People have often asked me why I’ve never drawn Smaug. I think part of the reason is that he’s so iconic that legions of talented people have drawn him, and I’ve never felt the need. But when the thought arose to do a painting that heavily relied on gold leaf, he came to mind immediately.
“Smaug lay, with wings folded like an immeasurable bat, turned partly on one side, so that the hobbit could see his underparts and his long pale belly crusted with gems and fragments of gold from his long lying on his costly bed.”
Watercolour and gold leaf on Clairefontaine Etival cold-pressed paper, 29×40 cm.
The third in a series of four seasonal Thranduils – the last remaining will be summer. Flower-wise, spring is my favourite season, and I really enjoyed the magnolias, cherry blossoms, forget me nots and johnny jump ups in his crown.
Watercolour and a bit of gel pen on Canson Fontenay cold-pressed paper, 20×29 cm.
Prints here! I’ll make a set available once I have all four together. :)
I’ve decided to do a series of smaller-scale paintings to sell on Etsy, and this is the first. Thranduil of Mirkwood, or, as The Hobbit calls him, The Elvenking.
Watercolour, 21×30 cm.
O̶r̶i̶g̶i̶n̶a̶l̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶s̶a̶l̶e̶ SOLD!
Prints available here!
Any good ideas for other characters to paint? I’d really love to do some more flowers… there’s still Blodeuwedd, but other “flowery” characters might be an idea too. Or anything else. Ideas?
My first step, as usual, is a pale wash over the entire canvas – here, a cool blue. I brush it off with a dry, clean brush over the mountaintops, the smoke, Gandalf’s beard and face where the light hits.
Then I start painting the face. When everything around it is still so light, the reddish tones around eyes and nose often look totally overdone, but in the end, when everything else is painted as well, it’s hardly noticeable any more, so I often end up darkening it again after all.
I paint the robe and hat with a mix of Prussian Blue and Shadow Violet, my favourite granulating colour, which results in nice, rough effects here.
Next, some subtle and well-placed darker shades on the mountains.
The blue scarf…. and look how pale that face suddenly seems again.
Let’s have some more red. He looks drunk? Not for long. In the end, it’ll be just right.
Shading on the fine tips of hair and beard.
Shading and texturing on the scarf and cloak. I’ve brought out the eyebrows with a bit of gouache.
Texturing wood works best painting around the highlights of the wooden structure, and deepening the shades in and around the knotholes.