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

Saelind
Lorien


Mar 12 2007, 12:41am

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

The last few drawings in the chapter plus an open discussion question. Thank you all for being so patient and participating. Evil And a special thank you to Wynnie who uploaded the pictures I could not get into photobucket for me.

Dragons
“Dragons were to play important part in his writings: Glórund (Glaurung) in ‘The Silmarillion’, Smaug in The Hobbit, and Chrysophylax in Farmer Giles of Ham, to name only three. He also depicted them in his art many times; several, besides Glórund, were in The Book of Ishness. One of these is a coiled dragon with a slight grin and a twinkle in his eye. [48], inscribed ‘hringboga heorte gefysed’. The words are derived from a passage in the Old English poem Beowulf…But Tolkien’s beast look more playful than perilous. In appearance it is very unlike Glórund, though also painted in September 1927. Glórund is golden, smooth-skinned, wingless and segmented. The ‘coiled dragon’ is green, scaled winged (though useless for flight), and snake-like except for its head, which is like that of a horse;… It shows the masterly use of transparent watercolours of which he was now capable, as well as his skill at design. Creating this asymmetrical yet carefully balanced beast, like a Celtic interlace decoration made naturalistic , was no mean feat.”
http://i156.photobucket.com/...aelind/dragons-1.jpg

“In another drawing from May 1928, a dragon is in fiery action, contending with a warrior. [49]. Tolkien showed this picture too at his University Museum lecture, in relation to how the king and his attendant Wiglaf in Beowulf fought their dragon. He remarked that ‘this might be called “the wrong way to do it”’, and indeed, facing his foe head on led to Beowulf’s death even though he won the battle. But the drawing may not have been meant originally as an illustration of Beowulf. In the poem the dragon is fought with swords, and shields are described as discs; Tolkien, who knew the poem well, drew his warrior with an elongated shield and a spear.”
http://img.photobucket.com/...dragonandwarrior.jpg

I like these little dragons more than Glórund.

Moonlight on Wood
“Twice, apparently around this time - and never again, for it did not reflect his personality – Tolkien also drew trees in a geometric Cubist style, enhanced by the application of blue-grey wash in blocks. One such drawing, Moonlight on a Wood [61], is an intriguing work with mythic resonances. It could serve as a set for a modern stage production.”
http://i156.photobucket.com/...MoonlightonaWood.jpg

Open discussion question:

How much does your own art background/experience influence how you look at Tolkien’s work? Would you want any of his work to hang on your walls especially if Tolkien was just a name and there was no Middle Earth associated with it? To clarify, I grew up in a house with art in every room but the bathroom with the shower in it. My parents collected a wide range of styles, everything from medieval illuminated manuscripts, Japanese prints, calligraphy and science fiction. Regular trips to the local art museum were also part of my childhood. As an adult, I tend to gravitate towards those things that remind me of what I grew up with. I am not an artist just an appreciator. There are only a few of Tolkien’s pieces that I would actually want hanging on my walls if he were the artist only.





Finding Frodo
Tol Eressea


Mar 12 2007, 2:16am

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My walls [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a wall of pictures featuring trees, and I'd love to have any of Tolkien's tree or forest pieces there. I haven't had any experience as an artist since high school, but several of my college friends were artists, and things that they've given me take up another good chunk of wall space in my house. It's hard for me to look at art objectively -- that is, out of context of artist and subject matter that I'm interested in, but if I were not a Tolkien fan I would probably still like his drawings and paintings of trees and forests. Those dragons were pretty cute, too!

Where's Frodo?


Aunt Dora Baggins
Half-elven


Mar 12 2007, 3:39pm

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I don't know anything about art, but I know what I like ;-) [In reply to] Can't Post

And I really like Moonlight on a Wood. I don't know why, except that to me it feels the way moonlight in a wood feels, even if it doesn't really look like it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Wynnie
Rohan


Mar 12 2007, 5:49pm

Post #4 of 8 (68 views)
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What's wall-worthy? [In reply to] Can't Post


Dragons
The coiled dragon is one of my very favorite pieces of Tolkien artwork, as evidenced by the fact that I'm using it as my avatar. I hadn't thought of it as being a sort of Celtic knot until reading that in A & I, but I like the idea. Clever design, delicate colors, interesting details, and a great deal of personality (dragonality?) I'm not convinced that his hind legs would be facing the right way if untangled, but it doesn't really matter to me.

The other dragon is cute, but doesn't really rise above the level of a doodle. I'm a little surprised Tolkien would have used it in a lecture.

Moonlight on Wood
I'll link to the other experiment in this style that's mentioned in the text, in case anyone's interested. The one in A & I is better, I think; its triangular tree-shapes echo the moon-rays nicely.

Open discussion question
How much does your own art background/experience influence how you look at Tolkien’s work? Would you want any of his work to hang on your walls especially if Tolkien was just a name and there was no Middle Earth associated with it?

My first thought is that most of Tolkien's work is in illustration, and illustrations' true home is in books, not on walls. The purpose affects the style, subject, and scale. That said, there are at least a couple of pictures in each chapter that I'd happily hang on my walls, Middle-earth or no. To name a few:
Cove near the Lizard
the coiled dragon discussed above
The Tree of Amalion
The Gardens of the Merking's Palace
just about any of the final Hobbit illustrations, especially the eagle

As for my art background, I've always loved to draw, and majored in Fine Art (combination of art history & studio art) in college, though life after school led me elsewhere. I shouldn't admit it, because it was a long time ago, and I don't remember as much as I should. But I have passed many a pleasant afternoon in an art museum.

It seems like apples & oranges to compare Tolkien's work to what hangs in museums. It's fairer to look at his pictures against those of professional illustrators, and there I think his best can hold their own.

Oh, and you're very welcome! I was glad to help out.



Owlamoo
ink drawing by JRRT


a.s.
Valinor


Mar 13 2007, 11:10am

Post #5 of 8 (58 views)
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I don't know art from...art [In reply to] Can't Post

Smile
I have mostly an electic mix of stuff hanging on my walls now, mostly could be called "arts and crafts" things: baskets, candles, shelves with pictures, and old WWII map of Paris, etc. And I collect old advertisements so my poor kids have grown up with walls covered with old Jello and Cream of Wheat ads---I know, poor things.

See? I don't know art.

I also have two Tolkien pics hanging in my office at work, they are pics ripped from calendars (reprints!!! don't worry): Bilbo approaching the huts of the Elves, and Hobbiton. I like to look at them, and they do fine in a collection of "arts and crafts" or "folkart" things. They are enjoyable because they remind me of the story, and also because they "look like" folkart, for all I know about folkart.

But I think I only REALLY like them because they are connected to the story.

I love the dragons that look like worms, and love the Celtic Knot dragon that Wynnie uses for her avatar. What is it about worm-dragons I have a preference for? They seem real, as opposed to the "science fiction" dragons found in other books, etc.

For all their little puny wings couldn't take flight.

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


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 15 2007, 3:24am

Post #6 of 8 (52 views)
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You're right - the legs are wrong [In reply to] Can't Post

I love the coiled dragon also, even though if you straightened him out, those hind legs would indeed be facing the wrong way! But if Tolkien had drawn it with the legs in the "correct" position, it would look strange. The legs are more "aesthetic appendages" here - and anyway, dragons are of Faerie, and don't need to conform to "real world" expectations! Smile


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Confusticate and bebother these dwarves!"


Daughter of Nienna
Grey Havens


Mar 15 2007, 8:47am

Post #7 of 8 (48 views)
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Mahalo Nui Loa [In reply to] Can't Post

I really want to thank you for leading the discussion. There used to be Summary/conclucion threads. Not sure why those faded away. That is when the thank-yous came in.

I tried to repond a couple of times to this thread... but I can't seeem to pull a cohesive thought together. I have my mind on so many things, not least of which is my own upcoming discussion and I starting to get over whelmed by it.

I appoligise for falling off during the end. It was a wonderuful week. Thank-you.
DoN

Art Gallery Revised, ORC pic of Hawaii friends, my drawings,
Aloha & Mahalo, Websites Directory

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


Wynnie
Rohan


Mar 18 2007, 2:02pm

Post #8 of 8 (77 views)
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Just realized [In reply to] Can't Post

I forgot to thank you for leading the discussion on this interesting chapter. It's always good to see new posters giving the leadership thing a try; I hope that you enjoyed the experience and that we'll be hearing more of your thoughts on Tolkien's (and others') artwork.

I'm curious: which are the Tolkien works you like well enough to hang on your walls?



Owlamoo
ink drawing by JRRT

 
 

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