Friday, April 27, 2018

Vintage Photos With Grunge and Bling

I have always loved vintage photos. After taking a course called "Radiant Rust" with Seth Apter at Ink Pad NYC a few months ago, I got addicted to the grunge effect, and love combining it with vintage photos to enhance the aged look of my art pieces. These two pieces use similar techniques and materials, and both honor my own parents, and turn old faded photos into keepsake artwork. 

On the left is the piece I call "Football Hero Circa 1936," and on the right is "1942 Wedding." Both pieces developed as I went along, rather than being carefully thought out and sketched in advance. 

During the Radiant Rust workshop, I had created a center piece that I didn't like at all. (Click here for my blogpost about the workshop.) Rather than trash the imperfect artwork and fine watercolor paper, I decided to paint over it and keep experimenting.
This was the painted, stamped center piece that I didn't like and decided to paint over.
After painting over the original artwork with Seth's chalk paints, I added some of my favorite stamps--a dragonfly and a Julie Balzer geometric--with radiant rust and patina oxide Baked Texture.
The dragonflies and geometric stamps didn't work with the painted background.
I didn't love it, so I added more texture with a woodblock stamp from Gwen Lafluer. It was better, but still needed something more.
A little rust baked texture powder was added to the background.
One of Gwen's carved wooden stamps was added around the edges with rust baked texture.
I thought a steampunk image look might be cool with the rusty grunge effect, so I set to work with a few steampunk stencils. This time, I used an olive green embossing powder that I had on hand.

The olive embossing powder didn't work with the background, so it was covered with chalk paints.
It was pretty much a disaster. The olive was hideous, so I  painted over sections with the chalk paint and cheesecloth, and eventually ended up with a rusty, grungy background that I liked.

Eventually the color and texture looked just right.
The football hero photo was "auditioned" on another grungy background, which was later used in the "1942 Wedding" piece.
I was working on a few backgrounds at the same time. I auditioned a photo reprint of my father in his football uniform on one of the other backgrounds; I liked the effect. He was born in 1918 and the photo was taken in high school, so it is probably from 1936. He had been the quarterback for his team--what a difference from today's uniforms!

My father loved to read, so I found some old dictionary pages and tore them to give a frame effect. To go with the grungy idea, I decided to use distress stain to age the paper.

A frame effect was created around the photo with torn vintage dictionary pages.
The distressed paper frame looked good, but the piece still needed more.
A little more distress ink was added to the paper, as well as some extra rust baked texture.
The final touch was trying some baked texture Beeswax over the photo and dictionary paper.

 I was really happy with the final piece. The beeswax baked texture united the background and foreground, and added to the aged effect.

For the 1942 Wedding piece, I used one of the grunge backgrounds that I had considered for the Football Hero. The wedding photo contrasted nicely with the grungy background, but I knew it needed more. I auditioned a lot of elements until I found just the right combination.

A piece of sari scrap was just the right color for the background.
Sheer lace added contrast with the earth-toned background and sari scrap.

I liked the idea of lace with some of Gwen's Sari Scraps from the online shop. The colors were great with the grungy background and they added a nice contrast. I set about carefully cutting some coffee-colored silk and beaded medallions. 

I also decided that rather than pasting the photo on top of the background, I would cut out a center section and use the grungy background as a frame. Not only did this add depth, I also ended up with a nice little piece of the grungy background for later use in another project.

On the back of the background, I carefully measured and marked before cutting the frame.

The photo was mounted on some heavy, smooth paper before placing the frame over it.

I used some ink and a dabber tool around the edge of the cut-out center to give a more finished, professional look.

A small piece of the background was cut out, and the photo inserted.
The hard part was deciding on exactly how many medallions to use, where to place them, how much and what kind of lace to use, and how to arrange it all so it didn't look too busy or too stagnant.

Audition 1
Audition 2
Audition 3
Audition 4
Audition 5
Audition 6
Audition 7
Audition  8
Audition 9
Audition 10
I finally decided on an arrangement, and set about adhering the elements. I used a gluestick for the lace, and heavy gel medium for the Sari Silk scrap medallions. The gluestick went on purple, which is great because it shows where the glue is and is not, but it dries clear.

Just before the glue had dried, I decided I didn't love Audition 10, so I added some triangular shapes of lace at the top and bottom, which kept the design from being too square and boring.
The final "1942 Wedding" artwork.
The football hero of 1936 became a groom in 1942, and later a WWII hero, receiving a Purple Heart medal.
I just may get orders for a bunch of these from my extended family--my brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews all love the family history and vintage photos.  But, even if I do make a few more, each one will be unique, depending on which colors of paint, embossing powder, lace, trim or sari scraps that I decide to use.


Jill McDowell said...

How clever you are. I really love how you created such a lovely frame. These pieces are treasures. Beautiful

ann barnes said...

Linda,these turned out really amazing! I really can't even pick a favorite. I love how the beeswax united the whole effect with the football star, but the lace and sari scraps are such a wonderful finish for the wedding photo. Really incredible pieces, if I were family, I know I would hope for one!

Jackie PN said...

Oh Linda!!! Both of these pieces are just exquisite!! I am so happy you persevered! Look at these dynamic results! I just love the final arrangement of the Wedding photo- funny how many auditions to find just the right one!
Gorgeous! My friend!
Jackie xoxo

Lynda Shoup said...

These are beautiful! Such loving detail to each. The photos are precious, the stories behind them interesting and the way you have displayed them honors them. I'm sure you will have many requests to do more of these. They are wonderful!