By Andrea Melione
This article originally appeared in ArtTrader Magazine, Autumn 2010 Issue 12
Did you ever feel you liked a photograph, but it would look more unique if she had bigger hair or if her dress were green? Do you like using old photographs in your work but want your art to represent your personal artistic vision? Then alter it! At ArtForAll 2010 in Rochester, NY, this past June, I led a class on Altered Women, where we took an image of a woman and gave it a makeover! Everyone made fantastic and unique art that reflected their own tastes and styles. Kimberley Butts used a wonderful photograph of her mother Janet and Dina Haskins created a Queen of Hearts from a vintage photograph. In addition, I provided everyone with an image of Marie Antoinette to play with and it was fascinating to see how different artists interpreted her image.
Some tips when altering your woman image:
- Use collage layers: Build up layers in the background! Use decorative scrapbook paper, foreign text, or phone book papers. Layer thin washes of paint, apply rubber-stamped images, or use punchinello sequin waste to create polka dot textures. A pleasing background makes a wonderful frame for your altered woman.
- Use thin layers of paint: Thin your acrylic paint with a small amount of water to layer color into skin, hair and clothing, building up layers of paint to create shadows and depth, drying each layer with a hair dryer if you are impatient. It takes more time, but the quality of the finished piece is worth it.
- Be creative: Creativity is important – decide on a particular color palette: Play with bold colors only or subtle colors only. Add wings, antlers, patterns, or text to add interest to your altered image. Insert an interesting animal companion, such as a fox, fish or cat. I used a rubber stamp of the Eiffel Tower to give my altered Marie Antoinette a sense of depth and distance.
- Use a theme: Give your altered woman a theme; is she an angel, a garden fairy, or a Queen of Hearts? Gothic or Steampunk? Is she a Wild West vixen, or a Sophisticated Parisian?
If you are interested in creating your own Altered Woman art in Gothic Arch form, grab some vintage images or family photos, some fun collage paper and ephemera and check out this issue of ArtTrader Magazine for info on gothic arches and links to Gothic Arch templates of various shapes!