Tolkien Reading Day – Home and Hearth

Concerning Hobbits…

Happy Tolkien reading day to you all!

With this being the first year that I’ve been aware in advance of Tolkien reading day, not only do I get to read, but I also have the time to get a bit of writing done and share fully in the excitement and joy of the day!

For this years theme of Home and Hearth: the many ways of being a Hobbit there are countless different options of reading that fit in to the theme; for me I have chosen to spend my reading time in the prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring; Concerning Hobbits.

Continue reading “Tolkien Reading Day – Home and Hearth”

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Morning Coffee VI – Tolkien Reading Day

Good Morning and Welcome

This week’s Morning Coffee has fallen on a very important and special date for any fans of Tolkien and his legendarium of Middle-earth; the fact that today has caught up with me almost by surprise has caused me to rearrange my schedule in order to compensate for it.

Make sure you have got your coffee at the ready and let’s take a short stroll along the road that goes ever on.

Tolkien Reading Day has been upheld each year by the Tolkien Society, since 2003 when they initiated this event to encourage fans and readers to celebrate and promote the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien, by reading their favourite passages and sharing them with others. 

The theme for this year’s Tolkien Reading Day is Life, Death and Immortality.

I’m also excited that this will be the first year for me to be able to partake as I have now marked the date clearly in my calendar and my mind, it’s shameful that I hadn’t already done this but such is. 

Wow, I’ve gotten this far without a mouthful of coffee, although it’s no surprise that passion can be a better drive than caffeine, it’s the fusion of the two that I find a necessity in everyday life though.

Also starting today is another event in celebration of March 25th and Tolkien’s work, instigated by a fellow blogger, James over at A Tolkienist’s Perspective (a blog filled to the brim with highly interesting content and writings) has decided to do a #MegaMiddleEarthMarathon. The post with the details of this marathon and the hashtag can be found by Clicking Here. I will also be partaking in this marathon viewing of the six movies, watching the extended editions and consuming my weekend with the greatest creations of cinematic history. 

March 25th

So, let’s talk about March 25th and why this day has importance in the history of Middle-earth.

March 25th in the year 3019 of the Third Age is the date that the One Ring was finally cast into Mount Doom and destroyed, prompting the downfall of the Dark Lord Sauron and the tower of Barad-dûr in the process. The final destruction of The Lord of the Rings and the beginning of a new era; one where the darkness finally recedes after so many years of its influence and domination.

Now I’m going to take this moment to shamelessly promote my own work –

Sam Carrying Frodo-Painting-Oil Painting-Art-Fine Art-LOTR-Lord of the Rings-Tolkien
“I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!” – Oil on Canvas – 20″ x 16″

This piece of work is the fruit of my labours from my Lord of the Rings Project and my first oil painting, it seemed appropriate to add this to this post, if you’re interested in seeing the work that led towards this painting you can find my project posts by clicking the link.

Tolkien Reading Day

So what are your plans for today’s event, will you be reading any of Tolkien’s books and if so what will you be reading from? Will you be following the theme of Life, Death and Immortality or just reading generally? Lastly, do you intend to partake in the #MegaMiddleEarthMarathon and how long do you think it will take you to watch all six of the movies?

I’m most likely going to post again a bit later with some Tolkien excerpts in line with the theme for this year’s reading, please feel free to comment and thank you for joining me for this week’s Coffee Morning. 

As always stay caffeinated and until next time, take care!

JGlover

Current Direction – Tristan and Yseult Art Project on Hold

In light of a few technicalities I’ve been having with getting started on my Tristan and Yseult painting, I’m going to put that on the back burner for a short while; though I have written an outline of the legend as I want it to be and will flesh that out and edit it to post real soon. For the painting itself, I will get round to it once the arisen problems with it have been solved.

In the meantime and due to the inspiration I received whilst writing my last post, I’m going to create some ‘Middle Earth’ themed artworks, it’s something I’m a huge fan of and also by regularly creating artworks it’s good practice and training for me.

This will mainly consist of loads of sketches and drawings, finally culminating in an oil painting showing one of Tolkien’s masterful narrative scenes; there’s also the possibility of one or two watercolour landscapes as well, I’m currently more comfortable with watercolours than I am with oils as I’m totally new to them therefore the one oil painting that I do produce may take some time to accomplish.

My next post will be on Wednesday 15th July and will contain some sketches that I’ve been doing for this project.

JGlover

Tristan and Yseult – A Legend of Celtic Origin – Art Project

So I had to come up with an idea for my next artwork project and with my goal of interpreting and bringing back to life British history, myths, legends and folklore, I have decided to work with a popular medieval romance tale that stems from Celtic legend; the story of ²Tristan and Yseult.

 There are numerous versions of this tale, but all of them contain prominent features and I will most probably play on the different aspects of each telling that appeal to me the most. As a base idea to work from I might even write up a short version of the story combining the various aspects and suiting to my own interpretation, thus making me able to create more works from this further down the line, that’s not presently set in stone though I’ll have to think about that¹.

With that in mind I won’t go into the nitty gritty details of the legend just yet although I have linked to the Britannica version of the tale.

As promised before, I will use the series of posts and updates on this project to show my preliminary studies, sketches and ideas, as well as a bit of prose or poetry that I intend to write for the particular scene that I will show in my finished painting. I have chosen the scene that I want to capture and have begun sketches, mainly to work out composition and background scenery, I’m also implementing a fair few symbolic features as well so I’ll have to hit the books and see what I come up with; some symbols I am certain of and relate to the story itself and therefore will definitely be added.

I’ll leave that there for now and my next post will contain my preparatory work that I’ve create up until that point, which will most probably be next Wednesday, when my posting schedule is due, this post is more of a taster for what’s to come and to give awareness of the project I am currently pursuing now that I’ve set my heart upon it.

¹More of a note to self than a definitive idea

²Link to the Britannica version of the legend Tristan and Yseult 

JG

British Mythology/Folklore – Art Project

I’ve structured my days now to help me with my efforts to self-teach different aspects of the art that I wish to learn; the aspects that I have decided to learn are anatomy, figure studies, drawing in many aspects such as observational, still life and drapery, perspective, architecture, and again human form. I also spend time trying different techniques with watercolour paints and I’m slowly experimenting with oil paint; which ultimately will be my medium of choice.

I also have more theoretical subjects to learn and my rotor for those at the moment consists of symbolism in art, colour theory and artist research. Those are the artsy theoretical readings, I’m also always researching history, reading about the ancient Romans in particular and I’m presently reading a book about King Charles I which I will review once finished; as well as Greek mythology, these last few are more for inspirational reasons.

However the reason for that two paragraphs of information is that every month I intend to issue myself a project to work on alongside these other subjects to keep me motivated in creating my own work rather than just all work and no play, I therefore intend to create at least one final work for each project I give myself. I’m thinking ahead a bit here as I don’t intend to issue myself this project until 5th July; that said though, I can here announce my umbrella theme which others will fall under.

My main theme, the subject of artwork that I intend to create for the foreseeable future is British myth, legend and folklore. As an enthusiastic reader of the work of J.R.R Tolkien, it’s my understanding that he created his body of literature around the basis of giving Britain a mythology of its own, one to rival the Greeks and even outdo them in the long run (let’s face it, we’ve all heard of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and Gollum; how many average people can name four Greek deities). This thought process inspired Tolkien to create the most incredibly well crafted epic fantasy saga that was bursting at the seams with richness and remains the most influential piece of literature of the modern age (that’s my opinion I’m not certain how it stands nowadays with Game of Thrones growing as much as it has). I am of a similar vision, but what I intend to do is bring to life and recreate the existing British mythology and interpret it into a series of visual narratives, both figurative and landscape and breathe new life into our forgotten history.

There is already a wealth of subject matter available to me to work with, more than enough to ensure I’m kept busy for the rest of my life in fact, and who knows, one day I may even start writing my own mythologies and legends of British history, but that’s an idea for a time in the far off future yet. My main inspiration for British myth/legend/folklore/history is the Arthurian legend. Some historians say he lived, others say he didn’t, most scholars deny his existence because of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s fabrications. I stand in an area where I do believe he existed, just that the story of his existence has been contorted somewhat over the centuries since his age, akin to Chinese whispers these legends grow and have bits added and taken away to the current point where some people are expecting Arthur’s second coming; elevating this long dead king to the status of the son of God. The most convincing and realistic telling of the Arthurian legend, albeit a work of historical fiction, was the brilliant saga of books written by Jack Whyte A Dream of Eagles (original series title in Canada) or Camulod Chronicles (USA series title) or Legends of Camelot (UK series title). Without going into too much detail about this incredible series of books on this post, here’s the link to a short review I wrote about them previously.

With Arthurian legend being my main source of inspiration however, I don’t intend to just limit myself to being known as a painter of Arthurian legend, like I said I want to revive as much of British mythology as I can so I’ll also be focusing on other areas as well, it’s just the that Arthur story is the one I am most drawn to.

All that said then, my next post will probably be before my scheduled post, and will be to announce the exact nature of the project I intend to create. I will post everything related to my project including sketches, research, thoughts and such and then follow all that up with the final piece that I create. So if you have happened to stumble across this post, then please check back every fortnight or so to see updates and some new artwork.

Until next time…..

JG

Featured Image: Edward Burne-Jones – The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon – 1881-1898

Change of Direction – New Paths

So many people in this world are scared of change, whether big or little; I see it as an opportunity to adapt, start anew and build up an empire, alas, don’t ever fear change but on the contrary, embrace it. – J Glover

I recently made a decision that was found to be shocking by the people around me, my friends and even my wife, who knows me better than anyone. That decision was that after 2 years of working hard in education in order to go to uni, I will no longer be going. This decision wasn’t an off the cuff spur of the moment change of heart about my future caused by being unsure of what I want from life; my end game is the same, my objective clear and concise, a set destination of immovable strength; it’s just the road that I’m taking to get there that is different.

This was incited by troubles in getting the funding that I needed, a lot of hassle and stress that isn’t needed at the best of times, but this minor tribulation set off a whirlwind of thoughts and deep contemplation, tropical brainstorms and meditating until my pulse stopped, weighing up and reasoning on every aspect of my decision to go to university and the course that was available to me.

I had chosen to take a Fine Art BA (Hons) Degree; now when I initially pictured Fine Art, I had a beautifully romanticized vision of a modern Verrocchio’s workshop. Tutors that would teach me to draw and paint like the masters of the Renaissance, Sculpt like Michelangelo and provide plenty of hours worth of figure studies each and every week. Research on different narratives, mythologies and a study of philosophy. Obviously my definition of Fine Art is very outdated and too far gone to even be sniffed at in a modern Fine Art degree. A Fine Art Atelier would probably be better suited to my needs, but due to lack of funding available for such a course and locality this isn’t an option either.

Instead of what I envisioned, the course has dropped figure studies from its curriculum and the rest is more Contemporary than I would like to be involved in, Conceptual art, challenging conventions and Installation work; whilst I have seen artworks from each category that I have liked, it’s not what I personally want to create or be a part of. From unmade beds to condensation cubes and glittered excrement I found myself questioning if it really was for me. The end result of my contemplation was that I don’t want to invest 3 years and so much debt into something that I’m not 100% dedicated to. I’m not suggesting that the course is worthless or that I wouldn’t have learned anything because that would be a ridiculous idea, it’s just not going to teach me what I want to learn and will involve me spending too much time away from what I do want to do and my personal studies.

My next step now is to self educate, with the power of books and the internet on top of spending every day in practical work I will learn to draw and paint in the way I want to, whether frowned upon or not to prefer the traditional methods, that is what I’m going to do, staying true to myself rather than going to university on a whim for the experience or conforming to the Contemporary art industry. It’s funny really that they spend so much time trying to find new ways to “challenge convention” that they’ve lost their way, it’s turned now to the point that I’m challenging convention more by wanting to draw and paint in the traditional manners and techniques.

Also underlying all of this is the fact that I would love to work as a concept artist, for film,TV or computer games and although a lot of this work would be done digitally through software such as Photoshop, it still offers opportunity to be traditional in the sense of creating a narrative using paint, drawing and sketching, research and practice; these are the things that appeal to me more than anything. The thing that would get me a job in the field of Conceptual Design will be my portfolio based around that area, not a degree and a portfolio full of glittered turds and “this is art because I say it is” pieces.

Time is a very important factor as well, by not attending university five days a week, I have the time to go to London regularly to visit galleries, places of interest, museums and draw inspiration from them; I’ll also be able to make more trips to my home away from home that is Italy. Trips to other places of interest and long walks through natural landscapes, sketching and painting as I go will also now be a part of my itinerary. In addition to these things, I’ll have more time to build up my blog and remain consistent with posts, not having to neglect neither this or my artwork due to having to write essays or dissertations and not running on fumes every day. My creativity will be nurtured and in full bloom due to my decision and inspiration comes from within as much as from without, if not more so.

I may have rambled a fair amount through this post but the point of me posting it is to show that change is not something to avoid, change of mind is not a sign of failure or fear to commit, it is something to embrace and use to your advantage wherever possible. We are human, adapting to new situations is part of our being and a skill that comes naturally, never having to be learned as long as you don’t fear to utilize it.

JG

Jack Whyte – A Dream of Eagles (Camulod Chronicles)

Jack Whyte - A Dream of Eagles
Jack Whyte – A Dream of Eagles

This 9 book series written by Jack Whyte, a Scottish-Canadian author was brought to my attention when I stumbled across the first two books of the series in ‘The Works’ and bought them. In the UK the series is titled “The Legends of Camelot” and having a keen interest in the Arthurian legend, I decided to give them a shot. The UK published versions of this series have also have different titles to the originals, to save confusion I’m going to list the books by their original titles as decided by the author himself.

A Dream of Eagles (Camulod Chronicles)

  • The Skystone
  • The Singing Sword
  • The Eagles’ Brood
  • The Saxon Shore
  • The Fort at River’s Bend
  • Metamorphosis
  • Uther
  • The Lance Thrower
  • The Eagle

I tore through the first two books within a week and I was straight online ordering the rest of the series, totally hooked and hungry for more.

In my opinion, and I have read and watched a vast amount of re-tellings of the Arthurian legend, this is the most realistic, believable and gripping version I have ever come across. Jack Whyte tells the story and places it in a believable time setting and structure, Camelot being formed just as the Roman legions are leaving Britain, starting off as a few villas and some farmland, built up by two Roman-British Legionaries and visionaries, Caius Brittanicus and Publius Varrus.

I would definitely recommend this series to anyone that is interested in historical fiction, Romans, Arthurian legend, Merlin and Camelot, it truly places everything perfectly and is a really enjoyable read. As I said before there are 9 books in the series and they’re not short books either, but they’re easy to make short work of with their page turning effect.

If you have already read this series of books or want some more information on them, feel free to get in touch via the comment section or email, I’m happy for a discussion.

JG