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Posts Tagged ‘J.R.R. Tolkien’

 

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“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Above is a new painting, a larger one at 30″ by 48″ on canvas, that is part of Red Tree 20: New Growth, my annual solo show that opens this coming Friday at the Principle Gallery. With its size and deep coloring, it presents a strong and striking image in person. Along with that strength, looking at it, the feeling that came to me was one of hope. There’s a sense of journey in this, a movement through dark and possible peril towards light and the possibility of tranquility. That brought about the title To the Gardens of Hope.

In short, hope is the thing that drives us through the dark.

In dark times we must hold on to hope, to have a goal of light that drives us to action. Too often we think of hope and dreams in passive terms. But hope without action is futile, a lazy daydream that will never grow in the gardens of light.

Hope combined with action is a potent force.

Maybe that is why the words above from the first book of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy seem to mesh so well with how I see this painting. That story certainly had existential peril and darkness. But throughout the tale there was always an end goal that gave hope. And plenty of action was required to get to that goal, to overcome the darkness with light. This concept was not in mind during the painting but now that I think of it, this could be from one of the kingdoms or shires of those books.

That concept can also be summed up in four short lines below from the poet Langston Hughes. Without hope and dreams, we have no will to act and are, as he describes, broken-winged birds.

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     “Hold fast to dreams,     

For if dreams die    

                    Life is a broken-winged bird,     

That cannot fly.”     

       ― Langston Hughes

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So, in perilous times, when darkness seem pervasive, hope has a place for those willing to step forward and move toward the light.

That’s only my take on this painting. You might well see it in different terms and that is, as always, as it should be.

This painting along with the rest of the show will be hung today in the Alexandria gallery. Hope you get a chance to stop in and see it. If you’re around Old Town Alexandria on Friday evening, I will be at the gallery for the opening reception which runs from 6:30-9:00 PM. Come in and say hello. I look forward to it.  

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JRR Tolkien Drawing for "THe Hobbit"

JRR Tolkien Drawing for “The Hobbit”

Today, on the website, BrainPickings.org, a wonderfully informative site written by Maria Popova, there is a great post on the art of  The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien‘s classic fantasy that has thrilled young and old alike for more than 75 years now.  It includes Tolkien’s own  drawings, which are quite impressive (one of my favorites is at the top of this post),  as well as a number of other artists’ conceptualizations,  taken from a number of editions from around the world.  There are drawings from Swedish, Czech,  Japanese and   Russian  editions, each very unique in their take on the Tolkien tale.  It’s great to see these other translations of this story that has become part of our universal culture.

Below is a group from Swedish-Finn artist Tove Jansson‘s 1962 Swedish edition of the book.  They are among my favorites although it’s hard to single out any one, so beautifully done are they all. Please click on the Tolkien drawing at the top to go to BrainPickings and see the entire group.

tovejansson_hobbit tovejansson_hobbit1 tovejansson_hobbit2 tovejansson_hobbit3 tovejansson_hobbit4 tovejansson_hobbit5 tovejansson_hobbit6 tovejansson_hobbit7 tovejansson_hobbit8

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