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Submitted on
January 13
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Talks with Tolkien artists: jgilronan

Journal Entry: Mon Jan 13, 2014, 4:12 AM

Allow me to introduce you a wonderful professional artist and Tolkien illustrator who joined deviantArt just recently, Joe Gilronan :iconjgilronan: - jgilronan.

Minas Tirith  War approaches. by jgilronan A Long Expected Party(Waiting For The Post) by jgilronan
Journey To The Undying Lands by jgilronan The Great River by jgilronan
Rivendell Wisdom Of The Elves by jgilronan The Party Tree. Bilbo's eleventy-first Birthday. by jgilronan

1. Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?

I am a full time professional artist and create work exclusively influenced by the writings of J.R.R Tolkien. I am originally from Chester, England but have lived in sunny Southern Spain for the last 6 years. I have exhibited and sold work world wide and work primarily in oils, acrylic and clay.

2. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?

I suppose it all started from a very early age when I first heard a reading of the Hobbit on a British children's TV show called Jackanory. I just loved the whole world that he had created, this in turn led me to The Lord of the Rings/Silmarillion. Ever since a part of me has inhabited this world and art has allowed me to continue this magical journey.

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

Huge, not a week goes by without having to dip into (reference) one of the books, they never leave my side whilst painting; they are the main driving force behind all of my works. Tolkien's writings have been a part of my life for so long that they have inevitably had a huge impact on how I see and live my life. There is a lot of wisdom to be gleaned from the writings and in some ways the books have become an unofficial guide as to how I live my life; so yes, I suppose I am a Tolkien nerd.

4. When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie.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?

Although the books will always be the major source of inspiration behind my work, the films cannot be dismissed out of hand. After finishing a painting, I realize that certain characters and settings sometimes strongly resemble the film versions. Tolkien’s Middle-earth and the Peter Jackson/Ralp Bakshi films have become such an integral part of one another, that at times it is very difficult to separate one from the other.

5. Now, could you tell us something about you and art? We know you are a professional artists, so what influenced this decision in your life? Who or what influenced your style?

It probably all started from a love of early fantasy films, films like King Kong, Jason and The Argonauts, The Wizard of Oz, the list is endless.

Trying to capture these fantastical worlds on paper is what first led me to want to create. Then Tolkien came along and that was it, I just knew that I had to try and commit his writings to canvas.

6. You only recently joined deviantArt. How is your experience with the site so far?

Fantastic, its such a warm, friendly and supportive site and best of all there are lots of groups with some amazing artists dedicated to Tolkien/fantasy inspired art work.

7. Where do you find inspiration for the Middle-earth sceneries you paint? Is it just your fantasy, or real locations as well?

I pretty much allow Tolkien’s writings to reveal themselves in the landscape and nature around me. I currently live amongst mountains, hill top castles and sprawling olive groves; it takes very little to imagine elves dwelling amongst the mist shrouded trees, dwarf strongholds in the mountains or proud knights populating the castles.

8. Most of your pictures are painted with oil or acrylics. Do you rather keep to the art techniques and styles you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?

I constantly experiment and use lots of different mediums and feel it is very important to try out different ideas and techniques; it helps to keep things fresh. At the moment I am playing around with earth mixed with modelling clay in order to produce some very texturized pieces.

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

- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?
Gandalf's Return Fireworks In The Shire. by jgilronan
This is difficult as each painting has its merits and flaws, however this piece is set during the opening chapters of TLOTR and for me is the best part of the book; so I have a soft spot for this one.

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

Anything by J. M. W. Turner who is my all time favourite artist.

- a picture that was hardest to paint?

Mordor ( Land Of Shadow ) by jgilronan

Mordor was a challenge as I deliberately avoided using black, which is the first colour that comes to mind when interpreting the land of shadow.

10. What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist? You can also tell us why, if you want.

Without a doubt my Father who made a name for himself as a leading British landscape painter. As a child I was constantly in and out of his studio and without even knowing taking my first art lessons by watching him paint.

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?

There are to many to mention and I feel it would be unfair to choose just one; I am a particular fan of lots of the digital artists, which is a art form I used to brush off before joining Deviant Art.

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

2014 promises to be a very exciting year with many exhibitions planned and the release of my first book "From The Shire To The Sea"

Thank you for the interview!

Previous talks: Bullet; Blue with Gold-Seven
                            Bullet; Blue with steamey
                            Bullet; Blue with ekukanova
                            Bullet; Blue with Tulikoura
                            Bullet; Blue with AbePapakhian
                            Bullet; Blue with kimberly80
                            Bullet; Blue with jankolas

Rohirrim journal skin.

Horse head © 2009 - Grinmir-stock
Texture by kizistock
Knotwork by gbrgraphix
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spicedwinefanfic Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014
JGilronan is such a wonderful artist; I am so interested to read this interview. His paintings could be hung in every home and only enhance them. They're incredibly beautiful with a wonderful atmosphere. I am not surprised Turner is Mr Gilronan's favourite artist; I thought of him when first seeing the paintings of Middle-earth. :)
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You are right about his painting, I just got a note from the post that my print of "The Great River" arrived! Can't wait to hang it in my hall :eager:
spicedwinefanfic Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014
Oh, how wonderful! Yes, I want some, too!
jgilronan Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you doesn't seem very much for such a wonderful comment but I really mean it and appreciate it.
spicedwinefanfic Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014
You are welcome. Your art really touches me on so many levels, and your pictures of the Shire remind me of where I used to live -- very good memories!
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