One of my favorite writers is J.R.R. Tolkien. Several years ago I had felt inspiration from The Hobbit. I decided to create a print project using parts of the story for mono prints. Tolkien writes such full stories with in depth characters and a huge back story. An artist (and there are many) could spend their whole career just capturing Middle-earth with paint, ink and wood.
There is not enough space here to retell the story of The Hobbit. For those who are unaware of the story line here is a link to the Wikipedia page for The Hobbit. These blocks are some of the first mono print works I created back in the day.
Beorn The Skin Changer
For those of you unaware of the character Beorn is a “skin-changer” and by night he turns into a large bear. By day he is a bearded man of large stature. Beor lives on bread and honey and his home is surrounded by conical bee hives made of straw.
The print includes a round bee hive with fat little bees and a flower on the left. On the right side of the print includes Beorn’s face with half of a man and the other half a bear.
Dark Forest, White Spirit
Huine Taurë Ninque Sulë is another Hobbit themed piece. The title translates to Dark Forest, White Spirit in the Elven language Quenya. In the story of The Hobbit the 13 dwarves and Bilbo Baggins are forced to travel into Mirkwood Forrest. It is deep and very dark and the company can barely see their way along a path.
During their trek through the enchanted forest they are rushed upon by a white hart. Startled, the company frantically tries to get out of the way and only Thorin is able to shoot an arrow at the hart. They are starved and sadly though the arrow hit its mark, they loose the beast in the dark wood.
The dark wood of Mirkwood is conveyed with a dark tree trunk lined print. Super imposed the ghostly white hart (I had used a second block for the hart) almost blends into the trees.
Barrels Full of Dwarves
Barrels Full of Dwarves was another mono print with inspiration from The Hobbit. Quickly to give an explanation the barrels are full of Dwarves escaping (with the help of Bilbo Baggins and his magic ring) from the Elven King’s domain of Mirkwood. Their escape down the river in empty apple barrels is indeed harrowing for the dwarves. Bilbo can be seen in the water among the barrels.
The Dragon and the Thrush
A little back story may be necessary for you to understand the design. The dragon Smaug (pronounced smowg) dwells inside the Lonely Mountain guarding his hoard of treasure. The 13 dwarves and little Bilbo Baggins are attempting to take back the treasure which really belong to Thorin Oakenshield the leader of the company. Bilbo manages to get down into the mountain and with his magic ring to conceal himself he taunts the dragon with conversation. Smaug is no dummy and assumes Bilbo is one of the men from a nearby town located in the middle of a lake called “Laketown”.
Smaug decides he has had enough of talking with Bilbo and attacks Laketown one evening. The villagers are armed with arrows and a great battle ensues. One man, Bard is their Captain. He is steadfast and brave and encourages the men to stand their ground though their town is literally burning down around them.
During the battle an old thrush lands upon Bard’s shoulder and talks to him. Bard is surprised he can understand the bird but listens to his messages.
“Wait! Wait!” it said to him. “The moon is rising. Look for the hollow of the left breast as he flies and turns above you!”
Bard takes his trusted infamous black arrow, the same arrow that belonged to his forefathers, and smote Smaug with great flourish and steam. Of course the story is more exciting if you read the words of the author but you will now understand the design of this block.
The story has so much more to it that my print ideas are many. It has been some time since I worked on this series but seeing them together I may find more inspiration from The Hobbit.