Christmas has always been Sandy Cox's favorite holiday. Even at a young age, Cox, of Mentone, California, would combine her love of art with the Christmas season.
"I would always make my own Christmas cards and tags," she said.
Now, with the help of Paint Shop Pro, Sandy has the opportunity to combine her two loves and create her own home business.
"I'm working frantically to get my Web site ready," she said. "Once it's ready, I'll be able to sell my holiday-themed screensavers."
Cox said she's created thousands of images with Paint Shop Pro, but one of her Christmas-themed images is her favorite.
"I really like the candy cane image," she said. "It's the last one I created for the screensaver and it's my best. This time, I just got it right. I created the frame myself and the ribbon looks like velvet, which is what I wanted."
“I use Paint Shop Pro like I would if I had a canvas, brushes and oils.”
Cox has been using Paint Shop Pro for about four years. She's used it to design e-book covers for www.decorate-redecorate.com, a decorating web site, and for her own personal art. She got the idea for creating holiday-themed screensavers after uploading her work to webshots.com and seeing how popular it was with the visitors. Her Halloween album received over 800,000 hits, she said.
"I do Halloween, Fourth of July, Valentine’s Day, Easter, all the holidays… they seem to be really popular," Cox said. "Christmas is my favorite, though. Halloween is a close second. With Halloween images, you can really let your imagination loose."
When she's creating screensaver images, Cox really uses Paint Shop Pro to it's fullest potential. She uses both her own Picture Tubes™ and the ones included with Paint Shop Pro as well as layers, selections, the brushes, and more to create each image.
"To create the stained glass window look, I use lots of layers," she said. "There's about 35 layers in the stained glass window poinsettia."
From start to finish, it takes Cox between three and four hours to create one image. Sometimes, depending on how detailed the piece is, it'll take longer, she said.
"I do the shadowing myself to give the pieces more depth," she said. "I use Paint Shop Pro like I would if I had a canvas, brushes, and oils."
Cox is no stranger to the world of traditional art. She started painting at 15 after her dad bought her a set of oil paints.
“Once I discovered Paint Shop Pro, I put all my brushes away”
"I started out with oil painting, watercolors, and acrylics," she said. "I painted wood, walls, anything that didn't move."
But, all that changed when Cox bought her first computer four years ago.
"The first thing I did when I got the computer was find the Windows paint program," she said. "I was always curious what kind of art I could create with a computer."
It was a friend who introduced her to Paint Shop Pro 4 back then.
"Once I discovered Paint Shop Pro, I put all my brushes away," Cox said. "It's not smelly or messy and there's no clean up. Paint Shop Pro is a fabulous program."
Cox has enjoyed using Paint Shop Pro so much she's even started teaching her grandchildren how to use it. But, they aren't the only ones who benefit from her passion for digital art and the holidays.
"I don't buy cards anymore," she said. "I make my own holiday cards. With Paint Shop Pro, I can make one that's unique to the individual. I also send my own e-cards over e-mail to friends and relatives."