Past Blast: Early pixel paintings


An early “mouse painting” painted in PaintShop Pro version 3

I first used Photoshop before the Windows operating system existed. It was an MS DOS version, 2-point something. I had NO idea what I was doing. I was at a new job–my first “white collar” type of job. My boss gave me a photo. He wanted me to scan it (scanners were awesome new toys), and create a new parking lot and airplane hangar by merging and melding one part of the picture with another. “No problem,” I said aloud, while inside, I went Holy shit, how?

Long story short—I did it. My journey into being a Photoshop artist started then. I wanted to do more, though. I had my own drawings and artwork I wanted to do. How could I translate my sketchings and paintings from paper and canvas to the world of pixels? Me, who once swore I’d never use a mouse, started out with one. Windows Paint was limited. I no longer had access to Photoshop. I started beta-testing a program called PaintShop Pro from a small software company in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. (Corel has since bought this program, but it was created by a company called JASC software.) After repeated failures, I finally learned to work in extreme closeup, practically a pixel at a time, with my mouse. This is one of my first mouse paintings.


Another mouse painting, an aurora spirit mare.

It was a great few years of exploration for me. I was seized by the magic of not having to have canvases, paint, brushes, blocks of paper. No knocked-over jars of smelly, staining liquid. Oh, I still miss the medium of paints and canvas but…I’m not exactly in a good position to have that any more. (Plus, my birds would likely have issues with big wet canvases and stinky paint thinners.) One of my favorites still is this auroral horse. Yes, all painted with a mouse!

I have since moved on to a stylus and tablet, and now use a modest Wacom Bamboo. I got my first tablet in 2003, a Wacom Graphire, which lasted me faithfully almost ten years. I dream of getting one of those fancy draw on the screen thingies that cost a thousand dollars and up, but really, I’m fairly satisfied with what I can do with my Bamboo.  I’ll post some newer pictures in another post.


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