bunn (bunn) wrote,

  • Mood:

Orcs, trees, elf and umbellifers

Re-reading The Lord of the Rings is like going on holiday to a place you know really well. You might not find anything completely new, but you can still have a lot of fun enjoying the scenery, and sometimes you are lucky and notice something that you've never really looked at properly before.

On this occasion I was struck by the description of Merry and Pippin entering Fangorn forest:

"He led the way in under the huge branches of the trees.  Old beyond guessing they seemed.  Great trailing beards of lichen hung from them, blowing and swaying in the breeze.  Out of the shadows the hobbits peeped, gazing back down the slope: little furtive figures that in the dim light looked like elf-children in the deeps of time peering out of the Wild Wood in wonder at their first Dawn."

you may need to click to embiggen to spot the hobbits.)

    They are looking back from the banks of the Entwash river towards the East, where the sun is rising over the last stand of the Orcs against the Rohirrim, so the sunrise is just glancing on the river and the trees.  
"The Sun's limb was lifted, an arc of fire, above the margins of the world.  Then with a great cry the Riders charged from the east: the red light gleamed on mail and spear.  The Orcs yelled and shot all the arrows that remained to them. The hobbits saw several horsemen fall; but their line held on up the hill and over it and wheeled round and charged again. Most of the raiders that were left alive then broke and fled, this way and that, pursued one by one to the death.  But one band, holding together in a black wedge, drove forward resolutely in the direction of the forest. Straight up the slope they charged towards the watchers." 

Composition of this could do with some work : in retrospect, it might have made a stronger image to draw the charge rather than the massacre, but I was rather taken with the opportunity to draw fleeing orcs being slaughtered. Probably it also needs to be a bigger picture than an a4 pencil drawing with a bit of colour too, so there is more room to put in corpses without it looking messy.   Maybe I should try painting the charge in acrylics... 

Finally, and for no particular reason, I decided to draw Luthien in charcoal.  This is of course a very famous scene (I'm sure I've drawn it a few times myself) but most of the versions I've seen tend to leave out the hemlocks, and since they are mentioned three times in the poem, I think they are important. 

"The leaves were long, the grass was green / the hemlock-umbels tall and fair 
and in the glade a light was seen / Of stars in shadow shimmering. 
Tinuviel was dancing there / To music of a pipe unseen
And light of stars was in her hair / And in her raiment glimmering. 

There Beren came from mountains cold / And lost he wandered under leaves,
And where the Elven-river rolled / He walked alone and sorrowing. 
He peered between the hemlock leaves / And saw in wonder flowers of gold
Upon her mantle and her sleeves / and her hair like shadow following."

Tags: arty stuff, charcoal, pastels, tolkien
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