Interview with Paul Gregory for the Council of Elrond

1.Which is your favourite of Tolkien’s books or your favourite scenes and why?
Of his books I’ve read, “The Hobbit”, “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Silmarillion”, I found them all visually stimulating. But I think it has to be “The Hobbit”, as this book introduced me not only to Tolkien, but to the Fantasy genre, for which I’m eternally grateful.

2.I understand that you did several pictures on large canvas’, can you tell me a little of how they came to be… the paints you used, how you design your work (sketches, etc)
My original idea was to paint a series of large paintings for eventual exhibition over a period of years to see how my work developed. The medium I use is oils. When painting large canvases I spend as much time sat looking at the paintings as I do painting them, so oils is an ideal medium, as drying times are never a problem. As for composition, once I’ve the basic idea, I do several preliminary sketches which I then usually stick on the canvas or the wall for reference, sometimes I may do an oil sketch.

3.Have you done any other Tolkien art besides the canvas, for instance calendars?
I have no plans to produce a Tolkien calendar, but there will be a book of my Tolkien inspired paintings, possibly including my album art.

4.Which is your favourite of the Tolkien work you have done and why?
I don’t have a particular favourite. My usual reply to this question is ‘the next one’.

5.I notice that in one of your paintings ( designs of Melkor – centre) Melkor appears to be stepping out of the picture frame…can you tell me why you decided to do it that way?
Are there any other of your paintings you wish to specifically comment on?

I painted the inner frame to this painting and the idea to place Melkor’s foot on the edge of the frame came to me after looking at the painting for a long time. It wasn’t part of my original composition. Perhaps there’s some deep subconscious reason or some subliminal influence at work? I think it purely helped the composition, or do I!

6.What are your artistic influences especially with reference to your Tolkien work?
Music, books, as for painters there are to many new and deceased painters to mention, so as not to offend by omission, I’ll decline that one. As for influence re my Tolkien work, Tolkien.

7.What do you think it is about Tolkien’s work that makes so many people want to draw or paint it?
It’s a great tale, Tolkien wrote visually, and from the heart. It’s no wonder so many people have been influenced by this classic piece of work.

8.Did you enjoy the films?
As I’m still working on my series of paintings I don’t wish to be influenced by this epic depiction of Tolkien’s work, so as yet, I’ve not had the pleasure of seeing them. Perhaps I’ll wait for the full box set on DVD.

9.And of course the most important question…. When can we expect any further Tolkien art from you and can you tell us anything about what you are planning?
Amongst other things, I’m currently working on two new large Tolkien inspired paintings. These have both been commissioned by The Leicester Galleries in London and will be completed this year. The only thing I can tell you about them, is that one of the subjects is from ‘The Two Towers’ the other from ‘The Return of the King’.

10.Is there other information you would like to add?
As you’ve given me the opportunity to add something, albeit unrelated to Tolkien or my paintings, the other great love of mine is music, not as a musician I hasten to add, but as a promoter. A joint venture with mybusiness partner Vince Brotheridge has culminated in ‘BLOODSTOCK’ THE best Heavy Metal Festival in the UK. (http://www.bloodstock.uk.com)

And on that note, stay heavy!


With thanks to Paul Gregory. Edited by k.

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