Back to Earth, 2019 digital print of a hand-painted gelatin silver print image 16 x 9
After a 17-year hiatus, I have recently started hand-painting my black and white photographic images again.
Attempting to hand-paint digital images was very frustrating and
unsatisfactory. Therefore, I found two excellent old school
photographers here in Eugene to help me with this project. Walt O’Brien
creates a contact negative of the digital black and white image that I
give to him and then Justin C Williams, using the contact negative from
Walt, creates an archivally processed silver gelatin print in his
darkroom. Now, I can successfully apply and blend the vibrant oil
colors to create something special!
Having this art form to enhance or change the feel of an image is very
liberating. This artistic method of working with a photograph is also a
very “hands on” experience which I don’t have working solely on the
computer. Tim Rudman says it best in his book, The Photographers Toning Book, “The sense of creation that is to be had by physically handling a sheet of photographic paper…is very real.”
Beside it being an immensely visual process, it’s also very tactile and
satisfying for me to watch my black and white photographic image take
on a life and feeling completely different and unique from its
These photographs have all been archivally processed, and the
transparent oils as well, are archival. After completing an image and
allowing it to dry thoroughly I then apply two light coats of an
archival varnish made specifically for art mediums. Then the completed
images go to Terry and Ann at Raven Frameworks for archival matting and
I will continue working on more images of the Pacific NW, especially the Eugene and surrounding areas.