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'I go to find the Sun!'

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'Legolas watched them for a while with a smile upon his lips, and then he turned to the others. `The strongest must seek a way, say you? But I say: let a ploughman plough, but choose an otter for swimming, and for running light over grass and leaf or over snow-an Elf.'
With that he sprang forth nimbly, and then Frodo noticed as if for the first time, though he had long known it, that the Elf had no boots, but wore only light shoes, as he always did, and his feet made little imprint in the snow. 'Farewell!' he said to Gandalf. `I go to find the Sun!'' 

JRR Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: Book II, Chapter 3: The Ring Goes South

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Painted in watercolour.

This was created on behalf of The Tolkien Society for their 2015 Christmas Card.

If you appreciate my artwork, please show your support by taking a few short moments to 'Like' my :facebook: Facebook Page at Peter Xavier Price - Illustrator. Many thanks!
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© 2015 - 2021 peet
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FISHnibWana's avatar

I can't believe this turned up without me even searching for it - I was literally just having a little chuckle to myself over this exact quote. I love book Legolas so much; I love Jackson's movies to death but there's something about the cheerfulness of Elves in the books that really captures my heart. Especially Legolas, he's such a light-hearted person even in the midst of trouble.

Regarding the painting itself, your style is so gorgeous! I especially love the way you've painted the mountains. You've really captured Tolkien's vision here.

padfootness's avatar
I love this scene and have thought about that quote a lot, I'm really excited that you illustrated it :D!!
GabiWieczorek's avatar
elephanza's avatar
Amazing work! This is excellent.  The detail of the mountains is magnificent! I love this scene from the book!  It was so funny when he runs on top of the snow.  It was nice to see Legolas making a joke.
peet's avatar
Thanks for the kind words! Legolas was indeed a far more jolly character in the books (as in the case of the Elves in general I found, who, though ethereal and 'distant', were still quite a bit more humorous and nonchalant in their own ways).
elephanza's avatar
You're welcome! I agree.  The elves' nonchalance made me laugh quite a few times :D
peet's avatar
It's slightly better than stuck up sombreness a la PJ at least ;)
SarkaSkorpikova's avatar
I'm looking at this painting for the 100th time, my heard pleased by wonderful details of the mountains and suddenly I start laughing. This situation, the Greenleaf holding his chest, light as a feather, and then there is the rest of the Fellowship, deep in the snow :D 
peet's avatar
Haha! Thanks again! It was really fun to paint this sweeping landscape, but to try and fit in the Fellowship's individual personalities from far away. And yes of course, Legolas' was most important in this respect at this particular moment. He's so much more carefree and, let's be honest, cocky at this stage of the journey. And therefore all the more interesting. I really wanted to get that across. It's a lovely little scene, in my view :)
SarkaSkorpikova's avatar
:D You're absolutely right.  :) thank you again for this interesting and simply gorgeous painting!
LegioXI's avatar
peet's avatar
Kitt-Otter's avatar
One of my favorite Legolas moments.
peet's avatar
peet's avatar
Fourthed! Oh wait, I already said that ...
Cuthillius's avatar
Ah, that mountain view makes the picture! I also love how you did the rest of the fellowship. My one quibble with this is the lighting seems a bit off. The sun appears to be coming from the south, and that implies it's about noontime and the clouds are clearing up. This in turn give the impression that while Legolas is "going to find the sun", he is going away from it towards the darker areas. Thoughts? 

EDIT:Just realized I've already commented on this, but have been rereading the books and trying my hand at a few small illustrations myself and wanted to look through yours again. :P
peet's avatar
No problem commenting again - you could comment 100 times and I'd hardly complain ;)

But yes, your qualms are certainly well-founded. I've now been staring at this piece for a long time trying to make sense of what I was doing here, and I think you've presented me with a bit of a problem! Or rather both you and Tolkien.

Firstly I'd say that we're looking SW rather than full-South in this piece. Nevertheless, the scene takes place in the morning so in actual fact the sun SHOULD be more or less positioned on the left side of the canvas, which means I've placed the shadows wrongly here (from W to E, i.e., late afternoon-evening). In turn, this begs other questions. If the Fellowship are trying to go back Westward (i.e., rightwards in the direction that Boromir and Aragorn are 'shovelling', and which Legolas will turn to shortly), how can can the Elf be 'going to find the Sun' in the morning? I guess the answer is that this was just a jesting 'figure of speech' between he and Gandalf.

In my mind, the storm clouds would be covering the morning Sun/approaching from the East, hence why I chose to make the right side of this piece brighter. The question then becomes, would the light in the West be strong enough - given that the Sun is hidden in the East - to create the shadows I've placed here? I guess the answer is probably a 'NO'. But oh well! I wanted to make the storm seem dark and ominous, and this was the only ay I could do it, I think!
MarysMirages's avatar
peet's avatar
Very glad you like :D!
The-girl-in-Mirkwood's avatar
Very, very well drawn! The landscape looks really beautiful and realistic!
peet's avatar
Oh thank you! Really glad you enjoy this piece - the mountains took a long time, but were fun to paint I have to say :D
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