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I am currently working on a comedy mystery novel set in a world somewhat like ours. I can draw with either my right or my left hand, and I love to paint. I administer the blog for The Original Tree Worshippers of Rock County--rocksherlockotw.blogspot.com--a Sherlockian group I co-founded that meets in Janesville, Wisconsin, and am a founding member of The Cherry Street Irregulars, writers who gather (in groups of two or more) with laptops to create, critique, and support one another.
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Painting with Your Mouse

 by Resa Haile

Human beings have had the desire to express themselves for almost as long as there have been human beings. This desire has led to the creation of Art.

Art is a term that encompasses many things: Architecture, Dance, Drama, Literature, Music, Painting, Photography, and Sculpture were the ones named when I was in junior high. Photography was the newcomer to the group. There was debate about if there were seven or eight arts. Should Painting and Sculpture be one category? Should Music be split between Vocal and Instrumental? What kept some activities as Crafts? Could they break free and become Arts after all? Wasn’t performing magic an art? Was it a subcategory of drama? Was it a craft?
Now the world has expanded and definitions of what the arts are and what art can mean have expanded as well. There are digital arts, cinematic arts, graphic arts. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, a married couple, are famous for covering various natural locations in fabric. This is known as installation art. Which of the eight (or seven) arts would that be?

It can (at least) be agreed that art is a means of expression for the artist and that artists have used various tools and media for that expression.

In the area of visual arts, the computer age has brought us the Microsoft Paint program. This program features a “canvas” onscreen, which the artist–you—can use to achieve your vision.

Paint is fairly simple to use. It contains a palette of colors, which can be selected by clicking on a square.

More colors can be accessed by going to Colors and selecting Edit Colors.

There is also a “toolbox” available. Clicking on the star-shaped icon allows you to cut away at the image in whatever shape you choose. It can be tricky and requires some practice. More colors can be accessed by going to Colors and selecting Edit Colors.

The rectangular-shaped icon next to it allows you to cut or select with a rectangular shape. By doing this, you are able to cut or copy and paste, or to delete the selected section.

The eraser’s function is obvious, and, unlike a physical eraser, it works on paint.
The Fill With Color (“paint can”) icon allows you to change the color of a section.

The airbrush allows you to create effects like snow, tree blossoms, or even braided or curly hair. It is surprisingly versatile.

The pencil and the brush allow you to paint and draw using your mouse.

The magnifying glass allows you to increase the size of an image, making it easier for you to work on.

The Pick Color can be used to select a color for the Fill With Color to use, but this can be done more simply by clicking on the color and then the “paint can” or vice versa.

The capital letter A icon lets you create a text box on the canvas.

Other icons allow you to make curves, lines, and other shapes.

Now that we’ve gone through some of the basics, you probably would like to get started on a project. You may want to start with a tool that helps you to make shapes. You may choose to fill these with the “paint can.” Using the drop-down menu from Image, you can Invert Colors.

You may choose to take a photograph and invert the colors. You can copy the image, and then using the drop-down menu from Image, you can Flip/Rotate the second image. Add some paint (with the paint brush) for an interesting effect.

You may find, as you go along, that you are able to create a variety of images that have many uses—for ads, holiday cards, children’s stories, party decorations, and PowerPoint presentations, to name a few.

With Paint, the possibilities are limitless.

All artwork in this article is by Resa Haile.

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