Thursday, May 28, 2009

Painting Photos = Paint By Numbers

An old tinted photo in an oval frame with curved glass came to live at my house a few years ago. I'm not saying how many years, just a few. The little girls, my Mom and her friend, Lucy strike a typical pose. My Mom has a satisfied grin, and Lucy is scowling, unhappy because my mother got to hold the doll for the picture.

The tinting of the old photo, probably taken around 1920, always interested me. Of course, at that time, photos were black and white or sepia. Color was added by carefully painting the print.

Ways to create more realistic painted images to stitch have been rolling around in my head. As I looked at that picture of Mom and Lucy, it ocurred to me that if they could tint photos in the 1920s, I could paint the images printed onto fabric using the computer and simplify the whole process. I'd get the realistic look I was going for with minimal effort. I'm not exactly being lazy, I told myself, just efficient. Depending on how much I play with the photo before I print it, I'm probably not being efficient either. I could produce more copies of the an image, change the colors, change the stitching, etc. Endless possibilities.

Usually composing the image has already been done with the camera, and whatever I don't like can easily paint over with an opaque paint. Creative license! Transparent paint can add color while still leaving the photographic image underneath. It's a win, win! It's almost like sitting with a 96 crayon box of Crayolas and coloring away. Way too much fun. Try it sometime!


  1. This piece is so beautiful in person -- I wish everyone could see it, Joanna. Keep using that creative license -- it's working for you, girl!


  2. And, yes -- I will "celebrate the grass I have."

  3. Yes, I agree, the possibilities ARE endless! This piece is absolutely wonderful. Diane directed me to your blog and I am so glad she did.