Talks with Tolkien artists: Gold-Seven

16 min read

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MirachRavaia's avatar
By MirachRavaia

I decided to post a series of interviews with the most inspirational Tolkien artists at devianArt in the three Tolkien-related groups:
:iconthelotrclub:, :iconelves-of-tolkien: and :iconarda-inspired:.
If you have a suggestion about whom I should interview next, leave a comment here. You can also suggest questions you would like me to ask them.

As the first one in this series, I talked to one of the most popular Tolkien artists on this site, :icongold-seven: - Gold-Seven. At the beginning, a little sample from her gallery:
(Jenny Dolfen (Gold-Seven) is no longer on deviantart, but you can find her art here:
And here is her Tolkien gallery:…)

The hunt by Jenny Dolfen by MirachRavaia
For Ulmo bore up Elwing out of the wave by Jenny D by MirachRavaia A light in dark places by Jenny Dolfen by MirachRavaia
It ends in flame by Jenny Dolfen by MirachRavaia
As little might be thought by Jenny Dolfen by MirachRavaia A light in dark places by Jenny Dolfen by MirachRavaia

And here are the questions already:

1. You are an outstanding artist and illustrator of Tolkien's stories. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?

Thank you! My first encounter with Tolkien was in first grade, when my mother read the Hobbit to me. I’d always been a great book lover as a kid, and when we were through, I said, disappointed: “That’s it? Is there more?”
Yes, there was more. And my mother read it to me too. Always stopping at the most exciting points, so I’d “secretly” read on by myself.

2. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien nerd?

There are definitely people who have read more about Tolkien, and more recently, than I have, but I’ve read most things Tolkien has ever written, and a fair bit of secondary sources too.

3. When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie. Did it happen to you as well? Did you try to prevent it?

I was never in much danger of that, as I had been drawing – and thus, visualizing – the characters for myself for years and years before the movies came out. I’ve been very careful ever since to keep the movie looks out of my pictures.

4. What about you and art? When did you start doing it seriously, and who or what influenced your style?

Seriously, as in professionally – exactly ten years ago, on 2003. I started taking on private commissions and jobs for RPGs. My style was influenced – and still is – by artists I admire, from classic illustrators and painters like Larsson, Mucha, Bilibin and Burne-Jones to comic book and modern Fantasy artists like Wikland, Biukovic, Marini, Edelfeldt, Lee, and Howe. I accumulate more idols and influences as I get older.

5. Where do you look for inspiration for your paintings?

Written stories. Sometimes my own, but mostly myths, legends, and of course Tolkien.

6. You are most famous for your watercolours. Did/do you experiment with other art forms as well?

There are few media I haven’t tried, though I keep comic back to watercolour, and to pencils. I live the control and exactness I get with pencil, and the flow, vibrancy and lightness I get with watercolour.

7. Besides a great illustrator, you are also a writer. Could you tell us about your original story, the Rhyddion Chronicles? Will you try to get it published?

The Rhyddion Chronicles have been on hold for a while now. If they’re ever resurrected, it will probably be in a completely new form. It’s a nice little story with nice characters, but I have read too many nice little generic Fantasy novels in the last twenty-five years to go on writing another one.

8. You share your knowledge in tutorials and workshops. Is it fulfilling to see people improve in their art because of you?

Very much! The workshops I hold are often a stark contrast to my other life as a school teacher – I love teaching, but at school, most people learn because they have to. In workshops, they learn because they want to. That’s a huge difference.

9. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of

- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?

The Oath has been awakened by Jenny Dolfen by MirachRavaia
The Oath has been awakened

- a picture from other fandom and original picture you are most proud of?

Ysbrydnos by Jenny Dolfen by MirachRavaia

- a picture of your favourite original character?
The Sword and the Harp by Jenny Dolfen by MirachRavaia
The Sword and the Harp

- a picture that was hardest to paint?
The Drawing of the Sword by Jenny Dolfen by MirachRavaia
The Drawing of the Sword

10. What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist?

Always my mother.

11. Is there some artist(s) at dA you know, who doesn't have as much attention as they would deserve? If yes, could you give us some thumbnails from their gallery?

Last Breath of Fire by Toradh Farewell Sweet Earth and Northern Sky by Toradh Bow and Helm by Toradh

He Can Fly Now -DH Spoiler by thorbad Draakhrider Concept by thorbad TD2 showdown page 2 by thorbad


Gidleigh Goat by 3-hares Old Goat and Heron Page 1 by 3-hares Mariana and the Black Whippets by 3-hares

The Dark Dryad by Dreoilin Winter Dragon by Dreoilin The Migration Festival by Dreoilin

12. There are many Tolkien-themed groups at dA. Do you have some favourites which you would recommend watching/joining? What about other art and fantasy groups?

I really enjoy :iconenchanted-artworks: , :icongoldenillustration: and :iconpurecolors:. I’ve temporarily unwatched all the Tolkien groups that I’ve been in. I can’t stand all the Hobbit movie fanart, and Sauron in submissive poses and black leather thongs.

13. Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?

Regarding the last question: It makes me slightly wistful to see Tolkien being placed squarely in the middle of mainstream pop culture, with all the weirdness that entails. I fully realize that I have Peter Jackson to thank for the enormous surge of Fantasy love that’s been going round since 2001, and I fully realize that I would probably still be a private dabbler at my desk if it hadn’t been for that. But I still cherish the old little book versions of the characters and the world of Middle-earth, and it always makes me glad to find that so many others are still eager to share this world with me, too.

Thank you for the interview!

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire
© 2013 - 2021 MirachRavaia
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Aesara-Dayne's avatar
Lovely! Jenny is the person that introduced me to Tolkien, and to date she is amongst my top Tolkien artists. That your interviews project should start with her also is so fitting, and I am glad also that she mentioned as her favourite piece one that's mine also.
HobbitFan14's avatar
One of my favorite Tolkien artists! fabulous 
MirachRavaia's avatar
That's why I interviewed her first :D
HobbitFan14's avatar
Good choice! Creepy stare 
thorbad's avatar
Oh my, I completely missed this!
You know how much I appreciate your work. You deserve all the honour. :)

... and: thanks for promoting me ... again. ^^
gbindis's avatar
Wow, beautiful works - I'm glad I found these interviews!
MirachRavaia's avatar
Thank you, they will continue with many other artists.
TolkienOP's avatar
Ah yes, one of my favorite Tolkien-artists!! Thank you so much for the interview!

Could you also do interviews with :iconbreathing2004:, :iconkatekaz: and :iconatriedes: (if he comes back)? They are also amazing Tolkien artists!
MirachRavaia's avatar
If he comes back, that's right... There are several good Tolkien artists who are not active on dA anymore. I have already asked *breathing2004 but got no reply so far, but I will add ~KateKaz to my list, thank you for the suggestion!
Inbetwixt93's avatar
This is a great idea!

Fortunately or unfortunately, I was first introduced to the Tolkien world when I was seven-eight years old through the movie Fellowship of the Ring, and consequently have aimed a lot of my affections to the characters as I see them on screen - I only just met Karl Urban as Eomer yesterday at Perth Supanova - and also because that was the last time my family when on holiday and to the movies together before my mother split away from my family because of depression, and since then my two grandmothers have also ded, and so I cherish the movies for those memories. However, I soon found myself reading whatever Tolkien work, whether by his hand or others, I could get my hands on, am still doing so.

That said, I do find the return of LOTR and the Hobbit into the limelight a little disturbing because of the way mainstream culture reacts (estrogen brigades, etc); I was on the edge of it when I was younger, and since turning more to my art and literature now and away from tv and movies, I've come to fully appreciate how frustrating masses of fanart can be, and am glad I've moved away from it somewhat in the last couple of years.
MirachRavaia's avatar
Thank you very much!
I would say you feel about the Hobbit as many who has read the book felt when the movies first came out :) I was a teenager when they came out, but have already read the books twice, and memorized all poems from them. When Aragorn was speaking elvish at the coronation, I spoke the words with him, and hoped someobody in the cinema will notice that I knew them before :D
Inbetwixt93's avatar
I can't remember how many times I've read them now, i certainly can never understand a friend of mine who has said she knows people who have found it difficult to get into them, they are so eloquent and wonderful to read. c:
LadyElka's avatar
Very interesting interview! I'd have to agree with 12 and 13 here... I really love a lot of Tolkien artwork that's on here, but there's been some weirdly distasteful stuff floating around recently. I honestly don't understand this weird obsession with Melkor/Sauron... stuff. Definitely never saw anything like that in the Silmarillion.

And while I did sort of enjoy the Lord of the Rings movies as a guilty pleasure (not so much the Hobbit. Not a good movie at all...), I wish people would draw their own conceptions of the characters! Where is their originality?
MirachRavaia's avatar
To tell the truth, I do understand it. It's a bit hard to explain... But I agree that I like people's original views of the scenes and characters much more than copying the movie!
LadyElka's avatar
Well, if I twist my brain around backwards, I can understand it, but I don't know why you'd think that way in the first place. (: To each his own, I guess.
Toradh's avatar
Thank you for sharing the interview!
It's so nice to see people admired whom I admire, too :3.
StrawberryJam1313's avatar
What an insightful interview! :D Thanks for this, and thanks to :icongold-seven: for sharing your thoughts! :D This is really fascinating, and I now realise that I haven't even seen all her artworks (blasphemy!) so I'm going to go run off now and go have a look.

Also I completely agree with the last question. As much as I love PJ for bringing it all center-stage, and for capturing my interest in the first place, I wish that I had time to formulate my version of the characters, instead of seeing the movie first, because now my Legolas must always be Orlando. Oh well, I can't complain, he's gorgeous :D
MirachRavaia's avatar
I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'm lucky that I already had some picture of the characters before the movies came out, but in many cases it was not very clear and I liked the cast of the movie, so I adopted them for my mental image (Legolas not so much, most elves in do movie generally don't look like I imagined them, but Viggo is an awesome Aragorn, and Cate Blanchett as Galadriel is perfect). But when I have kids, I won't allow them to watch the movie before they read the book :D
LimeGreenBunny's avatar
Question 12.

Anyway, thanks for doing these interviews! I eagerly await the next installment. :)
MirachRavaia's avatar
Any suggestions about whom I should interview next?
LimeGreenBunny's avatar
Oh many do you want ? Haha...there are so many great ones. I will keep it brief though.
*breathing2004 -He does those awesome stained glass window style pics.
~Filat -Great storytelling through traditional works
And if you wanted to mix things up: ~Kazuki-MENDOU -She does amazing manga-style illustrations. Not sure if she is that well known though.
Also, I second the motion for ~liga-marta.
MirachRavaia's avatar
I'm planning to continue with these interviews as long as I have someone to interview, so many :D And being well-known artist is not a condition, I'd love to introduce some lesser known ones as well. Thank you for the suggestions!
Gold-Seven's avatar
breathing2004 would be a blast!! Also, Filat, of course!

I'd throw ~tuuliky into the mix, and, of course. ~ekukanova !!
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