What I Did Way Back BW (Before Writing) Part 2

dexter2small

If you read Part 1 of this post, you know that I used to paint for a living. WET paint, that is. Then I discovered the joy of digital painting, using a Wacom tablet and an electronic pen. (You draw on the tablet, and it appears on your computer screen.) It was the most fun I ever had painting. You can work in layers, so it’s easy to take out things that you don’t like, or add new ones, without messing anything up. And you can use all sorts of digital “brushes” for blending effects, oil and watercolor effects, and much, much more. The above is a portrait I did of my daughter’s Dalmation, Dexter.

My cousin’sΒ dachshund, Greta,Β was one of my first efforts. I’ve broken it down so you can see that you work it just like a real (wet) painting. First there’s a sketch.

gretastage1

Because the background is on one layer, and the sketch on another, you can change the background to any color you want at any point. So versatile! Next, the color is blocked in.

gretastage2

Then, it is blended for the first time, softening the areas together, and adding a few details.

gretastage3

Then, more and more details are added, until you’ve got the look you want. The finished painting can be printed on watercolor paper, or on notecards, and other items. Paint once, use again and again. (Or sell again and again–kind of like writing a book.)

gretaopt4

Here are a few other examples of my work, which I generally did as custom orders for people who wanted their pets captured in a painting.

This is a friend’s little dachsie, Riley, and one of the cutest little guys you’ve ever seen.

Riley@40%

These were done at very high resolutions (too large to fit on my monitor all at once) so that they would print nicely. Here is a closer look at Riley’s face, though this is still not as big as I was working.

rileyoptface1

This is Ginger, commissioned by a friend for her mother, after the dog had passed away.

gingerforbrochureAnd a close up of Ginger’s eye, so you can see how much detail I used. (I really enjoyed being able to capture every little bit I could.)

gingereyedetail

While I did more dogs than anything else, sometimes I’d paint other things, just for fun. Florals and scenery, and the occasional horse.

arabian35%final

So, that, my good friends, is what I did in my Former Life, before repetitive stress syndrome became too painful to allow me to continue. I was sad at first, but then I started writing, at long last, and now I couldn’t be happier. Never look back, except with fond memories. That’s my motto.

And now it’s your turn. What did YOU do before you started writing? I’d love to know!

 

 

54 thoughts on “What I Did Way Back BW (Before Writing) Part 2

  1. You really captured Ginger’s facial expression; I feel like I know her. What programs do you use? Tim’s favorites are PhotoShop Elements and Corel Painter. He uses a Wacom Tablet with a stylus and both programs to create artwork. As a career artist for several major newspapers, he had to learn how to use a computer to create illustrations–something he still enjoys doing today. Hope you are, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Linda! Glad you think so.

      I use PaintShopPro. It’s what I started with years ago, because I couldn’t afford Adobe’s Photoshop, and I’m used to it now. I have the latest version, though I don’t use it often enough to have gotten real familiar with it, yet. I’m on a learning curve. The only thing I’ve done with the new version is create these memes, and do my resizing of my own photos, adjusting saturation levels, contrast, etc. No real artwork, yet. But as I mentioned in response to your other comment, my vision is not good these days, so I doubt I’ll ever do a lot of painting again. Luckily, though, I can increase the size of projects on the computer, and make them a bit easier to work with. I do intend to continue making new graphics for various things. And some more “Review Please” memes, etc, to share here.

      I have a new Wacom tablet as my original one died, and I find it very difficult to work with. I can’t seem to get the settings right, so that’s something else I need to master. The last thing I used my old one for was the silhouette of the black dog on my Harbinger cover, which I did on the tablet. Then it died. 😦

      Glad you like Ginger. She was fun to work with. (And yes, her ears had been cropped badly, leaving one much shorter than the other, so that wasn’t me. πŸ˜€ ) I have tons more digital work, but thought this was enough to explain what I was doing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sue. I switched from oils to acrylics many, many years ago. I hate the smell (and toxicity) of oils, so I loved water-based acrylics. But digital is even more fun. You have every single color in the universe at your disposal, just by click on any image with a color you want to use. You have every brush known to man for creating different effects. And by doing every feature on a separate layer, you can delete something you messed up, and start anew, in an instant. When you are done, you just merge all layers into a finished painting. I was so blown away but what I could do digitally that isn’t possible with any kind of wet paint, I never missed it. Except for wooden or slate Christmas ornaments, etc, that I continued to paint for sale and my own tree. It worked for me, and I do miss it. But I’m too busy writing to worry about it. πŸ˜€

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        • In spite of what the Rolling Stones said, I don’t believe time, time, time is on our side! πŸ˜€ I think it’s part of some grand cosmic practical joke, conspiring against us at every turn. πŸ˜€

          Good luck with learning how to use it. Once you really get it going, you’ll be amazed at what you can do. Of course, it’s the software that controls that, but if you have a good program, you’ll LOVE it!! After years of wet painting, I was utterly astonished at what I could do. Keep us posted if you give it a try.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. That dashie is soooo cute. I can see how this would have been fun. When Emily Carr could no longer paint due to health reasons, she took up writing and is as well known as a writer as she is a painter.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Fantastic, Marcia! Magical work. I’m pleased you’ve found something else that makes you happy. I’ve always written but while doing other things (studying, working as a psychiatrist, studying American literature, doing my PhD and being a teaching assistant at university, then working as a psychiatrist again)… These days I’m translating and checking other people’s translations (mostly for authors but sometimes for agencies) , writing (or trying to find my next project), teaching online (at the University of the People), and reading and reviewing, it seems…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Olga. Glad you enjoyed seeing who I used to be. πŸ™‚ And wow! You’ve worn (and are still wearing) a lot of hats! I don’t know how anyone can do so many things, while obtaining degrees, teaching, more degrees, and writing. That’s a very impressive resume! Thanks for sharing with us, and for squeezing in time to visit here, too. It’s always wonderful to see you stop by. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, Marcia, I love the Dalmatian. I used to have one called Sheba. She was gorgeous and had the most wonderful temperament. These works are stunning.
    I used to work for Oxfam in the UK then I went to work for a leprosy programme in Karachi, Pakistan and followed that up establishing a mother and childcare project in Afghanistan. I started writing articles about life in Pakistan and Afghanistan before eventually writing fiction. Happy to do a blog post about it if you think people would be interested?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m sure folks would enjoy knowing more about your experiences, Mary. You’ve led a very interesting life, and guess what? It’s not over yet! More interesting things to come, I’m sure! Yes, please consider yourself invited to write a guest post at any time that’s convenient to you. I know you’re catching up with some things, but whenever you’re ready, we’ll get it up. Thanks!

      And I’m so glad you like the Dal. Dexter was a lovely dog, who lived longer than Dals usually do. He is much missed by my daughter and her husband, even though he’s been gone several years, and they now have cats. πŸ™‚ In fact, I did this portrait as a Christmas gift for Erin the year Dexter departed.

      Thanks for the kind words! And for sharing about your work. Will be waiting for a future post from you. πŸ™‚ ❀

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I can imagine your daughter and her husband still missing Dexter. I haven’t owned a dog for a long time now. We adopted a cat when a friend went to work in New Zealand and she’d be appalled if we brought a dog into the house. My sister’s dog sometimes stays and the cat vanishes!
    Yes, I’ll do a post – after I’ve sorted out the other thing! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Once a writer, always a writer. I have other interests, but writing is what I went to school for and what I’ve always done professionally. I’ve done line drawings for user manuals, but I’d never pretend to have the artistic talent you do. I wish I did! I’d love to be able to paint my doglings and capture those precious expressions.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So you’ve mostly always been a writer, then? That’s wonderful. And amazing. Apparently, your parents didn’t beat you about the head and shoulders for having such a fanciful idea. (To be fair, my parents thought they were giving me practical advice, but I’d never even considered any career except writing until they insisted I get a business diploma.) I’m glad you’ve always pursued your love.

      As for painting, anyone can be taught to paint, you know. It’s a basic skill well-bred women were always taught back in the day, right alongside needlework. Granted, not everyone is going to be able to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, or the Mona Lisa. THOSE artists have special gifts. But with a good teacher, anyone can be taught to paint a something they can be proud to frame and display. Honest, and I know this, because teaching them is what I did for quite a while.

      Today, I suspect my painting days are mostly behind me, except for a few doodads now and then. But that’s okay. Now I’m learning to be the best I writer I can be over the next few years, and I’m enjoying that just fine.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow Marsh, you are a multi-talented creative. Fantastic artwork. And stress syndrome? So you traded in one stress for another? LOL kidding.
    My resume is like a rap sheet, lol. One day I’ll have to write about it. πŸ™‚ xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Deb. I’m glad you liked these. Yep. Because I worked in such detail, I was making tiny, little, tight movements with my right hand and arm all day long, for hours on end. Until one day, the pain in that shoulder went nuclear. 😯 I had to wear a brace for a bit, while it gradually eased up. But even today, if I type too long, it twinges. Still, it’s better than it was. I simply couldn’t continue with my digital art, much as I loved it.

      Oh, and believe me, the painting was a mid-life past life. I did all sorts of things throughout the years, including being an “inside adjustor” for Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, waaaaaay back in time. Executive secretary, administrative assistant, store manager, geesh. You name it, I probably did it at some point. But I stuck with the painting for a lot longer, and plan to stick with writing from here on out. πŸ˜€

      And I was hoping a few of you would share a bit about your past lives in the comments section, but I’ll be even happier to share full length posts from you, if you like. Or link to them from your own blogs. Don Massenzio is posting something on his tomorrow, for instance, and I’ll be sharing that, for sure. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow Marsh, I know how fine detailing can cause health problems. My sis-in-law is an artist and has severe problems now with her right hand and wrist, so now she’s teaching art. Ok, ok, ok, just to list a few – like you, I was an Executive secretary for General Manager of a Hotel, I was office manager for an architect, and then a construction company. I worked in retail buying and selling for years in my early 20s, I was a travel agent, I was a singer in a band, and finally I worked in casino for years before I met my husband – blackjack/poker dealer and the pitboss. Oh ya, I been around girl! As for posting here, thanks for you always generous invitation. It’s been a crazy few months for me and I’m in the crux of final edits, book cover, getting ready my MS for formatting for my newest book. Once I catch my breath, I’d love do a post here. ❀

        Liked by 1 person

        • Now that’s the kind of sharing I like! Lots of great life experiences in those jobs, but the one that jumped out at me, of course, was singer in a band. Love it! I was always friends with the band, back in my misspent youth, and I danced all the time, mostly for fun, though I won a contest or two. (Who cares if the judges were mostly drunken beach goers????) But singing would have been fun! And the casino stuff. Now I understand one of your usernames! πŸ˜€

          Yes, you may post at any time. Get caught up and let me know when. πŸ˜€ ❀

          Liked by 1 person

          • Lol, my secrets are out! Yes, kind of a weird mistake with my Twitter name. I used to play tournaments and was friends with many poker players. I had that name before I began writing books. Duh me, before I knew it I had a following and didn’t want to change the name. LOL πŸ™‚ Thanks Marsh ❀

            Liked by 1 person

  8. You have quite the talent. It’s too bad you can’t paint anymore, but I’m really glad you picked up writing! πŸ˜€
    I used to do paint by numbers, very very slowly, and puzzles that featured cute kittens and puppies. Also slowly. Neither hobby really worked well for me, but I kept at them for years!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Caitlin. But you knew I used to paint, right? If not, I can’t imagine why. I painted by numbers growing up, probably clear up into my teenage years, before I decided to try it without the numbers. πŸ˜€ And I still like puzzles, too, though I never have time to do them, these days. But they were very relaxing to put together, and I liked them. πŸ™‚ ❀

      Like

      • Yes, I saw your art before (and have some of your Santas, which will have their time to shine on Dec. 1st.). πŸ™‚
        I outgrew puzzles–the bigger ones took me way too long. I’m not good enough at them for them to be relaxing! I’d rather color for that zen moment.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m okay with puzzles, but my brother, AFTER he had a major stroke, was genius at them. He couldn’t talk or walk, but he could work huge jigsaw puzzles in no time. It was fun to watch how quick he was.

          As for coloring, I don’t dare buy any of those coloring books. I’d never get anything done. There’s something about coloring that I have loved all my life, and some of the best times I had when my kids were young was spent at the kitchen table, coloring with them. πŸ™‚

          Okay, I’m glad to know I wasn’t imagining that we had talked about my painting in the past. πŸ˜€ And I do remember sending the Santas. Man, my brain is too full of outside issues. I’ll be so happy when there are no contractors and insurance people and yard clean-ups going on. We still haven’t finished clearing out the back yard. It is filled with plants that have to be dug and disposed of. Irma was tough on vegetation! And on outdoor structures like trellises and the roof of the Bali hut, etc. We’ve put it off for last because it’s still so hot outside. But that is easing a bit, and we’ll soon be spending weekends cleaning. Which is preferable to dealing with insurance people, if you ask me. (No offense, folks, but if you aren’t in the industry, insurance issues can drive you insane.) 😯

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    • If you lived here, Marje, I’d teach you. It isn’t nearly as hard as you might think. No one believes that, but it’s true. Digital painting is harder, but acrylics on canvas and that type of thing is so much fun, and easily de-mystified with a decent teacher. At a hobby level, I mean, of course, and not meaning that you can take a course and become an overnight sensation at galleries, necessarily. (Though that’s possible, too, I suppose.)

      Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed the post! πŸ˜€ Once I finally get my studio converted back to it’s working state, I will no doubt paint some small things here and there. Right now, it’s still in Infirmary Mode, from when we had to house an elderly cat in there for a year. But when all this hurricane stuff is done, and we finish with our flooring project, it’s next on the list. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Those images couldn’t be more beautiful, Marcia. The detail is astounding. Learning to draw and paint is on my bucket list. My hands feel as though they should be able to do this without instruction, but something is missing, and I’m not sure what it is. Sometimes I can sketch beautifully, but most times I fall short. Perhaps I was an artist in a past Life πŸ™‚ I worked as an RN before writing books. My hobby was writing songs, playing guitar, and doing gigs. I still dabble in this. Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful artwork with us, my friend β™₯

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Tina! So lovely of you to say. Find a good teacher, and you will be able to learn to paint. It’s that simple. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, painting was once considered a skill every well-bred young woman learned right alongside various types of needlework. Not everyone goes on to fill galleries with art like that of DaVinci or Michelangelo, but believe me, if you want to learn to enjoy art and have your own paintings turn out well enough to frame and admire, you can do it. Everything hinges on the teacher.

      And if you can play the guitar, then I’M in awe of you! I don’t know how to play a single instrument trickier than a kazoo! So yay for that talent!! Thanks for sharing about your life BW. I have the greatest respect for nurses, having dealt with many of them over the years. You often don’t get the credit you deserve, as the glory sometimes goes to the doctor, but for my money, nurses are the ones “in the trenches.” Nice to learn more about you! Thanks! πŸ™‚ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Welcome, Marcia, and thank you for the encouragement! Learning to draw and paint just moved up on my bucket list. You’re right about nurses not receiving due credit. We’re the hub of the wheel, the one everyone goes to for everything, doctors included. Our skill set is above doctors in many areas, and equal to theirs in many others. Wages between the two should be far more equitable than they are. Btw, I love the kazoo. It can add a bit of humor to a song, and audiences adore that πŸ™‚ ❀

        Liked by 1 person

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