Theresa Airey

Theresa Airey

Member, Freestyle Advisory Board of Photographic Professionals


Theresa Airey, international photographer and author of Creative Photo Printmaking, Creative Digital Printmaking, Digital Photo Art, Beginner's Guide to Digital Photo Art, Bermuda, The Quiet Years and Bermuda, Then and Now has shown her work extensively with separate one woman exhibitions in 18 of the 50 U.S. states. Theresa holds a M.F.A. in Photography and Fine Art. Abroad, she has held major shows in Spain, Bermuda, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico. Her work has been featured at the Bermuda National Gallery in the Biennial 2006 and 2008. She is also featured in numerous Photography books: most recently in Photography in the 21st Century, published by Delmar Learning, of which she also has the cover image. She is best known for her skill in restoration, infrared photography, and "crossing the boundaries" between traditional printmaking, drawing, photography, and digital art by using the computer as a tool to begin to integrate, orchestrate, and create new images.


Handcoloring Inkjet Papers
My Favorite Book...
Hand Coloring With Conte' Pastel Pencils
How To Present Your Work
Arches’ Oleo (Oil) Paper

Ask The Experts

I think a person's work style reflects their life style and as you can see from my book, mine is rather eclectic. I love surprises, adventure and experimenting. I hate doing the same thing over and over and love to experience new sights and things. I love taking risks and am willing to make mistakes. I feel you can learn a lot from making mistakes, if you have the right mind set. Not that I try to make mistakes, but they do happen and you just have to accept that as a fact of life and keep trying. So my work rather reflects that in all the different processes that I try. I think the common thread throughout my work is an ethereal and sometimes surreal theme. I guess I am also a romantic and see and love the beauty in people and in the landscape. I see beauty in things others often do not. But as they say, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". I hope this helped, if not send me your questions. Best of everything in your studies.
Dear Scott, First of all, I have never used PM solution and do not recommend it. It is basically a mix of turpentine and oil, neither of which I would recommend putting on inkjet papers. I never used it on Photographic papers either as I like to blend my colors for an airbrushed look, and if I used the PM solutions, and decided to remove a color that I didn't like, it left a telltale smudge on the top of the print which was almost impossible to cover. The best way to find out if you like PM solution and wish to use it is to make a test print and coat one side with PM and leave the other side uncoated. Then color and see if indeed you need it or want it. If your prints are too saturated or "choked-up," perhaps you are too heavy handed when applying your color. I blend out my colors with a Q-tip or my finger wrapped in a tissue. I reduce the color by gently picking some of the pigments up with the kneaded eraser. My students tell me that I "paint" with my eraser. The pastel pigment blend out very well and you do not need to apply a lot of color to cover a large area. You may be also applying too much pigment. ? I did not mention the Epson fine art papers as they were just coming out and I did not have time to work with them. However, I really like both the Epson new Fine Art Ultra smooth and the Enhanced Matte paper. With Fine Art Ultra Smooth you cannot apply water to blend, but both work well with Marshall Oil Pencils and with Conte Pastel Pencils. Hope this helps clear up some problems.
Dear Jeff: Thanks for writing and I hope this information helps. You do not need the PM solution especially with inkjet-coated papers. I never even used it on Photographic papers. It is a combination of turpentine and oil and leaves a telltale smudge on the area where you take out the color. Good luck with your class. Have fun! Theresa Epson Enhanced Matte Paper This paper has a tougher finished than the other Epson papers and you can use Marshall Oil pencils on its surface without leaving too much of a shiny surface behind. But removing the color once laid down is impossible. When you try to pull it out the Marshall Oil coloring with a kneaded eraser, the surface breaks down and lifts. Blending is the same….rub too hard and you lift the surface. So if you want intense color or full color in small areas, they work fine. With Conté pastel Pencils…. The color goes down easily and can be reduced with a kneaded eraser without breaking the surface; the color can be blended also, if a gentle hand is used. However with both of these mediums (pastel pencils and oil pencils) on inkjet-coated surfaces, the secret is not to put the color down with a heavy hand. The Pastel color will blend out, so it is a waste to put it down heavily to begin with, but with inkjet coated papers it is a disaster. When applied with a heavy hand, it will scratch and you will see the “lift ups” of the inkjet coating. My choice would be to go with the Conté pastel pencils and emphasize to apply gently, blend gently, and remove gently. I think they will get the message here…the operative word is gentle J As beginners tend to be heavy handed when first learning to color, I would advise getting a sized watercolor paper to begin with and then move into using the Epson Enhanced Matte. As watercolor papers are sized for “re-working”, their surface is tougher and harder than an inkjet surface. They can remove color easily and lay down a new color without the worry of “lifting” the surface. Both Arches’ Bright White Watercolor paper and Fabriano’s Classico 5 watercolor papers work very well in inkjet printers and give you a great print. You should buy the l40lbs, Hot Pressed Watercolor paper. The original print will be muted in color if compared to an inkjet print, but if you jack up the saturation and contrast, you will come close to the inkjet version. In any case, if they are to hand color the image, this will not matter. It is a far cheaper way to go, especially for beginners. You can buy both of these at Dick Blick or Daniel Smith for great prices. especially if you get the 25 pack of 22 x 30 sheets and cut them down yourself.
Hi Traci, I have colored the Time Zeros with the oil sticks and the plastic coating does absorb the pigments. However, in coloring the 600 Polaroid films, I use the "SpotPens." They are soft tipped brush like pens that contain Photographic retouching dyes. The small points facilitates getting color into small areas and you can coat the area more than once to get a stronger color. They absorb right into the emulsion. I really prefer these for coloring Polaroids. Most photographic stores sell these pens. Thanks for writing and good luck with the coloring.
Dear James: I am not familiar with the printer that you mentioned. I know it is not an Epson and believe that you are referring to the HP 7960 printer. However, there are two ways to paint with oils on inkjet prints. One is to print the image out on a paper substrate and then coat the print with a transparent gesso, which is relatively new on the market. One such product is made by Liquitex and called "Clear Gesso." As it is transparent, you can still see the image and paint upon it without the acids in the paints leaching through and deteriorating the paper substrate. The other way is to print onto canvas and not paper. You can buy regular gessoed canvas at an art store and print on that. The print will not be a high quality image, (not sharp) but if you are going to oil paint it, it will not be an issue. That is given you CAN run a thicker substrate such as canvas through your printer. As I said I am not familiar with this printer and do not know if it has a means of raising the print heads in order to run thicker substrates, such as canvas, through. Check your printer guide for "how to" run thicker paper through. Sometimes there will be a lever with a + and - sign upon it. You can also buy inkjet-coated canvas which will yield a very good print, but is much more expensive. My thoughts on this are "why spend the money, when you are going to paint over it?" The other problem might be the you said are water based. Are you sure the inks are dye-based? Painting with the Liquitex over dye-based prints might cause a little smearing. Be sure to let the inks dry thoroughly before coating with the Clear Gesso. Make sure you buy an inkjet coated canvas that is for dye-based inks. I would suggest if you buy canvas from the art stores (not inkjet coated canvas) that you test the surface out for yourself as far as painting on it with your oils. The canvases now come in so many surfaces that I find I do not like a lot of them, they are too rubbery or plastic-like and painting with oils are not the "feel" that I like. Good luck and let me know if any of this works out for you.