Saturday, March 30, 2024



Forever Wild
 24" X 36"
Original oil by Linda Besse
The image above is from a professional scan of the painting.
Thanks for following along on the creation of this piece. 
Up next is a completely different wild part of the world.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Black & Tan

 Lest you think I am talking about a beer drink with pale ale and stout, in this case it is about the horse coloring.
However, the colors are not that simple. Not only will there be black and tan, but also gray, rust red, orangey red, lavender, purple, deep browns, and bright yellows.

Monday, March 18, 2024

The Big Test

 After all the hours painting the background, will the horse work? Can I pull off enough interest in him that he is not overshadowed by the landscape?
If these seem like questions which should be answered before beginning, sometimes on a challenging piece when you are taking a risk, painting something new or outside your comfort zone, you just don't know if the painting will say what you are trying to communicate until you paint it.

My current palette is a-jumble with colors, hardly a spot to spare. I put it aside and grab a fresh palette pack for mixing the colors of the horse. I use disposable palette sheets and in a situation like this will keep the first sheet handy so I can easily go back to its colors.

Like usual I start with the animal's eyes. 

Now that the "face" is painted, I am feeling more confident that this horse was a good choice for the painting. I think his star quality will carry the painting.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Blocking in the foreground



The lowest section of the painting is blocked in waiting for the completion of the horse. I knew I wanted a rich blue for the very bottom. It gives a feeling of a near shadow and is a darker version of the blue shadow under the rightmost cliffs. 

As for the the lighter lower section, my first go was too pink/peach. After I added some raw sienna and golden earth ochre the section was too dark. I lightened it with broad strokes giving a textured look to this base layer.

 Once the horse is done, I'll add some detailed flowers and other vegetation in both the lighter tan and the dark blue section to finish the painting. 

Thursday, March 14, 2024

More Greenery


I've blocked in the warmer greens. Right now they are just shapes suggesting the bushes. I'll refine them some before moving to the ground underneath the horse, but this is also an area I will want to revisit even after the horse is painted.
There is a lot of complexity to the landscape so the horse needs to holds his own so he is not overshadowed by his surroundings. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Seeing the Whole Picture



   When I paint I use a horizontal board attached by spring clamps to vertical boards. The vertical boards are screwed to my easel frame. The horizontal board has an ergonomic slant and I rest my hand on it to paint. This is particularly useful when I am working in the middle of an oil painting and there is wet paint around that section.

   A disadvantage of this technique comes in to play on large paintings. The vertical boards are about 2.5" wide and on a painting which is 36" wide obscure part of the painting on either end.  
   To work on this part of the background I removed the horizontal board and the vertical boards so I can see the entire piece at one time. Until most of the background is complete and I am ready to start on the horse I won't reattach the boards. 

    There are so many non-horizontal lines in the background hills and rock cliffs that I wanted to have a steadying horizontal on the right side in the valley's dried grasses.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Keeping it Cool

 At this stage I'm still keeping the background cool. As I paint more in to the foreground, the colors will be mixed warmer. It is tempting to move warmer too soon, but if I want to maximize the depth of the landscape I am erring on the cooler side. Paint can be added later if I think certain sections need a tad more warmth.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Background or no background?

    A landscape painter focuses on the setting of his painting, working to grab the viewer's attention to the scene he has created.

  For the most part I am a wildlife painter. My main focus is to represent the animals I have seen in the wild. But, how best to do that? I have noticed a trend in recent years in which artists will use an abstract background for a wildlife painting.  Many pieces are quite creative and have a modern feel. 

   I have used a simple mix of colors background in a few wildlife paintings, however I gravitate to keeping the animal in the natural world.  I believe the habitat is part of the animal's story. Then, how does one create the dynamic between the landscape and the subject? Which is the star and which the supporting character? 

   In this next painting I wanted to paint the dramatic landscape of the Pryor Mountains where the wild Pryor Mountain horses roam. I still want the main focus on the horse. So, I needed a horse which could "hold his own" in the scene, an A-list actor with enough charisma you can't take your eyes off him. Fortunately, I had several contenders from the wild herd I saw. I hope you will think I cast the correct star.

Below is the start of the landscape. 
The painting is 24" X 36"