That’s me in the funny snapshot (age 14)

Once upon a time (not so long ago) I got the urge to make ART. Probably because of watching numerous DVD’s about art and artists. And why was I doing that, you ask? Well I needed something to watch as I began my new treadmill regimen. Luckily I live in a community with one of the best libraries in the country. Seriously, the Columbus Metropolitan Library is perennially ranked as one of the best in the nation. Systematically, I perused this wonderful collection of DVD’s about artists and their work. Starting with the Impressionists, I watched many, many videos as I was “treading”. (You will find a good Introduction to the Impressionists HERE.) Then it was the Post-Impressionists and so forth, on through the other eras of modern art right up to the present. Curiosity led me back to the library for all the books I could find about these artists, their lives, their work, their influence on art, their studios, etc..


However, I was soon to find that appreciating art was much easier than making art. It was now time for the next episode in my Amazing Art Adventure. How? What? Where? I had recently acquired my first “cheapo” digital camera. It came with software that was capable of basic editing. SO….. I started taking rather weird photos and experimenting with the simple editing features. Amazing! You could even change the colors! The goal was usually to render objects in the photos as unidentifiable – just shapes and lines. To me this started to look like abstract art.

Things really got exciting when I was given an old version of Photoshop. Exciting, yet frustrating, because Photoshop is such a complex and powerful tool for a beginner to use. It was a steep learning curve. Before I take you through several of my early attempts at digital art-making, I have a little pep-talk for you. If you have ever thought about making art but were afraid to try, please DO IT. Humans are makers. We need to make things and the benefits are enormous. And it’s never too late to start! Look at Grandma Moses , the world-famous painter and celebrity.  And all that she accomplished started for her at age 75. Concentrating on a project can help you enter what they call the “Flow-State”. It is almost like meditating because it takes you away from stress and worries. There are multitudes of creative endeavors: painting, drawing, sculpture, woodworking, poetry, music, and hundreds more. When first visiting an Arts & Crafts store I was astonished by all the artsy things that folks were doing. Scrapbooking, sand-art, jewelry making. Come on and get with the program. Just dive in and go for it! I had a little head start by being a musician, but then I didn’t know diddly about visual art and now after just seven years, I can make paintings that look professional enough to display and sell. WOW!


Needing photos to work with, I roamed around the house looking for interesting subjects. Things with cool colors, shapes, and textures. Objects that you might not even recognize in a cropped, close-up, blurred or odd-angled picture. (I should mention here that I am a terrible photographer awkwardly using an inexpensive “point and shoot” camera.) I crawled under furniture, zoomed in on cracks in the floor, examined every vase, pot, decoration and knick-knack. I photographed reflections and shadows, curtains, carpets, candles and cat toys. I scouted out drawers and cabinets in the kitchen, views out the window, anything and everything!

Here’s a sample of what I mean:

This first example of editing a photo into art, came about when experimenting with this clever little implement – a hand-held potato masher.

Spud Masher

Several artworks below were created with this tool. In “Black Hole”, I took a picture of a decorative wooden pot, looking down through the potato masher. Then began various alterations of color and texture, learning as I went. Here is how it ended up, making me so proud of my accomplishment. This is art, isn’t it?

Black Hole

For another project I used a straight-on photo of the potato masher, but combined it with another picture of my outdoor fence. Hey, I’m starting to get the hang of this. Looks like art to me!

Fence Grid

Next I took these photos of a blue bottle. I used the two that are marked. One was the bottle itself and the other a reflection in the bottle.

Then when I changed the color of the reflection photo, I noticed what sort of looked like half of a face. Oooh..spooky!

So I turned that pic blue again and enhanced the face even more. I superimposed one layer over the other and finally copied the face to also appear higher up in the picture. A little more tweaking and it became my digital artwork known as “Lurking”.


I had begun my Amazing Art Adventure. At this point, though, I was barely functional with Photoshop. Soon I discovered that it was a very long way to making art that you could hang on a wall. So far, my kind of art looked fine on a computer screen, but not when enlarged and printed out. Solving that problem was yet another adventure. 


Explore the Universe of ART

with Scott Steelman


Here’s a JAZZ track for you. My arrangement of a classic from the “Great American Songbook” recorded at Scott Steelman Studio. These fantastic musicians are some of most talented cats around. Paul Richards (drums) and John Battle (vocals) have performed with me in the studio and on gigs for years. For this session we added an exquisite flutist, Kris Keith (not pictured). I am playing piano and left-hand bass on the keyboard. Yes, we’re swingin’ hard!




My new music video, “Transmutation”

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