It could be a nearby barn that catches his eye. Or Fifth Avenue in New York. A peaceful copse of trees. Or a little girl with a big smile.
An enthusiastic photographer who aquired his first camera, a Kodak Starmite, for his bar mitzvah, Dennis Gold of Lehman Township recently began to take his pictures a step further, transferring images from paper to wood.
You can see many samples of his work on exhibit at the Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock, where an opening reception will take place from 5 to 7 tonight.
From plywood to pine to hickory, Gold has printed his artwork on many types of wood.
“I’d like to do a restaurant someday,” he said, explaining how a different picture could adorn each wooden tabletop.
Perhaps in keeping with the wood theme, during tonight’s reception Gold will play mountain dulcimer with the group Shavertown 4, which also includes his friends Ed Pall on guitar, Mary Lou Mehl on hammered dulcimer and recorder and Paul Mehl on banjo and mandolin.
Most of those instruments are made of wood.
While Gold still sometimes works with film and maintains a working dark room, the images that have become his “pictures in wood” start out as digital files, which he manipulates with a computer to create a mirror image printed on ordinary paper. The wood that is to receive the image is treated with a gel that transfers the ink in the paper to the wood.
Image and wood are carefully selected to complement each other. After the image dries throughly, the paper is removed with water and gentle rubbing. The inks remain embedded in the wood, which then receives several coats of shellac or varnish, or sometimes a hand-rubbed oil finish.
“No two images are exactly alike,” Gold said.