Fire Rose: Acrylic on Photograph

As a little girl, I remember meeting an artist, (I cannot remember the context or her name), who would paint on top of photographs she took. I remember her explaining the technique and it has stayed with me to this day.

I must admit that I am very uneasy with creating my own shapes and lines free-hand on a blank sheet of paper. Usually I like to work off of tracing photographs I take, or fooling around with images and building off of them. I really just do not have a good free hand, but I work around it.

Something I just started recently, is using the technique of the artist I met when I was a child – it started with making a birthday card for my mom. I knew I wanted to do flowers for her as she is a gardener and would appreciate photographs of my own garden. However, I wanted it to be more meaningful than just a photograph. I wanted to add texture – so I did paint on the photograph and came up with this:

birthday card for mom – acrylic on photograph

I also included a quote for Kahlil Gibran that made me think of her…

“Beauty is of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit…Beauty shall rise with the dawn of the east…We have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset…We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves, and we saw a drift of snow in her hair…Beauty is…a heart inflamed and a soul enchanted.”

My mom loved it. My birthday is 3 days after hers and she made me a birthday card!

I really liked how the texture of the acrylic went onto the photograph. It adds a very subtle depth and more vibrancy. The more flat background keeps the context for the piece, but makes the painted image pop. I can add the vibrancy and make something new, and avoid my uneasiness with creating my own shapes and lines on blank paper. I build upon what is already there, and create new. I think this is evident in the next piece where I tried this technique. It added so much depth and vibrancy, that is why I call it the Fire Rose.

BEFORE (Original Photograph)

pink rose by e.willard (c) 2007

AFTER (Acrylic on Photograph)

acrylic on photograph by e.willard (c) 2012

I made this painted photograph into a card, which is for sale on EmaBee’s Art Etsy shop.


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