Let’s Try Painting!

Sometimes it’s fun to drop all the rules and try your hand at creating something you have never tried before. I’ve dabbled with collages made from my photographs and I like them. But what about trying my hand at painting?

Well that’s a nice thought, but I don’t know the first thing about how to draw. But what if I try painting on top of one of my photographs with acrylic paint?

That’s how it started, and this is how it turned out. It was way fun and I’m looking forward to my next project with paints.

I started with a fall image I took at Magee Marsh near our summer home in Port Clinton, Ohio. It’s a magical place to photograph, but particularly wonderful in the fall.


After I did a bit of cropping and editing in Photoshop, I had the image printed on canvas. Step one was done. Next I covered the entire surface of the canvas with a layer of medium acrylic gloss. There are a lot of different mediums you can use for this step, but the important thing is to get a layer down before you begin to paint. Because, the wonderful thing about using a gloss (think of it as a sealer over each layer you put on your surface),  is that you can rub off anything you put on top of it that you don’t like.

So once I got the sealer on, I was ready to start adding paint. Yikes. I started with the tree on the right and just mixed up a batch of reds.


At this point, if you look closely, you’ll see that not much has changed. It’s still a photograph with a blob of red added to it.

Next, I decided to work on the row of pretty weeds just off the shore. I spent a lot of time going in and adding different colors of paint, mixing as I went and using different size brushs and brush strokes until I got it just right. It was easy to give myself permission to just play and be creative because I knew whenever I put down some paint that didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, I could rub it off and start again.


Next I worked more on the tree which I ended up rendering  in a completely different color from the original image. I used a big brush and really went wild with my brush strokes. After five or six times of wiping stuff off,  I was finally satisfied.


From that beginning, I just went along and had a ball. Here is the end result.


I still have some work to do on it, but I’m pretty happy with the look. After I’m totally done, I can tone the whole “painting” down with a tinted gloss to give it a softer look, or try a final coat of medium  in a matte finish instead of gloss, or varnish the whole thing.

Now I’m ready to try an animal image and see what happens. Since I’m not a painter I don’t think I will be able to render an image of animals into a painting as easily as this one, but who knows? The fun is in the creating.

Good shooting!


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