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I have recently started painting A LOT. I mean everyday I have to turn on the Cintiq so I could just edit something. I used to be a full time professional photographer when I lived in Puerto Rico. I loved taking pictures. And then I moved to Manhattan, Kansas and decided to start all over. But to my surprise the market was fully saturated. There is a military base near by and every army wife that buys a DSLR by instant magic becomes a professional photographer (no offense to the really good army wives that are out there). So slowly I tried to get into the business but it was really hard. So I decided to just do seniors and that still was a struggle. When you have people charging $10 for a session it is really hard to compete.
But I still loved taking pictures and making art. So I took a job at a retail store (because bills don't pay themselves) and started editing pictures to decorate my house. You can find some of them on my deviations. After a while I was getting kind of bored with photography and started entering competitions. that way I would get something to do. So I entered a couple of my images to a Wacom sponsored contest and to my surprise I won the Grand [prize which consisted in some cash (which I haven't seen yet) and most importantly a Cintiq 22HD. I had a Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch and loved that thing, so getting this Cintiq was basically happiness wrapped in awesomeness.
So I get the thing and start editing pictures. And it was easier to do with the Cintiq that with the Bamboo so I was excited. But after a while I didn't even turn on the Cintiq. My imagination was full of ideas, but I had to take pictures to make them happen and that means setting up meetings with models, etc. So I decided that I would teach myself to paint that way I wouldn't need to take pictures, I would just make them. And I started with some simple stuff. Blending, trying to make shadows be lifelike, etc. But nothing major. Just practice. And one weekend I said to myself "You will learn this weekend how to paint", so I went into my office, turned on the Cintiq and started with basic stuff but I wouldn't stop until I got better at it. So practice and practice and I got a decent pic. Good. No...Not good enough. And I went back and made an Evangelion image, it was better but not good enough still. And so, have made paintings and each one is better than the last one. I am learning the craft (and being a photographer has helped me a lot for shadows and lighting), but I will never stop learning. I used to say "See the light" when I took pictures, now I say "see the shadows" and it has helped me even more.