I am still working on finding my happy place, and getting out of the emotional slump that only family can provide. This is an imaginary place, from a memory of one of my women's retreats to Land Between the Lakes. I found the horizon line to look a bit crooked, even though I measured it, and I think it is a visual problem with the slope of the hills and trees. Nevertheless, I am quite pleased with the effect, and I worked diligently on representing both cirrus and stratus clouds in a believable manner. When I was much younger, I did some flight schools, and my favorite thing about them was to fly through and above the clouds. While I would have liked to go on to be a pilot, the fuel became too expensive to log enough hours, so I continued with my pursuit to become an artist. Still, clouds are close to my heart as a subject!
Monday, May 19, 2014
Thursday, May 8, 2014
It is amazing how emotional stress can really drop you into the abyss...it has taken me a few weeks to be able to paint again. When I did start painting, it was in my mind to go to my 'happy place'. So here is "My Happy Place #1". It is an image out of my imagination. A combination of golden fields from Wyoming, vineyards of California, and forests of the Midwest. I worked hard to make the cumulus clouds believable. This is a painting done in acrylic on a 5"x5" canvas. I have already begun "Happy Place #2", so stay tuned! Oh, and I am trying to listen to that inner voice that tells me when to STOP painting. Usually I want to add detail, make everything perfect, and smooth. This time I stopped in time to leave some really good shadows in the golden fields...Yeah!
Posted by Rose Altom at 10:14 AM
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Monday, April 7, 2014
My completed painting! Most of my family won't really like this, but I am excited! The drips are to signify the freshness of my painting, and the discovery of the bright colors and transient subject matter. As I was finishing up the painting, the squash and apple was rotting, decaying into nothing. I feel that I was able to catch them at their most colorful and ripest. I wanted the subjects to almost grow out of the canvas. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it.
Posted by Rose Altom at 2:05 PM
Sunday, April 6, 2014
I have begun to paint my subjects, using thicker layers of acrylics than yesterday, much less water, adding some acrylic gel medium to get it to glide on the canvas better. Departing from my usual style of painting ultra realistic, I am trying bigger, broader strokes. I want it to look realistic, but show more emotion. I am building up my subject in a way that I call 'sculpting' ...layering the color, glazing with transparent paints for the shadows. I have started adding a few areas that have thick, textured paint to give some dimension.
I have built up the background with a series of whites...flake white, titanium white, bamboo, and unbleached titanium. I want to leave the background neutral and capable of letting the subject pop off and OUT of the canvas. My idea is to create something from nothing...I am creating my own squash out of paint and brush strokes, and I want it to leap out at the observer.
Posted by Rose Altom at 1:55 PM
Saturday, April 5, 2014
I started putting in my beginning washes today for my squash still life. I quickly became aware that my paint was acting in a rather unusual way...I had accidentally picked up a water media canvas, used mostly for watercolor! My acrylic paint was beading up and running instead of gripping the canvas like normal. My washes were staying quite bright, unlike when I normally work a painting, and the color tends to dull and soak into the surface. How exciting!!! I immediately did a bit of rethinking on what my painting would (or rather, COULD) come out to be. I have an idea...
Posted by Rose Altom at 1:46 PM
Friday, April 4, 2014
I am starting a new painting. I decided to put together a still life with a turban squash and a Braeburn apple for sheer bright colors, which I need right now for my sanity. I have also decided to do something different with the composition. Keeping with the classic pyramid style, I decided to add balance to the mixture. It took a bit of doing to get the apple to balance just right on the squash..I finally had to add a bit of tissue paper to get it to set the way I wanted it.
I chose a 12X12 canvas to emphasize the balance and composition. Using willow twig charcoal, I sketched out my drawing before getting ready to paint.
Posted by Rose Altom at 1:40 PM
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
I am actually really pleased with this sketch. I used three different photos from a trip to the zoo, and none of them were really helpful. I did a bit of research for the eye...cobras actually have a round pupil, unlike a lot of other reptiles! I especially like the blocky, squarish scales on the head, and the self-satisfied smirk on the snakes' face. Reminds me of someone I know...
Posted by Rose Altom at 8:59 PM
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Monday, March 17, 2014
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Saturday, March 15, 2014
With my cold making me bleary-eyed and whiny, I decided to take a break and go for a walk in the woods. I came back with a couple of interesting sticks to draw. My momma ( a watercolor artist and very wise woman) always told me that if you can draw a stone, you can draw anything. I figure the same has to be true about sticks. So here they are!
Posted by Rose Altom at 8:46 PM
Friday, March 14, 2014
I decided to dig out my drafting supplies today, and used a compass to make a perfect circle. I used the protractor to plan out where each petal of the flower should be, and then I used a fine tip pen to start sketching my flower. Brush pens gave it a bit of dimension, and I tried to liven it up with curves and uneven line work.
Posted by Rose Altom at 8:40 PM
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Finally! A completed painting! If you have stuck with me the past couple of months, you will notice that the early pics of this painting had leaves hiding the bird's tail. I finally owned up to the fact that I was hiding behind them, and painted them out. I am pleased to have learned a lot about myself, my procedures, and my creative processes with this painting, and I should be able to move a bit quicker from now on...with less struggles. I am proud to have GROWN with this painting!
Posted by Rose Altom at 8:29 PM
Monday, March 3, 2014
Yes, I really am painting! I have been fighting my new computer tooth and nail...I am not sure that I like Windows 8 at all! Finally capable of downloading pics from my camera, though it takes 3 times as long. I am still not on mobile...what is the difference between SMS and MMS? It obviously doesn't like SMS, so will try the other when hubby stops swearing...and Blogger doesn't seem to like my new search engine and keeps rejecting me...it is like being in high school all over again!!! However.... back to the painting. I am actually finished with this painting, and will post the pictures ASAP, but I wanted to show you a bit of the process. Initially, I used Ultramarine mixes in the background, and didn't like it at all, so switched to Cerulean, and am much happier. I did what I call 'sculpting' of my paint, starting with some base darks and building up to really give some dimension to the bird. I am using acrylics, by the way. I decided to throw out my usual OCD detail work, and have started working the feathers in such a way as to give movement rather than a stiffer 'perfect' brush stroke, and I am finally feeling like I am developing my very own style! It has taken years to get away from technical training enough to find the art in my soul. It is coming along....
Posted by Rose Altom at 11:56 AM
Sunday, February 16, 2014
As well as having the flu, a cold, and various other health issues this past month, my computer also contracted a virus. Even the reliable Geek Squad from Best Buy could not help my poor, 6 year old computer, and it had to be put down. After a brief period of mourning, we forked out the $$$$ for a new one, and are trying to get our systems back up and running. I have so far encountered a variety of difficulties...an important one being that the new comp is not compatible with my digital camera! We are trying to get through and around the obstacles, so meanwhile, I am going to try to go mobile with my blog...I wonder if my new phone is compatible? I have been painting, so be patient...hopefully today or tomorrow will show my attempts at painting with a bad cough (I may have to go abstract) Sorry for the long pause in posts. I hope not to have this happen again!
Posted by Rose Altom at 9:14 AM
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Yes, excuses, excuses...I have been down with a nasty case of the flu since last I posted, as well as a few major and minor crises (crisises?) However, this is my drawn and revised drawing on an 8x10 canvas, which I will be painting this week. For your information, and your amusement, I will tell you that I had a devil of a time with the tail of the bird. It is at an odd angle, and my photo from last spring did NOT do the bird justice. I eventually just stuck a 'fig leaf' in the appropriate position and decided to move on, or I would never get this painting off the ground! I overthink EVERYTHING!!! I am determined to paint, good or bad, so keep on encouraging me to get up and do it...I know I can do something important one day.
Posted by Rose Altom at 1:07 PM
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Happy New Year! With the year 2014 upon us, I have decided to make a few new resolutions dealing with my creative side...well, it is not so much a resolution as a REVOLUTION! I am revolting from my old ways, and attempting to change my habits to grow creatively.
First, I have decided that I am not progressing in my painting. While my drawing skills have developed over the past year, I miss working with paint, and bringing large color into my life. So I will be doing a painting a week (inasmuch as my life will allow it: with an ailing mother-in-law, and a lot of trips north ahead of us, I will do my very best!)
Second, I have been rather scattered in my art time. I will be scheduling my time better, and making it a priority in my week.
Third, I will utilize my studio. Lately I have gotten very lazy with my drawing, and have been working at the dining table or even (shocker!) in my easy chair! That does not place my art in the priority level that it should be. I will be working in my studio, where I will feel professional, and not such a hobbyist.
I am hoping that these changes will help me to focus. I am trying to redefine my own idea of art. What do I want to say? What is art to me?
I am a procrastinator...or just plain lazy, but I know that somewhere deep inside me is an artist with a lot to create. Over the next year, I will be exploring, developing, and creating that which is hidden away. I am reminded of a quote: "She was like the moon...Part of her was hidden" I am searching for that part of me that is hidden. I welcome you to come along and help me to discover it!
Posted by Rose Altom at 2:58 PM
Thursday, December 12, 2013
I am working on some sketches for a possible still life painting. My oil paintings are always a major event in my life, because they are so involved and the drawing and perspective gives me panic attacks! I don't do many of them, obviously! I love using antique childrens' toys in my still lifes, as they seem to be timeless and joyful. The Fisher Price jalopy is one of my favorite old toys, but his head is bent at a funny angle, after so many years of use, and the composition is going to be key in getting the right emotional response from it. I have a lot more drawing to do!
Posted by Rose Altom at 5:00 PM
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
This is a page from my sketchbook of notes and thumbnails for an upcoming painting. I quite like the process as much as the finished product. I do wish that I was as organized as those artists who are publishing books on their art journals. Every page they create is so beautiful and inspiring!
Posted by Rose Altom at 4:56 PM
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
This spirit doll design is based on my passion for tea and comfort. I will sculpt the face of clay, use a sugar spoon for the body, and add tea leaves like a halo around the head. I plan on using some peppermint and rosemary sprigs for the back, and add teabag papers and possibly a tiny antique tea infuser. My mama always told me that anything can be cured with a good cup of tea, whether it be a broken heart or a headache. My belief in her and the tea ritual finds it to be true, for the most part! Thanks, Mom!
Posted by Rose Altom at 4:53 PM
Monday, December 9, 2013
I am working on some designs for spirit dolls this week. I plan on making them after the holidays, when it is too cold to go anywhere, and I am needing a project. I love the idea of gaining strength from an object that you have put your heart and soul into. The dream catchers of the Native Americans inspire me. I thought that I could work on a spirit doll that would encourage me to rely on my own strength, so this is my first attempt at a design. I will sculpt the face from clay, make the body from oak twigs, and add a sort of wing made from a post oak leaf. We have some red buffalo grass in the area, so I will use that as well.
Posted by Rose Altom at 4:51 PM
Sunday, December 8, 2013
I am posting a drawing that I did in 2003, just to see if I have been improving, or remaining stagnant in my artwork. The glass candleholder was a real challenge to draw, but I had more uninterrupted time to get it done. These days I am distracted and not as focused, so I am really unsure as to whether I am better, or not. Maybe I just need a lock on my studio door!
Posted by Rose Altom at 4:47 PM
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Bored tonight! I couldn't find anything interesting to draw, so I found an antique tea spoon that my mother had given me. I don't think that the bowl of the spoon came out right, as you can't tell if it is coming or going, but I really like how the handle came out. Also, don't you think that I gave it a bit of a bend where there shouldn't be? It would have been nice to take some of those graphic design classes in college so that I could be more accurate in my drawing!
Posted by Rose Altom at 4:45 PM
Friday, December 6, 2013
Should you do a drawing simply to fill a particular frame? I drew this acorn in an attempt to get something specifically for a 1" frame (that's right...1"! So cute!) It is still too big, as the acorn grew into being an inch and a half in size. It seemed to have a mind all its own, and refused to cooperate with me at all! Maybe I should draw something smaller...a ladybug?
Posted by Rose Altom at 4:41 PM
Thursday, December 5, 2013
I only added this sketch to my blog as a reminder to those fellow artists to NEVER have your sketchbook, your water bottle, and your cat on the same surface! I lost half of my sketchbook, and never did finish this particular drawing. Now that I have learned my lesson, you should see more drawings in the future!
Posted by Rose Altom at 4:43 PM
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
I loved the face on this squirrel...a study from a photo I took along the coast. This is not the usual midwestern squirrel, as it has a more streamlined face, and a thinner tail. I do love doing detail and abstraction together. It simplifies and captures the essence of the animal, I think.
Posted by Rose Altom at 4:38 PM
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Laugh if you want, but an artist will draw just about anything...even her own unshaven legs! In an exercise in foreshortening, I drew my chubby little feet, and it actually came out fairly true to perspective. Embarrassing, yes, but not something I plan on selling! What kind of 'unpublishable' sketches do YOU do?
Posted by Rose Altom at 4:36 PM