stone circle in the ocean with a silhouetted figure

It was about a dozen years ago that I first began to explore the idea that I might be an artist. While writing was both my vocation and avocation, and I’d always been crafty, real art wasn’t something I was meant to do. But when I had my first magazine job and began interacting with a lot of professional artists and crafters, that whole self-limiting idea began to break apart. I started sketching a lot, along with a little painting and mixed media and collage. I realized that being an artist was less a matter of natural talent then it was of practice and application. Anyone could do it, if they put in the time.*1

It was one night during this period that I was roused from near sleep with a vibrant image in my mind. It was so compelling that I climbed out of bed to find my sketch pad and draw a rough outline of it. A few days later, I applied my meager painting skills to bring the image to full-color on canvas. It’s not a very complicated image, and I daresay my skills were only barely adequate for the work. But it was satisfying, because for me, a word slinger, to be moved to creation by a purely visual image was something of a novelty.

Eventually, drawing and painting gave way to photography and art journaling, and even those modes of visual expression fell away from me when my creative crash threw me into the abyss. While the words eventually came back, I haven’t done much in the way of visual art in years, except for crochet. But when I started my daily blog experiment, I needed some pictures to post with my words, and what started off as just a few edits of old, unused RAW photos quickly turned into something more fun and exciting, as I played with color and textures and shapes, ultimately ending up with a collection of photos I’m calling “Magical Thinking.”

I’m not sure what inspired me to revisit my old vision with a digital recreation. The idea was certainly beyond any of the simple blending of layers I’d done so far. But I did it! I figured out how to warp and clone and composite images who knows what all else as I brought my vision to life once again. The base photo image is my own, as are the rocks in front of the portal. Everything else is stock imagery.

stone circle in the ocean with a silhouetted figure

It’s probably as imperfect as my original painting was 12 years ago, but that doesn’t matter. I’m so happy with this image, even if I’ve never really figured out what it’s supposed to signify.

I’ve always called it Portal, though, so maybe that’s what it is — a portal to new creative vistas.

I’ve not done any digital artwork since finishing this image a couple weeks ago. It’s been a couple of busy, busy weeks, what with the kiddo heading off to college, so I’m not sure if the impulse is gone or if I’m just in a holding mode for the next moment of inspiration. I guess we’ll find out together!

  1. The same thing is true of any creative pursuit. You can learn it if you try and are persistent.

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