This painting was originally created as a ‘fifty brushstrokes’ exercise, to help me think about how to use a single stroke to create an effect. I rather liked it, so I developed it further.
This is Brythen, a brindle saluki mix lurcher I adopted from Forever Hounds Trust. Sadly, Brythen died relatively young last year at the age of only seven, but I have many photos and wonderful happy memories of him. This was painted from a photo of him playing with his favorite blue saggy football in the garden. I think I’ve caught the naughty glint in his eye!
It’s been a warm summer, and so I have been walking my lurcher Rosie Roo late in the evening, and seeing the afterglow of the sun and the stars coming out and the silhouettes of the trees against the light.
I was doing some quick practice sketches, and ended up drawing three of my favorite characters from The Silmarillion: Maglor, Curufin and Maedhros, three of the Sons of Feanor. There is no movie or official art by Tolkien of these characters, so I’m free to draw my own ideas!
Maglor is the only one who survives the book, and I’m specially fond of him though it’s undeniable that he makes some very bad decisions! Curufin from the Silmarillion. He’s inventing the swords that glow blue when orcs approach, like the one that Frodo has in Lord of the Rings.
Maedhros: eldest of the Sons of Feanor. Poor Maedhros goes through so much in the Silmarillion, even though he makes a number of unwise decisions, I love him!
This is a scene from the Tamar Valley between Devon and Cornwall, where I live. But there’s a slight twist – this scene is from 1906, when the paddle-steamer Alexandra used to travel all the way up the River Tamar to Weir Head. I adapted this by reference from a number of black and white postcards, although I’ve added a few elements such as the tree and the lighting. And the dog, too!
Here’s a fantasy battle scene from the Silmarillion Fingon, on the left is charging into battle, and Maedhros, Amrod and Amras are chasing an army of orcs with the support of some Dwarf allies. This was drawn in pencil and inked with black and white ink. I added pastels for a note of colour. I liked this scene, but I felt that all the complicated lines and lighting made it hard to see quite what was going on, so I decided to try a more Baroque style with Dramatic Lighting:
These five pieces were painted in reverse order: the bottom one was the first I painted, and the concept developed as I went on painting. The idea was to paint all the members of a growing family of Elves – of course, they are immortal, so once they are grown-up they all look the same age.
These are all inspired by JRR Tolkien’s The Silmarillion. They are Elves of the House of Finwe, in Valinor at the start of Quenta Silmarillion.
Elves Dancing in the Woods: left to right, Turgon, little Aegnor, Finrod, and Maglor. (yes, I know they would be going by Quenya names then!) I’ve re-painted the faces since I made this, I should re-photograph the work.
Here are Maglor and young Caranthir playing a board game, while their brothers ride along the skyline. This is a double panel, two pictures designed to be mounted one above the other.
I call this one ‘Music Lesson in a Tree’ – in theory, Maglor, on the right is giving Fingon, in the centre a lesson in playing the ‘hearpe’ or Trossingen Lyre. But Maedhros has come too, and little Celegorm is trying to distract everyone!
To paint Morgoth, I used black india ink and pouring medium with yellow, red and metallic gold paint, so that the Mightiest of the Dwellers in Arda catches the light and sparkles. Manwë is a little more subtle, but there’s a hint of shining bronze in the darker shades around his blue and cloudy form.
Aulë, the Great Smith
Uinen, Morgoth and Manwë are painted on boxed canvasses 20cm wide and 51cm tall. Aulë is on a boxed canvas 30.5cm wide and 25.5 cm tall.(The box is about 1.5cm deep)
I love lurchers, salukis, whippets and greyhounds – they are so beautiful with their long legs and elegant shapes. Here are a few of my paintings and sketches of sighthounds. Most are acrylic paintings, but there are a few pencil sketches and one in pastels and charcoal in there too.