Over on Wraith Land, Thomas Kelley has just published the first part of an extended interview with noted Tolkien artist Jay Johnstone.
Jay’s artwork employs techniques from religious manuscripts, icon and fresco illustrations from the medieval period, and uses a variety of mediums — oils, watercolors, acrylics, egg tempera with gold powder and leaf. Striking detail and traditional techniques give the impression of artwork that could have been produced in the real Middle-earth.
Kelley delves into the goals underpinning Johnstone’s unique approach, and some of the insights into Tolkien’s worksthat Johnstone himself has gained out of it. If the interesection of Tolkien, art, psychology and spirituality is your thing, you’ll find this a very interesting read indeed.
Johnstone dreams in Tolkien. And through him and his artwork we can perceive anew what it would mean to live in Middle-earth and to create art inside it. While Tolkien himself made “sub-creation” the purview of his own characters, from the creation of the Silmarils by Fëanor to the writing of the Red Book of Westmarch by the hobbits, Johnstone imagines what it would be like to be a painter inside Tolkien’s world, and then paints that world and its history. Reminiscent of the religious medieval icon paintings by Duccio di Buoninsegna and Fra Angelico, Johnstone’s paintings work not just like time portals but dream portals.
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