01/28/14 By Angela Corpus
One of my favorite things to study on a painting is the detail of the brushstrokes. I'm fascinated by how a painter layers the details onto an image, the variance in the strokes and thickness of the paint. When I saw this technique for adding an impasto texture to a printed photograph, I knew I had to try it just to see how it looked. This DIY project is featured in the book 101 Mixed Media Techniques: Master the Fundamental Concepts of Mixed Media Art.
I started by printing high resolution images with an inkjet printer on regular paper. The project also suggests printing on canvas as an option, but I decided to keep it simple.
Tools You'll Need:
Select a photograph well suited for a clear, textured finish that will accentuate the dimensionality of the image. Print your image on inkjet paper or canvas and coat with a water-resistant, clear finish.
I did this first coating mid-afternoon. It was dry and ready for the second step later that evening.
Once the protective coat has thoroughly dried, apply a liberal layer of clear, thick acrylic gel medium. Select several different paintbrushes and brush the clear medium on your print, creating textured brushstrokes as if your photograph were a painting.
I don't think there is a wrong way to do this technique. Since both layers are clear, it's a very forgiving process. The more detail you put into your brushstrokes, the more character you'll add to the image.
I love how the clouds look with the impasto finish. The shadows seem accented and have more dimension to them.
All photos by Angela Corpus
The sunset palm image was a bit trickier to work with. The dark shadows left no contrast for the brushstrokes to accentuate, so I definitely recommend picking an image that already has vivid textures to highlight. The brush I used was also just a little too big to accurately capture the small strokes that would truly be required to paint those palm fronds in detail.
This is a great technique to play with and experiment. I think I'll try printing an image on a more textured paper to see how that changes the look. And who knows, maybe I'll even try a photo of something other than the beach!
What ideas do you have for the impasto photograph technique?
Angela is Marketing Manager for the Quarto Publishing Group USA. A Chicago gal at heart, she recently relocated to southern California and can usually be found exploring the beaches, feeding her newfound inner artist, and chasing sunsets with her camera. A collector of stories old and new, she's an avid postcard sender, and origami cranes always seem to tag along on her travels. Follow her adventures on Twitter: @angelacorpus
The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.
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