Chapter 20 – Did I win the Lottery or What?

my story artist jackie jacobson


Computer Painting Program

Learning how to use a Computer Painting program

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.

wacom tabletI 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.

wacom cintiqyeAbout 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.