“It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper meaning.”
– Vincent van Gogh
It seems appropriate to start this post with a quote from the post-impressionist master himself, as it was watching the recent biographical drama about the latter years of his life ‘At Eternity’s Gate’ that inspired me to create something bolder and looser than my usual work.
“In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.”
That quote is incredibly apt when it comes to the journey that I have just taken to a galaxy far far way in order to create my latest artwork ‘Jedi Master Yoda on Dagobah’.
I took a very different approach to this piece than I usually do with my paintings; this time I wanted not to work from a single reference image and fall into the usual trap of becoming a slave to the reference and instead worked from a variety of different ones.
The Last Flight of the War Drakes – Oil on Box Canvas – 10″ x 8″
The Last Flight of the War Drakes – Detail
The Last Flight of the War Drakes Detail 2
The horns of the fell war blew a cry to awake
Through the night and the day, to the fight of an age
Over mountains and pastures the flight of the drakes
To the end of an era, to the light that’ll fade
“To the war! To the war!” cried the chief of the Wyrms
Every winged beast and creature full of evil that lurked
In the world at that time had a reason to purge
The fair people of Earth, and then see that it burned
The last flight of the War Drakes was the one and only time that the great dragons had ever been known to band together as a unitary force; they flew with intense fury and vengeance to the battlefronts of the Fell War leaving a burning trail of destruction and death in their wake.
They flew to their demise and apparent extinction once the Eldar caused the ‘Burning Sky’ ending the fell war and eradicating every evil creature present.
Some of history’s greatest seafarers, an inspiration to all those with an adventurous spirit, or a plundering one for that matter.
I decided to try something new with this small piece; a speed painting.
I really struggle to get a good amount of time in for a half decent painting session, working on one of my more thought out artworks and as a result, most of the time end up not painting at all. With that in mind, I had a couple of hours spare and decided to just go for it and try my hand at a speed painting.
Here we are at the final chapter of the Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two; just over two months since the Fellowship set out from Rivendell on their quest to destroy the ring and things take yet another turn for the worse.
Gandalf fell into the abyss whilst fighting the (wingless) Balrog and has been lost to the depths of Moria, still grieving, the rest of the guys have just had to up and leave the relative safety and comfort of Lothlorien after almost a month of being there.
So at this stage in the story, Frodo has done one of his famous ‘disappearing acts’ in order to give Boromir the slips but in the process given everyone else in the Fellowship a bad case of anxiety as to his whereabouts.
A retreat of Edward III, a muse for John Constable, a local ruin for inspiration…
Hadleigh castle is a place that I absolutely love to visit, it’s a 15 minute drive from home and is situated both strategically and beautifully nestled in the countryside of Essex, overlooking the Thames estuary.
For this post I won’t be going into the details of the castle’s history as this is merely a blog post to show an oil sketch that I have recently created and not a finished painting; that will come in the future.
As the summer draws closer I am making plans to spend a good bit of time around these ruins, sketching on site and hopefully doing a bit of plein air painting, working towards a definitive oil painting showing the ruins and the surrounding landscape in all their glory.
The part of the ruins shown in this sketch however, I intend to incorporate into a fantasy artwork, either as the main focal point, or a background piece depending on where the mood and composition takes me at that stage
The Farewell Speech!
If you’re interested in bagging yourself an original artwork or a fine art print then check out my Etsy Shop –
Here we are at last, the completion of my latest painting ‘The Passage of the Marshes’ inspired by JRR Tolkien’s epic fantasy; The Lord of the Rings.
We pick up the story at the point where Smeagol has been captured by the two hobbits, Frodo and Sam and has been tamed, swearing a promise to ‘”serve the master of the precious.”‘ Although both hobbits are reluctant to trust him, they request that he guides them to Mordor as he knows the area.
The final paragraph of The Two Towers: Book Four Chapter I –
In the deep of night under hard clear stars they set off. Gollum led them back northward for a while along the way they had come; then he slanted to the right away from the steep edge of the Emyn Muil, down the broken stony slopes towards the vast fens below. They faded swiftly and softly into the darkness. Over all the leagues of waste before the gates of Mordor there was a black silence.
Now moving onto The Two Towers: Book Four Chapter II –