Tuesday Photo Art – featuring Beverly Walden, M.Photog.Cr.
Tuesday on Successful-Photographer is now dedicated to the art of converting images beyond that of a photograph and moving the image in a more Painterly/Artistic direction. We’ll be taking to look at the artist/photographers who are forging their way forward in creating a new art form with photography at its base.
Today’s artist is photographer Beverly Walden. Shown here adding some finishing touches to her painting.
I have been following Walden’s Photography for many years. I’m impressed with Tim & Beverly’s attention to creating fantastic portraits, as well as a ‘portrait experience’ for their clients. Their hallmark is exquisite black and white fine art images. Beverly has expanded their product line by creating the ‘Beau Visage’ line of artwork.
Let’s take a look at some of Beverly’s work.
Before photograph. Please note that Bev is starting with a wonderfully well-lit portrait before she begins her Painter work.
Here is a close-up detail along with the finished painting
Bev’s before photograph
Let’s hear from Beverly
I first opened Corel Painter on my computer about 15 years ago and started to dabble in it without much success, but I didn’t have the courage to open it for two years prior. My goal was to make money with it if I had to spend a lot of time both learning and painting. That is when we came up with the idea of the Beau Visage paintings, knowing it would be a separate part of Walden’s, and I would paint only for those who booked a painting, not on speculation.
I ordered a set of DVDs from a dear friend, Helen Yancy, and sat in front of my computer with her DVD playing. I watched, listened and took a lot of notes. Every so often, I would hit the space bar, stopping the DVD, to sketch out her desktop area showing the brushes and their settings and any other information I could glean from the DVD. Then I would set my desktop to match hers as I followed her instructions. At that point, it was just copying what she did without understanding the reasons for it.
I started to paint some prototypes after watching her DVDs, and we sold those for several years. About 11 years ago, Helen was doing a week long class 20 miles from us, and I jumped on that opportunity to learn with her in person. During that week, I was pleasantly surprised that I was doing most of the program correctly, but I needed to make some adjustments.
After that class, I painted for clients for several years, working on perfecting my skill set and feeling I improved with each painting. I spent a couple of days with Scott Dupras and took other short classes here and there that were close while also doing tutorials I found on the websites of those painters whose work I loved.
About two years ago, Heather Michelle Chinn, aka Heather the Painter, came to our studio and did a workshop here. Again, I felt I was doing most things the way they should be done, but I needed inspiration (and courage) to make my brush strokes more painterly and not so controlled-I wanted to feel more freedom with my strokes. She helped me tremendously on that and also taught how to apply paints and gels to the surface of the painting to add layers of depth and artistry not attainable through using only Corel Painter.
Today at Walden’s, the Corel Painter portion is sold as an “underpainting” only after the client has purchased the Beau Visage painting. Tim prints the underpaintings on fine art watercolor papers while the painting is printed on archival canvas and sealed with an isolation coat before any paint or gel is added.
The finished paintings now have so much more visual power with the paint and gels added PLUS they are truly “one-of-a-kind” pieces which make them more valuable. I knew the added paints and gels would make some difference, but I didn’t realize they would make such a huge difference, at least in my opinion, and they look and feel more like a free hand painting.
What I love about painting the portraits we create here in our studio is the high quality and excellence of the portrait itself that becomes the foundation of the painting. The lighting is beautiful, the contrast is just right, the pose and set are always a pleasure with which to work. Also, after I finish the underpainting, Tim takes it into Photoshop and tweaks the contrast to bring out the brush strokes and makes slight adjustments for added richness and depth before he hand prints both the underpainting and canvas for the painting here on our Epson printer.
We believe every studio should have a top of the line “product” to offer their clients and the Beau Visage Mixed Media Paintings fulfill that role for us.
Beverly’s Thoughts on Painting
Portraits of people and the challenge of catching the fleeting expressions that truly reflect their souls, that is what intrigues me and always has! From the click of the button to fulfilling my vision first with Corel Painter and then, paint and brushes, is what moves me and stirs the artist within. And always, I am in search of BEAUTY!
Entering into the photography profession under the instruction of both Robert Walden, my father-in-law and Tim, my husband, I fell in love with portraits from the very beginning. No landscapes, no flowers, no sunsets… I wanted to photograph faces, especially children! I loved capturing their innocence.
Every photographer has a vision inside of them, and I found my outlet to create what I saw with my mind’s eye when I learned how to get onto photographic paper what was in my mind.
After many years of doing portrait photography, I found Corel Painter and my path was changed from creating photographs to painting photographs, creating one-of-a-kind pieces of art.
I always paint when alone-it’s my quiet time, my thinking time, my relaxation! Some fish, some golf, but for me, painting is what I love to do.
It was and still is a perfect fit for me!
Here is a quote that Beverly loves and I’ll be adding to my collection, “The job of an Artist is to offer a sanctuary of Beauty to an ugly world.” Jeff Goins
I gotta tell ya this has turned into quite a missive on art and business. Thanks to Beverly for the in-depth thoughts and ideas on how the Waldens have used the artistic process to expand their business.
Yours in Creative Photography, Bob
PS – For educational opportunities with the Waldens see this post. If you want to improve your photography business you definitely want to check it out.