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Politics as a work of art

Like others covering the Democratic National Convention for the masses, Joni Carter wants to paint a picture of it. Literally.

Like others covering the Democratic National Convention for the masses, Joni Carter just wants to paint a picture of it. Literally.

Actually, she'll be painting a lot of pictures, chronicling life in and around the convention, but her palette is a uniquely modern instrument: a computer. Beginning this weekend, Carter will start digitally painting scenes from the convention on her laptop, and she'll post them on the Democratic National Convention's Web site.

Proving that political events established generations ago are not beyond the reach of the Internet, consumers can download the images and use them to create postcards, T-shirts, stationery, or something nice to decorate their walls.

Carter hopes to maybe follow around people like Hillary Clinton or Tipper Gore as they make their rounds about town. Or maybe she'll do some spot portraits of delegates, or the merchandise being hawked.

Carter--artist, journalist, technician, all rolled into one--calls herself a "cyberart commentator." She's made her living by virtually painting live sporting events such as the U.S. Open, NFL, and NBA games. Her Web site features some of her past work.

So politics was a natural extension, since it's just another contact sport.

Carter said she loves sports but always wanted to cover a convention. Unlike professional sports, which have some basic rules such as three strikes or penalties, politics has a form of law all its own.

"I've never done any kind of political painting," she said. "I'm going to try to catch some of the politicking behind the scenes and capture why the delegates go year after year."

That may be easier said than done.