Thursday, September 17, 2015
One of the works of Tolkien's art I didn't look at in class today is A Merry Christmas 1940, A Happy New Year 1941 in pencil, colored pencil, and black ink on page 76 of our book. I found an online picture of the piece on the website of the Tolkien estate, at http://www.tolkienestate.com/en/painting/pictures-from-father-christmas/pictures-from-father-christmas.html. The image depicts a polar bear dancing with four penguins in the arctic, and while the piece appears to be rather simplistic, I enjoy the detail Tolkien does choose to include. The polar bear stands central to the image, creating a sense of balance which is only thrown off by the presence of what I assume is the sun off-set in the background in yellow pencil. Conveniently, though most of the image is white, or at least as white as the paper, Tolkien draws water behind the bit of ice the animals stand on and places the bear in the center so that his white fur can provide a contrast to the water while also remaining prominent. Tolkien uses black ink on the penguins, which allows their outline to stand out. By using sharp lines and a few lines of shadow to illustrate the difference between the ice and the sky, Tolkien captures the white of the arctic without leaving his portrayal dull or overly pale. Overall, I like this artwork. It provides a contrast between much of Tolkien's more colorful, detailed work, and also shows his skill at drawing animals in contrast to the numerous examples of landscapes and buildings present in this book. I enjoy the presence of dancing in the arctic, a famously quiet and peaceful place.
Posted by Varda at 3:53 PM