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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
JRRT Artist and Illustrator, Chapter 2 Visons, Myths and Legends Part IV

Saelind
Lorien


Mar 10 2007, 1:15am

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JRRT Artist and Illustrator, Chapter 2 Visons, Myths and Legends Part IV Can't Post

Sorry for the delay. I was at the Predators hockey game last night. Smile

Book of Ishness Part II

Undertenishness
“The lines at centre are like a directional arrow, pointing the viewer’s way along the central path. One is invited into the landscape, to walk between the trees and look up the hill to see what lies beyond. … it dawns that Tolkien has played a visual trick. The ‘forest is also a butterfly, the trees in the distance its antennae and the eyes." Well rendered optical illusion. Which do you like better, the forest or the butterfly?
http://img.photobucket.com/.../undertenishness.jpg

Grownupishness
“This strange amalgam of an elongated, tonsured head with blank eyes, shoes, circles, squares, exclamation and question marks, and two long-fingered hands, above the inscriptions “Sightless : Blind: Well-Wrapped Up…”
http://img.photobucket.com/...r/grownupishness.jpg

Do you think this Tolkien’s view of being an adult in general or was he illustrating a certain kind of adult?

Contrast with Undertenishness.

Beyond
“Its elements are reduced to basic forms and are brightly painted by category: pink star, purple moon, indigo mountains, pink road, black mushroom-like trees. It is a strange work, like an other-worldly view of the Pyramids, and is has a puzzling rubbed inscription: ‘Alas! [?] in a dreadful mood.’”
http://img.photobucket.com/...lustrator/beyond.jpg

Of course, we can’t see the colors since the picture is reprinted in black and white. And certainly looks very ordinary in black and white. The road seems to go on into the mountain. Tolkien used a road going out from somewhere or a door leading somewhere else frequently as we have seen.

This makes me think of two trees that are in my parents’ back yard. They are about a doorway’s width apart from each other. I imagined when I was younger that it was a doorway to another world, ala Lewis’s wardrobe. Do you or did you have a road or doorway that “took you someplace else”?

Eeriness
Eeriness, painted evidently a day or two earlier, ( than Beyond) suits a ‘dreadful mood’ better. Its setting is eerie indeed: tall, straight trees that line and shade the road appear to stretch out menacing arms towards a wizard-like figure with a staff, who seems to cast a circle of light upon the ground around him. To the left, through a gap in the trees, is a view of a distant hill. If Tolkien did not have a story in mind when he made this painting, it easily could be the basis for one. Who is the figure? Where is he going? And specially, why is there a cat-design (as it appears to be) on the back of his robe?”
http://i156.photobucket.com/...nd/wizardinwoods.jpg

So, who is the figure, where is going and why is there a cat on the back of his robe? Any story scenes come to mind? I see Gandalf in Mirkwood going to Dol Guldur, though we know Gandalf did not have a cat on his robe. Also of note, the JRRT monogram is seen near its final form.

End of the World
“…End of the World [36], in which a tiny stick-figure blithely (or bravely?) steps into the abyss. A pessimistic subject indeed. But, what glories lie beyond the world’s end: the Sun, the Moon, a star, all essential elements in Tolkien’s mythology and frequent motifs in his art, here in a restless sky drawn as if by Van Gogh.”
http://img.photobucket.com/...or/endoftheworld.jpg

I was reminded by the scene in CS Lewis’s The Silver Chair when Jill and Eustace are “blown” to Cair Paravel. Is the figure going to drop into the abyss or go floating into the stars?





N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Mar 10 2007, 1:59am

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"All places were alike to him" [In reply to] Can't Post

If memory serves, Hammond and Scull liken Eeriness to Rudyard Kipling's drawing, The Cat That Walked by Himself from Just So Stories.

Is Tolkien's cat-wizard connected to Tevildo, Prince of Cats, the precursor of Sauron from The Book of Lost Tales II that I have not yet read?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Detail from earliest version of Thror's MapTolkien Illustrated! Jan. 29-May 20: Visit the Reading Room to discuss art by John Howe, Alan Lee, Ted Nasmith and others, including Tolkien himself.

Mar. 5-11: Tolkien's "Visions, Myths and Legends".


Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator

Mar 10 2007, 2:22am

Post #3 of 13 (107 views)
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Land's End,and the Prince of Cats [In reply to] Can't Post

"End of the World" makes me think of Land's End, the most westerly point in mainland England. You can see the Scilly Isles from here (on a good day!). The drowned land of Lyonesse was said to extend from Land's End to the Scillies.

The mysterious hooded figure with a cat design makes me think of Tevildo, Prince of Cats.




Promises to Keep: a novel set in 19th Century New Zealand.

The Passing of Mistress Rose

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View


Finding Frodo
Tol Eressea


Mar 10 2007, 6:26am

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The Little Prince [In reply to] Can't Post

The graphic style of "Beyond" reminded me of the illustrations for "The Little Prince".


You could also say there is a connection between the optical illusion of "Undertenishness" and the drawing of an elephant inside of a boa constrictor (didn't find that one right off -- it looks like a hat, if you haven't seen it).

I notice that I mostly post in the illustration discussions when the posted art reminds me of another piece of art. Oh well, it will have to do.

Where's Frodo?


Wynnie
Rohan


Mar 11 2007, 3:41pm

Post #5 of 13 (94 views)
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Here's your hat/elephant/boa picture [In reply to] Can't Post




Owlamoo
ink drawing by JRRT


Wynnie
Rohan


Mar 11 2007, 4:35pm

Post #6 of 13 (87 views)
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I've only just noticed [In reply to] Can't Post

how often Tolkien's compositions make use of some sort of pathway leading into and through the picture. It may be indoors (Before) or outdoors (Tumble Hill), centered (Eeriness) or not (Beyond), road (Elvenking's Gate) or river (Rivendell Looking East), straight or curvy, but it does show up in some form time and again. A common enough compositional device, I suppose. Still, it fits in well with the idea of pictures telling stories -- one point in the path is just one moment in time, and clearly we are invited to move on and learn/see more.


Owlamoo
ink drawing by JRRT


FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 11 2007, 6:33pm

Post #7 of 13 (82 views)
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You step into the Road.... [In reply to] Can't Post

and there's no knowing where you might be swept off to...

Darkstone noticed something similar about Tolkien's views of real-life places.

...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.


Daughter of Nienna
Grey Havens


Mar 11 2007, 7:09pm

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'Well-Wrapped Up' [In reply to] Can't Post

JRRT Artist and Illustrator, Chapter 2 Visions, Myths and Legends Part IV

Undertenishness
Which do you like better, the forest or the butterfly?

I saw the butterfly, or maybe it was something else, like a decorative inkblot in a somewhat butterfly shape. When I started to read H&S's description, I had to go see what they were talking about trees for… it confused me till I re-looked at the image…an saw the trees easily.


Grownupishness


Quote
“…elongated, tonsured head with blank eyes, shoes, circles, squares, exclamation and question marks, and two long-fingered hands, above the inscriptions “Sightless ? Blind ? Well-Wrapped Up…”

Do you think this is Tolkien’s view of being an adult in general or was he illustrating a certain kind of adult?

There is a lot going on in this image…and his words, both directly and by implication.

* 'Well-Wrapped Up' *
I think it was a little of both. The image reveals a bit about what he may have been feeling upon entering the adult world. There is a strong societal belief, mostly unconscious (under the radar), that to be an adult, it means to deny that natural curious, joyful, fun loving, intuitive part of you. It is seems especially important in the adult world to deny a great part of your emotional truth.

Then pretense sets in because that is part of what it means to be human. Pretense means putting on a false outer self and burring our true selves inside under the shell of what it seems is expected of us in the world. In the business world, it is even more necessary to keep "Well-Wrapped Up…”. I image it extremely true in the academic world. I notice that there is a glimpse of a suit on that figure.

* 'Sightless' 'Blind' *
Pretense by necessity, means becoming blind to what is under the surface. Blind to much of the beauty in the world. Blind to the effect and consequences of callousness…as in not seeing industrialism's affect on the natural world, among other things. I am sure he discovered a lot 'Blindness' in the very gown-up academic world, at least what he saw as being blind. (didn't I read in Shippey that there was discord between the

However, reading Tolkien repeatedly, I found that there is always so much more to discover 'under the surface'. And looking at his Father Christmas letters, it seems to me that he was very much in touch with that child part of himself. And, that he can make me and millions others cry even harder with subsequent readings, suggests he was a little more in touch with his emotional self than most. I guess that he may have felt the frustrations of being required to be "Well-Wrapped Up…”


Beyond
http://img.photobucket.com/...lustrator/beyond.jpg

This image reveals in explicit terms Tolkien's graphic language. All artists have one of some kind, even if they don't now it. His is triangles and curved shapes.


Eeriness
http://i156.photobucket.com/...nd/wizardinwoods.jpg

Quote
So, who is the figure, where is going and why is there a cat on the back of his robe? Any story scenes come to mind? I see Gandalf in Mirkwood going to Dol Guldur, though we know Gandalf did not have a cat on his robe. Also of note, the JRRT monogram is seen near its final form.


Not much to say about this image…I am clueless about the cat on the back of his robe. I wondered if I was really seeing a cat design or a shadow who's shape happened to similar to the shape of a cat. I hesitate to compare it to any scene from any story.

At first the image was a tad alarming…the hat looks more like a hood that blends with the cloak…well you can guess what comparison that initially conjured for me… but that lasted only an instant because I knew better… and the garb is not white, to my relief.


End of the World
http://img.photobucket.com/...or/endoftheworld.jpg
This image is at once, whimsical and alarming. It kind of says to me "leap of faith".

A closer look shows the figure is juggling balls, looking into the air, not seeing where his gong and consequently stepping off a very high cliff. Oh, my! What could that be saying?!!

Websites Directory, my drawings, Aloha & Mahalo


Nienna: “those who hearken to her learn pity, and endurance in hope . . . All those who wait in Mandos cry to her, for she brings strength to the spirit and turns sorrow to wisdom." — Valaquenta

(This post was edited by Daughter of Nienna on Mar 11 2007, 7:10pm)


a.s.
Valinor


Mar 11 2007, 7:43pm

Post #9 of 13 (76 views)
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Tolkien's recurring "road" theme [In reply to] Can't Post

This recurring use of a "road" theme in his books and poetry has, of course, been commented on by many Tolkien scholars, including Shippey and Flieger. It's interesting that it comes into his visual art as well.

In "Road to ME" Shippey discusses JRRT's early use of the road theme in his 1915 poem "Goblin Feet", so this emphasis on roads is early and persistent in both media. He discusses how both Tolkien and his friend GB Smith wrote early poems featuring roads, and were interested in the lingering of old Roman names to what were previously Roman roads but are now folk-ways with long-used names the folk have forgotten the meaning of.

a.s.

"an seileachan"

Everybody's wondering what and where they all came from.
Everybody's worried 'bout where they're gonna go when the whole thing's done.
No one knows for certain, and so it's all the same to me:
I think I'll just let the mystery be.
~~~~Iris DeMent


Daughter of Nienna
Grey Havens


Mar 11 2007, 8:13pm

Post #10 of 13 (72 views)
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you can also add... [In reply to] Can't Post

'Bilbo Comes to the Huts of the Raft Elves' (#124) (and its variations)

'The Front Gate' (#130)

'The Forest Home of Lothloien in Spring'

'Beorns Hall' (#116) [formed by the objects in room]

'The Mountain Path' (#109)

'Rivendell' (#108) (and its variations)

'Riding Down to Rivendell' (#104)

'The Trolls' (#102) [implied by the separation of trees]

'Trolls Hill' (#99)

'The Hill; Hobbiton-across-the Water' (#98) [and previous drafts]

'Bag End Underhill' (#90)

'One Morning Early in the Quiet World' (#89)

'Map of Wilderland' (#94)

'Lunar Landscape' (#72)

'1931-32 N.P.B. Karbu' (#66)

'Me and My House' (#64) [bottom image]

'The Vale of Sirion' (#55)

Untitled (Mountain Landscape) (#53)

Glórund Sets Forth to Seek Túrin' (#47) (implied by the shape of dragon)

Shores of Fairy (#44)

'Eerinsess' (#40)

'Turl Street, Oxford' (#19)


I add all of these because I was trained to discover the patterns in my own work and introduced to that process by having these patterns revealed in the work of other, mostly well-known, artists. This is done by looking at image, after image, after image.

I was also trained to see the patterns of shape and composition (and other things) before the content. Focusing on content only can get in the way of seeing other things an image reveals: composition, shape, color, contrast, focal point, pattern…other elements of design.

In Tolkien's case, the fact that it is a road or other passage way is both relevant and incidental at the same time. Like I said in my other post, all artists (including all humans that don't even do art), have their own graphic language. Tolkien's is triangles and curved lines.

One common element in many of his images is that shape, curvy or straight, going up from the bottom toward the top. It is true that it is a common cultural code in imagery. it is true, also — content-wise — that the a Road to travel down is very important thematically to his work. But a road can be viewed from many angles. So, the question is: why so many images are these roads consistently and repeatedly coming up from the near-center? How much of the pattern of the this shape is belong to the artist and how much is belonging to common cultural code.

The reason my teacher had us do so many exercises in discovering patterns in our work is to discover for ourselves what our own code is in terms of graphic language and compositional shapes. Once the discoveries are made, then an artist can harness these elements with intent and purpose to strengthen our images. (This is especially important in graphic design, but not limited to it).

I find that over time I did harness this tendency and his images got stronger as he did. Content-wise, the road is extremely important to Tolkien both thematically in his work and personally as the way to 'faerie'.

Why coming from the center ? Simply because that is his vantage point as he travel down the road and he takes us along with a bird's eye view. Some of these pieces end up being his more powerful work.

Websites Directory, my drawings, Aloha & Mahalo


Nienna: “those who hearken to her learn pity, and endurance in hope . . . All those who wait in Mandos cry to her, for she brings strength to the spirit and turns sorrow to wisdom." — Valaquenta


Finding Frodo
Tol Eressea


Mar 12 2007, 1:48am

Post #11 of 13 (57 views)
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Hey, thanks!/ [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Where's Frodo?


linkin-artelf
Lorien


Mar 17 2007, 5:48pm

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On Eeriness and Beyond [In reply to] Can't Post

What jumps out at me in the Eeriness painting is the three trees on a hill in a halo of light. Alluding to three crosses on Golgotha perhaps? Maybe the figure is a pilgrim on a road to enlightenment, a hard road, with obstructions along the way. Notice the tree limbs reaching down to him and the trees blocking his path? No idea what the cat image is about, if indeed it is a cat.

Beyond is intriguing. The title may indicate a passage to another world or plane of existence. The jaunty posture makes me think of 'another adventure' and reminds me of his line "If you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you'll be swept off to". C.S. Lewis' work immediately comes to mind as does Indiana Jones - Temple of doom's leap of faith. Can anyone make out the writing on the side of the cliff? Looks like "and a --- world" to me.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
"I walk along the shore and I gaze
At the light that radiates down
Will it travel forth to you
Far across this shimmering sea?"
formerly linkinparkelf


a.s.
Valinor


Mar 17 2007, 6:07pm

Post #13 of 13 (104 views)
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"End of the World", not "Beyond" [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Beyond is intriguing. The title may indicate a passage to another world or plane of existence. The jaunty posture makes me think of 'another adventure' and reminds me of his line "If you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you'll be swept off to". C.S. Lewis' work immediately comes to mind as does Indiana Jones - Temple of doom's leap of faith. Can anyone make out the writing on the side of the cliff? Looks like "and a --- world" to me.



I think you mean the picture "End of the World", which has the stick-figure man walking off the cliff? It is labelled "End of the World" (at least I think that's what it says) on the right hand side of the drawing, written up the mountain, so to speak.

But your post made me go back and look at the "Eerieness" painting, and for the first time I noticed that there is a distinct heart-shape at the end of the "tunnel" of trees, toward which the wizard is heading. It is very purposely drawn, it seems to me. Wonder why?

a.s.

"an seileachan"

Everybody's wondering what and where they all came from.
Everybody's worried 'bout where they're gonna go when the whole thing's done.
No one knows for certain, and so it's all the same to me:
I think I'll just let the mystery be.
~~~~Iris DeMent

 
 

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