The Lord of the Rings Project – Part II

Welcome to Part II of my current art project, if you’ve only just stumbled upon this post and haven’t seen Part I, you can find it by Clicking Here.

For this part of my project, I have done some sketches of Middle-earth, some in pencil and some in watercolour, the sketches that I’ve produced are fairly rough working sketches, I haven’t worried too much about capturing every detail just wanting to catch the essence of the place and show what’s there for future reference. Most artists used preliminary rough sketches to work from at a later date for their main works, the artist I draw the most inspiration from for this practice when it comes to landscapes is JMW Turner; an incredibly talented Romanticist landscape artist from the Victorian Era.

As a reference for this sketches that I’ve carried out I used scenes from the movies, directed by Peter Jackson as well as photos of the beautiful New Zealand scenery; I think one thing that people who are totally in opposition to the movies can’t deny is that the setting for Tolkien’s legendarium was very well chosen and portrayed. Then again I may be wrong, critics will be critics at the end of the day.

Anyway, moving on from that here is the work I’ve produced since Part I:

Isengard Approach - Pencil Sketch
Isengard Approach – Pencil Sketch

This pencil sketch shows the approach to Isengard, but viewed as though one has already entered the archway and is en route to Isengard, thus in a sense it’s an exit from Isengard.

I love ruins, stonework and architectural elements such as bridges, archways and so on and therefore this was a nice seen to sketch. I captured the elements that were relevant for future work basically scribbling outlines and rough shading for reference.

View of Mordor from Emyn Muil - Pencil Sketch
View of Mordor from Emyn Muil – Pencil Sketch

*The hills of Emyn Muil, upon either side of Nen Hithoel, was a vast, seemingly impenetrable maze of rocky crags in the region of Rhovanion in Middle-earth. – lotr.wikia.com 

This was a lovely sketch to create, the textures and surfaces of the rocky crags a perfect subject for sketching quickly and efficiently.

Mordor can be seen in the distance so I used some red and yellow colouring pencils to make it stand out amongst the greyscale landscape that directs the eye towards it.

View of Mordor from Emyn Muil - Watercolour Sketch
View of Mordor from Emyn Muil – Watercolour Sketch

The same again but this time I used watercolour paints to capture the scene, they give a very different effect but the same atmospheric qualities of this dark place remain.

Sketching with watercolours is an amazing creative process, working fast and building up layer by layer to complete a reference to the seen being captured.

As can be seen watercolours are a lot looser than pencils and it could be seen from either viewpoint whether they give more freedom or less, I guess it depends upon the subject.

Anorien, Gondor - Pencil Sketch
Anorien, Gondor – Pencil Sketch

*Anórien lay north of Minas Tirith and the line of the White Mountains (Ered Nimrais), and was the only part of the northern half of the realm,Calenardhon, which was not given to the Éothéod to become the Kingdom of Rohan.

Anórien formed a narrow strip of land consisting of the valleys of the White Mountains made up of tall grasslands, and its borders were the Mering Stream in the west and the Mouths of the Entwash in the north. Its eastern border was the border of Gondor at the Anduin. The climate was mild winters with warm summers. No cities were in Anórien, but following the line of the Great Road that led through Rohan to Arnor were built the Warning beacons of Gondor. 

Anorien, Gondor - Watercolour Sketch
Anorien, Gondor – Watercolour Sketch

This sketch is the one that I spent the most time working with, using watercolours to capture the colours and shadows formed by the beautiful landscape of Anorien.

It differs slightly from the pencil sketch but the two together serve as a perfect preliminary to work with at a later date if the want arises to for a bigger scale painting.

I hope you have enjoyed this post that the sketches contained within, this series of sketches has allowed me to immerse myself within the landscape of Middle-earth and feel as though it’s a place I’ve visited; that’s the beauty of both literary and visual art, they take one away from the current state and world and transfer one to another world entirely.

Part III of this project will be where I truly strike my artistic ambition, I will be choosing a scene from Tolkien’s narrative and carrying out both a rough sketch and a detailed drawing in order to create my final painting from. I have a few scenes in mind one of which I’m going to choose and that will become the focus of the rest of this journey.

Another bonus for Part III is that I can go into more depth about the scene I’m depicting, taking an excerpt from the book and analysing the content of the material at my disposal, as for Part I and II I have used a variety of scenes or landscapes and therefore haven’t gone into as much detail as I could of, in neither the sketches nor the writing.

Hopefully see you next time for Part III, in the meantime please feel free to comment, follow, and leave any feedback!

JGlover

*www.lotr.wikia.com

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

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

Vatican Angel – Watercolour

Vatican Angel - Watercolour on Paper
Vatican Angel – Watercolour on Paper

This is a painting that I done in watercolour in March, I created this using a photograph that I previously took, as a reference to work from.

The original statue is to be found on the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele bridge in Rome, leading one into the Vatican city, I’ve tried researching who designed the sculpture and who made it but without many results¹. The bridge itself was constructed to the designs of Ennio de Rossi.

Overall this painting is an interpretation of the battle between dark and light, good and evil, I have attempted to describe this battle in a few different ways within the piece.

To begin with is the obvious, a silhouetted angel figure, a figure that is instantly associated with light and love, is a dark black silhouette, no light emanating from the angel whatsoever, but it is illuminated by the lighter background behind it, almost as though it is being pushed forward by the light, and away from the light.

Upon further examination of the light behind the angel, it becomes evident that it is actually a storm cloud, battling it out with the much lighter and more welcoming pristine blue sky, whether the cloud is building up, ready to engulf the world of light or whether it is dissipating is open to the interpretation of the viewer.

That brings us back to the angel itself, so at first a vision of darkness, it’s now questionable whether the angel is fighting off the darkness that’s surrounding it and seemingly fighting a losing battle; being consumed by the darkness from within and becoming another fallen angel; or is the angel sacrificing itself, consuming the darkness to bring the light to the world?

JG

 

 

¹If anyone reading this knows who the artist was that designed and sculpted these statues I am dying to know so I would be thrilled if you could enlighten me, I’m pretty certain that they’re not works of Bernini, although there’s tons of his designs dotted around the entire city; both Rome and the Vatican.

Romans 12:12

Romans 12:12 - Watercolour, Charcoal, on A4 Watercolour Paper
Romans 12:12 – Watercolour, Charcoal, on A4 Watercolour Paper

Romans 12:12 – Rejoice in the hope. Endure under tribulation. Persevere in prayer.

This piece of work took me about 4.5 hours to complete, I started by giving the paper a wash with yellow ochre watercolour, to give a kind of aged look to the surface I was to draw on. I then sketched out my wife’s hands in a praying position, using charcoal. I had to work from a photograph after the initial sketch so I worked all the detail and tone from photo, and heavily defined every line I could see clearly on the hands.

The title of this piece, is a scripture that I found afterwards that I thought to be quite fitting in more ways than one and I hope that the image conveys the meaning clearly.

JG

Hill Fort at Camelot

Hill Fort at Camelot - Watercolour A4
Hill Fort at Camelot – Watercolour A4

Here’s another watercolour piece for my “Camelot Series” I spent a couple of days working on in November, this particular scene captures the Hill Fort in the early days of Camelot, erected even before Uther Pendragon had been born as far the legendarium I am working with goes.

It’s still a learning process and I had a great deal of frustration and fun in the creation of this piece, in all I feel happier with this one than the last, if my work continues progressively like that then I’ll be happy.

JG