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Here is the enigmatic and brilliant talent of world-renowned painter Alan Lee, collaborator with Brian Froud on the book 'Faeries' and main consultant for the 'Lord of the Rings' films. This is his beautiful painting of Tolkien's RIVENDELL

 

This beautiful painting was painted by Alan Lee as part of a commission to produce fifty paintings to illustrate the epic trilogy 'Lord of the Rings' by JRR Tolkien. All the paintings had to be completed in 18 months to meet the publishing deadlines - quite a feat in itself by anyone's reckoning. Add into that the scope and size of the literary work, the meticulous note-taking to ensure that the paintings conform to the written word plus the unforgiving nature of the watercolour medium and you are left with little less than awe at the quality of the artwork . Few artists can produce work of this calibre in watercolour and most artists would tell you that trying to imitate Alan Lee's style is very, very hard. Those who have tried have rarely produced anything that could be mistaken for his work. Before he started painting for both the project above and the later illustrated edition of 'The Hobbit' he roughed out each idea using charcoal on a large sheet of paper to get an idea of how the scene might be set out. From there he starts to tackle the final painting. Alan Lee prefers to work in watercolour although he does sometimes mix this with ink work (eg. Sword in the Stone). The thing he likes about watercolour is how the colours can be overlaid and give a feeling of depth which is difficult to achieve in a "layered" medium (like acrylics for instance). It doesn't have the advantage of the quick drying time of acrylics though and mistakes in watercolour painting can wreck the whole painting. A blob in the wrong place has to be bled out with water . Too much of that and the paper or board becomes too sodden to work with or can tear or start to distort so a watercolour painter has to work very carefully. Rivendell is pretty much a straight watercolour painting . The original has the watercolour border seen in the book but not shown here and the dimensions of the painting including this border are 477 x 295 mm. The border was left out when Artists UK published the limited edition fine art print. At number 1 above there is a waterfall and we've highlighted this point for those that don't know about white in watercolour - believe it or not, all the white you see here is the colour of the paper! Watercolour doesn't usually use white paint. The artist paints around the white area leaving the paper to give the white colour. It's kind of like painting in negative! Think about it - it's not easy! At number 2 on the painting is the only 'special effect' that Alan Lee used on this painting. His work is mostly straight watercolour painting with a brush but to get the speckled effect on the rocks he used a common little trick known to most watercolour painters - he sprinkled some salt onto the wet paint and left it to dry. The salt soaks up the paint where it touches and when the salt is carefully brushed off the remaining paint on the painting has taken on a speckled quality, a bit like an egg. The original painting was auctioned at Sotheby's in London, England and sold for what we think was a bargain price of around 2,500. What appeals to many collectors of his work is the almost ethereal otherwordly effect he gets where it is almost as if there is some kind of light shining out from behind the pigment! It is a foregone conclusion that Alan Lee's artwork will be very collectable in years to come, especially now that he has been the major artistic consultant on the three films of 'Lord of the Rings'. If you want to buy the limited edition of this painting then click here and you'll go to that section of the catalogue. Any questions, then click here to Email us.

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