This is one of those months when the head is down, feverishly working away on new commissions and trying to finish them before the holidays get the best of my studio hours. Below are a few progress and detail shots of the new Middle-earth work as well as a few samples of recent drawings.
I’ll be honest, I had no idea what colors or color theme I would be using before I began the initial acrylic lay in on this painting. In part this is why I create such detailed preliminary drawings, so I can freely and liberally experiment with color concepts without fear of destroying my compositions. The strength of the underdrawing will always be there to save me in the end regardless of what mess happens in transparent washes on top.
Once the idea of a warm, yellowish-green light evolved from those washes within this image, I then turned to oil paint to lay on the heavy opacity and get to work modeling and rendering up the forms and their volumes in the light of Gandalf’s staff.
My post today is short. Middle-earth is calling, and I yearn to walk with the Fellowship through the splendor of the mines of Moria…
The Fellowship – Rough Concept
The Fellowship of the Ring In Moria – Rough Concept
The Fellowship of the Ring In Moria – Preliminary Drawing 24″ x 18″
The Fellowship of the Ring In Moria – Beginning Stage
The Fellowship of the Ring In Moria – Progress Stage 78″ x 44″, Oil on Panel
The Fellowship of the Ring In Moria – Detail 78″ x 44″, Oil on Panel
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.
Donato has released a 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.