Eärendil the Mariner
“Hail Eärendil brightest of angels,
over Middle-earth sent unto Men!”
Eärendil was arguably the first figure in Tolkien’s legendarium that he ever devised and gave a story to. In the designs, I went for rather archaic Germanic and Anglo-Saxon elements, some found in an edition of the Edda I own, which is over a hundred years old and belonged to my grandparents. I like to think Tolkien knew it.
Germanic lore, with its brisk heroism, has always fascinated me. Tolkien wrote once in a letter that something he hated Hitler for was for taking those old Germanic myths, sagas and lore and twisting them into his sick ideology, and even sixty years after Tolkien wrote those words, they’re even more painfully true. I own several beautifully illustrated Eddas, and the pictorial “language” in all of them just says “Nazi” to most people, which is so, so sad.
So this is something else to love Tolkien for: For rescuing those old Germanic myths and sagas in a different incarnation.
Media used: Schmincke tube watercolours for the first transparent layers; liquid watercolours from Rohrer&Klingner for the dark ones, and some white Ecoline Talens ink for some of the highlights and the clouds, all on Canson Montval paper.
Not many progress shots for this one; just a couple of ones documenting the “underpainting” and lighting. I built this up of considerably more layers than I often do, and used wet into wet, which I do even less often.
This one was a first layer of blotchy bright yellow with darker purple splashed into it while still wet.
A next layer has some of the backlighting and darkening of some areas, and some purplish blue for the sea.