Photos Transferred to Canvas – How to Do Photo Transfer Art

Photos Transferred to Canvas ‘The Magic and Realism of Trees,’ by Orla Gilkeson

One of the most interesting and creative forms of contemporary abstract art around at the moment involves photos transferred to canvas. This short article considers how you might make use of photos transferred to canvas (or wood) with links to useful videos from two artists who make great use of Photo Transfer Art in their work.

Table of Contents

1 Photos Transferred to Canvas – Two Main Ways

2 How to Get Your Photos Transferred to Canvas Directly

3 Photos Transferred to Canvas – How to make Transparent Gel Sheets for Collage in Mixed Media Artwork

4 Photos Transferred to Canvas – Examples By Artists

1 Photos Transferred to Canvas – Two Main Ways

If you want to learn how to transfer an image (either a photo you have taken or one you have found) there are two main ways to do it. You can add paint layers afterwards or mix in other images to create an original piece of mixed media artwork. Both of these processes involve using a laser print of your image because the ink from an inkjet printer dissolves in water but the ink from a laser printer is fixed.

In terms of extra materials beyond the obvious painting materials, you will need an acrylic gel medium or PVA glue, olive oil or baby oil, a small sponge, and some water. You will need to start the day before as you need to leave the image to dry overnight.

2 How to Get Your Photos Transferred to Canvas Directly

1 Start by using Photoshop or an equivalent platform to reverse your image to a mirror image. If you have never done this before there are plenty of tutorials online. You may wish to use a photograph you have taken yourself for authenticity. 

2 Print your image using a laser printer NOT an inkjet one. You may need to find a local printer for this.

3 Position your image onto your canvas or wooden board face down. Apply a thick layer of acrylic gel medium or PVA glue to your photograph. Smooth over the back of it ensuring your photograph is firmly fixed to the surface and then leave it overnight to dry.

4 On the next day use the small sponge or a gentle scouring pad to soak the paper on the back of image with water. Gently rub the back of the image until you have rubbed away all the paper. When you have rubbed it all away the photo will remain and will have transferred onto your surface. Please note that once the image dries again it may appear cloudy and unclear as a small layer of paper will always remain. To solve this, rub oil (olive oil/baby oil) over the image to get rid of the cloudiness. Depending on the size of the image this could be your standalone finished artwork in itself. Most artists would want to develop the work further by adding painted layers and other mixed media.

3 Photos Transferred to Canvas – How to make Transparent Gel Sheets for Collage in Mixed Media Artwork

1 Again you need a laser print of your image (this time it can be the right way round or reversed – it doesn’t really matter)

You could use a found image from a glossy magazine also. 

2 Again paint a fairly thick layer of acrylic gel medium (or PVA glue) over the image and allow it to dry overnight. 

3 As before, you are going to soak the image/paper in water and carefully remove the paper behind the image with a sponge or equivalent. If it is still cloudy rub in a small amount of oil. You now have a transparent gel sheet/layer which you can position on any painting or mixed media artwork with more gel medium/ PVA glue.

It is definitely worth using a good quality gel like Daler Rowney matt acrylic gel medium, to help you get your photos transferred to canvas.

This Daler Rowney Acrylic Special Effects Set is a really excellent all-round purchase at a good price on Amazon. Or you can also pick up acrylic gels individually.

https://amzn.to/3f2AQgS

4 Photos Transferred to Canvas – Examples By Artists

Photos transferred to canvas, or other surfaces, can really make your abstract art stand out and look contemporary. There are two brilliant time lapse videos of the process on Orla Gilkeson’s Youtube channel to help you visualise the process. You can see these at the following two links:

Photos Transferred to Canvas – How to Do Photo Transfer Art Youtube Video

Another artist who uses photos transferred to canvas in his artworks really well is Stefan Heyer. You can find his fascinating paintings here:

Photos Transferred to Canvas – Stefan Heyer Painting

www.stefanheyer.com

You now know how to successfully get your photos transferred to canvas!

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Click here for our step by step tutorial on ‘How to Draw Angel’s Wings.’

Published by artworldblogspot

This is a lifestyle blog about Art, Photography and the Artworld. You can find news, information, entertainment and ideas all in one spot.

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