Artist Karen Waters creates textured prints with layered imagery. Visit her website to see more of her beautiful work.
When someone walks up to one of my pieces and asks “Is this a photograph or a painting?” I know I’ve accomplished my goal.
My father started it all. He was a photography enthusiast and gave me a camera to play with before I even began kindergarten, so I’ve been taking photos for just about as long as I can remember. I recall as a teenager setting up a studio in my bedroom and coaxing our dog to pose for me in different lighting situations. She was a good sport, but pet portraiture was not my calling.
Many years later, when digital photography appeared on the scene, I was opened up to a whole new world of possibilities. I was off and running!
I began teaching myself Photoshop, and during that time I discovered how to layer textures into my work. This stirred my desire to create mood and feeling in my photographs and I began making my own textures to blend with my images.
I create the textures by taking photos of textured objects, such as tree bark, rocks, cracked concrete and the like. I then blend several of those images together, along with other elements, so they are not identifiable. I layer several of the finished textures over my photos until I feel that an image is complete.
I like to call my work ‘Photographic Art’ because it steps beyond traditional photography. By doing so it allows me the ability to alter my photographs into something more than just what the lens can see, but what was felt in that moment and then pushed to the extreme. This the camera alone cannot convey.
My work is printed on fine art paper, metallic paper, canvas and my favorite, aluminum. Some of my images are more suitable on canvas, but the way the light reflects back out from the aluminum really makes the image pop and adds an extra dimension. It’s the closest thing I have found to replicating what my work looks like on a computer monitor and I absolutely love it!
In addition to selling my work from my website, I also set up on weekends at a local outdoor fine art show in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico. Our small city is a mecca for art and is visited by people from all over the world.
I love meeting my collectors in person to hear what it is that draws them to a particular piece. I learn so much from them and consider it a privilege to be able to sell my art in this way.
I love sharing what I know with fellow creatives. If you are interested in learning how to blend textures with photographs, you can find a tutorial of my process on my website. I also offer free texture downloads to help you get started. They’re great for mixed media too. I hope you have as much fun creating with them as I do!