top of page

Living a New Life

Musings of the Day

Digital Paintings - What Are They Really?

Hear this read aloud

Many have asked how I create the images that I do, especially the digital ones. When I used to think of digital painting, it was with a bit of snobbery. I couldn’t imagine how a computer could possibly be a true artistic outlet compared to creating with your hands. That was years ago, before I had to confront the issue of not being able to use my hands as fully as I had been. It was also before I was inspired to design fabrics with the images from my paintings. It was before I opened my eyes to the possibilities of an expanded creative expression. The gift I was given by not being able to continue working in the same way was truly Spirit-given.

Yes, that was then, and now I have developed a completely new way of taking all that I have created in the past and transforming it into new images that speak to both myself and a wider audience than ever before. Here’s why that’s so.

I have painted in acrylics and watercolors for many years and with each piece I created there was a message for me. The messages began coming long before I was aware of them, but now that I look back to even my earliest work as a young child, I’m able to decipher what was coming through. My painting and drawing, actually all of my creations throughout my life, have contained guidance from Spirit pointing me in the direction that I would eventually follow later on.

The images that came through me were automatic. All were organic, rocks and pod-like images, flowing streams, feminine forms. I didn’t know what I was drawing, only that whatever was flowing onto the pages of my sketchbooks felt somehow familiar. Drawing turned to painting and I began incorporating textures and found objects. My paintings looked like the walls of caves covered with imbedded pieces of my life. They felt ancient, as if I was trying to remember something from long ago. As I look back on those early paintings, the ones that teachers turned their noses up at and family threw away as trash, I realize that they were more true to who I was than anything else in my life, signs of a life yet to be lived, but aspired to.

This was the guidance that would show me my direction, my path back to myself.

I was as much a sculptor as a painter at that time. My paintings rose off the walls, rich in earthy textures and forms, painted in the colors I saw in the earth. Every once in a while there would be a teacher, a mentor, someone who saw, really saw, what I was creating and those few bright spots kept me from totally giving up. Though there were almost 20 years of my life when I stopped painting, I was always an artist in my soul and everything I did was from an artistic perspective. That was just who I was and how I experienced life. But it wasn’t until I was much older, in my late 40’s that I began painting again after a serious car accident. That was the beginning of what was to become my life’s work. That was when I first “heard” the messages that were hidden in plain sight throughout every painting I created.

Now back to the digital paintings that I am presently creating….

What does all of this have to do with digital art? Let me explain. All of the work I have created throughout my life, the drawings as a young child and teen, the paintings of my college years and beyond into adulthood, were all a process of finding my way back to myself after a lifetime of separation. They were my roadmaps, showing me who I was even in the darkest of times when I could barely see through the pain. When my hands began to give out from constant work and I had to find another way to create, I took all of those years of messages and transformed them into a new vision for myself, a new way of creating that has become one of my greatest joys.

The process of creating my digital paintings is like magic, like alchemy. I take pieces, bits of color, forms, and images, from all of the paintings I have done so far, each one containing the essence of its original guidance. Then I transform each of those essences into a new form using digital technology. They are my original paintings, combined and transformed and channeling a new message. An evolution of what has been given to me and come through me for years. All of the work I’ve done, the spiritual growth I have worked so hard for, is contained in these new images. Less earthy, because they do not contain the physical textures of my original paintings, but more universal in that they contain the essence of both heaven and earth.

These new paintings reveal an integration of all that I am, all that I have lived through, and all that Spirit has guided me towards. They are magic. “How” I create them is as mysterious to me as how I paint my original physical works of art. All I know is that Spirit sends messages through me in the forms and colors that flow onto the page. I am guided to create beauty from all that has gone before, from a past that has been painful and challenging and from all of the work that came out of those times. Create anew. Take what was broken and transform it, use it, make it into a new life, a new me. Take the pain of lifetimes and transmute it into beauty. This is what these digital paintings are. They are all that I have been through, all that I have created as a result, all of the messages that have come through me, transformed into a new beautiful creation. They are my way of evolving creatively as I have spiritually, integrated and embodied as my true self.

All I can say about them now is that they are pure magic to me.

Do I still make art with my hands? Of course I do. I don’t ever see that stopping, not only because I love it so, but also because when the work comes directly through my hands, there is a different kind of connection with Spirit. With my hands in the paint, in the textures, working with metal and wood and all sorts of found objects, the experience is a visceral one. That cannot be replaced.

When I am feeling the fabrics that I created, the lushness and sensuality of them, that cannot be replaced. That is my connection to the earth in a way that nothing else can mimic, but each way of creating has its place and its gift to offer. There is magic in it all because I still do not know how I do what I do. I couldn’t teach anyone to do what I do. It is my unique vision and the guidance that Spirit has for me alone that creates what I create.

And I am eternally grateful for this gift, for this magic in my life, every day.

If you have any questions at all about my digital paintings, feel free to contact me. I love to share about my work and would be happy to provide any information or insight that I can.

You can find the images in this post as well as all of the other images presently available, on my fine art website


Shelli Dietrich
Shelli Dietrich
Jun 24, 2023

I truly value your words here. It helps to understand how you've found YOUR True North. I love your work. Digital or not. It has been created from the gentle and passionate soul of YOU, and it is offered to us as an outpouring of love. Thank you for sharing this. 💙

Jun 24, 2023
Replying to

This means so much! To be seen and gotten for all that I create, both in paint and otherwise, is something to treasure. Thank you so very much!💜

bottom of page