wallace_trust: Me and my plum tree (Default)
Hello and Welcome! to this journal, devoted to my ongoing artistic relationship with the inspirational characters from "The Lord of the Rings."

I first read Tolkien's masterpiece when I was very young and in need of it without knowing, and it transported me into a world of love and grief and hope and beauty that I have never left behind. Even now that I am well into middle age, with thousands of books under my belt, the only other works I have read with which I am willing to compare it are sections of the Mahabharata and certain stories from the Puranas-- stately and ancient Sanskrit works of extreme beauty and power.

Since I first read the book I have been working on LOtR fan art, made only for my personal satisfaction, because I simply cannot help myself. There's just too much beauty in the story; I had to start painting or burst! While I have appreciated all of the various movie and television versions, my art has always been based solidly on the original book and my personal extrapolations from it, and most of it features Frodo and Sam, the dear companions of my youth, as I have envisioned and re-envisioned them over the years. Now, at this stage of my life, it's finally time to share the results of that long and wonderful journey. I hope you like it. 

Why Frodo and Sam? Why not the dashing Aragorn, or the ever-popular Legolas? Because the hobbits are the heart of the matter! Frodo and his gallant gardener are not the biggest, or the strongest, or the smartest, or the most handsome characters in the "Lord of the Rings." But they are by far the most courageous, and in some unexpected ways. Indeed, as Elrond informs them, the difficult task they face together, that we all face every day we live in this Middle-Earth, may be attempted by the weak as well as by the strong. The ultimate human conflict cannot be won by force of arms, but by the heart alone.

Empathy, compassion, unconditional love and selfless service-- the ability to recognize others as part of one's self, the ability to support our friends to the last breath and have mercy on those who betray us-- these defeat the evil of the human ego when it has grown too big. In Tolkien's world the planet Venus, our Star of Love, is Eärendil's Star, the Star of High Hope!

I hope you enjoy your visit to my little corner of Middle-Earth, however brief it may be. 'The Rules' are simple and commonsense. Everyone is welcome here, no exceptions. Diverse opinions are encouraged. Everyone has their own version of what Tolkien means to them and these versions can be very different. This is the mark of a great, enduring book which can withstand the test of time and apply itself to whatever human circumstance.  So be courteous.  Flaming and hate posts will be removed. And please don't hotlink to my fanart, but rather to the home page.

DISCLAIMER:  This website is my personal, non-commercial, artistic journal and NOT an official "Lord of the Rings" site, and it is NOT affiliated in any way with any official LOtR rights-holders.  I do not own any of these characters; they were created by J.R.R. Tolkien. The artworks and commentary posted here are a labor of love, not for profit, and intended to express my admiration for Tolkien's books and to encourage others to read and study the Professor's original works. 

Below:  "Imaginary Friends." 

     When I was a kid I would camp out under the stars with my invisible hobbit friends.

[sticky entry] Sticky: The Eagles Have Come!

Dec. 4th, 2015 08:42 pm
wallace_trust: Me and my plum tree (Default)

wallace_trust: Me and my plum tree (Default)
As Frodo sleeps in Ithilien, Sam contemplates his beloved friend.

Frodo sleeping in Ithilien

[sticky entry] Sticky: "And Then I Said..."

Dec. 14th, 2037 07:08 am
wallace_trust: Me and my plum tree (Default)
Frodo captivated by Sam's heartfelt description of him in Ithilien. 

wallace_trust: Me and my plum tree (Default)
 Here's a 25-year-old photo of me and my Tyrolean harp, Edelweiss, all ready to go to a gig.  :) 

Me and my harp

wallace_trust: Me and my plum tree (Default)
There are so many aspects of Tolkien I enjoy, including collecting as much Tolkien-based music as I can find.  Still, despite my having been a music tutor and psychomusicology major in the distant past, the thought of doing LOTR-related music reviews didn't cross my mind until a couple of days ago, when I finally purchased the MP3 version of the title above.  It's a knockout. 

There have been many attempts at making 'authentic' Middle-Earth music, but this is one of the best.  Described by the creators as "the fully realised music of an ancient, lost civilization," it was recorded over a period of seven years in what can only be regarded as an intense labor of love.  A deep academic study of Tolkien's words, languages, and his works as a whole is very apparent throughout these compositions.  
Absent the booklet which no doubt contains crucial information, I can still try to describe this awesome music.  First, there is a preponderance of excellent vocal and choral pieces, including "Namárië," which is basically a Latin mass sung in Elvish-- stunning!  
In addition to the most professional-sounding vocalists I've heard in awhile, many period instruments are flawlessly played here to create pieces which sound alternately medieval and modern.  A fascinating and utterly mesmerizing work titled "Elo Elleth" is a world music combination of medieval English and Indian folk music with soft rock, all played on period instruments and accompanied by strong percussion.  
"The Longbottom Leaf" is Hobbit music for sure, but of a way different calibre than the norm.  Unlike more common depictions, it is neither cute nor particularly beautiful; it is instead the serious, no-nonsense instrumental music of a determined people.  
"Beware the Wolf" is perhaps the darkest piece on the album, although "The Silver Bowl" gives it a run for its money.  It refers to Carcharoth, the Wolf of Angband, and is sung as a folk ballad with medieval influence.  
"Creation Hymn" is a lovely piece using medieval overtones but incorporating some modern chords; however, to me, it feels a little too lighthearted to fully represent the creation of Arda.  
"The Battle of Evermore" is a profound rearrangement of the famous Led Zeppelin song which intrigued me as a kid, but ultimately left me baffled.  I still don't particularly connect with the song, but this version of it is an improvement.  
"The Evening Star" is the star of the entire album, and is all but guaranteed to produce the sweetest of tears.  This crushingly beautiful, sad song has haunting lyrics and a lovely, stately melody, and refers to the flight of Eärendil, the Evening Star.  While perfect for Elwing and Eärendil, it makes sure to cover all of Tolkien's characters who have lost dear friends, family and lovers to the Sundering Seas.  It works beautifully for Frodo and Sam, and it is so applicable to our own lives as well.  This beauty is easily worth the price of the entire album and went immediately onto my permanent playlist. 
And finally, the simple, rustic instrumental "Terra Beata" takes us down from those unsustainable heights and back to daily life.  
Altogether this gem of an album comprises 19 generous tracks for over an hour of satisfying listening, and is available as an  instant download for $8.99 on Amazon.  Alternatively, single tracks can be purchased for 99 cents each.  
NOTE:  When I purchased the album, the full download kept giving me a 'network error.'  I was able to circumvent this glitch by downloading each track separately from my Amazon music library.  
wallace_trust: Me and my plum tree (Default)
"Return to Amestris," my incredibly verbose and undeniably bizarre 203,224-word FMA fanfic, is now posted on AO3.  Rated Mature Audiences.  For any FMA addicts out there who are looking for something to read  ;D  

More fics coming in the future as I uncover them, from diverse fandoms.  ^_^;

This entry was originally posted at http://free-to-dream.dreamwidth.org/9112.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
wallace_trust: Me and my plum tree (Default)
This pic has a very special history.  It was done when the doctors last year said that my dear mother might have less than a week to live.  I painted her as Sam and myself as Frodo, standing together at the edge of eternity.  

There were so many strange feelings going through me when I was working furiously on this pic while Mom lay nearby, barely alive.  I alternated between working on the painting to ease my own tremendous stress, and lying on the foot of her bed with her, holding her legs as she suffered. The cancer had closed her throat almost completely, and if the proton beam therapy didn't work, she was going to die by strangulation. I remember repeatedly thinking that the picture should have a white ship, but if it had a white ship, she would surely sail on.

When the proton beam worked, they rang bells for her.  :)

(Story posted with Mom's permission)

Sam and Frodo at the edge of eternity
wallace_trust: Blue Unicorn in a nebula (Unicorn)
 OMG thinking of those poor people trapped in the building and those who have lost everything!  How horrible!  :(  

wallace_trust: Me and my plum tree (Default)
 A walk with friends through an enchanted land...  :)  

EDIT:  Posted now on AO3 for those who can't seem to view it here on Dreamwidth.  Please do let me know if you can view it over there  :)  

A walk through Middle Earth


wallace_trust: Me and my plum tree (Default)


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