Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tolkien's Artwork

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.

1 comment:

Ossë said...

I saw this picture when I was flipping through the book for the first time, and I loved it! I agree with you that the contrast between the polar bear's fur and the water behind it really makes the bear stand out. I think it's interesting how Tolkien used only a few different colors in this picture. The blue of the water and the yellow of the sun provide a nice contrast. I like the balance of the picture as well. The animals are centered, but the picture isn't perfectly symmetrical or boring because of it.