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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Fan Art:


Mar 18 2007, 3:17pm

Post #1 of 6 (448 views)
Namarie Can't Post

"Then Frodo kissed Merry and Pippin, and last of all Sam, and went aboard; and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew, and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth; and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore glimmered and was lost. And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West."

The Return of the King

This was painted in monochromatic acrylic paint on masonite, pretty much as you see it. The original was big (for me, anyway, as I tend to work a lot smaller) at 3 feet by 2 feet. It appeared as a centerpiece in the journal Mythlore.

Acrylic, at least for me, is difficult to paint in, as it dries very quickly. So I have to mist the paint with water from a spray bottle to keep it workable, or use an acrylic drying retarder--and usually both. Even then, it's hard to mix these paints so that they meld together smoothly on a surface--which is probably why this looks more like a drawing than a painting. Every time I work in acrylic, I have a great appreciation for the Hildebrandts (no matter what one might think of their illustration), because they were able to make the paints flow and blend like oil paints.

I have a great fondness for the Hildebrandts, anyway, because it was their work that first led to me to think that maybe I, too, might try my hand at Tolkien illustration. I was fortunate to have finally met them in person at a gallery about five or six years ago, and had a wonderful opportunity to chat with them. I even told them they were my inspiration to illustrate Tolkien, and they were pleased to hear it! Now that Tim Hildebrandt is deceased, I cherish that meeting all the more.

Some information on the painting:

I had to scan this from a copy of the journal, and it was a little too big to fit on my scanner. That's why Galadriel's and Gandalf's rings are cut off a bit. I had to electronically put in my signature, because I couldn't show that at all. Some of the top is cut off, too.

The bright star is the Star of Earendil. The curve of the earth symbolizes the voyagers leaving the bent "Circles of the World"--that is, they have taken the straight road into the West. The ship is simply represented by a mast, some rigging, and the curve of one sail.

As a spin on the "thousand yard stare" (military men will know what I'm talking about), I gave Galadriel a "thousand year stare"--she is looking back through time, at the sum of her life and all that happened. Of course, that would be a lot longer than a thousand years, but you get my drift. Elrond's look is more inward, with a more palpable sense of what he's leaving behind (all of his children, and at least one of them forever.) I imagine he's thinking "How do I tell Celebrian?", although she would certainly figure it out when Elrond disembarks from the ship and her children do not.

For Gandalf, I wanted to show a sense of personal accomplishment, and how Middle-earth was saved through the help and sacrifice of some of its smallest inhabitants--hence the reassuring hands on the shoulders of both Bilbo and Frodo.

Bilbo shares in that accomplishment, and smiles to know he did what was asked of him, and more--and he has fond memories of it. Frodo's intent look is by way of keeping his dear friends in his mind as he bids them farewell forever by holding up the star glass. I put him in his Lorien elven cloak with the leaf clasp, and have him wearing the jewel Arwen gave him to bring him aid when he was in pain from his old wounds. Bilbo, as always, is in his waistcoat, with a handkerchief in his pocket, and his right hand rests on the back of the ship--the same hand upon which he wore the Ring. I had Frodo hold up the Phial of Galadriel with his right hand for the same reason--and you can see the end result of him having worn the Ring for the last time.

When I was working on this, the 1992 riots in L.A. were going on. Pretty much everything was under curfew, and you couldn't go anywhere near the city (at the time, I was living about 12 miles away from downtown L.A.), so I stayed home and painted this picture.


(This post was edited by WonderBroad on Mar 18 2007, 3:21pm)


Mar 18 2007, 7:07pm

Post #2 of 6 (254 views)
My favorite detail [In reply to] Can't Post

Might be Bilbo's pocket handkerchief, tucked into his vest pocket.

Very evocative piece, WonderBroad.

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I wish you could have been there
When she opened up the door
And looked me in the face
Like she never did before
I felt about as welcome
As a Wal-Mart Superstore--John Prine


Mar 19 2007, 12:56am

Post #3 of 6 (237 views)
re [In reply to] Can't Post

Is it just me or does Bilbo look more than a bit like the professor? Very nice piece, WB.

Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament... There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man's heart desires.

--J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #43, to his son Michael


Mar 19 2007, 1:36am

Post #4 of 6 (234 views)
re: [In reply to] Can't Post

>>Is it just me or does Bilbo look more than a bit like the professor?

If so, it was by coincidence. I've never thought about it before! It's funny how those things work out...

Aunt Dora Baggins

Mar 20 2007, 5:37pm

Post #5 of 6 (227 views)
I've been looking at all your art and haven't responded before [In reply to] Can't Post

It's all wonderful, but this one especially grabbed me. I'm pretty sure that mast and that star showed up in my dreams last night. The faces are all full of such different emotions. The star is exactly what it should be. And the curve of the earth in the background gives me a little shiver. Thank you so much for sharing your art with us!

"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
Chance Meeting at Rivendell: a Tolkien Fanfic
and some other stuff I wrote...
leleni at hotmail dot com



Mar 21 2007, 2:12am

Post #6 of 6 (235 views)
re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you all very much for your comments, and thanks for taking a look!



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