The Difference Between an Original Painting and a Print

~ by Maria Benner


We’ve noticed that some people who are in the market for art, may be confused about the difference between an original painting versus a print.  We get questions like, “If I send you some pictures, can you make a print for me?”  Or people use the words “painting” and “print” interchangeably, and that’s confusing to us, so we always clarify, because there’s a big difference between the two.

Scott paints each original oil painting with brushes and oil paint on a piece of hardwood panel that is coated with three coats of white primer, sanded between each coat, and a layer of red and gold.  Each painting is unique, and each brush stroke is intentionally applied to the panel by hand.

In order to make a PRINT, I photograph the original oil painting.  Then I adjust the colors, brightness, levels, and contrast in Photoshop, to make the digital photograph look as close as possible to the original oil painting.  There is no way for me to make it look exactly like the original oil painting, because the oil paint is more vibrant than any printer ink.  Also, because of the gold layer of paint under the oil paint, Clendaniel paintings glow when light hits them at certain angles.  This is impossible to capture with a digital camera on most paintings, because if I shoot the painting at an angle that makes the gold paint glow, the oil paint will have glare in the photograph.  After the photograph is ready to be printed, I use our Epson Photo Stylus 3000 ink-jet printer to print the image on high quality glossy photo paper.  This printer has nine different ink cartridges, and the ink is archival, meaning that it is waterproof, and will not fade when exposed to sunlight, or with age.  We print the images on demand, so we don’t have to pay upfront for prints, and don’t have to store them.  This also allows us to release prints of nearly every painting.

When you purchase an original oil painting, you get a one-of-a-kind piece of art.  Even if Scott paints the same scene again, the colors and brush strokes are never the same twice.  On the other hand, we can make many prints of the same image.  The prints are limited-edition, meaning that we decide how many we will release and when all are sold, we won’t make any more.  So if the print is numbered 5/99, that means there will only be 99 prints in existence of that image.  Then Scott hand signs each print with archival black ink.  We package the prints with backer-board in a plastic bag, and include a certificate of authenticity in each bag.

So, in order to make a print, first Scott has to paint and original oil painting.  That is why you can’t commission a print, if the painting does not exist yet.


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