My daughter is working on a family tree for my side of the family. Along with that she is compiling and organizing all available photos of family members. I have been scanning old photos to help her in this project. Struck by some of the visual compositions and the memories the old images resurrect, I have embarked on a series of digital paintings inspired by those old photographs. These images will be around 30" x 35", roughly, when printed.
I am using Photoshop Elements to adjust and edit compositions, distorting slightly to introduce a more dynamic feel. The softwae painting program "ArtRage" is now my favorite program for actually rendering the painting mostly because of its realistic feel and look of oil painting. I do revert to Photoshop Elements during to painting stage once in a while to adjust colors or lights and darks.
One of first paintings below, "Father and Daughter in Dansville, NY" depicts my paternal grandfather Augustus J. Dick and his daughter, Lavancha (Dick) Smith sometime around 1910. The original photograph was in faded black and white. I did a considerable amount of cropping, stretching, tilting and editing of the original image before painting. After finalizing the overall composition I traced the major forms in ArtRage and began the painting. It was a general sketch, not in great detail. My emphasis was more on color and a light feeling than on familial characteristics. I was conscious of creating an impressionistic image.
The (in progress) painting below, "Augustus and Magdelena" represent my paternal grandparents. There has been a considerable amount of editing of the original photograph; editing out other figures, cropping, some stretching and distorting. I repositioned my grandfathers head as he is looking to his right in the original image. The photo is a blurred black and white print and so I am forced into choosing the colors. Realistically rendering facial and hand characteristics is more important to me in this painting as I see the painting as a double portrait, so vivid is my memory of my grandparents. The tracing for this image was much more detailed, the painting more restrained, so far.