Monday, February 27, 2012


This was a quick study to keep up my 2 minute drawing skills.  I rather like doing these because it forces me to be loose and free with the pen strokes.  It is this type of drawing that I should have filling all of my art journals, keeping track of my daily experiences.  Once again, laziness and procrastination rears it's ugly head!

Saturday, February 25, 2012



Caterpillars are just as colorful and interesting as their metamorphosis, the butterfly.  I was working in shapes today, but the caterpillar is a lime green with yellow and black spots!  Amazing!

Thursday, February 23, 2012



I really enjoyed finding the right combination of colors to put together to give this beautiful bird the right glow of brightness.  It has a sharp eye and a sharper beak, and loves to drill holes in cedar siding!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012



I am continuing to work on bird features, and am learning a lot about the layering of feathers around the eye and beak.  Each bird has a completely different look and attitude about it.  The blue jay is confident, noisy, and territorial.


Sunday, February 19, 2012


 I am practicing my bird eyes in pen today.  Raptors' eyes are large and really sensitive to the light.  It is a challenge to make eyes look realistic two dimensionally, but if you don't get the eyes right, the whole piece is a waste of time!  I try to use a minimum of strokes to get the effect I want. Sometimes it is more about what you DON'T draw that is important.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Warbler: Pen Study

prairie warbler
 This tiny warbler is one of my favorite birds.  It is so joyful it almost bounces about the grass fields of the prairie states. 


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Artist's Vicious Cycle

Photo by Rose Altom

The Artist's Vicious Cycle

I have continued with my reading of "Art and Fear".  What I have gleaned this week from it, is the amazing cycle of fear and loathing that artists go through (I recognize myself here, or I wouldn't be writing about it).

Put simply:    If artist=self,  then making flawed art=flawed self.  Making no art=being no self!

I find myself in this cycle all the time!  I am worried about not being perfect, so I hesitate to put paint to canvas.  When I don't do my art, I don't feel like a worthy person.  There has got to be some way out of this cycle!

According to the authors of "Art and Fear" there are many paths to leaving the cycle of viciousness behind. Here are a couple...

1. Don't delude yourself into believing that art is your sole identity.

2.People aren't perfect, so you don't have to be, either.

3. Remember that most of your art work is a practice to getting to where you want to be...truly expressing yourself.

I suppose that it will have to be a conscious effort on my part to breaking that cycle of sheer terror every time I step up to a canvas.  I draw more often than not because I am less frightened of messing up a piece of paper.  The creative process requires effort, practice, and practice.  I read somewhere that talent is rarely distinguishable over the long run, from perseverance and lots of hard work.  It's good to have talent, but better to have determination!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Happy Valentine's Day!  I found this heart-shaped leaf in my yard, and drew it for the occasion...while it was a dried leaf, and not the fresh green of spring, I know it is a promise of new life, so have a wonderful day!

Monday, February 13, 2012



I am feeling the need for color this week, so  I chose to do a pen study of my tulips that are due to bloom in another month.  I started this study with a worn-out gel pen, and finished it up with some color Sharpees (fine tip).  I love the variagated tulips! And it is a real challenge to get a 3 dimensional effect with a smooth surface like that of the satiny tulip petals!

Tulip. detail

Saturday, February 11, 2012

'Art and Fear'

Photo by Rose Altom

I have been reading a book called 'Art and Fear',  Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland....and I think that I have found an author who understands!  Art is such a personal journey that it is at times tantamount to climbing Mt. Everest!  An uphill battle that tries to beat us down, knocks us off our feet, and challenges us to get up and take charge!  The writer says in the beginning of the book that for art lovers, what matters is the end result...the painting, sculpture, etc.  For the artist, and ONLY the artist, what matters is the journey, the experience in making that art.

You are going to spend 99% of the time creating work that NOONE cares about.  Maybe 1% of the time will you create something that the public will respond to.  How  disheartening is that statement!!  But if you really think about it, art is such a personal experience for the artist that no one else can really understand what it means to you.  I am  struggling with that thought...that no one cares as much as I about my work, not my mother, not my children, and bless him, not even my hubby! 

It is rather freeing to admit that to myself, however.  Look at the odds!  99% to 1%.  It is highly unlikely that I am THAT much of a failure!  And I am learning from each and every piece of work that I 'fail' at.  Not a bad thing at all!  I can't learn and grow without trying new things, practicing, creating.  Have you SEEN some of Picasso's early works?!  He was really a lousy artist when he was 2.  But he got better!  He grew from the journey.

Bayles and Orland say that becoming an artist means learning to accept yourself, so that your work is personal and distinctive, and YOURS.  You find your footing on the climb, and your voice in your art.  What a glorious journey it is to be an artist!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


This sketch was a real challenge.  It might not look like it.  It is a simple shape, simple lines.  What I had real difficulty with was the fact that this shell had a lot of calcium deposits on it, making it an odd patchwork of white and pale grey.  I finished it, and later had to go back in, because it was such a pale drawing, and I had no contrast or interest going at all.  I added darker shadows beneath it, and it just popped right out!  Sometimes I miss the obvious, and the basic training I have had flies out of my brain.  I need more focus!  The holidays must have sapped my common sense and left me flighty and muddle-headed! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


While visiting my daughter in California last week, (my newly married daughter) I was able to do a few sketches of the roses that my wonderful son-in-law had recently given her.  He is DEFINITELY starting out right!  I love drawing flowers with a minimum of pen strokes, and in a slightly geometric way.  For some reason the total 'softness' of the flower disturbs me and I have to give it some interesting angles.  I used three different shades of grey for this rose, and enjoyed a quiet hour developing the folds and petals.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


This is a Willow Leaf Beetle, one of the ladybug-like beetles that are destructive but beautiful.  I used the Pitt Brush Pens for most of the work on this sketch, and then switched to Sharpee Color Pens for the pop of color.  Normally I don't draw bugs...I don't have a particular fondness for them. (More a morbid fascination!)  Beetles are a definite exception.  They are so colorful!  I read somewhere that in Victorian times, the ladies actually wore the more colorful beetles as brooches on their gowns...still alive and somehow chained to a pin!!!  What people won't do for fashion...My favorite part of this drawing was what I left out.  I let the paper shine through for the shiny highlights on the beetle's back.  It is really a challenge to leave OUT the color!  I plan on doing more of these beetles.  I am fascinated by the rhinocerous-shaped one...

Thursday, February 2, 2012


ARTIQUERYROSE is celebrating it's one year anniversary.  In looking back over the past year, I can say that the goals I set were definitely accomplished. 

I wanted to encourage my creativity and self-confidence. ...... I tried a variety of new techniques in my artwork.  I failed a lot of times, but the blog gave me the courage to try again, and gain confidence as I went along.  I had been afraid to fail...hence, I wasn't producing much.  I have created more this year than in the past 20 years!

I wanted to communicate the struggle an average artist goes through daily.  I tried to express my emotions and creative path as best as I could.  I showed the bad as well as the good, trying to be as honest and open as possible.  I am not a perfect artist, much as I would like to be.  I will probably never be a famous artist, but I would like to be an expressive artist who makes a tiny bit of difference in this world.

I occasionally pick up a publication that features blogging, trying to do my best to keep the attention of my audience.  The featured bloggers write about making lots of loyal friends and getting an incredible amount of support from their readers.  I don't know if they are exaggerating, or I have a very quiet group of readers, as this has NOT been my experience.  I only know people read my blog because my statistics have steadily increased over the year.  It is my hope in the next year that I will hear from more of you, get to know some of you, so that we might encourage each other along the path of creativity.

I would like to feature a few budding artists out there on the blog...a guest artist or two or three.

 I want to continue to push myself, find new ways to express what is in my heart through painting, and move forward....not stagnate as my lazy self would enjoy doing.  I am a horrendous procrastinator and love to curl up with a good book, a crossword puzzle and admire other artist's work.  It is very difficult for me to unwrap my cozy cocoon and inch out into the scary world of art.

So, hello new year! I expect big things of you!