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Original Oil Wildlife Paintings
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drawing on a gessoed board
After gathering my reference from my field sketches and photos, I work out my compostion and then gesso an untempered piece of hardboard to size. Once the gesso is dry, I draw directly on the board.

Sealing the drawing
After the drawing is complete, I seal the drawing with a lightly tinted turpentine wash. When that wash is dry, I continue to add more paint to the wash, buldling up tonal values for the painting.

Painting wet on wet
After the turpentine wash has dried, I begin painting in oils, working most wet on wet, blending the edges. I don't use any medium, but mix the colors straight from the tubes. Rembrandt brand professional oil paint lends itself well to this technique as it is buttery and its pigments are very vibrant.

The finished painting
I continue to work on the painting, blending edges and letting a little of the background wash peak through. This lends an overall warm tone to the painting.
Finished, I titled the 30" X 45" painting Leopard!

Working with Venetian Red Gesso
Trying something new, I ordered Daniel Smith's Venetian Red gesso. I had no idea if I would like it and my first brushstrokes were a disaster. The color I had mixed was much too light and dull. I decided I would work with it for 90 minutes and if I couldn't figure out how to change my palette, I would cover it with white gesso and start over. Here I have decided that I can work with this new base.

Moving down
I like to work from top to bottom, background to foreground, saving the animals for last. Why last, painting animals is my favorite part and I always save the best for last.

I've let some of the red gesso peek through in rendering my water. I'm finding this gesso lends an interesting warmth to the whole painting.

The Finished painting, By the River
It was a bit scary having to rethink the palette I have been using for more than a decade. None of the colors I used were the same and I had to keep rechecking my mixtures before I put them on the board. But, I think my artistic eye was given a good workout. Nice to shake things up and I do not believe this will be the last time I use the Venetian Red gesso.

Direct Correspondence to:Linda Besse
Linda Besse
15908 E. Cooper Rd.
Mead, WA
USA 99021
Tel: 509-238-9129
  Artists for Conservation Group
Email: Linda@BesseArt.com
Home Page: Linda Besse's Latest Website
Linda Besse Linda Besse

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Member of the Artists for Conservation Foundation www.natureartists.com.