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Part 1: Making New Art. Discovering My Love for Painting on Wood

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

Acrylic gouache mermaid painting on 1/8" birch ply
Acrylic gouache mermaid painting on 1/8" birch plywood panel

A few years ago, I got the itch to start painting again. Real live painting, with real live actual paint. Not the kind of computer painting I do today but with an actual brush and a tube of paint. So I did, and it felt amazing. So I did it some more because that's what we artists do, we paint.

I've spent most of my career as a digital artist, but it wasn't always that way. I used to paint every single day, and I was good at it. Really good. I painted highly detailed, intricate illustrations that I look at today and think I must have been insane to try that with a brush. But that's what I did, for a living, every day for the first ten years of my career, and now I miss it. I was no wannabe with a hope and a dream. I was the real deal, and as I climbed the ladder, I got to work with companies like Disney, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. I was living the dream.

Something happened along the way, though. I got busy. Long hours and crushing deadlines turned my passion into a job, a job I loved, but still, a job. One day I looked up and was surprised to find that I had very little to show for all my accomplishments. My walls were bare. All my art was all either online somewhere or stored on my computer. That, to me, felt sad.

All my favorite artists seemed to have these beautiful studios that showcased their accomplishments. Their work spaces were a joyful celebration of their art and who they were. I have to admit I was a bit jealous. Why didn't my studio look like that? Why wasn't my studio a celebration of my art? My most significant accomplishments were all hidden away on a computer hard drive somewhere. So rather than let them sit there unappreciated I grabbed a brush and started to paint just like I had done all those years ago.

At first, it felt clumsy and awkward, and I knew I had been away far too long, but I kept painting. Once I started to get a feel for it again, I decided it was time to pick a direction. I've always liked the idea of having my art take on multiple dimensions. Canvas is ok, but I wanted something cooler and a little more fun. So I chose to do my paintings on wood. The reason was fairly straightforward. Wood is flat, and makes a nice painting surface. You can shape it into anything you want, and I wanted my first piece to be a challenge. So I chose an octopus. .....(continued- Part 2: The Octopus and the Saw)

If you liked this article and want to find out how exactly I made that octopus be sure and check the follow up to this article, "How I Made that Octopus that's Hanging in My Office."

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