ENHANCING PHOTOGRAPHS - Hand-Painting, and Digital "Painting"

Hand-painted photography was popular at the turn of the century when landscape photography was in high vogue. The old colored postcards and the hand-printed BW photographs of Wallace Nutting were painted in assembly-line fashion by groups of women using oils or watercolors. Portraits as late as the 1960s were "tinted," but when color film became popular the art of tinting nearly died out. In the 1980s fine art photographers resurrected the medium, which is also used editorially and in advertising for its "retro" effect. Most fine art hand-colorists today use the subtle washes popular in the "olden" days. Some are even doing all the printing & coloring digitally on home computers!


 In a departure from tradition, Maine artist Cindy McIntyre uses a high-energy palette and a bold treatment, blending transparent realism with painterly surrealism. Even her traditional subject matter has contemporary overtones. This original approach has won her numerous awards.

 Before the advent of the digital printing process (about 5 years ago), Cindy  painted on darkroom-made photographs.  She used both transparent and opaque oils, and wax-based pencils for most of her work. Black-and-white prints were made on silver-rich fiber-based paper in her darkroom, processed to archival standards with selenium toning. Each print is colored individually (by Cindy!). Oils are rubbed in with a cotton swab to maintain the transparency, but opaque brushwork is often added. Although technically the BW negative is the original "drawing," she calls these Originals because each is printed by hand and painted. Version numbers indicate the number of prints made from each negative.  (e.g. v. 1, v. 2, v. 3)  These artworks are also available as reproductions.

Most of Cindy's work is now done with digital tools, transforming a realistic photograph into a digital watercolor or digital oil painting.  Adobe Photoshop is her primary software, and sometimes she uses a Wacom tablet stylus for fine work. 

© 2012 Cindy McIntyre, 550 Auburn Ave NE Apt C, Atlanta, GA 30312 - 207-522-4664