It’s November 1986. I’m happily painting in my studio. The rings and my life is about to change.
No it was not a call from Publisher Clearing House. No I did not win any lottery or prize. Well, now that I think about that call, maybe I did win the lottery. Actually it definitely changed my art career and my future. I guess I’d say I won big time.
It was my nephew, calling from Chicago, asking if I owned a computer. Computer??? Not one of my art friends owned a computer. Why would I own a computer. His next words told me why.
He said, “I’m majoring in computer science and we just wrote a program that I know you have to have. It’s for an Apple computer and it’s a computer painting program. I’ll send it to you, but you need to have a computer.”
Now that sounded interesting. I’m really addicted to buying art materials and if it’s a new paint color, a new pen, a new brush, a new paintbox, I just have to have it. But this is really interesting. A computer painting program. How does that work?
Remember back in time. 1986. There was no internet. Anything I wanted to learn I had to go to the library. But I was not about to begin a research project on how to use a computer.
So off I ventured to the electronic store that sold Apple computers. And home I came with the Apple IIe. As I told the sales clerk, this was my first viewing of a computer. This was a Friday and he said he’d come to my house and set it up on Monday and show me how to use it.
Apple IIe + mouse
Impatient should be my middle name. No way could I wait til Monday. Not when I had just spent $1400 ( value today $3500) So I took out the instruction book, read it and set up the computer myself. By Sunday I had my bookkeeping all set up. I admit, I m technologically astute. Now for the fun part. Learning how to paint, watching the monitor and moving the mouse. That wasn’t easy …but I got good at it.
That was 1986. The company who made that program for Apple, ultimately sold the computer painting program. I moved to the new company’s version and about three years later it got sold to Corel. Corel named their version Painter and they sold the computer painting program in a paint can. I’m still using Painter today. I buy a new version every year.
In 2002 the mouse became a graphic tablet and digital pen.
I held the tablet in my left hand and painted with the digital pen in my right hand, looking up at the computer monitor.
In about 2012 I bought a 22” Wacom screen (like they were using at the Disney studios) and used a digital pen to paint directly on the screen.
About 2015 the 22” screen became a 27” screen and last year I bought Painter 2021, a great computer painting program.
I guess I won the lottery with that phone call way back then. I’m definitely a digital painter. No odors, no harmful turpentine or paints. And I’ve learned to use digital oil paints, acrylics, watercolors, charcoal, pencils, pens, pastels, airbrush and more.
Would I go back to using traditional mediums on physical paper or canvas? Absolutely NOT.
Would I use coin box telephones, wringer washing machines and ice boxes? Would you? Time marches on and so do I.