Meet Radagast the Young. I met this delightful fellow at Castlefest where we agreed to do a little photo session at a later date so I could paint a portrait. Here’s the result! The birds are nuthatches who nest in his beard or hair( hard to tell). I’m very happy with the result and so is the real life alter ego of Radagast named Koen. Radagast himself is undecided.
Radagast, young and old, is a great character to paint. Tolkien left a lot up to interpretation but the details he does give paint a great story.
Radagast lived for much of his time in Middle-earth at Rhosgobel in the Vales of Anduin, on the western eaves of Mirkwood, between Carrock and the Old Forest Road, near the Gladden Fields, its name deriving from Sindarin rhosc gobel meaning “brown village”. Radagast had a strong affinity for – and relationship with – wild animals, and it seemed his greatest concern was with the olvar and kelvar (flora and fauna) of Middle-earth. He was wiser than any Man in all things concerning herbs and beasts. It is said he spoke the many tongues of birds, and was a “master of shapes and changes of hue”. Radagast is also described by Gandalf as “never a traveller, unless driven by great need”, “a worthy Wizard”, and “honest”
It was a lot of fun to make this one. Before we did the photos I had it in my head to do a full body pose but it soon became clear that I’d much rather focus on the face to bring out the beard.It’s acrylic paint on paper and 30 by 40 cm.
Ink and watercolour painting based on a photograph of Robert Louis Stevenson in the Writers’ Museum in Edingburg Scotland. RLS on the bow of the Equator. A4 ish
Last December I’ve been to Edinburgh for a few days by myself. One good thing about travelling solo is that you can do whatever you want for however long you want to do it. In my case this means taking reference photos of just about everything including lots and lots of stuffed animals and sketching stuff in museums for hours on end. The painting of Stevenson is a result of this. I noticed a little photograph in the Writers’ museum which is a small but very interesting museum on Scottish writers( and it’s free!) that really spoke to me. So i made a sketch. It was very sketchy. The audio in that particular exhibit room was on repeat which is fine if you’re there walking around. Not so much when you’re doing a sketch 😀 So I want to end with this:
This is the white magical pig Hen Wen running through the underground world of the fairyfolk of Prydain.
I chose to illustrate the first book of the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander: The Book of Three. These books have always been childhood favourites of mine. Especially The foundling but I thought it a bit odd to start illustrating covers for a series and not start with the first one.
The Dutch version of the Chronicles of Prydain had illustrations that managed to intrigue me and frustrate me as a child. They were pen and ink drawings with very fine detail that drew me in but when you looked at them more closely all sorts of things didn’t add up compared to the stories. I remember drawing on top of the cover, getting even more frustrated and papering over it to hide it, feeling ashamed. Consider this take two 😉
It’s a painting to be used as a wraparound cover. You can see what I sort of had in mind for the text layout here. It’s also an entry for the Train your Brain Contest run by the Art Department on Deviant Art. There are many many many entries and lots of them are awesome. Go check it out
And with that I leave you with this quote from the book:
“Most of us are called on to perform tasks far beyond what we can do. Our capabilities seldom match our aspirations, and we are often woefully unprepared. To this extent, we are all Assistant Pig-Keepers at heart.”
― Lloyd Alexander, The Book of Three