Friday, December 16, 2022



 On Target      24" X 36"    Original Oil 

 Because above is a scan of the original painting this may look a bit different than the photos of the painting in progress. My professional scans will always be truer to the original than quick phone photos.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Ugly Rocks

 It is not uncommon for me to hit an ugly stage in a painting. I had a feeling it would be the rocks. With as much detail as there is in the cougar, the rocks could not be amorphous blobs.

 When I get to an ugly stage, I remind myself of all the other paintings which have hit a point when I questioned my choices on a section. Time to make a fresh cup of tea, take a deep breath, pick up the paint brush, and power through to the other side. 



Thursday, December 1, 2022



Almost done with the cougar. After I finish the lower section I'll go back and paint his whiskers and add some brighter fur sections.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Continuing the cougar




My palette is looking like a jumble now. I start with placing titanium white in the upper left and then add colors along the top as needed. All the mixing is below.

For the cat I am using mostly two angle brushes, one quite small. Once the direction of the fur is painted I'll take a larger blending brush (not shown) to soften it. Smaller blending brushes are used during the initial applying of paint.

Monday, November 21, 2022

More cougar


 With fur, I like to work in sections, blending the colors while they are wet in the direction of the fur. I am using a small angle brush to simulate the texture.


One of the dangers of just using a small brush is the fur can look too controlled and the highlights may not resonate as fully as I would like. Once the fur on his chest is dry, I'll use a larger angle brush to layer in some brighter pieces catching the sunlight.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Starting on the cougar


My first step on an animal is to start with the eyes. Once I have them at a realistic stage I'll move on to the nose. Often I revisit the eyes to make tweaks as the painting progresses.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Time for a larger piece

   It has been a while since I have painted a piece on the larger side so decided to make this one 24" X 36." This idea has been rolling around in my head for several years and I finally thought of the way I wanted to approach it.

   Like for most of my paintings I started with the top of the painting and am working background to foreground. One of the things I like most about oil is its flexibility. I can work a sky while wet, adding lighter and darker passages and blending the edges. The blue sky peep hole was something I thought would add to the movement in the painting. One can get the feeling that it, like the cat, may not be there long.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Finished fox


After the Snowfall
11" X 15"
Original Oil

I've added a bit more snow by his back legs for a more natural snowline and have decreased how much you can see of his left back leg under his belly. 

Monday, November 7, 2022

More fox


Working in the direction of the fox's fur, here you can see the start of the shadowed area on his fur. It was this idea from the beginning cat photo of Pebbles in bright light and shadow which intrigued me.

Friday, November 4, 2022

Starting the fox



With some quick phone photos you can see how I am building the fox.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Where do art ideas come from?

 There are probably as many answers to that question as there is art.

I'd like to share with you the circuitous idea evolution of my latest painting.
As I was looking over images of the paintings I am bringing for my upcoming show at Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Maryland ( I felt a painting was missing. For a while I stared at the images as a set on my computer wracking my brain for just the right idea or even subject matter to give me a jump start. The grouping to some might feel disparate but I thought one more piece would supply the missing link.

Then it came to me. I needed a fox painting. And, if I put the fox in the snow, that might be just right.

First I started looking through my snow photos from around the house. 
The winter lighting here can be is so perfect on freshly fallen snow that I am often out walking our woods looking for good reference. As I went through hundreds of my photos, one stopped me in my tracks. It was a photo (one of my favorites) of Pebbles out on one of our walks.

This will take a bit of explanation. We walk our cats in the woods. This is something they enjoy year-round, including in snow. They get a chance to explore the area in safety with us, smelling traces of visitors, climbing trees, and playing with each other when we have two cats. And yes they stay with us and are disappointed if a morning or evening walk is missed!

Pebbles was a cat which adopted us. She lived with a neighbor on an adjacent ten acre parcel but when she reached eight preferred our dog-free property. The neighbor was fine with the change of address and even would come up to feed her when we were out of town. (Note: we have only had cats which adopted us or we have adopted from a shelter.)

Below is the photo which inspired the painting.

Here are two more of Pebbles.

And here is the start of the painting with the background reversed.


Wednesday, August 31, 2022



Stained Glass     21" X 18"   Oil

This colors of the completed painting probably look a bit different on your screen than the in-progress photos. The above is a scan of the completed painting rather than quick phone photos used for the in-progress images.
As I was thinking of a title I thought of how the sunlight danced across the turtle and the rocks. It reminded me of how light filters through stained glass and the rocks were reminiscent of  a cathedral's gothic columns.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Turtle

    Some artists like to work on all parts of the painting at once or start with the main subject. Maybe it is how I think - I like to save the best for last. As a child, the last bite on my plate was my favorite of the dishes. 
   With oils, I have wet paint to blend in to as I paint the main subject. I also like having available all the colors I have mixed so far to use on my main subject. This helps with a coherent palette. Maybe because I had no formal art training I prefer doing the "crust" near the beginning and saving the sweet cream filling for the end.  

I am using purple on the turtle's flippers and head. In certain underwater light there were splashes of purple on the turtles I saw and while I may be enhancing the color a bit, it felt like these shades. Knowing the colors I wanted to use for the turtle, I painted some lavender underneath him when I first blocked in the paint. There is also lavender in some of the surface water reflections.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Purposeful Randomness

  As I was designing this turtle painting I knew I wanted to have some fish. But, which ones, how many, and where?
    Since I determined I wanted this to be a turtle painting, the fish needed to be secondary characters. I spent a lot of time moving them around my composition through Paint Shop Pro. Yes, I like this one here, but no it's too busy to have that one there. Maybe move him over an inch? What about a fish shape in the background for depth? It may seem an odd concept but I worked to create a very specific randomness.
   You might have chosen a different grouping or even different species of fish. For me, when I reached the final placement it felt natural and reflected my underwater observations of locations off the Big Island. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Underwater Background


I've blended the background and added the foreground shapes. You'll see some adjustments throughout the painting process but at this stage I have the foundation of depth established.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Painting Underwater

    Lest you think I have discovered a new way to take my easel to the ocean floor, I mean painting an underwater scene.
   In May I was on the Big Island of Hawaii.
   We have a GoPro camera which aids in capturing underwater images. However, it is far from the latest version and I knew this going in. Our GoPro Hero 3 decided to go on strike when we had its back screen attached.  For days we couldn't figure out the issue until we tried it without the back screen. In many ways this was a good thing.
   I spent the non-photo snorkeling time memorizing colors and the feeling of being below the water's surface. Having not snorkeled in a number of years, the "being present in the moment" with no mechanical distractions was wonderful. When we finally figured out the issue and had the camera working on our last morning, my husband and I saw at least five sea turtles in a remote location we had to ourselves. With my husband manning the camera, I was free to watch them feed, grab a breath of air, and fly through the water column.
Step 1. Blocking in the underwater shapes
Unlike the places I have snorkeled in the Bahamas and Caribbean which have sea fans, elkhorn coral, and other delicate coral formations, many spots off the Big Island of Hawaii have large boulders and basalt ledges.


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Shore to Shore & Big News!

 Trips this late spring and summer took me from one end of the United States to the other. Starting with our most southern state Hawaii, I had a chance to explore below the water's surface. In addition to spending time snorkeling with turtles I also did a night snorkel with manta rays and watched their graceful feeding summersaults. An upcoming post will showcase a painting inspired by one morning's encounter with turtles.

After Hawaii I had a brief stay at home before I headed to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, an island off one of our most eastern states. My time here was spent above the water's surface though close to it with a bit of sailing. I've already completed two paintings inspired from this trip. 


I have been juried as a new Signature Member of the American Society of Marine Artists! It is an honor to be part of this group which showcases breathtaking works of art.
Check out their website at:

And, my painting Dry Docked received the Director's Choice Award at the 28th Annual Maritime Art Exhibit at the Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay, Oregon. The show runs July 9 - September 24, 2022.


Dry Docked
25" X 18"

Saturday, May 28, 2022

In the News!

 My solo wildlife show on Martha's Vineyard at the Louisa Gould Gallery has a write up in the Martha's Vineyard Times. See link below.

 Wild Things on Exhibit at the Louisa Gould Gallery

There are a few errors as the wonderful writer got some of the stories mixed up.
My husband and I were dropped off by a float plane in Manitoba, not a helicopter
My canoe trip on the Noatak River was not with my husband but with 5 others
While I did see a cow moose and her calf in my yard, the painting in the show is of a bull & cow moose which I saw at Turnbull Wildlife Refuge outside Spokane. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022


 For my 900th painting, this subject and its title seemed to fit.

Joy Ride    17" X 24"    Original Oil painting by Linda Besse

Once the painting was dry to the touch, I was free to glaze the lower part of the sail. For this I used Liquin and Michael Harding Crimson Lake and Rembrandt Cadmium Orange.

Coincidently, this is also my 900th blog post!


Saturday, May 7, 2022

More water

 Above is the painting before the white sparkles and the boat's wake are added.

Friday, April 29, 2022



People, well sort of.

To aid in the "I'm in the boat with them" action, their heads are covered by the sail. 
Lest you think I also cut off their legs, their legs are in the foot-well of the sunfish.

Thursday, April 21, 2022


What is the significance of 900?

In this case it is my 900th painting! Yes, I have been keeping track.

  Once again I am changing the order of what I paint. Usually I would paint all the water and then get to the bold colors of the sail. In this case, I wanted to paint the sail near the beginning of the painting because I will be glazing the lower yellow section when it is dry. The glazing color over the yellow will yield a more brilliant color than I could achieve by mixing from the tube for my normal wet-on-wet application. 
   You can see from the above photo how I am building up the water.

   I've blended the different water colors but still left open spaces for the "white" sparkles which will be added later. Once the painting is almost complete, I'll have an idea of how much of the sparkles should be added to enhance the movement of the water.


Monday, April 4, 2022

Steamboat Springs, CO * Clarksville, TN * Annapolis, MD

 What do these places have in common? My work will be in a show there.


Oil Painters of America 31st Annual National Exhibition of Traditional Oils                                   Steamboat Art Museum, Steamboat Springs, Colorado                                                                                June 3 - August 27

In the show is Stealth - Amur Tiger                                                                                                            Original oil painting by Linda Besse   24" X 34" 


Society of Animal Artists Presenting the Animals of North America                                                          Customs House Museum & Cultural Center,  Clarksville, Tennessee                                                         May 3 - June 26, 2022  

In the show is Sandhill Spring Migration                                                                                              Original oil painting by Linda Besse     16" X 24"


International Guild of Realism 16th Annual Exhibition                                                                               McBride Gallery, Annapolis, Maryland                                                                                                       June 10 - July 24

In the show is Spooked                                                                                                                                 Original oil by Linda Besse    24" X 36"                                                                                                                           


Saturday, March 26, 2022

Arctic Fire

 The first spring flowers are just starting to bloom but it is still dipping below freezing at night here. While waiting for the full onset on Spring, I thought I would share my very wintry painting from earlier this year.

The aurora borealis has different looks with the types listed as dunes, arcs, bands, pillars, diffuse, and corona. I don't know which type my favorite falls in to but I call it curtains. The undulating spectacle reminds me of the heavy curtains on a stage moving gently as the players behind take their places before the show starts.When I can create a painting which also includes a predator with which I have spent a lot of time with in the wild, I have a recipe for a dramatic painting.

Starting with the sky, I block in the colors painting some very bright yellow as a focus point for the northern lights.

In keeping with the night scene, the ice has a dull teal hue with pockets of purer color in the foreground.

The water has some muted shadows and I painted it so it would feel fairly smooth with no hint of a breeze.

I have been fortunate to have spent time in remote Manitoba observing polar bears. There are few things more heart pounding that to be in the tundra and finding a polar bear has been watching you and you didn't know he was there.


Arctic Fire    16" X 24"   Original oil

The above image of the scanned painting looks quite a bit different than the in-progress photos. Once the piece was dry, I glazed many sections with mostly Michael Harding Phthalocyanine Blue Lake.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Warrior King


Warrior King   Original Oil   24" X 16"

Here is a scan of the completed painting. Once varnished, the dark texture will no longer have the "ghost" of reflected light.

I've decided to go with a gloss varnish. This is a change for me as I like a semi-gloss or a satin. It seemed the traditional nature of the dramatic lighting called for gloss.

I asked my framer to paint the frame to match my mottled background and touch the inside lip of the frame with a hint of the golden color of the mane. The frame started as a matte black. She is amazing. Holly Swanson, owner of Spokane Gallery & Framing. 

Below is a quick photo of the finished frame. We went with a more satin look for the frame so not to distract from the painting.

This may seem like a quick painting but I have sped it up for you in the blog.

Thank you for joining me as I explored the use of chiaroscuro.   


Friday, January 14, 2022

Almost There



At this stage the structures of his head have been painted but none of the lighter sections nor the colors of his mane in the sunlight.

Note: Quick photo with my phone

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

More lion

 For his mane below his chin I'm keeping it loose with some vibrant colors mixed in. Some of this will be toned down near the end but I wanted to start with some splashes of reds and golds.

The first thing I did after painting the mottled background was paint his eyes. A painting can fall flat if the eyes don't grab one's attention. Though they were painted at the beginning, that does not mean I am done with them. Throughout the painting I am making changes to get just the right feeling from them. Below is a photo of them at this stage of the painting.


Now that the other ear is painted, the painting feels less lopsided to me. I wanted to work on the shadowed side first and use the information I gathered from that side to "inform" how I wanted to approach the lit side.

Note: these are quick photos from my phone

Monday, January 10, 2022


Chiaroscuro has fascinated me. The use of extreme light and dark, perfected by Rembrandt, has been a tool of artists for centuries. For this lion, which obviously had been the victor in numerous battles, I thought this technique would reflect the honor he had won. 

I began with a mottled background of dark browns and burnt sienna. This dark background will help emphasize the light parts of the lion's mane.


Next I started on his mane. I went kind of wild with the red but I thought it would add to the drama.


I am not concerned with portraying the individual hairs of his fur but am using broad strokes in the direction of his fur. This shadowed section will have the least amount of detail.

On the rim of the lion's shoulder I have added some blue. This is the same blue color around his eyes and mouth.

Note: These are quick photos with my phone.