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July 28, 2007
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Thingol and Melian by aautio Thingol and Melian by aautio
The Meeting of Thingol and Melian

Elwë, Lord of the Teleri, went often through the great woods to seek out Finwë his friend in the dwellings of the Noldor; and it chanced on a time that he came alone to the starlit wood of Nan Elmoth, and there suddenly he heard the song of nightingales. Then an enchantment fell on him, and he stood still; and afar off beyond the voices of the lómelindi he heard the voice of Melian, and it filled all his heart with wonder and desire. He forgot then utterly all his people and all the purposes of his mind, and following the birds under the shadow of the trees he passed deep into Nan Elmoth and was lost. But he came at last to a glade open to the stars, and there Melian stood; and out of the darkness he looked at her, and the light of Aman was in her face.
She spoke no word; but being filled with love Elwë came to her and took her hand, and straightway a spell was laid on him so that they stood thus while long years were measured by the wheeling stars above them; and the trees of Nan Elmoth grew tall and dark before they spoke any word. ”

-- J. R. R. Tolkien: The Silmarillion, Chapter 4: Of Thingol and Melian


Here's a scene that has been depicted many times over, but I believe there's still room for another interpretation.. Elwë Sincollo and Melian the Maia meet for the first time in the starlit forest of Nan Elmoth. I've sketched these characters before but haven't been happy with my previous efforts. I think this is better, even if they are slightly caricatured..

I didn’t have time to do the Photoshop part before now, but the pencil piece was drawn and scanned sometime in April-May..ish, I think, mostly as an experiment.. I've drawn with such heavy outlines in my recent works that I felt like doing things slightly differently this time. I wanted a more dreamy, mystical tone on this one.. Especially with the background, where I’ve "gone all Alan Lee" a bit and tried to create shapes without hard outlines.. Another source of inspiration for the background was my love of etchings.. I wanted to create a somewhat similar effect here. I quite like the result – let me know what you think of it.

HB pencil on copy paper + the usual Photoshop treatment.

Oh, and in case you're wondering "what on Arda is she wearing..?" – It’s.. a bed sheet. That’s right. :| She a goddess-of-sorts and goddesses wear bed sheets. (What, they don't teach you such basic facts about mythologies anymore? :disbelief: Pssh, schools these days.. =p)


detail closeup
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:iconjohncarswell:
johncarswell Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2015
Hi! This is beautiful. I used it in a post on "Thingol and Melian" here: truemyths.org/2014/11/15/silma…

Hope that's OK! Thank you for your work!
Reply
:iconpolymath13:
polymath13 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2013  Hobbyist
This is stunning! The airy quality makes it so surreal and the detail is fascinating.
Reply
:iconamandarini:
AmAndArInI Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
I featured your illustration in my journal
[link]
Reply
:iconmachine-birdy:
MACHINE-BIRDY Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2012
This is wonderful. I love everything about it!
Reply
:iconryuk88:
Ryuk88 Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2010
Looks just like i pictured it. Really captures the moment in the book perfectly.
Reply
:iconluminor21:
luminor21 Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2010
it's beautiful

just the way i imagined their first meeting

thanks for drawing this
Reply
:iconkiniro-no-hana:
kiniro-no-hana Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2009
excellent the only criticism i can think of is that thingol look too, well for a lack of more eloquent phrasing, he looks like some old dude from Star Wars. There is too much care written on his face when the world has only just begun for it to look good. plus he seems too thin, ive sorta always thought he'd have very strong, broad shoulders, but still look graceful cuz elves rock like that. but i could be wrong, who knows? i love your scenery though!
Reply
:iconsallamarja:
sallamarja Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2009
i love this picture! It's just so beautiful <3
Reply
:icongreeninkling:
GreenInkling Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2008
Of course she has a bedsheet - goddess don't wear clothes, so she had to do something to be decent when a man stumbled in! :XD:

It's really utterly lovely.

Re: naked body. I'm a woman and a devout Catholic. I find nothing offensive about a naked body, especially because the intention is not to sensualize and subjectify. I don't find anything offensive about a naked man. And if you know the Catholic company of the Professor's day, they were ANYTHING but prude Victorians. See: G.K. Chesterton.
Reply
:iconnordiclynx:
NordicLynx Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love this picture. Ist wonderful :love:
Reply
:iconjwminnaard:
jwminnaard Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2008
You made the abstract beautiful feeling of Melian so very concrete!

I love it!
Reply
:iconalyahndarkelf:
AlyahnDarkelf Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2008   Photographer
LOL at the bedsheet thing. ;) good picture btw
Reply
:iconhrymfaxe:
hrymfaxe Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2007
Oh this is lovely - I like how they only touch each other physically with their hands, yet you can feel that they are connected on so many other levels! And the background is very mythical and ethereal.
Reply
:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2007
Thank you! :D
Reply
:iconluthce:
Luthce Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2007
Absolutely beatiful. I don't know what else to say
Reply
:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2007
Thanks! :hug:
Reply
:iconfirestar0692:
firestar0692 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2007   Photographer
This is beautiful.
Reply
:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2007
Thank you! :)
Reply
:iconmoon-blossom:
moon-blossom Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:love: I love it! Melian looks so graceful and divine-like.

Beautiful :aww:
Reply
:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2007
Thank you! :hug: Glad you like it!
Reply
:iconlena-hyena:
Lena-Hyena Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2007
Ohhh, going Alan Lee looks nice. I have The Children of Húrin on my desk now, and, oh, it's such a tempting idea...
And bloody dangerous ;)
But you pull it off with your background, and it fits the "dreamy" subject really well.
Elwë looks a bit too undernourished and melancholic for my taste, but her sheet... her sheet is great! Hope it slips off. :D
Reply
:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2007
Haha, thanks! :D Glad you like it. I always pictured Elwë as really thin since he was so tall.. and come to think of it, he didn't eat anything for decades so you bet he's malnourished! =P

Actually, I thought it a bit strange to think of reasons why an angelic spirit of nature (who dances through forests and sings with birds) would wear mundane clothing at all.. except of course the fact that the story was written by a conservative catholic man with a Victorian Era upbringing.. ;) So I thought it would be appropriate for her to wear a sheet.. shroud for "decency's sake."
Reply
:iconlena-hyena:
Lena-Hyena Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2007
Hmmm, but then, think of the other aspect of nudity - as a sign of innocence and perfect purity. If you look closer at Victorian painting, you will find a surprising number of female nudes (Leighton, Alma-Tadema, Waterhouse, etc.) - the basic idea being that the naked female body is a form (and a perfect one, at that) rather than a subject. So, in that sense, without me lecturing too much, someone like Tolkien could comfortably accept a female nude, not in spite of Victorian upbringing, but because of it.
Reply
:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2007
Hmm.. I’m almost sure I replied to this message before.. maybe I just never clicked send or something. :confused:

Anyway.. that is a very good point. The classical means of expression in art, where the aim is not the recreation of objective reality but symbolic presentation.. :nod: I’ll buy that.. I’m sure the professor would have approved.

And I couldn’t agree more that if there is a single form that symbolizes beauty and perfection, it can’t be any other than the naked female body.. :yum: (hmmm.. I’m going to need more models at my atelier.. ;))
Reply
:iconlena-hyena:
Lena-Hyena Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2007
*and the wild horde of feminists chops you to tiny pieces and feeds you to the dogs*
:chainsaw:

Careful, dear, do not be so easily persuaded.
Female body as a symbol, as beauty personified, as an object of perfection and admiration is a nice, coherent, plausible idea, widely revered in the past.
But Kenneth Clark and a whole bunch of other art historians got mocked and attacked for it by feminist writers and, I should add, rightly so.
Because no matter how much you may admire the female body, turning it into pure form leads to objectification, depersonalization and, at the extreme end, empty idolatry, an image of something that has never existed and never will.
Mind you, we're still doing it happily. Look at fashion photography.
*end of rant, thankyouverymuch*
Reply
:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2007
:O Yikes! :sprint:

I wasn't being entirely serious, you know.. (and I don't have an atelier, much less models.. a shame, that, but anyway..) ;)

Anyways, just to make myself clear: I don't see women as mere objects. (And I wouldn't normally even dare to joke about it aloud.. :roll: after all, I live in a country where we men are being ruthlessly oppressed by fanatical feminists on a daily basis! =P)
Reply
:iconlena-hyena:
Lena-Hyena Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2007
Tee-hee :giggle:
I do have a sense of humour, you know, despite my sour face.

I just thought it would be useful to present this subject from a couple of different angles ;)

Unfortunately, I live in a country where women often get beaten by their husbands and shot by jealous ex-boyfriends. So, no matter how much we can joke with agressive feminism, I cannot afford to wave some issues aside.

However, this has nothing to do with you or with your lovely almost-nude. No personal attack intended whatsoever.

Good luck with finding models! =P
Reply
:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2007
:D Heh, I thought so.. just wanted to make sure there wasn't a misunderstanding.

Yeah.. :( Unfortunately Finland also has very bleak statistics in domestic violence.. (and alcoholism, which is directly connected to the problem). But in here (and I speak from personal experience..) it's not just the men who are violent but women as well. :(

Back during our first two years at the University we actually had formal art teaching, which was largely drawing and painting nude model. It was great.. I think it's one of the best ways of learning how to draw. Hhmm, I wonder if I could put together an art group.. perhaps we could afford a model.. :plotting:
Reply
:iconverwildert:
Verwildert Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I wonder if I wore a bed sheet out in public, if I might be considered a goddess...... :greetings: Perhaps I should try this one day. :plotting: I've decided that when I take over the world, I will wear naught but a bed sheet! Just in case anyone had any doubts at all...

I think you've achieved everything you set out to do in this piece.. the background is really my favourite part, definitely dream-like. The figures are also kinda waftish, but in a good way, like they're suspended there, defying space and time. Hmmm.....
Reply
:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2007
:lol: I don't think there's any doubt about your divinity in any case, but sure - i'm sure it'd look great on you. :D

And thank you - I'm glad the dreamy atmosphere seems to work like it should.
Reply
:iconsapphire07:
sapphire07 Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2007
Amazing ^^
Reply
:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2007
Thanks! :)
Reply
:icontoradh:
Toradh Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That's wonderful! I like the dreamy atmosphere you created with that sketchy, misty looking background and the glow around Melian.
And yes, gods DO wear bed-sheets!
Reply
:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2007
:D That's right, they do! Thanks! :)
Reply
:iconsuccubus1982:
Succubus1982 Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Melian is lovely she's exactly how I envisioned her, nymph-like and graceful. And you can actually almost see the 'Light of Aman' in her face with the way theres a faint pale halo around it. Thingol on the other hand.......he needs some good cooking in him! Damn that is a skinny elf!
Reply
:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2007
Thanks! :) Glad to hear the halo works.. I tried to make it just a light glow, so as not to go too over the top with it.

and hey, Thingol didn't eat anything for probably decades.. you're bound to get skinny that way! ;) No, seriously.. I always pictured him as very thin since he was so tall..
Reply
:iconsilraen:
Silraen Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Lovely :heart: I love their expressions
Reply
:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2007
Thank you! :)
Reply
:iconstarryowl:
starryowl Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2007
Absolutely love this, the dream-like aspect is perfect, and I think you've interpreted the pair brilliantly.
Reply
:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2007
Thank you! :) I wanted to try something a bit different to create the atmosphere and I think it worked.
Reply
:iconwinterthorn:
Winterthorn Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2007  Student Traditional Artist
:O so beautiful! i love how he is just staring at her :giggle:
Reply
:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2007
Thank you! :) Yes, he kept staring at her for decades according to the legend..
Reply
:iconlost-mae:
lost-mae Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2007
very alan lee-ish =D adoring the background, another stunning piece =)
Reply
:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2007
Thank you! :D Alan Lee's work was definitely a source of inspiration here..
Reply
:iconvadrielith:
Vadrielith Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
amazing!great job!:+fav:
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:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2007
Thank you! :hug:
Reply
:iconsirielle:
Sirielle Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2007   Digital Artist
No comments? The background is gorgeous, I really love it, especially the stars. Goddes' clothes fit well,simplicity is best.
Reply
:iconaautio:
aautio Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2007
Thank you! :hug:
Reply
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