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Tom AltenburgTom Altenburg   AFC, SAA, NOAPS, Tom Altenburg
Animals, Landscapes, and Western Equine Art
 
Field research
I enjoy capturing "magical moments" in nature with my camera, a sketch pad, and or note cards. To me, this is the most important part of the creative process. When I think I've found a possible subject I observe everything around it as well, especially the sunlight. When it's possible, I return again and again to the same spot to take more in. I study animal anatomy and habitat reference books to be up on all the details.
Ideation
I usually do small pencil sketches and or use 4"x6" photo prints taped together to layout ideas for paintings. I think it is best to explore at least 2-3 different directions at this stage.
Prepare the surface
After cutting my untempered masonite board to the right size, I layer the surface with 2-3 coats of unbleached gesso, with each coat sanded smooth. I begin painting after applying a warm undercoat of red oxide paint to the surface.
Plot out the composition
I plot out the composition by first choosing the focal point. Then I block in the basic shapes, values, and colors. I work to achieve the right balance and eliminate what isn't important.
Layer in the detail
I make corrections and layer in the detail as I go. I work across my painting turning it sideways and even upsidedown. I prefer to use acrylic paint because of the speed in which I work. I can make several changes within minutes due to its quick drying time and clean up.
Let it bake
I let each painting "bake" for a while. I leave it and do something else. I will look at it again upside down, in a mirror, and sometimes through the eyes of someone else. I usually will find it is best for me to have a couple of paintings going through various stages at one time.
Completion
I know a painting is finished when I feel I am in danger of overworking it. I usually seal it with a thin brush coat of medium varnish. Depending on the size and complexity, a painting may take days, or even weeks for me to complete.

 
 
Direct Correspondence to:Tom Altenburg
 
Tom Altenburg
c/o Tom Altenburg Artist
512 S. Silvertop Lane
Raymore, MO
USA  64083
Tel: 816-331-9471
  Worldwide Nature Artists Group
Email: TandWy@aol.com
Tom Altenburg Tom Altenburg

 
All rights reserved. All images and text © Copyright  Tom Altenburg
Member of the Artists for Conservation Foundation www.natureartists.com.