Tolkien’s Trees and Landscapes

"The Gardens of the Merking's Palace (Roverandom)" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“The Gardens of the Merking’s Palace (Roverandom)” by J.R.R. Tolkien

The work of J.R.R. Tolkien has been a constant companion throughout my whole life. I discovered The Hobbit when I was 9 years old, and went on to read The Lord of the Rings soon after. My family was living in Taipei at the time, and there was this cool little bookstore just a short bus ride into the city where I was able to find the books in hardcover, which included these huge intricate fold-out maps, and had Tolkien’s beautiful artwork reproduced on the dust-covers. I also found copies of The Unfinished Tales and The Silmarillion in that bookstore too, which I tried to read at the time, but they were probably beyond me…

Ever since then I go through these phases where I become obsessed with Tolkien and his work all over again. I travel to Middle-earth and stay there for a while. As an adult, I tend to focus on The Silmarillion and related titles. There is something about that book and all of the related stories that is just fascinating to me. And so beautiful…

April ’16 was one of those Tolkien themed months for me. Maybe not as intensive as usual, but the theme was still there. Although now that I think about all I read and listened to, I guess there was a whole lot of Tolkien jammed in there.

I listen to a lot of audiobooks while I work and paint, and I started April off by listening to “Tolkien and the West: Recovering the Lost Tradition of Europe” and “Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth“. I also listen to a lot of podcasts while I work, and spent a bit of time listening to the Tolkien Professor’s “Shaping of Middle-earth” series. And then finally, as the month was wrapping up, one of my favorite podcasts, Rune Soup, had a new talkin’ Tolkien episode that I enjoyed hearing.

In that Rune Soup episode, there was some discussion about the drawings and paintings that Tolkien created during his lifetime. I’d seen some of Tolkien’s artwork before, but not a whole lot. I became curious, started to explore, and now I’ve posted many of his trees and landscapes here on ArtDuh so I can see and enjoy them any old time… and you can too!

You can also find many more goodies through the link below:

Geek out!

"The Forest of Lothlórien in Spring" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“The Forest of Lothlórien in Spring” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Wudu Wyrtum Faest (Grendel's Mere)" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Wudu Wyrtum Faest (Grendel’s Mere)” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Old Man Willow" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Old Man Willow” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Cove Near the Lizard" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Cove Near the Lizard” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Caerthilian Cove and Lion Rock" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Caerthilian Cove and Lion Rock” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Water Wind and Sand" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Water Wind and Sand” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Shores of Faëry" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Shores of Faëry” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Rivendell" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Rivendell” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"The Hills of the Morning" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“The Hills of the Morning” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Tree in Flower" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Tree in Flower” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Fantasy Landscape" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Fantasy Landscape” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Nargothrond" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Nargothrond” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"by J.R.R. Tolkien" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“by J.R.R. Tolkien” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Alder by a Stream" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Alder by a Stream” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"King's Norton from Bilberry Hill" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“King’s Norton from Bilberry Hill” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Foxglove Year" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Foxglove Year” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Tumble Hill, Near Lyme Regis" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Tumble Hill, Near Lyme Regis” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Flowering Tree" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Flowering Tree” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Lunar Landscape (Roverandom)" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Lunar Landscape (Roverandom)” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Man in the Moon" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Man in the Moon” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"The Cottage, Barnt Green" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“The Cottage, Barnt Green” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Three Trees in a Cubist Style" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Three Trees in a Cubist Style” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Moonlight on a Wood" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Moonlight on a Wood” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Bird in a Flowering Tree" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Bird in a Flowering Tree” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Abstract Design" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Abstract Design” by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Fangorn Forest" by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Fangorn Forest” by J.R.R. Tolkien

Everything is Waiting for You

I came across the poem below by David Whyte recently. My mind keeps retuning to it and I wanted to share it here on ArtDuh as a constant reminder that Everything is Waiting for You!

Everything is Waiting for You

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

— David Whyte
from Everything is Waiting for You
©2003 Many Rivers Press

Marmalade City Library


I’m a nerd for books, I admit it. I probably already have way too many myself, but I still plan on getting many many more.

Even though I love having my own personal library, it makes me so very happy to know that in a few days I’ll have access to thousands of additional books just a short walk down the street at the new Marmalade City Library.

It also makes me happy to see this library has finally come together and is completed. Plans were originally announced around 2004 or so, with groundbreaking expected to begin in 2008. But then the world changed, the economy collapsed and… we all know the rest of the story and the fun times we’ve had ever since. But the city has finally been able to build the new library and it’s doors open this weekend. More details below… w00t w00t!


Celebrate the opening of the Library’s newest location, the Marmalade Branch! The Grand Opening celebration will begin at 10am on Saturday, February 27 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and remarks from city officials. Activities suitable for all ages will continue throughout the day.

The Marmalade Branch is located at 280 West 500 North in Salt Lake City. For more information about the branch, click here.

Sometimes a Wild God

A friend sent me a link to this poem by Tom Hirons (below) a few months ago, and I’ve found myself going back to it from time to time to re-read it. I really love it. I’m sure you will too.


Sometimes a Wild God

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine.

When the wild god arrives at the door,
You will probably fear him.
He reminds you of something dark
That you might have dreamt,
Or the secret you do not wish to be shared.

He will not ring the doorbell;
Instead he scrapes with his fingers
Leaving blood on the paintwork,
Though primroses grow
In circles round his feet.

You do not want to let him in.
You are very busy.
It is late, or early, and besides…
You cannot look at him straight
Because he makes you want to cry.

The dog barks.
The wild god smiles,
Holds out his hand.
The dog licks his wounds
And leads him inside.

The wild god stands in your kitchen.
Ivy is taking over your sideboard;
Mistletoe has moved into the lampshades
And wrens have begun to sing
An old song in the mouth of your kettle.

‘I haven’t much,’ you say
And give him the worst of your food.
He sits at the table, bleeding.
He coughs up foxes.
There are otters in his eyes.

When your wife calls down,
You close the door and
Tell her it’s fine.
You will not let her see
The strange guest at your table.

The wild god asks for whiskey
And you pour a glass for him,
Then a glass for yourself.
Three snakes are beginning to nest
In your voicebox. You cough.

Oh, limitless space.
Oh, eternal mystery.
Oh, endless cycles of death and birth.
Oh, miracle of life.
Oh, the wondrous dance of it all.

You cough again,
Expectorate the snakes and
Water down the whiskey,
Wondering how you got so old
And where your passion went.

The wild god reaches into a bag
Made of moles and nightingale-skin.
He pulls out a two-reeded pipe,
Raises an eyebrow
And all the birds begin to sing.

The fox leaps into your eyes.
Otters rush from the darkness.
The snakes pour through your body.
Your dog howls and upstairs
Your wife both exults and weeps at once.

The wild god dances with your dog.
You dance with the sparrows.
A white stag pulls up a stool
And bellows hymns to enchantments.
A pelican leaps from chair to chair.

In the distance, warriors pour from their tombs.
Ancient gold grows like grass in the fields.
Everyone dreams the words to long-forgotten songs.
The hills echo and the grey stones ring
With laughter and madness and pain.

In the middle of the dance,
The house takes off from the ground.
Clouds climb through the windows;
Lightning pounds its fists on the table.
The moon leans in through the window.

The wild god points to your side.
You are bleeding heavily.
You have been bleeding for a long time,
Possibly since you were born.
There is a bear in the wound.

‘Why did you leave me to die?’
Asks the wild god and you say:
‘I was busy surviving.
The shops were all closed;
I didn’t know how. I’m sorry.’

Listen to them:

The fox in your neck and
The snakes in your arms and
The wren and the sparrow and the deer…
The great un-nameable beasts
In your liver and your kidneys and your heart…

There is a symphony of howling.
A cacophony of dissent.
The wild god nods his head and
You wake on the floor holding a knife,
A bottle and a handful of black fur.

Your dog is asleep on the table.
Your wife is stirring, far above.
Your cheeks are wet with tears;
Your mouth aches from laughter or shouting.
A black bear is sitting by the fire.

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine
And brings the dead to life.





I like to spend time wandering through bookstores, just to see what I can find. Last week I realized that I hadn’t visited with any new bookshelves for too long, so I changed that. While I was at the bookstore, I came across a book called Designa: Technical Secrets of the Traditional Visual Arts and I knew I needed to own it! It goes through a number of different artistic principles, traditions, and theories. The individual subjects are at a pretty high level, dedicating only a page or two, but it covers a whole lot of different things. I suppose that I have better books addressing those separate and individual subjects, but seeing so many different subjects put together in one book, and put together so well, made me very happy.

So happy in fact that I got two additional books by the same publisher, Wooden Books. One of those books is called Sciencia: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Astronomy for All, and the other being Quadrivium: Number, Geometry, Music, Heaven. Again, these are both pretty high level, but between these three books there are hundreds of different subjects that are addressed.

Wooden Books has also published quite a number of other books too. I was kind of under the impression that the three books I did buy compiled their smaller books into one collection, but I appear to be wrong. At least, I think I am. I see they have a book called The Miracle of Trees, and that isn’t represented in any of the three books I did buy. But I will be very happy to get The Miracle of Trees too.

I’d recommend my new books to anybody. They help remind my how beautiful and complex this Earth we we live on, and the Universe we occupy, truly are.



Voynich Manuscript


The Voynich Manuscript is an amazing document. Both its history and the illustrations contained within. It probably has a great story too, but so far nobody has been able to translate it, so who knows what it actually says.

I’ve read all sorts of interesting theories about it, who wrote it and why. Over the years, I come across bits of information about it in random places, which I always enjoy. At one point, it was thought to be a forgery, but after many many test it has been determined to be completely genuine (well, by most experts anyway. Maybe there are some that still don’t agree). Although, again, nobody can really make much sense of it. I’ve heard it described as a witches grimoire, a history of medieval herb lore, or perhaps some sort of alchemical journal. I’ve even read one theory that it was created by Leonard Da Vinci (which has been proven false because the ink and velum are much older than that). One thing most articles I’ve read agree on is that it was probably written in code to pass along information that the Catholic Church was trying to stamp out.

One thing I do know though is  I do like looking at the illustrations. They are primarily made up of plants, plant people, and (what seem to be) strange astrological charts. Pretty cool and unique stuff!






Broken Smiles


I come from  a family of pretty creative folken. Anna wrote about my mom and sister Tonya a few years back, for example.

Well another sister, Tara Mayoros, has a book called Broken Smiles coming out this week on September 23rd and I am very happy for her. I know how much goes into that sort of thing!

In addition to picking up her new book, you should also follow her on Facebook (linked below) and be sure to check out her blog. She has many more exciting ideas and stories that she has shared with me, and these are great places to keep up with what she has going on. | Author-Tara-Mayoros