Can a laser pointer damage the sensor in a digital camera?
I once experimented with standing in a dark room and directing a laser pointer towards my digital camera with a long shutter speed while moving the two about. I made a few images that way; one was quite satisfying once the colours were altered in GIMP. But, after the first few, it occurred to me that doing this might risk damage to the sensor. Is there a real worry, here?
Oh man. Yes lasers can and will damage your camera's sensor! Your laser pointer is probably weak enough, but I still wouldn't risk it.
Light painting (as you were doing), is okay, so long as you're not pointing your laser directly into the lens, however, if you plan on doing more light painting, I would switch to an LED or incandescent source instead of a laser.