Yes, this is Smaug. Greg actually purchased the original watercolor of Old Smaug at Illuxcon a few years back. Since then he has asked if I might be interested in repainting this one, and this time in oil, without the aid of any of my digital trickery.
Usually I would be very apprehensive about something like this. Wether traveling, painting or reading, I usually don’t like to retread the same ground twice. There is still so much to do and explore and learn that seeing a place twice seems like a wasted opportunity. But this image is different. This one is a challenge, and one that I have always wanted to do as an oil painting.
For many years I have been secretly convinced that I can’t do traditionally what I can do digitally. And no matter how many of you have told me in exasperation to JUST DO IT, I have always had great reservations. So now this is a chance to finally give this one the treatment it deserves.
I hope to share more of the work-in-progress shots as this develops and I look forward to hearing what you think when you compare the two separate approaches.
The second image is also Tolkien themed and is being commissioned by Dan Perkins. It is of the Ents marching up to break the dam above Orthanc and will be 30″ x 50″ on panel.
Part of the reason that these scenes are painted so much larger than my other work is because of the lack of solvents. The only medium I will be using with the oil paints, is walnut alkyd oil, (and that only sparingly.)
I hope you will follow along and when these are finished let me know what you think about the conversion from watercolor and digital to oil.
Next: The Color Phase and a no-solvent, fast-drying palette