Monday, April 30, 2012


"I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do."

--Georgia O'Keefe

Sunday, April 29, 2012


There were so many acorns left after the mild winter that we had, that I am having to rake them up in the yard to keep them from sprouting.  I already have over 100 tree starts all over the front yard...lazy squirrels!  I read somewhere that our ancestors would grind acorn nuts and use it as flour, but I think I also read that it is poisonous.  No wonder our ancestors didn't live past 35!  On a creative note....does something strike you as off about this sketch?  It is leaning just slightly to the left.  My sketchbook support was crooked and I didn't notice until after I had finished...Posture!  I need to remember my posture and my workspace!

Friday, April 27, 2012


The Farmer's Market in Crump, TN offers a variety of fresh items.  This week I found the early veggies and flowers fun to sketch.  I am trying to find beauty in all things around me, in my efforts at spiritual peacefulness.  I am looking for a connection with the world that gives me some reason to be here, now.  Sometimes my moody artist, depressive nature makes me feel isolated and separate from everyone.  With the economy being so awful (despite what politicians are saying, it is NOT looking up in middle America!)  art is the first 'luxury' to go, and no one is interested at all in what I think is the most basic of communication...images!  Anyway, aren't things that grow full of beauty and substance?  I am feeling really connected to those green beans...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


It has been a whole week since I drew one of my birds, so I had to do this joyful spring song.  I was hurried with this has been getting in the way of art lately.  Hubby ended up at the x ray office for a damaged knee...doing logging of all things!  I never thought 20 years ago in my suburban world that we would end up in the woods dealing with fallen trees and weird spiders!  My art echoed my more mundane world of still lifes and children's toys.  Kinda romantic to be lost in the woods with the love of your life, though...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Killdeer like to start off life dangerously...their eggs are laid in rocky area, usually the gravel driveway of your own home!  Kildeer parents try to lure you away with a theatrical act of having a broken wing or horrible limp, and have a piercing cry to get your attention away from their nest.  I am off on the color of the eggs a bit.  They are more of a warm sienna.  I was carried away by the splatter pattern on the egg, and how it was looking more and more like a beaten metal!  I also wanted to make the eggs look 3 dimensional and the nest of gravel look flat, so that it might look like the eggs would roll right away...


I had to try my hand at Cioppini for dinner this week...I love fish stew!  It does need a lot of different types of seafood, however, and I was loving the variety of shapes that the shells came in.  The mussels are sharp (I cut my finger getting the meat out), the clams are thick and interesting.  The Oysters look like they grow layer after thin layer of shell over a heavy inside.  The soup was delicious, and the shells are now home to hen and chickens plants in my rock garden!

Monday, April 23, 2012


Last week we headed to Arkansas to try diamond mining at the State Park in Murphreesburo.  Amazingly enough, there was a wonderful art gallery there that dealt in African and Native American artifacts, as well as western artists from around the U.S.  I loved the pattern on this particular pot, and snapped a picture to sketch it back at the hotel.  I love the graphic nature of the design, and am wondering what the symbolism is depicting.  We didn't find any diamonds, but the scenery was wonderful, and who doesn't love digging in the mud and looking for rocks?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I drew this rather lopsided orange using the scribble method.  It made for an interesting texture, though I am not sure if it was the best choice for a smooth-skinned fruit.  I do put on the good drawings with the bad, so I will leave it to you to pick this sketch apart.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


This is an odd idea for a drawing, but insects have some of the most intense colors I have seen in nature.  This is one of many types of Hoverfly, and I found it a real challenge to try to make the wings look transparent.  They have a soft 'fur' that was interesting to try to draw as well.  As you can see, I started out (by accident) with a light pink pen.  I will try to get my drawing done in a more well-lit place next time!  Bugs are not my favorite creature on this earth, though I know that they have their purposes.  I live out in the woods, and my hubby has to spray constantly to keep the 6 and 8 legged beasties at bay.  Hubby got so tired of killing spiders (I am phobically afraid of them) that he bought me a hand-held bug vacuum just in case he wasn't there, or didn't want to get up out of his easy has improved his life dramatically!  The only problems that arise now is when the Wolf spider occassionally darkens our is too big to fit in the vacuum thingy! 

Monday, April 16, 2012


I drew this color pen study for a miniature painting I will be doing this weekend...the study is actually bigger than the painting will be!  I am trying to figure out what acrylic paint colors to use in the mini...cad red light, definitely, but do I want to have a cad yellow medium glow through? Should my shadows be blues or purple?  It is the creative process, or choices that can make or break a painting.  As I stumble through it by chance or 'by golly', I hope to create a good painting.  An old art teacher of mine said that every painting should communicate something...I am not sure I agree with him!  Some paintings you do because you crave the fresh strawberries coming into season soon!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


The cowbird likes to lay it's eggs in other birds' nests, being the lazy parent that it is.  This cowbird has laid it's large, brown speckled egg beside the delicate blue sparrows' eggs.  I spent a long time trying to interweave all the twigs together to portray a nest...I can't imagine how the birds do it and not have the whole nest fall apart! I read recently about a man here in TN who is making eggs of all the birds known today...with clay!  He is quoted to say that the birds are so hard to emulate that he has had to build a special tool that makes the clay eggs as precise as possible.  So far he has created, fired and glazed over 8000 eggs!  I hope to visit his studio sometime to see his work.  That is dedication!

Friday, April 13, 2012


I have done a lot of fossil hunting over the years.  Hubby was an earth science major in college, and we would go looking for fossilized shark teeth in Wyoming, sapphires and crinoids in Montana, and in South Dakota we even found some metamiadon molars!  This is a trilobite and has some wonderful lines to draw.  I don't know if I captured the look that it is actually stone, but I am pleased with the results.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I decided to try drawing straight lines today, and dug up some of my origami pieces to work with.  I love doing origami, and I hate drawing lines, so I thought the two would meld well and make me a more well-rounded artist...I was wrong!  Still can't draw a straight line, but I did enjoy using lots of color.
For  the chicken, I used a yellow highlighter pen to get that flourescent look.  It was a good experiment.  It actually glows in the dark!  I will try a few more experiments on that just for fun.

Monday, April 9, 2012


This is one of the last pinecones in my yard that hasn't been torn to pieces by the squirrels.  I enjoyed the challenge of all the detail and layering in this sketch.  I used a brown ink pen, and a scribble stroke to build up the layers of depth.


'Face of Boredom'

'Movement in Line'

The smart phone has really good drawing applications.  This is one of the many I have been playing with...doodling.  For both of these, I did a basic drawing (you have to really simplify on a 3"x4" screen!)  and then I went into my photo apps to add color filters.  It is amazing what works to inspire you to think of something new for your artwork.  I am seriously considering doing some abstract work because of these tiny studies.  I love the color and movement, and the freedom that abstraction gives you.  My problem is my obsessive behavior...I want to overwork each piece.  Maybe working tiny has that advantage of not being able to do that.  Should I do just miniatures?  And would anyone want abstract paintings for their dollhouses?


'Wildflower Face', a photo by Rose Altom

Happy Easter, all!  I have been absolutely obsessed with my new smart phone camera apps, and as I think of photography as one of the powerfully emerging and universally used arts, decided to share one of my pics.  This was from the app called Pixlr-o-gram for the Android.  I am amazed at how much layering you can do with the filters, and how a completely AWFUL photo can become interesting.  I think this one is fairly successful because of the contrast in the light and dark, and the strong lines.  I am also thinking that most of my bad paintings can be fixed through this technique!  I am going to give it a try...but right now I want to paint flowers.  Lots and LOTS of flowers!  Spring is encouraging me to dig out my unused tubes of bright and cheerful paint, and remind myself that nature is where the purest color comes from!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


With spring here, I am anxious for  all of the flowers to be in bloom.  I have a few tulips opening up today, and the dogwood trees are blooming madly!  In anticipation, I am drawing this fuschia blossom to brighten up my day...

Thursday, April 5, 2012


This was a study in textures for me.  I was trying to learn how to draw a thick fur realistically.  I used sepia, grey and black for this study.  It went faster than I expected, so I probably should have spent more time on it, and been more 'neat' and precise.  Instead, I used a sketchy line, and was watching  'The Messengers', a scary movie at the same time.  Baddddd idea!  I few of the 'wild hairs' on the teddy bear was when the movie ghosts jumped out unexpectedly!  Not the best way to be drawing, and I have learned my lesson!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


When I was in Iowa a few years ago, visiting family, I noticed they had an amazing amount of lady bugs, even in November!  The type they had imported in (I think to manage the aphid population) were an asian ladybug, mostly a spotted, pale brown color.  They obviously over-ordered the amount of bugs, because they were EVERYWHERE!  It was the first ladybug that I had seen that wasn't really colorful.  I wonder if it was a seasonal change in color, or it's natural color...

Sunday, April 1, 2012


We lived near an Ostrich farm while stationed in Montana, and I used to go over and photograph these strange and aggressive birds.  From what I observed, they were easily irritated, and would kick viciously when bothered.  They also have extremely hard beaks, and love to bite, nip, strike, and torment all who come near.  I have a nice, long distance respect for this beautiful creature.  I took my life in my hands to get some close up photos of their heads....after this experience, I invested in a zoom lens for my camera!