Gandalf: A Light in the Dark
oil on board, 20" x 24"
"The last thing that Pippin saw, as sleep took him, was a glimpse of the old wizard huddled on the floor, shielding a glowing chip in his gnarled hands between his knees. The flicker for a moment showed a sharp nose, and a puff of smoke."
A Journey in the Dark, The Fellowship of the Ring
This painting is my offering in a trade with a friend and fellow artist Raoul Vitale. I asked for a painting of Bilbo in front of Bag End. You can see his piece on his blog here. Raoul has sent me a picture of the finish, and it's spectacular.
From me, Raoul requested a painting of Gandalf. I chose a moment during the Fellowship of the Ring's trek through the mines of Moria. Unsure of the way, and weary from the long journey through the dark, they have stopped to rest. The fate of the mission rests on his ability to remember the way and lead them safely through. In his anxiety, and perhaps troubled by a prescience of the challenge he will soon face, Gandalf needs a smoke.
Though the wizard is an immortal spirit of unfathomable power, in Middle Earth he is bound to clad himself in the body of an old man, subject to the pains, the cares and fears, and the weariness of an earthly existence.
On a side note, The passage from Tolkien that begins this post mentions a "glowing chip". The only thing I knew about how those in Middle Earth would light their pipes is that they didn't use zippos. Tinder boxes are sometimes mentioned (maybe that's from my D&D days, I'm not sure). Either way, I had no idea how they actually work. I found this video on youtube that answered the question for me.