‘The Ringwraiths are deadly enemies, but they are only shadows yet of the power and terror they would possess if the Ruling Ring was on their master’s hand again’
The Fellowship of the Ring – Book II, Chapter IV – A Journey in the Dark
This particular illustration has been a bone of contention for me now for quite some time. since its conception and initial stages, until now that it is finally finished and ready to post, a lot of time has passed and a fair few other artworks have been conceived and completed.
However, this is a good time to post the piece, I have finally brought it to the point of ‘abandonment’ as Leonardo da Vinci once put it and it is like a celebratory relief.
Now for the interesting part, let’s dive into the words of Tolkien himself and see what he had to say about the Ringwraiths, through the character of Gandalf of course…
For a very long time now, since my last re-read of The Hobbit, I have been wanting to explore in depth the character of Bilbo Baggins; of all of Tolkien’s characters Bilbo is the one that I feel akin to and relate to the most.
Before I had made the second mark on paper, I knew that I wanted the final piece to be an ink drawing; ink is a medium that I absolutely love but don’t get to work with enough and thus my experience with the medium is somewhat lacking.
However, knowing that the final piece would be inked, informed my sketching process in a different way than usual and thus made me adapt to a different way of drawing to my usual charcoal and blend method.
“Good Morning!” said Bilbo, and he meant it. The sun was shining, and the grass was very green. But Gandalf looked at him from under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the brim of his shady hat.
“What do you mean?” he said. “Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”
– J.R.R. Tolkien; The Hobbit; or There and Back Again
Just recently I kicked back and did something that I haven’t done for too long…
I pulled out my sketchbook and blew the dust off it as though it was an ancient tome that I had recovered from the depths of a barrow and before the the tiredness overtook me, I started sketching.
“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.
I recently got my hands on a new set of brushes from an exciting new start up brand called Hayroo – (Click Here For Company Website), I have so far used them to work on two study paintings and I must say I have been impressed with the results.
Whilst I don’t intend to write a formal product review in the conventional sense, I did feel the need to get a blog post written to show my personal views on working with the brushes and the results of doing so.
What’s in the box?
I really do believe that you get bang for your buck with these brushes; they hold up well under detailed, gentle, soft blending paint work as well as choppy, loose and rough paint slinging. The brushes keep their shape well and have a good flexibility with a generous amount of bristles.
Another sure tell tale sign of a good or bad brush is how they hold up to a good clean up; I have managed to clean each and every brush after each painting session without losing any hair so far and without any splaying, misshapen hairs; and that is more than I can say for a lot of the leading brands that I have used over the past few years.
These two paintings are my results so far from using the Hayroo Brushes, the length of the brushes helped me to paint more loosely and expressively than I usually do which gave a nice change of pace.
I’m planning my first proper plein air painting session for some time in the next couple of weeks and I will be using the Hayroo Brushes for that and documenting the process throughout the day, be sure to subscribe to my blog to stay updated!
Overall, I definitely recommend anyone looking for a new set of brushes to check out this exciting new brand and give them a go!