My Journey Through Art
I became interested in art back in 2007. I enjoyed following the television shows on our local PBS station that showed painting instruction. The first show I ever saw was Bob Ross. I marveled at how he did his paintings. And he didn’t take hours to produce them. He could have a painting done in twenty-five minutes. This amazed me. I found out that he was using oil paints. As everyone probably knows, oil paint takes days or even weeks to dry. I didn’t like that. If I tried it, where was I going to put all of the paintings. I also discovered there were some downsides to using oil paint, the main one being that certain paints can be dangerous to your heath. I waved that off. I didn’t want anything to do with something that was potentially dangerous to me.
The next painting show I saw was Jerry Yarnell’s School of Fine Art. He painted using mostly acrylics. I was impressed at how he painted each of the paintings. He could do an animal one time, switch to a forest the next, and finish with an old house. I liked how he manipulated the brushes to paint each area. It looked easy. Famous last words!
I wanted to learn to paint. First, I just got a few paints and a small canvas. I think it was 5 inches by 7 inches. Just a tester piece to make sure I could do it. I got some small crafting brushes. I got like 30 brushes for $2. So one day I decided to paint a lighthouse. A few months before, I had gone on vacation and from a distance I took a photo of the lighthouse. It wasn’t going to be a painting in great detail, just a basic lighthouse. As soon as I started doing it, I noticed that the brushes weren’t exactly moving the way they should. They were stiff. They didn’t bend. I applied the paint anyway. I also found out I was using too much water. I painted the lighthouse, the sky, and a bunch of trees. I looked at it and I didn’t like the look of it. Now for the first time doing it, someone might say that it looked good. It was frustrating. I thought I had this dream to do painting. At that time, I thought to myself, this is not very fun. Did I give up? The answer is no but I should have as you’ll see coming up.
Even though I wasn’t having fun, I thought I could still do it. I decided to get a bunch of supplies from Jerry Yarnell and some art stores. I ordered better brushes, an easel, more paints, you name it I got it. I also got a so-called beginners book that Jerry wrote. The day comes when I’m going to learn how to paint. I opened the book and the first painting looks like it is way too hard for a beginner. All his paintings in the book are 16 inches by 20 inches. I bought 8 canvas. I got a deal. Do you know how frustrated I was trying to do the first painting? Let’s say I was cursing like crazy. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t do it his way. Again, I found out I was using too much water. But everything I tried didn’t seem to work. I watched his television shows all the time and learned how he did it. I stopped doing the first painting and told myself I would try again the next day. Over the next few weeks, I tried again and again but I couldn’t get the hang of it. I seemed to always be dipping my brush in the water too much. If you watch his show, he dips his brush in the water container all the time. I even decided to try painting outside on the patio. Big mistake! It dried too quickly and made a big mess. So now I had all of this stuff, all of the canvases, and there was no way for me to paint.
One day I took my sketchpad and went out onto the patio. This was 8 years ago when I lived in a house. I pulled up a chair and sat there trying to think about what to draw. Then, it hit me. I’ll take off my sneaker and draw it. I sat there looking at my sneaker studying it. I did this for around 10 minutes. I was trying to figure out how it was constructed. When I was ready, I carefully started to draw it. I did not use a ruler. I measured with my pencil to get an idea of where I should start. Then I kept looking at the sneaker to figure out where everything went. It was the first time I had done something freehand like that and it came out looking so good. There’s a few smudges from storage but I thought you would like to see it.
Painting Abstract Art
I became interested in abstract art. Most of the abstract paintings I saw I liked. I told myself maybe I can do that instead. The painting regular scenes wasn’t working out so maybe I can paint abstract. I went back to the store and got a painting knife and some sponges. I got out one of the canvases I still had and started to do some designs. I also had kept the top from a glass candle and used that to make impressions on the canvas. Do you know what happened? It didn’t turn out very good. It was better than the first and second attempts at the regular painting but it just wasn’t how I wanted it to come out looking.
Digital Abstract Art
Then, something happened. I had been playing around with my graphics design program. And one day, I created abstract digital art. Suddenly, what I was doing made sense. I liked the outcome of it. I was happy. Did it take some courage and conviction? Yes. Did I like everything I created? Yes. Okay, there might have been one or two I didn’t like. But I now had the satisfaction of creating abstract art. Here I had been searching for years to do art, and now I had accomplished it. I should have known to try something on the computer since I’ve been working with computers since the eighth grade.
When I first started, I was manipulating my photos. As a hobby, I like to do photography. I’ll write a post on that someday. As I manipulated the photos, they were transformed into abstract art. I did that for a few years. Now, I actually paint different scenes and then through some techniques I get them to come out as they are. (Can’t give away my secrets.)
What Happened To The Painting Supplies
You’re probably wondering what happened to the art supplies? The brushes? The easel? The paints? The canvases? The paints got old and crusty. I threw those out. I donated the rest of the stuff to Goodwill. I was sorry to see it all go but I made a valiant effort and did not succeed. A good lesson I think is if you initially don’t get excited, don’t follow through. Save yourself money and heartache. I so wanted to be able to do it but alas it wasn’t meant to be.
Paints Are Messy
I don’t have to worry about the paints destroying the floor or rugs (it happened, just a small little blue getting on a rug), smelly paints, and all the supplies. I used a tarp to cover the floor when I first started. That way, if I dropped any paint, I wouldn’t destroy anything. When I had the rug incident, I couldn’t find the tarp and had to use paper towels. Somehow, the blue paint slipped under the paper towel and landed on the rug.
Back To Talking About Digital Abstract Art
I use my desktop and design to my heart’s content.
So I started designing some digital abstract art. I came up with multiple pieces. The only problem I had was no one was seeing it. I wanted to sell all of the pieces. I researched the different services on the Internet and came up with one place so far.
I design abstracts at all kinds of different sizes. My biggest size is 24 inches x 24 inches. I intend to go higher in size soon. The print provider I picked will create images in smaller sizes. It varies depending on your original size. The lowest size is 8 inches x 12 inches.
How long does it take me?
It can take me up to 2 hours to finish one piece. Sometimes, I can’t seem to get what I want so I step away from it, and then come back and try again.
I never seem to get frustrated like I did with the actual painting. I can get lost in the image while doing my magic, and suddenly, I’ll find the time has fleeted and I have to leave the computer.
I’ve joined SaatchiArt to sell my digital abstract paintings. They have a print service that will print the digital abstract onto canvas and paper. You as an artist only get 65% of the profits. I wish it was more.
You can have an instant painting to put on your wall. And the best thing is they do all the work like getting the money, printing the painting, and shipping the artwork. I get to sit back and design all the wonderful pieces, while the money comes in.
Website to Buy Artwork
I’d really like to find out how I can get more people to see the art. I’m not on social media but if anyone has any ideas, I would appreciate it. If you know of people who like art, share this as much as you can. How can I go about selling some of this art? Any ideas? Maybe you might know someone who is into art that can point me in the right direction.
So what you do you think? Do you like the designs? Do you want to buy anything? (Really, do you?)
I’m still trying to figure out about getting a stand-alone website with all my contact information for commissions. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.
I have also put a link on my top menu on my Substack. Right next to Home on the menu, I put a “Buy My Artwork” with an emoji of painting. I think this will get more people coming to at least look at the artwork.
I keep adding new artworks each week. As of this writing, I have 19 pieces.
Until next time, happy reading.
Very cool, Matt! School Bus Dogs and Orange Black Monster Tree are my favorites. I would look into booth space at local festivals and art shows. I think you have an eye for this digital art!
Thanks for sharing your story! I found your post from another Substack, Three Things Weekly. I also do digital art. My stuff often starts with things that I hand draw with watercolor brush pens, but I then put them into the computer and change the hell out of them. I also use a lot of digital collage. My art mostly goes into comics (primarily poetry comics) but I'm getting ready to sell some prints of some of my panel art.
I love the kinetic energy of your School Bus Dogs!