When I printed in the darkroom, each black and white print was hand processed – no two were ever the same. Add the hand-coloring to one of those prints and it was truly a unique piece.
That’s not really the case anymore. Once I have made all my adjustments and set my printer to the correct settings; the black and white print can be duplicated exactly every time it is printed. Now all that really makes each “original” just that – an original – is the hand-coloring. And that’s ok – because I can never duplicate how I apply the color to each print.
From the beginning, I have limited the amount of times I hand-color an image to 25. All 25 of these are considered “originals” but that has started to bother me. Painters only have one original, but what I do is a little different.
Maybe I should call them something other than “originals”. Another option could be – I don’t state a number – each one is an “original” so there is no reason to limit it – right? No….that doesn’t feel right. Like I said earlier, the starting point – the black and white print – can be duplicated exactly now, so I really feel the need to place some sort of limit to what is considered an “original”.
Then there is the act of actually hand-coloring the same image 25 times. How do I feel about that? Do I have the same excitement and anticipation on #12 that I had on #1 or even #4? I don’t think so.
The exception to that was when I switched over to digital prints and started hand-coloring with pastels. There were quite a few images from my film days that I had hand-colored using oil paints on darkroom prints. My favorite negatives were scanned so I could hand-color using my new technique. Everything about these images seemed brand new to me – but I kept the same numbering. If # 8 was the last print I colored with oils and the next time I colored that same image - I used pastels – it was #9.
I think I know where I am going with this and I will probably write about the changes I want to make in my next post, but I am curious what others think about this subject…………
Another street scene from Paris - I finished hand-coloring this in December.