Local Arlington Business | Turtle Light Press

Untitled photo

I recently found out about a local Arlington business through an Instagram contest: Turtle Light Press.  I met the owner, Rick Black, when he came by to drop off a digital painting he did of Ayers Variety & Hardware Store. We realized we had photography in common and decided to collaborate.  Here's an interview I did with Rick. Enjoy!

S: How did you get into photography and digital painting?


R: I got into photography and digital painting when I was living in Highland Park, NJ. It was the 100th anniversary of the town and I partnered with a friend, who was an excellent photographer, to make a book. One day he dropped off a CD filled with photos that he had turned into paintings on the computer—and I just loved them. I learned how to do it and we took pictures of businesses, landmarks, churches, houses, and offbeat shots of the entire town. I made an artist book out of them and our work was featured in the town’s celebrations. People liked the images so much that we started selling them as individual prints and notecards. Then, mom-and-pop businesses wanted shots to use for advertising or holiday cards, and homeowners wanted paintings done of their house, too. When I moved down to Arlington, I started taking pictures here myself and turning them into colorful paintings. Our work is available in a few stores. Design Frames in Falls Church has a few of our prints for sale. The Lebanese Taverna Market on Route 29 and Two the Moon gift shop sell our notecards, And, best of all, if you stay at the Hilton Garden Inn in Falls Church, you’ll find some of our images in every room. They loved our shots of the State Theatre and Clare and Don’s in particular. Of course, customers can purchase prints on our website or order a portrait of their own house.


S: Where do you get your inspiration?


R:  I like to shoot landmarks, street scenes and shops especially in the morning when you can get that Edward Hopper effect of strong sunlight and shadows. I’ll often wait for passersby, or a bicyclist to be in the picture, too. Afterwards, I’ll start to play with the photo in Photoshop and with various digital painting plug-ins. Actually, one of the keys has to do with cropping and focusing on the most important parts of the shot. I can make an image look like it has been done on canvas, stucco, tiny mosaic tiles. It’s a lot of fun because it gets me out and about; I like nature photography, too, but I do that just for myself.

  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo

S: What should clients know if they want to hire you to create a painting of their property?


R: If a client would like to commission a painting, they can order one in our website store. Of course, if they have any questions or special requests, I’m glad to discuss it with them at 908-227-7951 or via my email: rick [at] turtlelightpress.com


S: Where can people find you/Turtle Light Press?


R: People can find us at turtlelightpress.com In our online store, they will find images of Arlington, Falls Church and Washington, DC, as well as other locations. I don’t do that much social media, but we post three times a week on Instagram and occasionally on Facebook. We also occasionally run a fun contest to identify a place in exchange for a $20 coupon.


Northern Virginia Photographer  |  Sarah Goldman Photography

Arlington, VA