Thursday, February 27, 2014

Beren and Luthien - Tolkien's Silmarillion

by Donato

I have been sketching out ideas for a new series of works based upon the great love story J.R.R. Tolkien created within the Silmarillion - The Lay of Leithian.  It is about two lovers, Beren and Luthien, and their trails and passions for each other in the First Age of Middle-earth.  I look at this as a wonderful chance to play in the world of Middle-earth without relying upon the highly recognizable characters from the Lord of the Rings, and to build upon images not imbued with conflict but rather subtlety and companionship.

Below are a few adventures in exploration!

Huan, Luthien and Beren on their way to Angband

The meeting of Beren and Luthien


The Greatest Deed - Luthien and Beren take a Silmaril from the crown of Morgoth



  1. Those are lovely drawings and I really appreciate the sentiment. There is so much focus on conflict to drive storytelling in modern media that subtler themes of friendship, loyalty, and love that abides are seen less than they should be. One of the things I've always loved about your art is that you prove a piece can be incredibly visually exciting even while portraying a serene episode.

    1. Thank you NJL . The more I paint, the more on want to connect to my viewer as an empathetic person. Glad you appreciate this approach!

  2. Ah, I'm reading the Silmarillion for the first time and literally *just* read this chapter last night. I have a bunch of little sketches from parts of the book that I want to paint. This is inspiring and well timed for me. I can't wait to see these pieces completed, the sketches are beautiful.

  3. Donato, do you build up references prior to creating sketches at this level of finish, or do you just sit down and go to town with whatever is already in your head?

    1. Hi Josh,

      Thank you for the comments. I prefer to tackle this stage of concept exploration without references, relying upon my intuition , memory and hope - hope that my anatomy is not too far off! It is after this phase that I then seek out all
      My detailing references , from models, landscapes, lighting ideas and color possibilities.

  4. Gorgeous - love those hits of white.

  5. What type of pencils or pens and paper are you using for these?

  6. So many beautiful ideas here, but The meeting of Beren and Luthien is tops for me. Her pose is so graceful and perfect. It feels like a pose from the very best of the art from Victorian era, one of my favorites. Great share Donato, thank you!


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