Sunday, August 14, 2022

Painting Middle-Earth


If you’ve ever picked up an illustrated book written by J.R.R. Tolkien, or spent time clicking around on the internet in fantasy circles, or if you’d seen the posters on my dorm room wall years ago—or, heck, scrolled through any of the posts of The Silmarillion Primer—basically, if you’ve lived on Planet Earth over the last few decades, then you’ve surely chanced across the scenic, brilliant, and exceedingly prismatic illustrations of Ted Nasmith. I mean… if chance you call it.

Ted is a luminary, an artist and illustrator of… well, many things, but he’s best known for depicting Tolkien’s world more or less how we’re all imagining it. Or maybe you’re imagining it, in part, due to Ted’s work. From official Tolkien calendars to illustrated editions of the professor’s books to The Tolkien Society’s journal covers, he’s dipped his toe and his brushes into Tolkien’s mythology so many times there’s just no keeping track of it all. You know, I’m going to come right out and say it: Ted Nasmith is basically the Bob Ross of Middle-earth.

…Well, minus the almighty Bob Ross hair, but definitely including the soft-spoken manner and sage, genial warmth and overall friendliness. Somehow Nasmith makes what is insanely challenging look easy, and when you look at his paintings—especially his landscapes—you’re sucked right into that world. It’s not his world, per se, but it’s one to which you get the sense Tolkien would give his stamp of approval. These essentially are scenes in Arda (a.k.a. the whole world that includes the continent of Middle-earth).(Read more.)


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