Gandalf The Grey
|Gandalf the Grey,
Approximately 45 x 65 cm, 1989
The 1991 Tolkien calendar
The Lord of the Rings One volume edition
Grafton Books, January 1992
Originally done for the calendar, Gandalf has travelled a long way since. This painting is emblematic of many things, and I have a lot to say about it, so bear with me!
It all started with a photo of a tree, and a desire to have a go at doing Gandalf. Everything came fairly naturally, though I did a lot of fiddling with the pose and angle of view before I was satisfied.
Once it was more or less laid out, the background was worked up in a succession of washes, each time going back over the whole thing to subdue the details and push them back into the distance. (This is going to end up being a how-to session, hope you're still with me) Once through the mist and down in the grass, things are easier, it's much simpler to control deeper tones than light ones. Much of the grass was done with a fine pen, and the nearer grass is done with pencil crayon on a dark gound. The tree and the airbrush to block in the gathering darkness of the storm came next. I do occasionally use a lot of airbrush, but always over top of brush work, otherwise airbrushing is fine for cars and plate glass, but there's not much warmth in it. (I don't much care for doing mist with the thing either - it's just too mechanical.)
Which leaves Gandalf. As I'd taped him over, I was naturally stuck with the predetermined silhouette, but with the exception of the hand holding the staff, which is far too weak, the rest worked out. I long despaired of ever getting some movement into him, he seems so monlithic with the huge cloak and skirts of his coat, but he eventually got striding. Most of his motion comes from the tree and the raindrops and the layout.
(I have this thing about rain, by the way... I always try to draw it at the same angle falling in the same direction. There is no meteorological excuse, it's of course part of landscape symbolism, more of a mythological shorthand than anything else.)
The picture has since become very popular, thanks to its association with the one-volume edition of he Lord of the Rings and more especially thanks to Peter Jackson and his obsession with the ridiculous hat...
Here comes the end of the story; in 1997, at a show of my work at the Médiathèque de Sedan, in the French Ardennes, the painting was stolen along with 10 others during the night of May 18 to 19.
It was never recovered. See The Great Art Robbery in the FAQ section.
The Tolkien Calendar 1991
The Lord of the Rings - hardcover
The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings One Volume Centenary Edition - paperback
The Lord of the Rings One Volume Jubilee Edition - Holland
The Lord of the Rings - WHSmith Little Reads
The Lord of the Rings - France
The Lord of the Rings - Norway
The Lord of the Rings - Poland
The Lord of the Rings Volume 1: The Fellowship of the Ring - France (paperback)
The Lord of the Rings Volume 1: The Fellowship of the Ring - France (second edition)
The Lord of the Rings Volume 1: The Fellowship of the Ring - Greece
The Lord of the Rings Volume 1: The Fellowship of the Ring - South Korea
The Lord of the Rings Volume 1: The Fellowship of the Ring - Spain
The Lord of the Rings Volume 1: The Fellowship of the Ring - Turkey
The World of the Rings : Collected Stories – Sweden
The Lord of the Rings boxed set - France (2002)
The Lord of the Rings boxed set - France (2006)
J R R Tolkien Collection: Part 1
J R R Tolkien Collection: Part 2
J.R.R. Tolkien reads excerpts from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit
Tolkien Posters - Images of Middle-Earth (front)
Tolkien Posters - Images of Middle-Earth (back)
Images of Middle-Earth Poster Collection - second edition
Borders Gift Card
Stormcrow - I.C.E. MECCG card
Characters From Tolkien - Serbia and Montenegro
The Fellowship of the Ring - Serbia and Montenegro
Appendices to the Lord of the Rings - Bulgaria
The Lord of the Rings - Slovenia
The Lord of the Rings Volume I: The Fellowship of the Ring - Slovenia
The Lord of the Rings Volume II: The Two Towers - Slovenia
The Lord of the Rings Volume III: The Return of the King - Slovenia
The Lord of the Rings Volumes I, II & III - Slovenia (spines)
The Lord of the Rings Volume 1: The Fellowship of the Ring - Serbia and Montenegro
The Lord of the Rings Volume I: The Fellowship of the Ring - Ukraine
Gandalf the Second
Lord of the Rings Bubble Gum package 1 - front
Lord of the Rings Tutti Frutti Bubble Gum
Middle-Earth Collectible Card Game Binder I
I.C.E. Booster pack display box - Dutch
While my intent is definitely not to turn this into a site dedicated to Middle-Earth lore, I did find this on the net the other day.
Gandalf's many names:
Olórin: (Quenya) "Awakener of Clear Vision" or "Gifter of (fair) Visions"?
Gandalf: (Westron): "Elf of the Wand", "Elvish wight with a (magic) staff".
Greyhame: (Westron): "Grey-mantle"
Mithrandir: (Sindarin): "Grey Pilgrim", or "Grey Wanderer".
Tharkûn: (Dwarvish): "Staff-man"
Incánus: (Quenya)?: "Grey-haired", or a word of the Haradrim meaning "North Spy"?
Stormcrow: (Westron) An epithet meaning approximately "Bearer of Dire News".