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Thread: Watercolors on B&W prints

  1. #1
    Member NotXorc's Avatar
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    Watercolors on B&W prints

    I am learning about handpainting watercolors onto pigment inkjet prints. Altering prints with paints is a practice that appeared very early in the history of photography. Much information is available on these early techniques. I have a book by Henisch & Henisch 'The Painted Photograph 1839-1914: Origins, Techniques, Aspirations.'

    I have not found a resource on this practice using B&W giclées. My right brain says, "Experiment and don't let others tell you not to do one thing or another." My left brain says, "…there is a budget and fine art printing papers do cost money." Some use printers that have been converted to all B&W using carbon inks. I am using an Epson 3880 which will only be using mfr-sourced inks and papers, as I will continue to use it for color images on glossy stock.

    There are some questions that will be answered following my initial lessons in watercolor painting. Some others may need to be evaluated in term of my equipment only. How will pigments and watercolor paints interact? Which Epson papers are weighty enough for different water color techniques (some of which use lots of water)? What about longevity and color/pigment fastness after painting with watercolors?

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    Workshop Member Wayne Fox's Avatar
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    Re: Watercolors on B&W prints

    I've never seen this process done with inkjet prints. Traditional Photo paper is quite receptive to absorbing the liquid dyes used - after all it's designed to be submerged in liquids. Not sure inkjet will work the same - rather skeptical. I know it's hard to use spotting colors (basically water color type pigments) on inkjet prints, easy to do on photographs.

    Have you seen it done (I've never seen or heard of it being done) or just hoping to be able to do it? There are some labs using a special Durst Lamda that prints digital images onto traditional B&W paper and processes using somewhat conventional B&W chemistry. That may be a better alternative.
    wayne
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  3. #3
    Member NotXorc's Avatar
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    Re: Watercolors on B&W prints

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Fox View Post
    I've never seen this process done with inkjet prints. Traditional Photo paper is quite receptive to absorbing the liquid dyes used - after all it's designed to be submerged in liquids. Not sure inkjet will work the same - rather skeptical. I know it's hard to use spotting colors (basically water color type pigments) on inkjet prints, easy to do on photographs.
    I would judge an initial test as a partial success. In places where the pigment was laid down darkly, watercolor application left a powder which is fixed and cannot be brushed away. On areas where little to no pigment was applied, the results with watercolors were lovely.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Fox View Post
    Have you seen it done (I've never seen or heard of it being done) or just hoping to be able to do it? There are some labs using a special Durst Lamda that prints digital images onto traditional B&W paper and processes using somewhat conventional B&W chemistry. That may be a better alternative.
    I will look into Lambda prints. Using service bureaus is bound to be much more expensive than a commodity pigment printer. It's worth a try though, just to see what's possible.

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    Re: Watercolors on B&W prints

    I have used the Hanamuhle watercolor paper, made my print and then carefully watercolored on it. Not bad, not great. I often however use most any matte paper and handcolor with pencils, no problem. A friend of mine uses a type of water based dye, made especially for photographs. Another person I know "paints" with pan pastels, which are quite easily applied to virtually any matte paper. I have used traditional oil paint and never had any problem. If you are having a problem, there are transparant sprays, that are designed to coat the print and then you can watercolor or apply any kind of tinting to a print. Another idea is a transparant gel medium, easily found in art stores, and then you can apply a hide variety of paints. Inevitably you are going to reinvent the wheel, but experimentation is most of the fun. Good luck, Joe

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    Member NotXorc's Avatar
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    Re: Watercolors on B&W prints

    I will have to check at my local art supply store and see what is available. Experimentation and fun go hand in hand. One person suggested that putting aside self-criticism is a key for getting the most out of the learning opportunity.

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    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Watercolors on B&W prints

    I have had some luck aplying Dr. Ph Martin's watercolors via an airbrush but in layers to build denser colors.
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  7. #7
    devidmicheal
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    Re: Watercolors on B&W prints

    If you have a problem that is transparent spray that is designed to cover the printing and then you can use water color or tint of a print.

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