Art & Photography: Dianne Poinski

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Artistic photographer Dianne Poinski defines her style as the “perfect marriage” of technology and tradition—a process that’s a meditative blend of Adobe Photoshop and powdered pastels.
Poinski, whose airy studio is upstairs in the Art Foundry Gallery on R Street, shoots in black and white, then hand-colors the images—something she’s done since first experimenting with the technique 16 years ago, after years of working almost exclusively in black and white.
Her first tinted photo, “Autumn Stairs,” depicts a rustic set of steps leading down to a wooden dock. Poinski used oil paints to add brown hues to the wood and fall colors to several of the leaves. “I saw that image come alive when I added the color,” she recalls.
It took some practice with the paints. In the early days, she simply painted grass green, but over time she learned to see peaches, blues and other shades. She soon hit her stride; not only did Poinski establish herself on the fine-art-festival circuit, but many of her images have been made into posters and are widely available online.
Poinski faced another transition two years ago when she switched from analog to digital photography. She resisted for a long time—until her preferred darkroom supplies were no longer manufactured. “I could either stop fighting this or wake up one day and not be able to do what I do,” she says.
It took another year to find a workable alternative to oil paints; Poinski ultimately settled on pastels. She grinds them into powder and uses a variety of tools, including sponge-tipped daubers, to apply them.
Poinski is taking a year off from showing at festivals, opting instead to teach hand-coloring to others. For information on her workshops or to visit her studio, contact Poinski via dpoinski.com.