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Old 04-20-2004, 07:49 PM
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Mike Finn Mike Finn is offline
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Painting "Over" photographs..

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
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Old 04-21-2004, 12:40 AM
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terriv terriv is offline
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Re: Painting "Over" photographs..

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!
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Old 04-21-2004, 12:49 AM
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terriv terriv is offline
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Re: Painting "Over" photographs..

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.

Last edited by terriv : 04-21-2004 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 04-21-2004, 04:32 AM
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Mike Finn Mike Finn is offline
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Re: Painting "Over" photographs..

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
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Old 04-22-2004, 01:33 AM
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Re: Painting "Over" photographs..

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
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Old 04-22-2004, 09:02 AM
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Re: Painting "Over" photographs..

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.

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Old 04-22-2004, 09:31 AM
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Re: Painting "Over" photographs..

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
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Old 04-22-2004, 10:12 AM
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Re: Painting "Over" photographs..

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.!!
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Old 04-22-2004, 12:55 PM
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Re: Painting "Over" photographs..

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.
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Old 04-22-2004, 03:37 PM
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Re: Painting "Over" photographs..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie's Mum
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.!!

I couldnt say it any better than that!
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Old 04-22-2004, 06:06 PM
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Mike Finn Mike Finn is offline
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Re: Painting "Over" photographs..

Thanks everyone.....

Yes the bug has bit :-)

Mike
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Old 04-22-2004, 06:45 PM
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PthaloBlueGirl PthaloBlueGirl is offline
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Re: Painting "Over" photographs..

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.
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Old 04-22-2004, 07:46 PM
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Mike Finn Mike Finn is offline
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Re: Painting "Over" photographs..

Quote:
Originally Posted by PthaloBlueGirl
Hi there. Hope I wasn't sounding like I was knocking your enthusiasm or methods.

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
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Old 04-23-2004, 03:54 PM
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Re: Painting "Over" photographs..

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?
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Old 04-23-2004, 08:59 PM
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Re: Painting "Over" photographs..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabbit Twilight
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

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