The Fellowship of the Ring - Descent from Caradhras is part of a Master Works series commissioned from various artists over the past years by a private collector. It is a sister piece in scale and mountainous content to the large Middle-earth canvas I executed last year, Huor and Hurin Approaching Gondolin. The sublime landscapes of the Hudson River School were once again a deep source of inspiration as well as the art of Ted Nasmith.
Nasmith's images draw upon a similar wellspring and have been some of the most beautiful interpretations of the world of Middle-earth. If you are not familiar with his work, be prepared to get lost in his website for a few hours! You wouldn't be remiss in feeling like you are viewing key concept art pieces for The Lord of the Rings movies, as many of Ted's images were undoubtedly referenced and recreated for the big screen even though he was not credited. I was first introduced to his work through the Tolkien Calendar back as a teenage in the 1980's, and have been a fan ever since!
Knowing the comparisons I would be up against tackling this image made me a bit hesitant to start the work. To build confidence, I devoted many hours acquiring the right references for the landscape, knowing that if I could capture a glimpse of what I was seeking, the visual development would be much easier to plan and stage. The pleasure I felt while working upon this image was immense, knowing that this would be a piece seen by thousands of fans at the FantasyCon convention iin Salt Lake City July 2014, as well as countless more into the future as the image is shared and exhibited worldwide. This was not so much a painting for a private collector as much as a gift to those who love the works of Tolkien as I do.
A few of the rough sketches are also included here, images we held discussions over as the idea of a large painting gestated from year to year before the collector came out and stated 'Give me something epic!' I hope that I was able to deliver and look forward to seeing the art featured in my French book edition of Middle-earth.
For further imagery of Tolkien's worlds, turn to my collection Middle-Earth: Visions of a Modern Myth from Underwood Books.