Monday, December 14, 2009

Until Next Year.............

I find the end of the year to be a time of mixed emotions. I am amazed at how quickly 2009 went by, but excited about the possibilities for next year.

This past year was not without its challenges, but overall I feel very fortunate and grateful to have been able to continue to make art, share my ideas and techniques with other people and take an amazing trip to Paris with my family! These are just a few of the items on my very long gratitude list.

For those of you who read my post regarding my debt, I can now say with certainty, that I have realized my goal of not using any credit in 2009! This means that what I owe now is not more than what I owed at the beginning of the year. It has been many years since I have been able to make that statement!

So while I have achieved that goal, next year I will have to be focused on paying down more of the principal and not just the interest. I think I will say it here - in 2010 I will reduce the amount I owe by $ 5,000 or more.

I have decided to take the next couple of weeks off from this blog. My children will both be home for a few days next week and I am looking forward to spending time with them and other members of my extended family.

I will also be using this time to reflect on the passing year and begin to get a clear picture of what I want 2010 to look like. I have a few ideas and plans I will share here in January.

Until then, I want to wish everyone a beautiful holiday. Enjoy, laugh, hug and appreciate the people in your life.

See you in January....................

Monday, December 7, 2009

Rue Poulbot

Rue Poulbot ©2009 Dianne Poinski

I recently posted this new image on my website and thought it might be fun to show some of the steps I took to get to the final version.

This image, "Rue Poulbot", was taken in the Montmartre district of Paris. A beautiful and historical area, home at one time to many influential and important artists.

This is my original color photograph. Before I click the shutter, I usually have a general idea of the "feeling" I want to convey with the finished piece.

Of course the first step to creating a hand-colored print is to convert the image to black and white. Although there are many ways to do this, I convert by using the black and white adjustment layer in Photoshop CS4.

In addition to adjusting exposure and contrast, I also applied a soft filter to the original photograph. I have begun doing this to most of my images. I love the look and it goes well with the hand-coloring.

Something new I did for "Rue Poulbot" was the addition of some "texture". It's hard to see in these small thumbnails and I applied it very lightly, but it's an effect I want to experiment with more. The rough edge shown below is something else I have been adding to many of my new images.

I am showing the tone here, but I actually create that with my printer. I have the Epson 3800 printer which has an advance black and white setting, making it easy to create prints with variations of tone.

After I make the print, the final step is taking it to my studio and hand-coloring.

I enjoy the fact that my process only begins when I click the shutter. The decisions I make with every step leading up to the actual hand-coloring are critical ones. It is only when all the elements come together that I am able to create the image I set out to make in the first place.

If anyone has any questions about any of the techniques I used here, feel free to leave a comment or send an email.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Custom Work

I just proposed an interesting project to a client and wanted to share a little bit about it.

I was contacted last month by someone who had purchased some of my work many years ago. (Good reason to have all your contact information on every piece you sell.) She was interested in obtaining some new art for her living room and after looking at my website wondered what I could do with some of her travel photographs.

I am usually hesitant to work on a project like this but I realized that I could achieve a similar look and feel with her images by working on them in Photoshop. I was pretty sure the price I would quote for custom hand-colored photographs would be more than she was willing to spend, but if all she was really looking for was a style, why not give it a try?

I had her email me one of the images she was considering so I could work up a sample to show her. This is the original image:


After doing some work on it, this is what I came up as a rough proof – of course more work would need to be done for the final image, but I wanted to give her an idea of what I was envisioning.


While I have shunned digital hand-coloring for various reasons for my own work, it may be the best way to go for custom jobs. The main advantage to this is having the ability to email proofs as the image is worked on.

It’s very easy to second guess yourself when working on a piece for someone else. It was one of the reasons I stopped doing portrait work. I would spend hours hand-coloring, the whole time worrying that the customer would not like the way it turned out. Usually they loved the final product but in the few cases where they wanted changes, I pretty much had to start all over. I felt like I was barely making minimum wage on these jobs.

With the technology available, I can now get approval on an image before I have to print it. What is also exciting is this is not a project I could have done a year ago. I have learned so much about digital photography and Photoshop in the past year. There is still so much I want to learn but I really enjoy practicing what I already know, and with this practice I improve and learn more every day.