Artist's Prayer

Give us Your daily Inspiration
So, we can live a Creative Life.
And lead us away from self-doubt,
For to doubt our creativity
Is to doubt Your Voice within us.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Re~Cyled Art Making & Hand Coloring B&W Photos...

I'm re~discovering a new passion through hand coloring B&W photos while re~cycling at the same time... As my new project's deadline is approaching I'm trying to create a few hand colored photographs for a small exhibit (February 12, 2010). I begun the process by asking my 'all time favorite' question 'what if...?' ~ what if I print the photos on the back of a sturdy brown paper bag in order to bring out a rugged, aged feel of the overall composition? Well, turns out that my printer did survive couple runs of folded Whole Foods shopping bags and the quality of printing was surprisingly good for such an overt abuse....

For my 'trial run' I decided to use a last year's photo that I had posted back in the summer as a souvenir from a trip to Chicago's Chinatown ~ I loved the 'visuals' of a back alley adorned with commercial size garbage containers staring up at the sky of hanging fire escapes.... waiting to be finally put to rest by a merciful scrap metal compactor. Though my photo was originally shot in color, B&W can really step up the realism of the subject matter couple of notches... Going back to the coloring~painting part, I had ordered a set of photo colored pencils (I didn't even know that such a category of colored pencils even exists...) which I could only find online. Given the fact that they come with a bottle of a combustible chemical, ground shipping was the only option available for delivery. The chemical by the name 'P.M. Formula' is used as a primer to be lightly applied over the printed surface prior to the coloring process (this substance is a bit stinky, best not to be inhaled).

After my initial pencil coloring process was complete I sprayed the entire surface of the photo with a coat of Golden Archival Varnish w/UVLS in order to seal off the background. Next, I did couple light washes of acrylic colors, predominantly with Golden Liquid Acrylics Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold, and later on I 'played' a bit with a black India ink and a straight application of gesso to the borders of the print using a palette knife.

I decided to take my re~cyling resolve to a new level.... I want to build a backing for my altered photograph by attaching subsequent layers of cardboard that will become a framing strata and support for my re~cycled artwork, or as I found out, there's a new term coined for recycled art: up~cycling... up~cycled art... In the first layer of support I stripped the very top paper layer in a very irregular manner in order to expose the corrugated inner core of the cardboard which became very 'suggestive' of a continuation of the 'aging' process...
I'd love to hear about your ideas for re~cycled, up~cycled, eco, 'green', earth~friendly art?


  1. Tatiana, it just occurred to me that Angela Cartwright's first book, Mixed Emulsions is a perfect choice for you! I can totally see you doing amazing works using every one of the techniques in there. Have you read it? xoxo

  2. Great effects! My Mom used to hand paint photos before color film. They really are fun.