There and Back Again . 24x36 . 2013

Well, here we are. Again. 

1. natural lighting

2. interior lighting

3. mixed uv (black) and interior lighting

4. uv lighting only

5. no light (glow in the dark)

Ingredients: acrylic, sand, crushed glass, glass beads, pebbles, crushed garnet, phosphorescent pigments, water & light on canvas. 

When I was first asked to paint The Shire in 2011, I found the idea a little intimidating. It's the freaking Shire.  And who was I to try and reinvent something that was written so well that so many hold dear? But, as I started, I got to thinking..... The Shire... The light. The sky. The color. The joy and serenity and wonder of it all. The MAGIC. Wait a second. I was BORN to paint the Shire! And I truly loved doing it so much that I kinda wished I'd be able to again. But, ya know, I generally stick to my circles and time went on and well, anyway..... that was then. 

But things circle around, and this year another fellow LoTR fan contacted me to express interest in me revisiting the Shire. WHAT?! A trip back to Middle-earth? TO THE SHIRE?! UM YES. And thank you kindly for asking.

What I learned while painting The Shire the first time was that it felt more like a state of mind than acrylic arranged on canvas. The Shire made ME happy to paint. I wanted to live there too, and for a short time while painting it, I was able to. I think we all have a place in our hearts that make us feel that way. Our own personal Shire. For me, it's probably Hawaii. The light sparkles differently, the water is crystal clear, the colors are more saturated than anything I've ever seen. I just feel at peace there. And that's really what the Shire is, I think, relative to the rest of Middle-earth. It's everyone's happy place. The place you NEED to know exists in the world because it balances all the rest. It makes the daily hardships of life just a little bit easier to handle. We can all close our eyes, and whenever we want, be in that place. In the Shire.

Or, if you're lucky like me, you get to be there up close and personal for a time, or like Ray, the owner of this painting, whenever he feels like looking up at it. It was an honor for me to visit there again. I hope it's not the last time either. I'm a convert. I'm a Shire addict.  

I try not to play favorites with my own paintings, because I change my mind often, and generally evolve my opinions over the course of years in my career. But let's just say I had more appreciation and reverence for what I was doing this time around, and the process meant much more to me. It was emotional, and serendipitous, as I really needed to escape a few dark places in my own mind for time. I needed to rebalance. I needed to be surrounded by that indescribable light and magic.

I love this painting.