Oct 19, 2018
Old family photo albums can be a wonderful inspiration for an artist. A few weeks ago, I started looking through some of my grandmother's old photo albums. My daughter and I spent hours browsing through these tiny black-and-whites and trying to piece together a family tree. I was especially interested in the period hairstyles, clothing, and old cars. I realized that these albums were like treasure chests for an artist like myself. I carried home an armload of dilapidated albums to scan the photos I found most interesting. Many were very tiny and faded. Some were bent or yellowed. But today's technology can overcome many of these problems and restore old photos to their original condition or even improve upon them. That is what I set upon doing.
Painting from old family photos can really help you connect with your ancestors. As I studied an old photo of my great aunt Muriel, I felt like I was getting to know her despite the fact that I had never met her. When I was working on a photo of my mother and uncles sitting in a soap box derby car, I imagined how my Uncle Jerry had proudly built the car from scratch and how thrilled my mother and Uncle Dan were to take it out for the first test run.
These finished paintings make a nice addition to the wall of family pictures we have in our hallway. I only wish my mother and uncles were alive to see their old photographs turned into large, vibrant watercolors.