Hi all! If you’re here, it’s because you subscribed to my newsletter EARLY! Thank you for that!
I’m trying to jump back up on the blogging horse- a combination of fear that Instagram will die combined with my newfound GRADUATED-NESS (okayyyyyy) has spurred me to spread out a little bit and post more here. Plus I love to talk about process, inspo, et cetera and sometimes an Instagram caption just isn’t enough. Also Instagram is depressing sometimes (lots of times) and I’d rather post from my safe, sparkly, stupid internet bubble. 🥂Hopefully I’m a good host over here.
That said, I made this video about how to hand paint photos earlier this year. I frequently get questions about this process and though the video will walk you through it, I thought it might be beneficial to have a written version for accessibility. It’s cheap, easy as hell, and can turn a black and white photo into a painterly, aged (in the cool way not the Hobby Lobby way), lil beauty. Here goes.
-A variety of paintbrushes to fit in all the nooks and crannies you wanna reach
-Paint tray or small mixing cups
-Cheap food coloring- and I really do mean the cheap shit. Not the gel kind, not whatever fancy stuff you’ve seen at Whole Foods. I use the Kroger brand (it’s about allegiances, folks, and I do have a Kroger tattoo). They have regular and neon.
-White vinegar. Make sure whatever you get does NOT have sugar in it. I got one from Trader Joe’s last summer that for some godforsaken reason did, and it made my photo sticky. Just check first!
-A black and white photo with a white border for color tests. You can print digitally on matte paper (I use Moab) or in the darkroom on RC paper. Other papers would probably be fine, but I’ve experienced streakiness on some. Experiment if you’re curious!
-Fill your mixing cups or paint tray up with white vinegar- a little bit in each well. I use the medicine dropper to do this neatly. Then, mix a drop or two of whatever color food coloring you heart desires. Mix it up with a paintbrush and test it out on the white border of your print. Add more vinegar for a more diluted color, more food coloring for a more saturated color. I also use the medicine dropper to mix colors within the wells. It’s literally so easy that it’s almost mind numbing to type it out! Cheers!
-Paint the picture using those vinegar-food coloring mixtures. The beauty of this method is that the paint is transparent, like more of a stain than a paint really, so there’s no pressure on you to create values. You did that when you took the picture, so all you have to do now is add color.
-Wait about an hour for it to dry!
And that’s it. It’s definitely…not archival. So scan it in so you can have it forever. Prints can look just as good as the original, trust me.
Till next time,
and hey, recommend my newsletter to your crafty (and crafty-aspiring) friends, would ya?