And his heart was filled with longing

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“And his heart was filled with longing”, watercolours on Bockingford Torchon paper, 21×31 cm. Tuor by the sea.

This started out inspired by a line of the “Book of Lost Tales” as I was re-reading/listening to John Garth’s “Tolkien and the Great War”, and ended up being what I feel whenever I’m in Cornwall.

Prints available! (Did you know? My Patrons get 20% off!)

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Testing KWARTSCreations watercolours

I recently got an extremely sweet collection of handmade watercolours from Katie of KWARTSCreations, and I really love how vibrant the colours are! They’re also nicely transparent. Katie also does paints with minerals and pearlescent pigments; I’m not too wild about those and asked for transparent earth tones and blues – but she included a very cool tone called Vivanite, which is the granulating earthy blue you see in the paintings below. Thank you so much, Katie!

I got wild with these in my sketchbook and they’re such fun! The little tin is also great to take along and paint with a water brush.

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“Sons of Nerdanel”, following a line of thought that evolved in a thread on my Patreon. I used many of the paints here; they harmonise wonderfully in their earthiness, with that brilliant Prussian Blue thrown in.

 

fingolfin

Next up, a little portrait of Fingolfin. More Prussian Blue, and Vivanite in the background. Plus a bit of white gel pen.

 

eye

The Vivanite felt perfect for Elven grey eyes, and I decided to do my first ever watercolour eye painting.

A better, scanned version:

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These watercolours are really, really fun, and very well made. Sure, they don’t look as polished/perfect as the ones you buy in a store, but that is their charm, and the translucency and handling is excellent! Something that confused me at first but that is quickly growing on me is that they are ever so slightly clove-scented, as they’re made with clove oil.

Katie has a huge array of colours in her shop, and the pearlescent ones look really cool as well – she included a little gold pan as an extra, and its opacity is excellent, close to the Mica paints that I usually use for gold bits.

Tears Unnumbered

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“Thus ended Nirnaeth Arnoediad, as the sun went down beyond the sea. Night fell in Hithlum, and there came a great storm of wind out of the West.”

Maedhros realises that everything is lost – the realms of the Noldor, their armies, their hopes, and his best friend.

Watercolour on Bockingford cold-pressed paper, 18×29 cm.

You can get it as a print in my Etsy shop! The original is available too.

I’ve come across quite a few renditions of Maedhros with a dead Fingon in his arms after the Nirnaeth; and while I appreciate the drama, I feel sure Maedhros didn’t learn of his friend’s death until days after the battle, and that he was too far away from Fingon while he and his brothers made their escape after Uldor’s treachery.

A little Silmarillion spree

Those always feel like coming home!

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Betrayal

Watercolour on Legion Stonehenge cold-pressed paper, 29×39 cm.

“So Fëanor has sealed his betrayal with fire. He will not return and has abandoned us here, as we all secretly feared he would. And Maitimo – where do you stand now? Did you bow to his will, do you stand by him, as you did when he broke the peace, as you did when he swore that terrible oath? Have Morgoth’s lies stamped out the love that once bound us, or do you still remember our friendship? Or was it Fëanor that stamped it out? I never had any part in any quarrel. The estrangement of our fathers never concerned me. When we meet again, will you remember our friendship? Will I?”

“How blind have I been, to think my father would ever turn back to bring hither the ones he left behind! How did I ever believe he considered them more than needless baggage? How can we hope to prevail without aid in this strange land, and how will we ever forgive ourselves for all that has passed? To the blood of the Teleri on our hands we now add that of our brothers and cousins, for surely they will now perish either by the vengefulness of the Valar, or in their attempt to cross the ice. Findekáno… I will never even be able to beg your forgiveness for this betrayal. You will meet your death hating me, and I will always know I deserve it for my inaction.”

(Writing is mine.)

Prints available, as is the original! Drop me a line if you’re interested!

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Maedhros sketches. Quick ones in my watercolour sketchbook. I’ve done quite a few recently – you can see more on Patreon!

 

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“And they disguised themselves, and came in the night to the camp of Eönwë, and crept into the place where the Silmarils were guarded; and they slew the guards, and laid hands on the jewels. Then all the camp was raised against them, and they prepared to die, defending themselves until the last.”

Watercolour (Payne’s Grey and Golden Barok Red) on Hahnemühle Expression paper, cold pressed. 18×25 cm.

Limited prints available!

Wardens of the North

Wardens of the North. Watercolour and coloured pencil on Canson Vidalon cold-pressed paper, 16×26 cm.

Prints of this are available here! Or you can try to win one in a giveaway on my Patreon. The original piece will be available in my shop soon! Contact me if you’re interested.

I’m currently on a two-week sick leave after my eye-related headaches got less and less manageable. I’m trying to rest loads, avoid any driving if I can, and training my left eye to take over without protesting too much. It’ll take a lot longer than two weeks to get there (my ophthalmologist is thinking in years), but I hope to give myself a bit of a head start under less stressful conditions. Switching between near and far is the worst. Surprisingly, working on tiny paintings for hours works really well. Which gives me the added recreational experience of doing something that really recharges my mental battery.

The Last Alliance

Gil-galad was an Elven-king.
Of him the harpers sadly sing;
the last whose realm was fair and free
between the Mountains and the Sea.

His sword was long, his lance was keen.
His shining helm afar was seen;
the countless stars of heaven’s field
were mirrored in his silver shield.

But long ago he rode away,
and where he dwelleth none can say;
for into darkness fell his star
in Mordor where the shadows are.

The Last Alliance. Watercolour on Clairefontaine Etival cold-pressed paper, just under A3 size.

Ever since painting my last “Gil-galad”, I felt I’d given him short shrift. standing there all alone in a blue field and not doing anything but looking mournful. I’ve been wanting to do exactly this piece for two years, with the low angle looking up, but I was afraid to tackle it. I’m so glad I finally had the nerve!

Prints available! Original for sale – contact me if you’re interested!

If you’re puzzled, or sad, or furious about his hair colour, please read this. http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Gil-galad

I’m a little tired of hair colour debates.

A Light in Dark Places (and good riddance to 2018)

“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
Watercolour on Stonehenge Legion cold-pressed paper, 22×36 cm.

Prints available on Etsy!

Walkthrough with a lot of art tips on Patreon.

It has taken me a while, but I finally begin to feel that I’ve got the ground back under my feet. Just knowing that, in another day or so, this year will be over is surprisingly liberating. There is a lot that 2018 left me and that I will continue to deal with, but it feels immensely gratifying to say, sod off, 2018, you’re history. I’ll deal with stuff, but those horrible months are never, ever coming back.

I finally feel up to saying how grateful I am for my friends, online and offline, who have helped me through these dark months, and whose faith in me has wavered far, far less than my own. I finally feel that maybe it may have been appropriate. All of you who have continued to support me in 2018, in word and deed, THANK YOU! Have a wonderful 2019. We’ve all earned it.