a hardware store but the marker is like $2 and that's all you need. It's HIGHLY flamable. Have also heard you can do the same thing with lighter fluid or nail polish remover. Haven't tried either. The key is that it must be a PHOTOCOPY because the process is dependant on the toner. The marker tip is also "burnishing it" as you rub. If using just the liquid, you need to wet then burnish with the back of a spoon or something. (Just buy the $2 marker from Dick Blick.) Ink jet will not transfer. It works with color or black & white photocopies.

I bet it would work well transfering to a smooth gessoed hardboard. You might spray it with a fixative before painting. Not sure if the paint will pick up the toner.

Mike Finn
04-21-2004, 05:32 AM
Wow!! That's what I call a reply :-)

Thanks Terri..

I am printing my photos using an Epson 2100/2200 @19"x13" on 300gsm watercolor paper. But your post has got me thinking :-)

I used to print mural size images in black and white in the darkroom using 50" width roll paper which would be ideal as the matt paper is quite heavy and has a good key. Hmmmm

Mike

Mike Finn
04-22-2004, 02:33 AM
Ok so I tried something today.... Printed a photo on watercolor paper and splashed some acrylic around.... Lotsa fun when you let go :-) Gotta start somewhere...

Mike Finn

PthaloBlueGirl
04-22-2004, 10:02 AM
Hi there. I am not sure if I count painting over the photograph itself after transfering the whole thing to a canvas is cheating or not. Makes me rather hesitate. I know I wouldn't pay for that. So I guess I must think it is cheating in some way :)

As for getting a good start to your paintings using photographs a lot of artists, including myself, either enlarge the photograph to the size of the canvas with a greeting card software program that has a poster selection or by a projector. Then we trace the outline of the photograph onto the canvas and walah! You have what is known as a 'cartoon'. There is enough there to show the shape of the eyes and where they are in the head and all that but putting them, the colors, the shading, the shadows and shapes in the majority of the painting is up to you and the artist's ability. This I don't consider cheating since even using this method I cannot achieve the 'realism' I want like a Bouguereau, Vermeer, or Valazquez or whoever else you can think of.

Photography can be an art in itself. There is a photography forum here at WC you might check out.

:D

Mike Finn
04-22-2004, 10:31 AM
Thanks for your comments...

I doubt a gallery would hang a painted photo but what if they couldn't tell :-)
I do think any technical aid, even projection is arguably cheating but then the artist who started me thinking about doing it was Norman Rockwell... I guess when you have the name then anything goes :-)

I am using this method really as an extention of my photoart and to see if I might like to take up painting as a pastime. I have already started some sketching, very poorly mind, but having felt the brush and spilled the paint I quite like it :-) So maybe one day soon I might leave the paper blank and try it on my own.

Mike Finn

Charlie's Mum
04-22-2004, 11:12 AM
Mike, I think the 'paintings' you have tried so far are very vigorous and look quite painterly. As long as you're using your own photos as a base, I don't think that's cheating - you're not stealing anyone else's work,and as for the method, well, as someone else said, there are various methods of transferring your basic idea to canvas/paper or whatever. If you can learn to draw, it would give you more advantage because it would be easier to alter or rearrange bits from the photos. So far, keep going, the paintings are looking very promising - and if the bug's bitten you'll juist have to go along with it.!! :D

Lady Carol
04-22-2004, 01:55 PM
Mike however you make art is the way you make art. Some are going to consider this cheating but this is the way you express yourself. I have to admit that for some of my projects I have been toying with the idea of printing onto canvas and then painting the print. It is not a new idea.

I have to say that this way gives you an approach that appears to be very succesful for you. Each one gets better.

ExpressiveAngie
04-22-2004, 04:37 PM
Mike, I think the 'paintings' you have tried so far are very vigorous and look quite painterly. As long as you're using your own photos as a base, I don't think that's cheating - you're not stealing anyone else's work,and as for the method, well, as someone else said, there are various methods of transferring your basic idea to canvas/paper or whatever. If you can learn to draw, it would give you more advantage because it would be easier to alter or rearrange bits from the photos. So far, keep going, the paintings are looking very promising - and if the bug's bitten you'll juist have to go along with it.!! :D

I couldnt say it any better than that!

Mike Finn
04-22-2004, 07:06 PM
Thanks everyone.....

Yes the bug has bit :-)

Mike

PthaloBlueGirl
04-22-2004, 07:45 PM
Hi there. Hope I wasn't sounding like I was knocking your enthusiasm or methods. If it works for you then whatever. I think every artist uses aids at some point or other and there is talk about how the 'Masters' used such. Though they don't say much more than that. I'd like to know more :-)

And if you really wanna confuse the point check out the really awesome painting that looks like a photograph in the oils forum. The thread is entitled Photorealism. I admire it much but I have to wonder why paint a painting so good it looks like a photograph when you have the photograph? If you want to have a larger image of it you could always just enlarge the photograph :)

Check it out.
:D

Mike Finn
04-22-2004, 08:46 PM
Hi there. Hope I wasn't sounding like I was knocking your enthusiasm or methods. :D

Not at all, I appreciate and encourage all points of view, thats the point of having a forum like this :-)

Yes I have often wondered why some painters try to make photos and some photographers try to make paintings.... I have noticed that the majority of art shown here is of the realistic type. It's very impressive when it's done well, loads of talent here. Maybe it's the pull of the old masters before photography was invented. We still maybe, as painters, subconciously trying to emulate them. Same for us photographers who maybe deep down don't feel 'True' artists unless we can create a painted effect with the camera.

Anyway enough rambling, I'm off to make another mess.

Mike

Rabbit Twilight
04-23-2004, 04:54 PM
Mike,
I'm getting in kind of late on this thread, but I wanted to comment.
I do not think of what you are doing as cheating. You take the photograph, you print on a $700 dollar printer using pigmented inks, and you want to experiment past the printed stage. What's wrong with that?
Here's the thing. If you get to the point where you are really happy with what you are doing and want to show them, then don't hide what you are doing. Label them as handpainted photograph, handpainted pigment print, etc. Be firm and proud of how you chose to express yourself. Somemore said it is a different art form and it is!
Think about it, you are taking a photograph with your own unique vision. You capture a moment in time. You own that moment in time. You paint on it, again choosing colors, etc. that are unique to you. Go for it! It's art.
Oh, one other thing, are you sealing your prints before painting on them?

Mike Finn
04-23-2004, 09:59 PM
Oh, one other thing, are you sealing your prints before painting on them?

Thanks for the comments Bobbi. I feel that way about it but there is just that lingering doubt :-) Still if one announces the fact then that satisfies everyone.

As to sealing, well I have searched for a way to do that but as yet I haven't found the method. I do find that paper sucks up the color so that when it's dry it's not quite the same. Maybe a sealer would help that. But as I am only practicing I haven't worried too much but if you have any advice, I am all ears as Van Gogh would say.

Mike Finn

Mike Finn
04-23-2004, 10:13 PM
Oh WOW!! Bobbi..

I should have checked your website first. You are actually doing this. Well your images are superb and when I looked at them it was almost physical..
Crushing defeatism has overtaken me..... never will I be so good.... sigh.


Mike Finn

Rabbit Twilight
04-24-2004, 12:16 PM
Hi Mike!
I have some information somewhere that Golden emailed me about coating inkjet. I can't find it right now, but you can use semi-gloss gel medium in two coats to seal the print.

The work on my website is not painted inkjet. They are all strictly digital. Glad you like them. I painted the digital photo via computer using Photoshop and Painter. I print on the Epson 2200 and they really turn out nice, but I have been wanting to try painting on the inkjet print. Right now, I'm still in the experimental stage.

Keep working at what you are doing, and don't get discouraged.

NuttnHunee
04-27-2004, 08:06 PM
Hi Mike,
I also wanted to do a family portrait to honor my husband's father that passed away and never painted a face before. I haven't tried with acrylic, but I bought some inexpensive colored pencils and took a photo and traced with carbon paper. This gets everything in it's proper place to start. Then I just kept adding layers of dark to light shades. I Don't know if this picture
posted correctly, but here goes
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Apr-2004/30871-Pencil-_Mom__Dad.jpg

terriv
04-27-2004, 10:12 PM
I like your painting. Might we title it, "Not tonight Dear, I have a spitting headache"? :angel:

I have to wonder why paint a painting so good it looks like a photograph when you have the photograph? If you want to have a larger image of it you could always just enlarge the photograph

1. So you can take out the powerlines when you have no graphics ability.
2. So you can take 10 years off your face.
3. So you can take 10 pounds off your hips.
4. So you can paint the family portrait and leave out Aunt Ethel.
5. To make people go, "Gasp! That looks like a photo! You're good!"
6. Because the frame you got at a garage sale doesn't have glass. (This would be my reason.)

Bill Stephens
04-28-2004, 04:56 PM
I did not read all the posts in this tread so I hope I'm not stepping on any toes but there is a whole industry out there called "prints to canvas." My dad's best friend has been doing it for 30+ years along side his regular artwork.

Prints to canvas is where someone takes a photograph/poster etc... and applies it to canvas then using various techniques simulates brush strokes to make it look like a painting. Interior designers buy these pieces because they are cheaper than original works.

I know this is not exactly where you are going but I thought I would mention it to show example of how photos are turned into painting.

I don't think it is cheating it is just another artistic expresion. It is definately a better exprsion than what some people try to pass off as art.

Keep working.

lorgh
04-28-2004, 08:21 PM
Hey,
some of your tips got me thinking of one of my college projects that I did a long time ago.
we copies things out of the newspaper, sprayed 'em with some spray and transfered it to my masonite.
i can't remember what chemical it was.
dr.taylor, who is a member of the Delta Artists Society, does photo transfer using a polaroid camera. he just reverses the image, shoot it again with the polaroid and transfers to watercolor paper. to me it looks a little too perfect. he uses watercolors to color the images.
i really want to try it with left overs from polaroids that we have at work, but i rather use them as references.
loretta

heinzog
04-28-2004, 10:01 PM
Hello all...

This is my first post here and hopefully not my last :-)
I am not a painter, I can not draw water from a well, but I have the urge to try..... But I am a Photographer and therefore thought maybe I could use those skills and Photoshop to do the drawing for me.... Then just paint over the printed image with acrylics... Here are my first two efforts, one with a knife and the other with a brush. My main trouble is mixing the colors, but that just takes practice I guess. I also think it maybe considered "cheating" but as they are only for my pleasure I may be able to get away with it :-)

Comments, tips etc are welcome.
Mike Finn
Mike, I really like them...although I am no expert. My favorite is the first. Nice blobs of happy paint. keep it up, kathy

juank1
09-05-2004, 07:57 PM
Mike Finn said:
I doubt a gallery would hang a painted photo....
I've been working on digital art for some time now and one of the things I've noticed people don't like about the digital prints is that they are missing the hand of the artist. To some degree, I think that was the same problem people had/have with photography (that and that anybody could press the button to take the picture). I'm currently contemplating doing some experimentation with acrylic paint over some of my digital works (abstract photopaintings (http://juanulloa.com/art/photography/abstract/)) that I enlarge on photographic paper. Adding paint would make each print unique and allow me to add a 3rd dimension to the flat surface of paper. I like texture!

With that said, do I need to do anything to protect the photographic paper from the acrylic paints? I've heard talks about sealing the image, but I think that was refering to images printed from a printer. Are the acrylics corrosive to the photographic paper? :confused:

terriv said:

I'm not sure how she transfered the photo to the canvas but I would like to know.
There is a process called 'giclee' (which is just a fancy gallery name for ink jet prints). Iris and Epson are two companies that have large format printers that you can get digital photographs enlarged onto canvas in a relativelly archival fashion. I say relativelly because I don't think the dyes that they use are archival enough to my taste. That's why I enlarge my photopaintings on photographic paper (Type C print) instead of using some 'archival' printer.
I've seen several galleries sell giclee prints. Some just sell them as mixed media because the artists add a clear gel medium over the print with a palette knife to make them look more like a painting.

The canvas those printers use is a very thin canvas so it can pass through the printer. The printed pieces are pretty fragil. They seem to scratch fairly easily; I've seen a few pieces in galleries where the dye scratched off at the point where the canvas meets the stretcher. If you coat the piece with some medium, I assume that the pieces would be more protected.

Mike Finn
09-06-2004, 12:22 AM
With that said, do I need to do anything to protect the photographic paper from the acrylic paints? I've heard talks about sealing the image, but I think that was refering to images printed from a printer. Are the acrylics corrosive to the photographic paper? :confused:


Juan..

I think a coating of clear gesso or any acrylic medium would be best. Maybe not so much to protect the paper from acrylics which are a little alkaline but to put a "key" to the surface which will more readily hold the paint.

I have moved on from that little experiment and now just paint on blank canvas :) BUT it was a fabulous way to get started in "real painting" :wink2:

Mike Finn

juank1
09-06-2004, 12:38 AM
Yeah, it is a 'little experiment' but to me it's taken 3 years to try it. The funny thing is that I went from painting to new media to photography back to digital art and now I'm transitioning back to painting. (...maybe that's not funny.) I just finished my first 'actual' painting in 4 years and started my second painting. But in the mean while, I need to try the experiment :cool:

I've never heard of it clear gesso before. When you went through the painting over photographs experiment, did you prefer clear gesso or acrylic medium? Was there any acrylic medium you prefered for creating the surface?

Thanks,

Mike Finn
09-06-2004, 12:52 AM
I've never heard of it clear gesso before. When you went through the painting over photographs experiment, did you prefer clear gesso or acrylic medium? Was there any acrylic medium you prefered for creating the surface?

Thanks,

I "think" that what is sold as clear gesso is just another name for medium... which is just the binder without the pigment... don't know for sure, but they work just the same. I don't have a preference for brand or type, but painting directly on a glossy print caused the paint to smear too much, a thin coat of medium fixed that. On absorbant paper like watercolour paper (my preference) the medium did a good job of sealing and the brush didn't drag so much. As an aside.... you say you like texture... well try this. Place your photograph on a concrete path or block and tap it with a wooden mallet. Lovely bumps and cracks appear, brush your medium over that and then paint....... Fun Fun Fun :)

Mike Finn

juank1
09-06-2004, 01:08 AM
Place your photograph on a concrete path or block and tap it with a wooden mallet. Lovely bumps and cracks appear, brush your medium over that and then paint.
Ooh, I like the way that sounds! I've always been a little too careful with my prints and never thought about doing that. I must say that I'm going to have to try that.

One more question....did you mount the painted photographs to anything in particular? With my basic prints, I hinged them and matted my work, I've never really got creative with it because I kept trying to keep it museum quality (http://juanulloa.com/exhibit/translucence/).

Mike Finn
09-06-2004, 02:05 AM
One more question....did you mount the painted photographs to anything in particular?

I use foamcore board as a backing, matted and framed without glass. I dont even mount the print to the foamcore.... just the pressure of the frame holds it all well enough. But I am constantly swapping out my pictures from their frames. If I was to sell something then it would be unframed.

Mike Finn

Carrie
09-06-2004, 03:01 AM
I think it's fine to use your own photos in anyway to create your painting.

Carrie