31 Things, Day 1: Painting

31 things I'd rather be doing right now

The first “real” painting I ever did was 20 years ago in the 10th grade. It was an acrylic painting of the Tree of Life, a 400 year old tree in the middle of the desert in the middle eastern country of Bahrain. Looking back, I know that the technique I used in painting it was all wrong, and yet it looks really good. It’s one of my favorite paintings I’ve ever made. Today it still hangs in my mother’s house.

I thought I was going to make a lot of paintings after that one. I loved watching Bob Ross on PBS whenever I got the chance; his style amazed me because he was able to make realistic paintings in a very short amount of time. I tried his wet on wet oil painting technique for 6 or so paintings; even though it’s harder, I liked the results a lot. I gave some away as gifts, the rest I kept in a box somewhere. Most were not very good.

Over the years I’ve moved around to new homes, always carrying my painting supplies with me, but I haven’t lifted a brush in over a decade. I miss it. I would like to stretch myself and not paint realistic things, but rather something impressionistic. I’ve also seen some stunning watercolors mixed with pen and ink drawing; that looks very interesting, so I would like to try my hand at that too. I’ve also promised my wife that I would paint “our family” as trees, each tree a different member, with a little sapling for our baby we lost to a miscarriage. I haven’t forgotten, but time has a way of getting away from you.

Tonight I found my favorite painting in the box I mentioned earlier. It’s an oil painting called Nightstorm, using Ross’ wet on wet technique. I loved how the clouds and trees turned out, especially their light reflections. The photo I took tonight doesn’t do it justice, but you get the idea.


It just hit me now that this painting has the same monochromatic blue color scheme as the cover of my novel, which I also designed myself, but I painted it almost 18 years ago! Guess I like blue.

Talking about my cover, it brings me to another aspect of painting I’d like to try, which is digital painting. I made that book cover using some Photoshop filters on an existing digital photograph. That’s not the digital painting I’m talking about. I’m talking about actually painting with my hand, using one of these:


I’m blown away by some of the things people make using Photoshop and a digital pen and tablet. Someday, I would like to do something like this amazing digital painting:

My newest attempt at painting a fantasy forest.

Whenever I paint again, it will be because of my near-uncontrollable need to create. I love to create something beautiful that wasn’t there before I started. (This is a common theme you’ll find in almost all my posts this month.)

So that’s something I’d rather be doing right now, painting.

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