I have been sketching out ideas for a new series of works based upon the great love story J.R.R. Tolkien created within the Silmarillion – The Lay of Leithian. It is about two lovers, Beren and Luthien, and their trails and passions for each other in the First Age of Middle-earth. I look at this as a wonderful chance to play in the world of Middle-earth without relying upon the highly recognizable characters from the Lord of the Rings, and to build upon images not imbued with conflict but rather subtlety and companionship.
Below are a few adventures in exploration!
Huan, Luthien and Beren on their way to Angband
The meeting of Beren and Luthien
The Greatest Deed – Luthien and Beren take a Silmaril from the crown of Morgoth
Born in 1967 and raised in Colchester, Vermont, USA, art was always a hobby for Donato as a young man, he would steal away into the basement of his parents' home to work on drawings, create his own maps for the game Dungeons & Dragons, paint figurines, read comics, and construct model tanks and dinosaurs. His love of imaginative play dominated his childhood, both indoors and out. At the age of twenty Donato enrolled in his first formal art class, the beginning of his professional training. Immediately after graduating Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Painting from Syracuse University in 1992, Donato moved to New York City to immerse himself in the inspired and varied art scene. Formative years in the early nineties were spent as the studio assistant to the preeminent figure painter Vincent Desiderio, and long days of study in the museums of New York. It was then that his love and appreciation of classical figurative art took hold. He continues his training even now, visiting museums regularly, learning from and sometimes copying original paintings by Rembrandt or Rubens, attending life drawing sessions with illustrator friends and constantly challenges himself within each new project. Pilgrimages to major museums are his preferred reason to travel.
Over this past year Donato has released the revised hard cover compilation of his works on the theme of J.R.R. Tolkien, Middle-Earth: Journeys in Myth and Legend from Dark Horse Comics.