Upcycled Demilich! This round board came to The Shop on the Borderlands as the base for a rather tired bunch of very old miniature figures.
The figures were removed & stripped of their old paint, and I have made this painting on the base. I kept the bumpy texture, which has interacted interestingly with my palette knife, and I’ve used a semitransparent gold paint to pick out details and add the ghosts of adventurers trapped by dark enchantments. The ghosts change in visibility as the light moves. Quite pleased with the flame-ruby eyes.
And here’s another famous D&D monster: a Beholder, with dagger-teeth and many eyes. I painted this because I wanted to practice painting flamelit flesh tones, and was tired of painting human figures. I’m particularly pleased with the ring on the adventurer’s finger.
These tiny canvases are just 15cm square, and were inspired by the thought of spring approaching, and by the Tolkien quotation: “Light from the shadows shall spring” which always seems particularly appropriate at this time of year when I walk along in the shadow of the woods, turn a corner and see daffodils, a blackthorn in flower, or a little stream bubbling along in a sudden sun-beam.
I need to put a featured image on this post, and I think this is the best of the three, BUT please bear in mind that it’s absolutely tiny: small-postcard size, so it may look a bit iffy if you are seeing it emblazoned across a screen much wider than the original 4 x 6 inches. But of course they all look the same size once they are photographed!
This one is an A4 painting, so a bit larger, and drawn from life: Theo harehound having an evening nap. Finally! Here is another tiny postcard, this time a picture of our white cat, Nenya.
I’m doing some portrait practice at the moment and since I much enjoyed The Witcher TV show on Netflix, I thought I’d paint a couple of the characters. These two are both A4 portraits in acrylic on cotton watercolour paper (which seems to work OK for acrylic too!)
I think this is another Silmarillion character: one of Mahtan’s sisters, Nerdanel’s aunts. She has a number of names, but most people call her Sarezelle, for her love of green stones. She is one of the elves who sometime takes the things made by the friends of Aule to market in Tirion, but she’s more of a thinker than a maker herself.
My poet friend Pete Clark sent me his tragic fantasy poem The Well, wondering if I might feel inspired to make some art for it. Did I ever! It’s got some fabulous vivid imagery and so I dived into making these three watercolours with enthusiasm. I think the one above is probably my favorite, but all three were a lot of fun to make.
We had some discussion about what the setting should be like. I felt that the setting seemed Eastern Mediterranean, but the contrast of shining blue streams in a valley with red rock mountains reminded me of photos I’d seen of the Little Colorado River. This was what I ended up with:
And then this painting of the two protagonists of the poem is of course inspired partially by the ancient Roman statue known as the Dying Gaul (a copy of a lost Greek original).
Do go to Pete’s site to read the entire poem to see the context. The Well.
I wanted to practice some portraits, so here is an A4 portrait of Crowley, played by David Tennant, in Good Omens. I’ve loved the book of Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman for many years, and it was a delight to see it brought so faithfully to life on the screen. Below, Michael Sheen as Aziraphale. These two are both acrylic paintings.
Another much-beloved book – well, series of books, really, is Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series (I’m eagerly looking forward to the last book!) So here we have Helen, Queen of Eddis, with her short curly hair, dark skin and broken nose, set against the mountains of Eddis. Irene, Queen of Attolia, with her pale sad beauty, and her land rich with grapes and grain, and in the middle, the Queen’s Thief himself, Gen (Eugenides) who will marry Irene and become Attolis, the King of Attolia.
These are inktense pencil watercolours, apart from Helen’s face, which I made a horrible mess of on the first attempt and had to re-paint over the top using acrylic paint.
Finrod from the Silmarillion is one of my favorite Tolkien characters, and I like the idea that his home in the cave-city of Nargothrond was filled with complex patterns and beautiful things. This is an A4 painting, and I based it loosely on a photo of the young David Bowie.
I painted this from a photo that I took in January 2019 – the Tamar Valley in Cornwall where I live doesn’t get a huge amount of snow, so when it does, everything stops because the roads are icy! So I walked with my dog up to the top of Hingston Down to take photos of the mine in the snow.
It was a rather gloomy day, so I’ve adjusted the lighting here to make the brick warmer and more interesting, and added an old shovel.
These are small A5 paintings in inktense watercolour pencil and ink. I think the goblins staggering home after a good night out have worked pretty well, but the painting below was supposed to be a goblin too, and most people seem to think she has a bit more of a werewolf air about her. I like her anyway!
My saluki x Rosie Roo on a frosty Christmas day morning. Above is version 2, where I have adjusted her face a little, made some small lighting amends, and taken a new photograph. It’s surprising the difference that makes.
My original idea of a dog glowing with the winter light behind her, which I think looks perhaps a little flat by comparison (and definitely has the wrong eyes!)
And here is a smaller A4 painting of my Greek Harehound pup, Theo. He’s seven months old and surprisingly chill: he likes to watch the world going past as well as haring around like a loon. I didn’t like the background of the photo this was taken from, so I’ve added a woodland scene.
Here are a few nude figures of elves from the Silmarillion (or at least, that’s what I was aiming for, though there’s sadly something of a lack of elf figure models available). I’ll leave you to guess who is who!
These were all small A5 paintings made with watercolour pencil.
Here is Tolkien’s Cirdan the Shipwright, looking out across a wild sea into the uttermost West. Cirdan was eager to travel to Valinor; when the Teleri went without him, he wanted to sail after them, but was told to wait. He built ships for other people till the last ship sailed from Mithlond.
I’ve been playing in a roleplaying campaign for five years now, run by my husband, and set in the world of Second Age Middle-earth. One great thing about roleplaying is that you meet lots of fascinating characters and get ideas for all kinds of exciting scenes. Some of these were painted in advance, but most of them were made pretty quickly during the actual campaign time, with the players giving their own ideas of what the characters should look like.
These are almost all A4 paintings, watercolour inktense pencil on watercolour paper, though the two bottom right are larger and were painted in acrylic on artcard.
I had a holiday in Scotland, exploring the Caledonian Canal! We had some marvellous misty weather and sunshine slanting through the clouds. This was a view from one end of Loch Lochy.
But later on the sun came out. I painted this after an early-morning walk where the first sun was shining on the harebells and the cobwebs.
Sun on the water. I painted this from a photo that I took rather than from life, and I’m quite pleased with it. I love sparkles, and the very dark cold water of the lochs makes for marvellous sparkly waves.
A sighting of a Famous Resident of Loch Ness, plus a paddle-boarder and a ferry. I painted this from life. (Well. nearly 😀 )
Maglor from the Silmarillion meets Ilbereth, Father Christmas’s secretary from Tolkien’s Father Christmas Letters. Created for the Tolkien Reverse Summer Bang 2019 event, this work inspired this fabulous story by Narya-flame. This one is acrylic
And here’s a second illustration of Maglor on Magdalen Bridge – this time in ink with inktense pencil colour.
I made a brief video of the last painting by photographing it as I went along!