How I Burned my Brushes and Paper, Gave Away My Tubes of Color and Joined the World of Art by Cyber Magic And More

by Bill Strain

On April 24,2002 I fell madly in love all over again. Of course, there are those who accuse me of falling in love several times just during a shopping excursion to Wal-mart, but this time it wasn’t because of a face or a figure; it wasn’t a babysitter or someone I grew up with or went to school with. I fell in love with a new way of painting pictures. The names are Intuos, Corel, Paint Shop Pro 7, Adobe Photoshop and Wacom; no longer do I respond to  Marys, Lucilles or Juanitas. In fact, I’m seriously considering having my name changed to Digital Ray Distorto.

     I came home that evening to find my oldest son Michael who is also my webmaster and cyber-space director installing new computers everywhere. My computer not only had a massive amount of storage it had all the above listed painting programs on it. Michael then sat down and gave me my first demonstration on how these programs work and how to use the pen and tablet. After the first lesson I selected a blue-gray color and then clicked on Corel Painter Classic’s little “pouring bucket” tool and flooded the page with that color; then using the airbrush tool and the single pixel setting I began to sketch in a lighthouse, rolling hill and a lighthouse keeper in several colors. I was hooked. Over the next few days I produced numerous pictures and had a lot of them put on the website and some that were perhaps a little premature because everyday that I worked, the systems became more sophisticated and I became very excited about a tool called “Distorto”. The painting called Frozen Creek was done entirely with that tool system. I love the Corel program and have used it exclusively thus far in painting but have been told that many professional artists use only Photoshop and that the real pros use Paint Pro Shop 7 which is wonderful if you want to add sound and animation. When I’ve pursued this further I’ll get back with you on my experiences.

     When I was painting with chemical paints on paper, canvas and board, I found certain chemical mixtures that were fascinating. If you frame a paint board to create a shallow tray, then pour lacquer of a light color into the tray and immediately spray over that surface with a dark spray enamel, beautiful designs and configurations will rise up automatically from the mixture of the two compounds. These reactions can be modified by tilting the frame back and forth. I gave a demonstration on this technique at the Corpus Christi Art Museum years ago and almost emptied the building. I had no idea lacquer fumes could fill that large of a building so it goes. If you try this I recommend an open air setting (Grin). Sherwin-Williams developed the lacquers and Krylon developed the spray enamel, but I decided what to do with them, ;so for all those who say that cyber art is not original, I can only answer, “They provide the electronics; I decide what to do with it”. Decide for yourself; better still go get yourself a program and begin to live a little.

     You’ve probably noticed that this is not a commercial website. We have nothing to sell. Feel free to right click on any images that appeal to you and use them for whatever purposes you choose. Some of the images make good letterheads for stationery and note pads; some of the black and whites can be printed out for the kids to color and some could with a good printer even be attractive enough to frame and hang on the wall. If you’re interested in the same things I am you’ll probably enjoy this site, so relax and have a good time, but if I catch you selling any of my shit, I’m coming after you with four dogs and semi-automatic weapons (Grin).

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