Thursday, February 11, 2016

Epic painting - The Fellowship of the RIng in Moria

by Donato


This past month has brought closure to another large scale private commission project, The Fellowship of the Ring in Moria.  The painting is now framed and will be shipped of to my client in the next few days. I am always filled with mixed emotions at the completion of a work of art in which I have invested months of my time, energies, and labors.  Is it good enough?  Will my client enjoy what they see? Would I do it again? Many of these immediate feelings are that of doubt, which for me tends to be par for the course when completing nearly any assignment, but they tend to weigh rather heavily after such a investment in one piece.

As this is not my first venture into large scale works, I know that these questionings will eventually pass, and I will be able to look with greater clarity at the work and better assess its value in my body of work and career.  One reassuring value that I do recognize as a positive is that I passed through a feat few tend to undertake.

Raft of the Medusa    Gericault

While walking through the museums of the world, I have always been impressed by the shear bravado of what many artists from history have accomplished, from the Raft of the Medusa by Gericault to the Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques Louis David, to even our contemporary world of the illustrated Frankenstein undertaken by Bernie Wrightson, all of these works exhibit a tremendous passion the artist had for their subject matter.  They exhibited deep dedication to their artistic voice and to the process of clarifying their message through the medium.  Seeing it begun, executed, and completed even at great personal expense.

Without these other great works beckoning me from museum walls, I do not think I could have ever built up my confidence to a level that allows me now to enter into these projects without hesitation.  They have provided an inspirational and technical road map to follow, for which I am extremely grateful!  The knowledge I have gained from observing these works first hand has been a key aspect of developing my ability to plan and manage the stages required for assembling these works.

Lander's Peak   Albert Bierstadt
While none of my compositions, nor even specific approaches to paint style is like these masterpieces, seeing a system evident in their construction proved to me that the road to creation of large scale works is just that, a road, albeit a long one.  Once committed to the journey, the greatest difficult was not so much in the technical, aesthetic decisions but rather in having enough patience in the process to see it through.  Once I became aware of this, the barriers in undertaking similar level engagements dissolved away.  But I would like to state, that my skills are far, far below what I see accomplished in these masterpieces.  I am constantly humbled by their beauty and sublime nature.

One of the great thrills for me from this work is to know that there will now exist a beautiful addition to the growing body of art which pays tribute to J.R.R. Tolkien's world of Middle-earth and the inspiration he provided through his writings (and illustrations!).  I am humbled to be a part of another generation which recognizes his ongoing contribution to our world and the messages he brings.

 It is always a joy to bring closure to an epic work, not so much for the relief that I have finished a commission but for the excitement that the next opportunity will present!

The Fellowship of the Ring in Moria    Donato Giancola    44" x 78"  Oil on Panel   2016






These past few years have seen the creation of four epic large scale works of Middle-earth from my studio.  What is interesting is that all of these works were undertaken for private clients, none for commercial commissions. Below are the other three works.  I look forward to seeing what the fifth will bring!

For those interested in expanding their skill set, both artistically and professionally, with me as your Mentor, I have just TWO slots left for my upcoming SmArt School semester. More info here:


Huor and Hurin Approaching Gondolin    Donato Giancola   110" x 72"  Oil on Linen

The Fellowship of the Ring - Descent from Caradhras    Donato Giancola   114" x 73"  Oil on Linen

Beren and Luthien in the Court of Thingol and Melian    Donato Giancola   120" x 60"  Oil on Linen

5 comments:

  1. The new painting looks incredible Donato, as does all the Middle Earth paintings you have made. I note that it was painted on a panel this time, probably because it is smaller than the other large works, and you can actually get it through the studio door! I am curious what material you chose for the panel itself?

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    1. My panel is a 1/2" birch veneer plywood, upon which my archival paper subsurface is mounted. This makes for a wonderfully flat surface with no give, unlike linen or canvas, upon which to work.

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  2. Your epic paintings are just that. Epic! Seeing Huor and Hurin Approaching Gondolin in person at Illuxcon was very much like standing in front of a Bierstadt or Thomas Moran for me. More like being inside a painting as opposed to just looking at one. I hope you continue to do more epics!

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    1. Thanks for the compliment Brian! Although i still have a LONG way to go before I can paint like Church, Moran or Bierstadt...

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  3. Gimli's body language is outstanding... I can hear him bragging about the wondrous Dwarven halls that await them.

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