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Snapshot Inspiration

Photo Op: Texturing Digital Images

Inspired by 101 Mixed Media Techniques

"There is no right or wrong way to create mixed media art. It is a 'zero-experience-needed' art form that colorful souls thrive upon. There are no limits, no rules. There is no right or wrong way to explore." ~ Jennifer McCully, graphic artist

That quote beautifully summarizes the vision of 101 Mixed Media Techniques, a book that encourages artists to discover something new with every work of art and every medium.

Image excerpted from 101 Mixed Media Techniques

With 11 different sections featuring over 100 mixed media techniques, there truly is something for everyone to explore. From art journaling and stenciling to painting backgrounds and encaustics, this book will captivate art lovers of any age, style, and expertise. 

 My personal favorite? The section on "Altering Photographs" with Isaac Anderson, a self-taught artist with a passion for photography, mixed media painting, and documentary filmmaking. His focus on mixed media photography involves taking digital or film images and transforming them through the skillful application of additional mediums, like layering ink, dye, paint, wax, glue, collage, wood, fabric, metal, and more.

I experimented with one of the projects called, "Textured Layers on Digital Images." It gave me the opportunity to work with some basic photo-editing software to add layering and textures to a favorite photo of my daughters.

 Altering Photographs--1

First, I changed the original picture from color to black and white and increased the color saturation to provide more contrast.

Altering Photographs--2

Then, I began a modified version of the layering technique Anderson described since my software didn't have as many options. Below are the results of using two different texture options---paint brush strokes and fabric. 

Altering Photographs--3

Altering Photographs--4

Photos by Beth Bauer

It's amazing how changing something as simple as the color, layering, and texture can bring out a completely different look and feel to even a simple posed snapshot. This vintage, distressed look adds much more interest, character, and depth even with my simple photo software. For those with better tools, Anderson suggests using multiple textures on top of your image layer and using dodge and burn tools as well as eraser and lasso tools to add texture to specific "regions" of your photo. 

The part I love? Every piece is "picture perfect" with mixed media since there are no rules, no restrictions, and no limits on the creative possibilities. As the book states: "Be bold. Be brave. Be fearless. Live artfully!"

Which of your pictures could benefit from texturing?

Beth Bauer

Beth is a freelance writer residing in Fishers, Indiana with a background in print journalism. Her full time job as a stay at home mom allows her to explore the beauty of art and life through her two young daughters' eyesone finger painting at a time.

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To create one's own world, in any of the arts, takes courage.

Georgia O'Keeffe

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