using double exposures  to develop your paintings

Last week I took Vivienne McMaster’s latest class, Double Exposure Love. I’d been admiring her beautiful double exposed photos popping up in my Instagram feed and kept thinking how amazing they could be as a tool for developing my paintings. So I signed up.

Below are some of the double exposures I’ve created using Vivienne’s class; it’s proved an addictive practice – this is just a small percentage! In each case I’ve described a bit about what I did to create the effect.

I won’t give Vivienne’s secrets away, but I will tell you that I used either the Diana Photo App or Picmonkey for all of the following images. Both are extremely easy to use, and well worth learning how. At the bottom I’m sharing a few tips for creating satisfying and effective double exposures.

swimming pool + figure double exposure

This is a combination of swimming pool water and a silhouette photo of me

double exposure photo

The sparkling sea and a still life set up in the studio. I love how the sea rises up into the canvas.

double exposure photo

Just for fun – my art as a dress!

double exposure photo

The studio jungle

double exposure photo

Bubbles over the rooftops combined with the sea

double exposure photo

A reflection photo plus my painting ‘Marshes’ – texture extravaganza! I can see this as a completely new painting.

double exposure photo

Several of a series of experiments mixing my Wishing Buds painting with a photo of a jug of roses in silhouette

double exposure photo

A series combining a silhouette of me with a photo of a field of dandelions, and with one of my paintings

double exposure photo

Me on the beach with my Wishing Buds painting in the background {I love that I can combine two of my loves in this way!}

Double Exposure Tips

  • Use images with strong contrast or amp up the contrast before combining them
  • The random button on the Diana app can create amazing combinations you might never have thought of {and reintroduce you to some of the millions of photos in your phone that you’d forgotten about}
  • Use light; photos of the sun for example can introduce strong impact in your double exposures
  • Use the textures area in Picmonkey to layer your second photo over the first {uploaded the normal way}
  • Consider how you frame your images. There’s an option in Picmonkey to enlarge or reduce one of your photos and move it around over the the top of the other one for the best placement
  • A photo of handwriting can make an amazing double exposure

I’m planning to use some of these experiments as inspiration and references for future paintings; with the literally endless possibilities double exposures present, this feels like a really exciting way forward for developing my work.

And quite honestly, even if I wasn’t a painter I’d be diving into this visual dreamworld, just for the pleasure and new ideas it brings.

Have you tried double exposures? Do you think it would help you with your own art? Any recommendations for apps or methods? Do share in the comments!