This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the publication of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. With the movie adaptation hitting the theaters next week, Middle-earth is on the minds of a large multitude lately, mine included! It gives me the greatest pleasure to share with you one of my recent and favorite paintings from the studio, a portrait of J.R.R. Tolkien.
|J.R.R. Tolkien 42" x 33" Oil on Panel 2012|
I cannot begin to tell how excited I was to undertake this commission to celebrate the brilliant mind that has thrilled readers for generations and inspired artists like myself with riches of stories and characters to fill visionary paintings. From the simple beginnings of Bilbo and the Dwarves in The Hobbit, to the personal trials of Frodo and the fellowship in The Lord of the Rings, to the epic tragedies in The Silmarillion, I do not think I could ever exhaust the emotional depths nor narratives of his stories in building a lifetime of images based upon the world of Middle-earth.
I consider this portrait a token 'thank you' back to Tolkien for what he has provided to me in my own life lessons - the best of my labors to honor the man who gave us the best of his imagination.
Taking a cue from the rich depths of his writings and world building, this painting is filled with many references to the realm of Middle-earth. Here we see the scholar at work at his desk in the studio at Oxford just after the publication of The Return of the King, or his he laboring in a room at Bag End? The round window recalls those described at Bilbo's and Frodo's residence on the Hill. Out the window we see the large tree in a meadow, the gathering place for the opening celebration in The Fellowship of A Long-Expected Party.
There are many more fun elements in this work!
The chair is a gift to Bag End from King Elessar (better known as Aragorn), and carries the crest of the Kings of Gondor woven into its fabric backing.
On the desk we find Tolkien leafing through illustrations of the barrel rider from The Hobbit, designs for the glowing runes defining the doorway into Moria, and lastly unfinished manuscript pages waiting to be compiled by his son Christopher into The Silmarillion.
Thank you for taking a trip with me into the world I love. I have also included a few recent drawings from sketchbooks and a limited-edition volume of my book on Tolkien's world, Middle-earth:Vision of a Modern Myth.
For those of you interested in purchasing a limited edition giclee of the portrait, I have released them in a very small quantity in two sizes on paper. They can be found on my site at http://www.donatoart.com/mofcart/giclee_tolkien.html
|Escape from Orthanc 11" x 14" Watercolor Pencil and Chalk on Paper 2012|
|Aragorn in Arnor 8.5" x 11" Watercolor Pencil and Chalk on Paper 2012|
|The Black Arrow 11" x 14" Watercolor Pencil and Chalk on Paper 2012|