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Recently, Richard from Artswebshow issued a challenge. He posted a beautiful portrait of a lion taken by photographer, Pablohoney2980. The above is my interpretation of the lion.

Thank-you, Richard. Animal portraiture is one of my favorite subjects to paint!


  1. These are such incredible and majestic creatures, and you once again have captured it beautifully. Love the deep color background with the reversed out mane.

  2. COLOR! I love the expansiveness and the use of color, beautiful!

    The background and the schock of gold in his mane are gorgeous.

    • Thanks, Nancy. I was hoping, by including the gold-orange color, I could drop the viewer from there down into the golds around the facial features. After all, he is the king of beasts and he needed a crown! You got it! You saw the crown! 🙂

  3. Leslie, you never cease to amaze me with your way with animals. He looks majestic and yet very very ‘warm’ and alive. HMM!!!

    • Thanks, Eva! He looked like he lived in color in the photo provided. I love painting animals!!!!!

      • That’s it, that’s exactly why your renditions of animals turn out sooo wonderfully–you LOVE painting Them.

      • An instructor told me, once, to draw and paint things you were not accustomed to while you learn. Explore those things you love and desire to draw and paint with your soul. I think he was right. Thank-you, Eva.

  4. You definitely answered the challenge. I love the wide range of color used here, and that color seems to flesh out an emotion not apparent in the original photograph. There is a bit of human personification brought out here. Nice work.

    • Thank-you Bbrasseaux! He does look sort of humanesque and I did not see that until you mentioned it. See? This is why I like this blogging stuff. I learn to see things through others’ eyes, too. Thank-you for the comment about color. I love to do that.

  5. Gosh Leslie – that is some portrait! Great interpretation indeed!

    • It’s not as thought provoking or frightening as Manson’s self portrait that you posted, but I tried to let go a little, Lynda. 🙂 Thank-you for the comment.

  6. My oh my!! This is so beautiful, Leslie! I love all that glorious color!! I have also saved this one to do and I am so glad you posted, because I read the instructions wrong and mine was going to be late! 😀 I bet yours will be the star of the show!! WOW!

    • Thank-you, Beth. I think we have some rather fine artists in this blogging network and I hope, when Richard posts them all on a page, that it looks like a symphony of lions! I figured you would already have your lion done. I think I read it right. We were supposed to do them before the 15th of Sept. and post them on our blogs and link to him which gives him the permission to post the image on a page of his blog. Phew. I’ve been out of school too long.
      …and Linda’s self portrait challenge is the 21st of Sept.

      • Yes, that’s it! I read it wrong. I thought we were all to post ours on the 17th. I have also been out of school too long.

        I am thinking about Linda’s challenge, too. I haven’t started on either one, but will definitely do both. Ideas are brewing in my head. 🙂

  7. What exciting, glowing color. Really wonderful painting.

  8. Leslie, first i want to thank you for taking this challenge in the first place.
    That post would not have seemed complete without an entry from yourself.
    I love it.
    For me a lion is like royalty in the animal kingdom.
    And you’ve made this lion look like a king.
    The colours are fantastic.
    You took the photo and made it your own.

    • No thanks needed, Richard as your photo reference selection really inspired me! Big thanks to Pablohoney for the image to work from, huh?
      Thank-you for a wonderful comment about royalty because that is what I tried to shoot for. Great challenge, Richard.

  9. Way to accept Richard’s challenge! Love the colors…if he could speak I bet he would sound like William Butler Yeats! Good work Leslie!

    • WOW! Thank-you, Al. I’ve listened to the poems that Lynda has posted by him and I thank-you for comparing this lion to him. Made my day!

  10. He is gorgeous, Leslie! And very regal!

  11. The work is as majestic as this wonderful animal. I admire the way you boldly used different colors and the loose handling of strokes. I also loved the expression you got on his face 🙂

    • Thank-you, Padmaja. Part of what helped me with the loose strokes is that I used flat brushes of several different sizes to paint most of this. It was fun turning it on it’s edge or twisting it as I applied the color.

  12. What a great face, and you’ve used really great colours Leslie. I’d love to see you paint a beautiful big tiger. It’s my all-time favourite animal.

  13. See, the thing is, if you get here too late, all the perfect adjectives have already been taken by other fans.
    Majestic. Kingly. Colorful. Exciting. Glorious. Alive. Gorgeous.
    Now I look like a verbal wuss.
    It’s all been said.
    But I have to say it again.
    His mother would be putting that painting in a frame and leaving it on the Serengeti.

    • Bonnie, your wonderful and creative comments put the rest of us to shame. I love the idea of his mother leaving a portrait on the Serengeti. Thank-you!

  14. I am getting here late as well. I think you are on to something, the way you use color here…keep going that direction, it feels like you are developing your own style, Leslie. Something we all dream about really! Very well done, this Lion of yours!

    • Do we really see our style? I’m not sure. I almost think it is there for the viewer to see and we just carry on carrying on. Thank-you, though, Frank. That is wonderful praise because what I do know is this is a comfort zone for me when I can let go with line, draw with my brush and use any color that moves me at the moment.

  15. Omg this is awesome Leslie, I love the colours you’ve used. You’ve brought so much life to this lion.

    • Thank-you, Chloe! I kind of just let go with this. I was working away with the raw sienna and burnt sienna and it was just not coming along, so I slapped a stroke of turqouise behind his nose and ear and then got that orange worked in on top and I was off and running having a blast.

  16. Leslie, this is terrific. There is so much emotion in the lion’s face. Funny, it seems to have an almost human expression. I’m not sure why. It’s a great composition with wonderful use of color.

    • Hi Kathleen! Welcome back from summer sojourns. Al said the same thing about him having a human quality. I didn’t see it until he mentioned it. It’s wonderful to have fellow bloggers who help me see things. Thank-you for the comment! 🙂

  17. Exciting, exotic color!

    • Thank-you, Chris. I have to smile at your comment as my daughter said, “I didn’t know they made flourescent watercolors.” when she saw this.

  18. This is so beautiful, I’m always a little envious of your talent. Your use of colour is so well executed, that I find each painting a resource for me to look back on. Your work is helping me in so many ways. Lovely.

    • I got carried away, didn’t I? Oh well this is fun. I was so bored trying to capture all the tawny tones and felt this guy needed something special, sooooo something special is what he got. Thank-you for your wonderful comment, Keith. I learn from you, too.

  19. Wow, magnificient. You are always very good in painting animal, you make them come to life. Truthfully, animal is not my favourite subject but will try to paint them to improve my skill. Very nice painting Leslie.

  20. Wow! Think this may be may favorite one (so far)of all the ones I’ve seen. Made more special being a part of K’s challenge. cheers

    • Thanks, Adam. I’m glad he chose an animal for his challenge. AND one with a presence. That makes it easier for me to create something.

  21. Leslie, I really like this lion design.

    • Thanks, Noel. I was just over to your blog and noticed you went wild with color, also! Pure fun!

  22. Great portrait indeed 🙂
    I love your amazing creative work!

  23. Wow. This is one lovely lion. And, piggy backing on Bonnie Luria’s comment…after all the other lions saw this portrait in the Serengeti, they’d order one of their loved ones, too!

    You’d be so busy you couldn’t paint owls, no matter what particular type of owl they are. Honestly, you have inspired me to be more evolutionary in my photo blogging but I’m still a far piece from showing all these nuanced steps.

    • Hi Pat. Wow! Wouldn’t that be something? Lions and tigers and bears! You are so kind. I think you do fantastic work and your writing is superb. I am glad Carol gave me a “heads up” on your blog. Thank-you for your comments!

  24. i know it sounds kooky but i look at him and i swear he looks like he could say something. such ancient primal flow here…

    • You don’t sound “kooky” at all, JRuth. I saw that, even in the original photo. You just made my day by saying that because it means, to me, you see something I tried for. I love to get a drawing down and then take it somewhere else with the paint and the brush. This was one of those paintings. Wolf Paws that you also commented on today is another one of those types of paintings. Thank-you for noticing where I reach in and pull out what I really like to do.

  25. Cool Leslie – I love the colour separations

  26. We have a winner 🙂 this is crazy madd. Meaning its well done…I am in this challenge and you just crush my confidence this is so beautiful the colors are so rich wow great painting great talent. I think I will do mine in pencil 🙂

    • Thank-you, Alonso. I would love to see your rendition of this lion in any medium you choose.

  27. I could have sworn I commented on this painting. But I guess the illness got to my head!

    What a beautiful lion. You have done the King of beasts justice!

    • Well, I think you have been pretty sick from what you have said. The “King of Beasts” can wait, of course, and so can I.
      Thank-you, Carol!

  28. Wow, he looks so real… content and sure of his power… such beautiful colors..

  29. This is gorgeous! I love the colors and the way you added texture to the background without making it intrusive. 🙂

    • Hi Joleen! Thank you for coming over to view my rendition of the lion. I went to your link on blogspot and tried to comment. It kept sending me to a preview areaand my comment would be completely gone. So I will tell you I liked asll the pencil strokes you used to create your version. I also like how you handled the whiskers.

  30. your color is so rich in this Leslie. it makes me drool. beautiful work.

    • Hi Wrick! Thank-you a bunch for that! Now I wonder if I can find a way to make portraits of people with rich color come across….always a journey.

  31. Hi Leslie,
    I was just stopping by following a short hiatus from email/blogging, and you have so many wonderful paintings here since my last visit! As you know, I love animal artwork and I am so taken with your animal pieces including this lion. He is just beautiful and I love your use of color here. Hope you’re doing well! -Laurie

    • Hi Laurie!
      People and animals are my favorite things to paint so I thank-you for this lovely comment. That is why I get so tickled every time you post an animal photo.

  32. i love your choice of color here as well!

    • Thank-you, “Y”. I thought I was getting a little carried away with this, at first, but was having so much fun I painted on.

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