Saturday, August 23, 2014

altering photographs is a loose and unpredictable process

requiring few complicated or special supplies.  for this reason 

i find it freeing and a good warm up exercise 

before i begin painting or drawing.

i use two small plastic containers that will hold 4 x 6 photo.

one holds water and the other a mixture of water and bleach.

other supplies are photos of course, you can use up those photos 

that you can't throw away but pile up and never seem to have a place,

steel wool, an awl or nail or pen without ink, anything to scratch into 

the surface once it has been softened by water, stencils, lace, doily,

styrofoam container or any other type of texture you can think of.

lots of rags, newspaper and paper towels to sop up the mess.

maybe gloves too. 

the first step is to dip the photo into water.  you can dip a portion of the 

photo or the whole thing.  wait a few seconds for the emulsion to soften.

then use one of the tools, for example the steel wool

and start scraping.  there are no rules for how to proceed.  

work on the photo until you feel finished.  you can always 

go back in and do more later.  set it aside to dry.

another process is to dip a portion of the photo or the whole

photo into the water/bleach mixture.  you need to experiment 

with the amount of time to let it sit in the bleach.  try a few 

seconds first.  

from here you can experiment more with 

scratching and altering the photo or you can let it change colors on 

its own.  oil pastels, watercolor, acrylic can also be used,

you can dip it immediately into the water bath  to stop the bleaching process, 

blot the liquid or  let the colors drip into each other.  you will do well to 

change the water mixture frequently.  the bleach 

mixture will hold out through many photos. 

once the photo has dried, you can use it as a part of collage 

or even it frame it.  

wishing you a lovely weekend.  i will be participating 

in a journaling workshop with orly avineri and am 

looking forward to a reunion with my journaling buddies. 

posting with the artists at paint party friday.  


  1. Irene this is a wonderful technique. I love how you used scratch tools to create depth. Well done. I would love to spend a day with you just creating art.
    Have the best weekend

    1. I would love to create art with you one day as well, Nicole. We might have to make it happen! Have a lovely weekend.

  2. Wow, what a great process. I have tons of pictures that's for sure. Thanks for the tutorial.

    1. I would love to see what you do with those photos. It is really a fun process. I have already sold some of the pieces that I played with. In the future I will post what I did with the photos to create a finished piece.

  3. oooh this sounds like a fun (all day) and fascinating process of manipulation Irene! Love the last one. Do you use a specific type of printed photo-polaroid, inkjet, laser, etc.?

    1. It is fun! I like the fact that there is no pressure, he outcome is a surprise, and that you can use up those photos that are just sitting around with no place to be. I used photos from my iPhoto library that I printed at Costco for pennies but you can use whatever photo prints that you have. It works best with actual photos (remember those) as opposed to copies of photos.

  4. What a fascinating technique, Irene! Thanks for all the good ideas. Love your examples.

  5. These are really beautiful, and a lovely technique too. Thank you for sharing!

  6. This looks like BIG fun, and I have lots of photos to play with, so must give it a try! Valerie

  7. This looks like a lot of fun, I always love techniques where you can't predict the outcome. Thanks for sharing! And you're going on a workshop with Orly!? Lucky you! I did a workshop with her in January and I loved it!

  8. I love this process and these pieces so much...they are gorgeous Irene!!

    Hugs Giggles

  9. Loving the way you did these Irene, fab work. Happy PPF, Annette x