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Tennessee Artist Explores New Possibilities with Paint Shop Pro, Painter and Photo Album

The effect that Corel software has had on Maggie Noonan's art has been so big that sometimes she gets a little excited when she talks about it.

"I'm like a little kid when I talk about these programs," Noonan of Ooltewah, TN said.

Which is appropriate, because Noonan said her love of art started when she was a child.

"I was always the child that loved the smell, the look, and the feel of a box of new crayons," she said. Even though Noonan loved art she eventually became a nurse, and has recently retired after 30 years as a nurse. But even throughout her medical career, she never forgot about her passion for art.

"In 1980 I started getting involved in the community art programs that were available in our area," she said. "Then, about 10 years ago, I decided to go back to college and get a degree in art. Since I always loved art I decided to get some professional training."

Since getting her art degree Noonan said she's done commercial work working with traditional media, she's shown her work in galleries and juried art shows. "I've done that whole scene," she said. "But now my husband and I are retired, I'm not doing the commercial art now. I keep busy creating art for me and my friends."

And with three of Corel's software programs at her disposal, Noonan has plenty to keep her busy. She first discovered the software after buying a Dell computer that came with Photo Album.

"Photo Album is an absolutely fantastic program," she said. "I recommend it to all my friends who have digital cameras. It's just so easy for people who are just getting started."

From Photo Album, Noonan went on to Corel Paint Shop Pro and then, eventually, Corel Painter. The combination of the three programs has helped her grow as an artist.

"The thing that really impresses me is variety," she said. "My studio is like an art store. I've got an entire section for pastels, acrylics, and my oils. I have watercolor brushes that cost more than these software programs. But what I love is that I can sit down at my computer, open up my Corel programs, and I can do my mixed media pieces. I can do it all without getting out the brushes and the papers. Now I can experiment. I just find it so exciting and thrilling."

Noonan is also a big fan of how well all three programs work together.

"I absolutely just love that I can download my photos into Corel Photo Album, and then with one click I'm editing that photo in Paint Shop Pro," she said. "I went digital in 2000, and I'll download maybe 80 digital photos at a time. Photo Album just makes it so easy to do the initial work. I go through the photos using Photo Album and determine whether I am going to save or delete the photo, then I can put the photos in the right folders, where I need them. Then, in Paint Shop Pro, I tweak the photo, play with subject matter, crop and what not, and then bring it into Painter so I can do something artistic with it."

"After I've worked the piece in Painter, I take it back into Paint Shop Pro," she said. "There I can easily play with the colors, the hue, the saturation, maybe change the color to another one, just play with all sorts of things, that would not be possible in a traditional painting or piece of art. That I can experiment, essentially with a touch of a button is just amazing to me."

"It's hard for me to stop with my praise," Noonan said. "The programs are just fantastic, with very good online help and tutorials. I love them. It's just a treat to sit down at my computer and think oh, what am I going to work on today."