A journey from the hospital to the studio


What I’ve been doing this summer

It’s been a difficult summer for me. The summer started with a great deal of dissatisfaction with myself and particularly my art. I felt like an antsy teenager. I felt like all my pieces were at a level and I couldn’t push past it. I felt stuck. The creative process can be like this sometimes. We are all human, we all struggle and none of us are alone in it.
So, being broke, I threw myself back into the hospital. I pick up a lot of shifts and on a few occasions, I really over tiered myself. While doing this I tireless searched the internet attempting to discover what was next for me.
But, as always, it came from the inside. Inside me was bursting with ideas, colors and most of all I wanted to paint. I looked for painting programs and found one north of the city in Sandy Springs. It was difficult, I had to complete over two months of meticulous drawing exercises. This month I completed the last one:


The class is more like a community with local current artist working on commissions to complete beginners. Yesterday I was finally able to paint.  This is my very first attempt at painting and I’m starting with oil painting. The subject is two sunflowers that were growing in my garden. Here’s a selfie and what I completed yesterday along with my initial pencil drawing








They’re so happy and bright! I’m not done with them, but I hope to be soon.

With love,



Best of figure study class

Hello everyone,
My 12 week figure class is over, which is very sad. We met ever Wednesday AM. I felt lost this morning not going. So I decided pick out and post a few studies from the bunch. Please note, these are live, nude models I worked from. The poses are between 35-60 minutes long. So you learn to work quickly. A lot of my proportions are off, but oh well, that’s how practice is. It’s not perfect.
Most studies were completed in charcoal. But my last three weeks I did pen and ink. Which is sorta scary to not be able to erase mistakes. But that’s part if the journey

I recently got a twitter (Leigh Elliot @ nursetoartist) and Instagram (leighannelliott1)

Love always and be true to yourself,











Silence broken!

It’s been a long time. I have excuses- none very good. So I’m just going to move on.
Lately, I’ve been doing nothing but
boring drawing exercises and when I draw something, I hate it. I have been encouraged by many of my loved ones lately. They tell me this is normal in the creative process. So, I’ve loosened up a bit and with the encouragement of one if my tutors. Here is the making of a new- kinda abstract piece.




This is called “wind swept tree”
It started out from a sketch of a tree at the beach in my sketchbook.

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Prepare for the terrible Georgia ICE storm

Hello Everyone,

I hope every one has bought their milk, bread and butter for the second time this month. This evening Kroger was sold out of milk. I now sit happily with my Almond milk (that’s all that was left). NOT that I mind, I drink it time to time 4 (4)I have returned from Tennessee. I had WAY too much fun playing with my little cousin Carson. I was more than happy to watch him for Tom and Amy. Don’t think that I haven’t been drawing, in fact I have finished “Old Tibetan Man.” For the progression of the piece look at the my easel page

With old man winter making another stand I needed a bright sunshine piece to pick me up. Here is the beginning of “Summer dreams.” Perhaps it’s because I’ve been around a bunch of little kids these past few weeks I really wanted to draw one. This will be a color piece, check out the easel page.


photo 1 (4)

I have so much in my heart and mind that I can hardly stop myself from starting more and more. Things bouncing in my mind are “doors and windows” an architectural piece that will be the death of me. An oil painting still life, and an oil painting of my great-grandmother. My grandmother really wanted me to paint her mother… but first I have to learn oils. I haven’t painted yet either, I guess I feel like I’m not ready to paint, I feel like my drawing skills need to be better. This is something I will need to ‘get over.’

Lastly, there is something that I did not do before going to Tennessee. Jazz, my lovable but psychotic, dog did NOT get the memo that I was leaving for a few nights. Last time, He made it a point to poop on my brand new white rug. This is really strange. Jazz is a really good buddy who NEVER goes to the bathroom in the house. I was visiting my Mom in Hilton Head, SC at the time. I thought that he must have been really sick or something. But I have learned that it is really separtation anxiety. He pooped like mad again, and since there was no brand new white rug, He hopped up on to my drawing pads stacked neatly in the corner. Thankfully only one of my pieces was ruined. Here she is. Needless to say, I won’t be selling  her up on my etsy account. photo 4 (3)I plan on updating that soon.

Thanks for reading my thoughts,


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Leigh Elliott- NurseToArtist


Happy February! Spring may be around the corner.

After a few days of work, I have resumed work on my old man portrait. I drove to Tennessee today after meeting with my teacher and mentor, John Horne.
I came to Tennessee to meet the newest addition to our family! Welcome into the world baby Elliott Hutto.
I forgot to take a picture while working. I tend to get into the zone and forget to take pictures along the way. I promise I will get better.



Thanks for reading my thoughts,

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Flesh eating bacteria is more common than you think. Reasons the medical profession may not be for you.


(Just in case you’re wondering this is a pharmacy issued beer, with a prescription label on it. It reads “beer, three times a day, by mouth.” – just in case you were confused what to do with it.)
After a few days off, I have returned to the ICU. My art pieces have been placed on hold as I complete three twelve hour shifts in a row.
This is one of the many difficulties if the medical profession- long days. But there are many things that the common person may not know about medicine.
You see, when you tell someone you are a nurse or doctor people give you this look like, “hmmmm that’s nice.” That’s because they don’t know.

How do you tell people the truth?

Let’s see, today I spent 45 minutes digging through someone’s fat folds to find her vagina to stick a tube up there.
Or,today, I spent 30 min helping a doctor stick a needle into a plethora of random body parts.
Today, while helping the doctor stick a needle into random body parts, this 85 year old man grabbed my ass.
This is my typical morning.

Shall we continue to creepy diseases I touch everyday?
I remember my first time seeing flesh eating bacteria. I was in nursing school and I pulled back the covers to see this man’s balls being eaten away as the bacteria was making a B-line for his other parts.
Cruel really.
I find it so strange when the media gets a hold of theses stories- I see it on a biweekly basis really.
So if you have had a person with active tuberculosis cough in your face recently, smile, you work in the medical field.

Thanks for reading my thoughts,
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– there’s more to come on both.

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Happy Georgia Snow Storm

Hello Everyone,

I hope that everyone is enjoying their snow day. I know I have and Jazz did too! We have had a blast playing ball. Here’s the happy buddy.


As for the artistic stuff, despite the terrible snow traffic, the USPS came through for me. (God bless!) I received my electric eraser in the mail today. I LOVE IT. It allows me to sorta ‘carve out’ detail from my newest charcoal piece. Here are all of the supplies I’m using for this drawing,


On the Left are the erasers, my awesome Sakura electric eraser on the farthest left.  My trusty China eraser and a kneaded one above. The sad broken piece of charcoal is all that is left of a stick of compresses charcoal. I prefer compressed the most, I like the deep black it gives. Next is a charcoal pencil with a trusty smudge stick that is so saturated that I can draw with it. Last are two synthetic paint brushes,  I use these for softening lines, gently brushing away those bits left behind from erasing. I find using the bushes is better than blowing on my drawing, this way I don’t accidentally get bits of well….spit…. on the drawing. It’s much more sanitary and a bit of moisture on the paper is a sure way to mess it up.

So here is the drawing so far, it’s about 1/2 of the way completed.


If you want to see its progression check out the ‘on  My Easel‘ Page

Thanks for reading my thoughts,


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