We’re just back from a couple leisurely days celebrating Thanksgiving at the Oregon coast. The weather was the best that the Northwest has to offer this time of year: chilly, wet, windy and unbelievably fresh. Had a great holiday dinner Thursday at Driftwood Shores, and spent most of the rest of the time out enjoying the beach and trails.
I’ll be doing hand-colored versions of both of these photos soon.
Here’s the black and white photo I took a few days ago in the woods:
Here it is printed out and beginning to be colored with light washes of acrylic:
Every fall about this time the hoses mysteriously collect and bask in the sun together, perhaps storing up energy for their long winter hibernation ahead.
Just about done with the owl portion of this big (24 by 72-inch) hand colored photo. But I want to put a little more complexity into the background, which, in the original photo, is buttery smooth from being out of focus.
I like the bright yellow eye, which is pretty accurate to how thr owl looks in real life.
Here’s an early look at a large (24-by-72-inch) hand colored print I’m making. The image of is a Great-horned owl that Noah and I encountered at Fields Oasis during our recent eastern Oregon adventure. The bird sat remarkably calmly as we approached around the rim of the small pond. Only when we got close could we see that the owl was hanging on to a rabbit it had caught, which explains why it wasn’t quick to flush.
Here’s another view of the owl, with a clearer look at lunch:
Both photos shot with the 36-Mp Pentax K-1, which gives enough detail to print a single image really big. So I thought I’d crop it down to a wide pano view, as you can see, and try a large black and white print to color. It came out with startling detail, including the interesting texture in the bright yellow iris of the owl’s eye.
This is a test print on cheap paper (it might be shelving paper, I can’t remember where it came from). Which is good, as the printer, which needs cleaning, threw a couple ink splatters. Fortunately they missed the owl, so I can fix them in the coloring process.
I’ve only just begun the coloring, with a couple quick layers of acrylic medium and a wash of ultramarine blue and some olive green on the out of focus background.
East Rim 2018.50. Hand-colored, 18 x 24 inches.
On a trip to eastern Oregon a couple weeks ago, Noah and I drove the gravel road that goes right to the top of 9,734-foot Steens Mountain. The most spectacular view is off the East Rim, right near the summit. This time the view was transformed by thick smoke, from western wild fires, that had somehow gotten stuck in the middle of the desert. No wind was blowing on top of the mountain (pretty much a first, in my experience), the temperature suited t-shirts and shorts, and you could barely make out the floor of the Alvord Desert directly below.
The photography was great. Here are three hand-colored photos I’ve just completed from our visit that summer day.
I’ve been on kind of a tear lately with photos from the woods. Our local forest, neighborhood clearcuts and all, makes a lovely subject for landscape photography, and I’m deeply enjoying making black and white images to take back to the studio and color.
As you can probably make out, I’ve been loading up the brush with more paint than usual, stretching the boundary of traditional hand coloring into something more approaching a painting on top of a photo. The photograph is definitely still there and still vital to the image, but I’m less shy about coloring over areas with abandon.
Here’s a look at that one on the right. Don’t mind the glare — I shot it on the ground outside, which means I’ll soon be re-shooting it a little more carefully:
Lots of paint piled up on the foreground ferns and other undergrowth. I’m not quite inventing things, just simplifying areas of color, and reinforcing shadows and highlights to give that area more structure.