Thursday, June 25, 2020

Best of Show

My painting Ice Bear has won Best of Show at the National Oil & Acrylic Painters' Society Spring Online International Exhibition!

The National Oil & Acrylic Painters' Society (NOAPS) posted a very nice blog about the win and my work.
Check it out here:

     It was an interesting day when I found out about the win. I checked my email first thing in the morning and received a quick note from an artist I did not know. He was congratulating me on a very nice piece. This being my first time entering anything in a NOAPS show, I guessed Ice Bear must have been accepted in to the show and he wanted to let me know he saw and liked it. Wow, my first attempt and I was accepted. Pretty neat!
     It was only later looking in more detail about the acceptance list on the NOAPS web site that I saw Ice Bear had won. I was blown away. What a wonderful surprise!

Friday, June 19, 2020

And... Finished

13.5" X 20"
Original Oil by Linda Besse

I usually have a working title in mind while I paint. Sometimes that title becomes the final title as it did here. There were many unexpected elements I was playing with. 

The story of Daniel in the Lions' Den is unexpected. He certainly should have perished, and rather quickly.
Rubens' choice of size and the number of lions is unexpected.
When one sees Rubens' painting hanging in the National Gallery of the Smithsonian, it feels unexpectedly large and impressive.

Okay, yes. There is a lion walking in the museum. THAT is unexpected.

Thanks for keeping me company and following along on this challenging painting. I believe my next piece might be a bit more simple. 

Monday, June 15, 2020

Challenge #9 People

Having a person (or in this case, two) was essential to the painting.
The balding head (the first one I have painted) helps the viewer see he is looking up at the painting. The angle of his bald spot nicely works with the angled figure of Daniel.

The woman completes the story. My first goal was to have her blue coat stand out from the blue couch. I debated whether to have a different color, but this combination seemed to add a pop to the foreground without being too distracting.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Challenge #8 What's Next?

I debated whether to start on the walking lion or save him for last. After procrastinating for a while, I decided the couch would be next. The couch felt like an anchor and its color would help dictate the rest of the "real life" elements.

To make the fabric look like a microfiber, I used a blending brush to soften the multiple blues' edges.

For the floor, I mixed some light warm and cool colors and applied the paint with a small angle brush. I made strokes the length of each board.

As you can see, our cat Scratch was particularly excited about this section. A constant studio companion, here he seems more enamored of sleeping on a couch than watching me paint one!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Challenge #7 Daniel completed

The head of Daniel is at an odd angle looking up. With it measuring roughly one inch square, his head was the most difficult part of painting him. I'm not sure how long I spent on the eyes to capture that upward-looking fear.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Challenge #7 Daniel

I don't often paint people. Trying to paint a Rubens figure is quite an additional challenge.

I am trying to not think about what I am doing, painting Daniel in Daniel in the Lions' Den by Rubens. Instead, looking at shapes, color, and shadows and pretending this could be any subject is helping alleviate my trepidation.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Challenge #6 The red cloak

Up to this point, Rubens' painting has a limited palette.
I've been excited to move to the red cloak to add a pop of color but the challenge is to nail the red.
Four pools of colors were mixed; darkest with ultramarine blue, semi- dark with Michael Harding Crimson Lake, semi-light/bright also including Crimson Lake, and lightest.

Rubens was a genius in adding a red cloak. Any other color would not have been as effective. I'm sure there are dozens of art experts' articles on the cloak's placement, the significance of the red, and the completion of the circle around Daniel.
As an artist I just know I love the color!

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Challenge #5 The Lions completed, sort of

I could say the lions are painted, but there is one remaining which will be particularly difficult - the one outside Rubens' painting.

In working on a piece like this, I think the artist gains a more detailed insight in to the choices made by a master artist like Rubens. You pay attention to placement, movement, and lighting more acutely.
You can appreciate the painting when seen in a museum. Painting it yourself and you see the nuances.

I have been "complaining" about the number of lions I had to paint, but in having that many Rubens  created interesting groupings and a greater variety of actions which two or three lions would have been unable to achieve. This large group might seem haphazard, but the circular placement draws one's eyes to the main subject, Daniel.

Can I have a favorite lion? I like Rubens' lion in profile in the upper farthest left position.
Do you have a favorite?

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Challenge #5 Continued

Lions and more lions!
Really? Did Peter Paul Rubens really need nine lions to tell the Daniel in the Lions' Den story?
I could find no biblical reference which said there were nine. Maybe five, four, even three would have been enough for his painting?

At least that is what I am thinking as I work my way through all this felineness.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Challenge #5 - Lions

The lions Rubens used for his painting Daniel in the Lions' Den were Barbary or Asiatic lions. Some speculate that he observed them at a menagerie in Brussels. Rubens was also informed by ancient lion sculptures he saw in Italy.

I am more used to the look of sub-Saharan African lions, but that is not what he has in the painting. Rubens is known for the generous proportions of his subjects and that is no exception with his lions in this piece. The lions appear muscle-bound with that Rubenesque look.

To make my painting work, my lions need to be his lions at an angle and smaller. Rubens' Daniel in the Lions' Den measures 88.3" X 130.1". My entire painting is a bit smaller at 13.5" X 20".