Charlie Harris demonstrates his technique for enhancing photographic art with Daniel Smith Original Oils
Seattle artist Charlie Harris first began using oils on photographs in Bauhaus-inspired geometric paintings on pairs of vintage photos. Repeated single images joined in various combinations continue to be a starting point. "I love multiples and tilings." Harris says. He lets the pattern of the prints suggest the painted shapes to be applied. Elements of Op Art and psychedelic art also appear in his work.
1. Harris first prints multiple copies of a photo, flipping the negative to get reverse images. He arranges the copies to create a pattern, then starts painting.
2. He works on AGFA Multicontrast Classic", a double weight fiber-based paper, warm in tone, with a fine-grained matte finish.
3. Harris uses cotton balls to apply Daniel Smith Original and Autograph Oils, rubbing them onto the paper to get a thin, even, transparent coat of color.
4. He masks with templates cut from Canson Talens Vidalon Tracing Vellum and stencils cut from discarded microfiche. "I had access to a lot of old microfiche," Harris says. "It's thin, strong and easy to cut. Acetate and mylar also work well."
5. He then uses a Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser (pg. 30) to remove excess paint. "This works best on fresh paint, but works even after the paint has dried. It does not scar or otherwise damage the photo emulsion."
6. He recommends Webril Wipes for keeping hands clean while working.
What drew Charlie Harris to photography was "not just snapping the, picture," but the ability to manipulate images. After working as a chef for years, he studied photography andcomputer animation. Harris lives in Seattle and shows his work at the Seattle Art Museum Rental Sales Gallery.