Many Middle-earth fans will be familiar with the spectacular work of artist Donato Giancola. His art has graced the covers of Tolkien editions as well as calendars, and last year saw a fabulous exhibition of his work at the Huntsville Museum of Art. Visitors there were lucky enough to see his massive new painting, ‘Beacons of Gondor’ – a breathtaking, gigantic rendering of sweeping scenery and drama.
If you live in the New York area, this Saturday you could see that painting – and more – for yourself. Giancola is holding an Open Studio in Brooklyn, 11am to 6pm, May 13. This is an incredible opportunity to meet the artist himself, as well as seeing many of his amazing pieces up close. Not only that, but the first 25 visitors will receive a fabulous gift – a signed copy of Giancola’s now out of print first edition art book ‘Middle-earth: Visions of a Modern Myth’. Copies will also be embossed with the sigil of the Kings of Gondor!
Giveaway for those unable to attend in person
Those visiting the open studio could WIN a Giancola original painting; AND there is even an online giveaway which can be entered by folks who can’t visit in person! So there’s something for everyone. Here’s all the info you need:
Donato Arts OPEN STUDIO
Saturday May 13, 2023
11am – 6pm
397 Pacific Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
This May will see the return of the annual hosting of an Open Studio here at our place in Brooklyn. We will showcase an abundance of new oil paintings, drawings, and projects as well as scores of classics from my 30+ year career as an illustrator. Come eat, drink, and commingle with fellow artists, professionals, and fans of the genre as we plow our creative paths forward in these changing times.
The massive Middle-earth canvas The Beacons of Gondor will anchor the studio at 78″ x 114″. This is my largest work ever and was created for the exhibition at the Huntsville Museum of Art in Alabama this past winter. I am excited to share this with the New York area audience.
Also back from traveling shows are a couple of my favorites, ‘I threw down my enemy’ of Gandalf defeating the Balrog on Zirak-zigil, and the intimate ‘Shadow of the Past’, as well as The Walls of Moria and the Fellowship in Hollin. There are also numerous pages around the home from David Wenzel’s graphic novel of The Hobbit!
A dedicated Wall of Magic displaying over thirty recent Magic: The Gathering oil paintings and preliminary sketches as well as a handful of my earliest works for Wizards of the Coast will be set up in the studio.
New fantasy works will be shown from the cover of Kristen Britain’s forthcoming novel The Spirit of the Wood to interior illustrations for the new novel King-Killing Queen by author Shawn Speakman of Grim Oak Press . The latest Empathetic Robot painting in now finished titled, Remembering, and Portfolios filled with large, preliminary drawings and studies will also be available to peruse through.
Last September we shared with you the beautiful stamps and pins the good folks at NZ Post released, to celebrate twenty years since Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was released. Now a stunning pair of coins is available, celebrating those towers (or at least one version of what Tolkien may have meant by his ‘Two Towers’ title!) Here’s what NZ Post’s press release tells us:
After 12 long months of eagerly anticipating part two of the trilogy, in late December 2002 fans were rewarded with the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. After the unbridled success of The Fellowship of the Ring, which was nominated for 13 Academy Awards, the second instalment had a tough act to follow. Nevertheless, the enthusiastic audiences for the sequel ensured it was not only the highest grossing film of that year but, at the time of its release, the third-highest grossing film of all time.
The principal photography for all three The Lord of the Rings films took place in New Zealand from 11 October 1999 to 22 December 2000. New Zealand’s mountains, rivers, forests, fields and plains all played a part, and vast studio sets stood in for the more fantastical environments required to build the world of Middle-earth. Weta Digital, the creator of visual effects for the trilogy, doubled its staff for the vast post-production requirements presented by The Two Towers, with challenges that included a large-scale battle scene and the digital rendering of a speaking character.
Thousands of everyday New Zealanders played a part in contributing to this film – from a stadium full of cricket spectators recording an Uruk-hai war cry, to local equestrians riding their horses as extras in the plains of Rohan. Most Kiwis will recognise at least one place as their New Zealand, whether it’s a favourite walking spot near their home or a family holiday destination. The Two Towers is part of a larger legacy left by the trilogy, which gave countless New Zealanders unique experiences, memories to cherish and stories to tell for generations to come.
Minted from 0.999 silver, this set of coins features each of the towers alluded to in the film’s title – Orthanc, the stronghold of evil wizard Saruman, and Barad-dur, where the spirit of the Dark Lord Sauron resides. The coins have a black proof finish and selective colour highlights the detail of Sacha Lees’ artwork.
Set of two silver coins Features the two towers alluded to in the film’s title The obverse of each coin acknowledges New Zealand as the home of Middle- earth Designed by New Zealand artist Sacha Lees Each coin is minted from 1oz of 0.999 silver Low worldwide mintage of 499 sets Presented in an elegant display case with a certificate of authenticity.
Set of two brilliant uncirculated coins Features the two towers alluded to in the film’s title The obverse of each coin acknowledges New Zealand as the home of Middle- earth Designed by New Zealand artist Sacha Lees Low worldwide mintage of 1,000 sets Presented in a specially designed display pack.
As ever with NZ Post, these products are beautiful, and very collectible. The coins are available now on NZ Post’s website.
PureArts and Warner Bros. Discovery Global Consumer Products are partnering on a cool The Lord of the Rings project. The Mouth of Sauron will be the third character to get the 1:1 treatment by the folks over at PureArts. This awesome helm will be made of polyresin, including the lower part of the Mouth of Sauron’s face, LED lit base, black cloth hood, and a PureArts exclusive Mouth of Sauron Metal Necklace. This helmet will be limited to only 150 pieces, so fans should expect the supply to dry up quickly. Pre-orders for this open on March 9th at 1 PM EST, with the piece having a price tag of $749. You will have time to save, as this does not ship until Q1 of next year.
The awesome folks at Ravensburger Puzzles wanted us to let you know that right now, fans can snag two awesome puzzles, representing the first two films in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. These beautiful, 2000-piece puzzles are great pieces of art representing each film; The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers are available now at a variety of retailers.
The Return of the King puzzle is coming in 2023, so you won’t have long to wait to get that one as well. These puzzles would make great gifts for the Ringer in your life! We will also be giving you all a look at these puzzles in the future when we put together ours – so be on the lookout for that review.
Meanwhile, you can enter for a chance to win! One lucky winner, chosen at random, will receive both of these first two puzzles in the trilogy. Simply complete this form to be in with a chance to win. The giveaway runs until 11.59pm PT on Wednesday 7th December, and winner will be contacted after that. Sorry, only open to fans in the United States.
It seems impossible that this coming December, it will be twenty years since Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was released. But here we are, twenty years on – and as they did for the anniversary of The Fellowship of the Ring, NZ Post is celebrating with some very special stamps and pins. Here’s what their press release tells us:
NZ Post releases The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers stamps
NZ Post is proud to release special edition stamps and lapel pins to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. This is the second of three 20th anniversary collections to be released by NZ Post – with The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring stamps and coins issued last September.
NZ Post Head of Stamps and Collectables Antony Harris says The Two Towers stamps and pins will be very popular among Kiwis and international collectors. “There will be a lot of interest from around Aotearoa New Zealand and the world as this collection marks another milestone in the history of such an iconic series of films,” Harris said.
The special edition stamps and pins are being released in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
Harris also said the majority of last year’s The Fellowship of the Ring stamp and coin collections were snapped up by new customers from overseas. “These sold across the globe like nothing we had ever seen before.”
For the first time this year, NZ Post has also released enamel lapel pins with designs featuring Gollum, the Eye of Sauron and Mount Doom.
The artist behind the stamps and pins is New Zealander Sacha Lees, who began her career at Wētā Workshop working on The Lord of the Rings trilogy as an illustrator, creature designer and airbrush and concept artist.
This year’s stamps not only feature hand-painted scenes from the film, but special text hidden within the illustrations. As a special treat for the most ardent fans, this year Lees has also created a unique The Lord of the Rings trilogy poster that stands apart from the stamp designs and includes various images and messaged hidden in UV ink.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 20th Anniversary stamps will be released on Wednesday 7 September 2022, with additional products to come later in the year. To order and read about the collection visit www.collectables.nzpost.co.nz
As ever with NZ Post, these products are beautiful – and the hidden messages are such an amazing feature! You can snap up these fabulous collectibles by visiting NZ Post’s website now – don’t miss out!
One of my favorite lines our friends at Weta Workshop produce is the environments line. Why? Well, I’d love to actually visit Middle-earth, but being a fantasy world, that seems unlikely. I’d love to visit New Zealand – and that may happen someday, but getting there from Missouri isn’t cheap. So collecting these amazingly well done pieces of the places we love is as close as I can get for now; as I’m sure is the case for many of you as well. We now can add three new environment pieces to our collections.
The first is a massive Bag End with that awesome green front door that opens and closes. When you open this door, you’ll be able to peek in and see the main hallway. That’s not all though! It also has a light up feature, giving the feeling that Bilbo or Frodo is at home. You can pre-order this right now through December 22nd for $1,199(USD), with the edition size being determined by the numbers of orders placed. If you want something Bag End but maybe slightly cheaper, there is a hobbit hole sized piece of Bag End for only $99(USD). Both of these pieces ship during the fourth quarter of next year.