Tom Altenburg: Nature Artist

NOAPS Altenburg Savana Shade  “Savanna Shade”, 23.5×16, Acrylic, Collection of the Artist.  Winner of ‘Best Realism’ at the NOAPS 2018 Best of America National Juried Exhibition at the Eisele Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio.

The most memorable realistic paintings are more than technically well painted; they are paintings, such as Tom Altenburg’s painting pictured above, that are well composed, and give us a sense of emotion that transcends the obviously skilled hand.  Here the artist created a circular composition that leads us directly to the eye; that eye translates intelligence, and leads us directly to the birds above.  We get the sense of size of the elephant in contrast to the birds above.  The elephant is grounded, solid, and the birds, as light as air, fly away.

NOAPS Altenburg Warm Sunlight  “Timber Wolf”, 17×24, Acrylic, Collection of the Artist.

Artist Tom Altenburg is a life-long artist.  Starting in high school, he realized his talent and passion, and took classes at the Kansas City Art Institute in drawing and painting.  He continued his art education earning a B.A. in Studio Art from the University of Missouri, Kansas City.  Tom received additional experience taking classes and workshops; particularly from Hallmark Cards Master Artist Ron Raymer while in high school, and later at the Beartooth School of Art in Bozeman, MT.  He has studied with artists such as Robert Bateman, Terri Isaac, and John Banovich.

NOAPS Altenburg Blue Cascades  “Blue Cascades”, 28×16, Acrylic, Private Collection.

Altenburg would classify himself mainly as an animal and nature artist.  He finds his inspiration and subject matter through his love of nature; parks, nature refuges, animal rehab centers and zoos.  His compositions are a result of sketches, combinations of his photos, and his own fluid ideas.

NOAPS Altenburg King of Coop Paint         NOAPS Altenburg King of the Coop

“King of the Coop”, Left, in progress, Right, finished painting.  28×14, Acrylic, Collection of the Leigh Y. Woodson Museum.

A session in his home studio, which sits across from a fishing lake and nature trails, begins perhaps after his morning walk, a little time on his guitar, and then assessment of his digital photos.  Beginning with an underpainting in acrylic red oxide, he is able to establish his composition.  This color choice also helps him achieve the vibrant colors so characteristic of his work.

Working on a composite hard board coated with gesso, he uses Liquitex acrylics in combination with gesso and mediums.  His palette consists of Titanium white, burnt umber, raw sienna, light blue violet, ultramarine blue, chromium oxide green, cadmium yellow, orange, an red, yellow ochre and yellow green.  Paintings can take a week or up to a month for completion, depending on the size.

Tom Altenburg is also a full-time artist for Hallmark Cards.  He is an American Western equine artist; has created artwork for Star Wars Publications for George Lucas; and created the 2017 Birds in Art Exhibition show poster for the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, with the original piece as part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Altenburg’s work has also received accolades from the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society, where he has won numerous awards, and has been granted the status of Master Artist.

To see more of Tom Altenburg’s artwork, visit

To see the NOAPS 2018 Best of America visit

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director

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