Visual Art Tip: Family Jewels-Old family photos can be a treasure trove of inspiration.
I've always been the type of person that just can't leave “well enough alone”, especially when it comes to painting. Going thru a box of old family photos, I came across a lovely old sepia portrait of a young girl.
As you can see from the photo, it looks like she stopped by a old tyme photo booth, and sat for a photo. (Around this period of time, photographers might set up a mini booth at a county fair.) It looks like she just covered her dress with a cloth drape, much like they used to do to us for a high school photo.
I immediately decided that she would make a charming colored pencil portrait, even though her identity remains uncertain. Since red/auburn hair runs in our families, I decided to go with that for her hair color, and used a very fair complexion. So that in turn, gave me the background colour of green. I picked out a suitable (1900's ) complex background wallpaper design.....and a very complex lace dress design of the same period. I wasn't too worried about a total likeness......I just used her as a jumping off point for a "period portrait".
Colored pencil is superb for tons of detailing.....yet works lovely for a smooth peaches and cream complexion. I had a ball taking a relatively routine old photo and giving it detailing and a color 'PUNCH'. I think it's fun to remind ourselves that not everything in history is just plain ol' black and white or sepia. Our ancestors lived in FULL color, just like we do... they just didn't have iPhones to record it.
Check out your own photo archives.....you never know what bits of treasure you might find to bring up to full COLOR!