This piece started on paper and ended up digital. I started with the following pen and ink drawing on paper. As an experiment, I took a photo of the drawing with my cell phone. I imported the image into Procreate, on my iPad. Using my Apple pencil, I added some color to the image.

I bought the iPad Pro several years ago, because the add said it was perfect for artists. I found out that Procreate is the number one art app.

With Procreate, I could take photos of art projects I’d done on paper (like the above drawing) and import them into Procreate. My first experiments were erasing the middle part and adding a different middle. I could draw with an Apple pencil and make anything I wanted. It was so much fun, I found myself giggling and bouncing up and down in my chair. The images of the little teardrop trailers were also painted on paper and imported. I drew the trees and the characters in the foreground digitally though. As a last second change, I wrote around the outside of the image. So its a combination of paper and digital. How fun is that!

The painting below is a watercolor and took me two years to complete. I was in my fifties when I did it. The reason it took me so long was because it was the largest painting I’ve done with watercolor. I don’t use black or white. The black you see is a combination of a blue and a brown. I didn’t mix the paint on my palette. Rather I mixed it on the paper, letting the two colors show rather than just being a black color. The white you see is the paper. I had to be very careful not to paint where it should be white.

Towards the end of the project, I would dip my brush into the paint, take a deep breath, and paint a couple of strokes. I was working on the details of the hands and face. I suppose I saved that for last, because it was, to me, the hardest part. After a couple of paint strokes, I would exhale in a explosion of breath and jump away from my drafting table. “Whoa!” I’d exclaim. “Whew, that was hard!” because I was afraid, after two years of work, I’d mess the thing up and it would break my heart to have to begin again. “But I’ll never finish if I don’t keep working,” I’d tell myself. So I’d try again, but again…”Whoa!” and I would stop for the day. And so it took me two full years. But it did get finished.

The title of this piece is “Mending the Sails”. The man in the painting is William Gates, captain of the Dove, a tall ship in Saint Mary’s City, Maryland.

When it was finished I carried it downstairs and leaned it against the wall. If, when I passed by it over the course of the day, my eye caught sight of it and it took my breath away, I would know it was good. I put it in the empty chair at the dining table. While eating, I would accidentally glance over and there it would be. “Whoa!” I would say to myself. “It’s VERY good!”

Why paint, if not for the money?

Back then, I thought the point of doing art was to earn money. Now? I think I’m more interested in telling the story. A couple of years ago I discovered art journaling. I make my journal entries on paper most of the time, but I also do some with a mix of paper and digital, as I explained earlier.

The drawings aren’t masterpieces, but they tell the story better than a masterpiece. Even in their imperfect-ness, they declare their tale.

So. My works include art and once in a while, they include actual words.

So what about you? What does creativity look like for you?