Why I Started Painting Again - Digital Art vs. "Real World" Art

13 reasons why I started to paint the old fashioned way again:

Fifty years ago I knew I wanted to be an artist and my parents knew it too. If I didn't get my box of 64 Crayola Crayons for Christmas they were greeted with a crestfallen little artist in the making. No matter what else they might have given me or whatever Santa might have dragged down the chimney to stuff into my stocking if I didn't get my crayons it just wasn't Christmas!

I've spent all of my life with some form of art utensil in my hand, from crayons to pencils to brushes, and I have lived my life creating things with my imagination and my hands. In 1996 I got my first graphics software and became enamored of what could be done on a computer IF (and that's a big IF) you were an artist.

After I had to retire from the art shows because of back and hip problems I stopped painting "real world" art and concentrated on digital art. I love creating on the computer - don't get me wrong - I still love it and it's now my main creative outlet but I found myself missing the feel of a brush loaded with paint. The vibration of a pencil across paper and the sheer sensuality of mixing colors and pushing those lush hues across some form of canvas are a very elemental form of creativity - getting your hands covered in a rainbow of dabs and smears of paint somehow keeps you connected to the great Muse in a way that a Wacom tablet can't. So, I picked up my sable brushes and my number two pencils and got my hands dirty again after a long hiatus.

Here are my 13 reasons for painting without pixels again:
  1. There's nothing as gratifying as getting your hands dirty - especially with any kind of artist's paint or material.
  2. There is an almost cosmic connection to something out there that rules the lives of artists and this connection is strongest when you are closest to the actual materials that come from the Earth - graphite, oil, paper.
  3. I wanted to keep my skills before they faded away - that can happen if you don't stay tuned in and stay working.
  4. I love how I get physically connected to a real piece of art, how I transcend the physical world and become part of the art work. That is harder to do with a monitor and keyboard.
  5. I wanted a physical original - not something that existed only as dots of computer code.
  6. I love the experience of sitting in a studio with only the art and some music in the background.
  7. There's nothing like the ache you get from getting so involved with what you're doing you forget time and work too long - and you sleep like a damn baby those days.
  8. I love the smell of art materials - the smell of the wood in your pencil as you sharpen it, the smell of linseed oil.
  9. There's nothing as exciting as a big ass empty canvas or sheet of watercolor paper.
  10. There's a certain danger to doing art that doesn't have an "undo" feature. There's often no going back in "real world" art - especially watercolors.
  11. There's also a certain enjoyment of the emotionalism that comes from making a mistake you cannot correct with a keystroke - sometimes it's fun to rant and throw jars of paint!
  12. It's fun to mix paint and see the colors as they change and evolve.
  13. I now have Christmas presents that are one-of-a-kind originals.
I found I could say things with colors and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - Georgia O-Keefe

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