And welcome to my newsletter for July, 2010! Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be interested in keeping up with me! To receive these newsletters regularly, please drop me an email or subscribe online from my website (http://www.JefMurray.com ) or at: http://groups.google.com/group/Mystical_Realms . Notices of events and items of interest are at the bottom of this email.
I have posted three new painting images on my website. These are "The Window on the West", "Legolas comes to the sea ", and "The Grey Company". You can see all of them by going to http://www.JefMurray.com and clicking on the "Newest Works" button on the top of the page.
In addition to these works, I've added a few new graphite sketch images. These include a wedding sketch of "Arwen, "Eowyn", a new sketch of "Gandalf", "Galadriel", and "Arwen & Aragorn". I've also included one of the interior illustrations from "The Magic Ring".
As always, these and all of the works in my online galleries are available as signed and numbered limited-edition Giclee prints.
Do let me know how these new works strike you!
June heralds the high tide mark of summer sorcery. Crystalline skies cap stark shadowed cityscapes. Hazy days await late July and August, but June only threatens thickness of air and of spirit.
We wandered Atlantic shores on mornings the first weeks of last month. Tractor treads betokened armored assaults on sand dunes each night. Then one morning, behold! There beneath the balcony a plated lady lay her brood amongst the sea oats. Then, parting crowds like Moses, she heaved her way waveward, and was gone: leaving crusted compliments from Ulmo's realm.
Evenings like red velvet cake coax out lightning bugs. On June Eve we'd seen nary a glimmer. But now the copse that coddles our backyard deck flares with Faerie lights.
These are strange times; but, if you're paying attention, you'll claim that for every day, even for every moment. "Behold I make all things new!" says the One who sits on the throne. And it is as true for our time as it is for all time to come. But to our own peril, we've stopped seeing what's around us. Busy with busy-ness, we pile onto planes and congregate at conferences to hear sage speeches recommending retreat and reflection. This is madness!
When we lived on Tyre Creek, we trapped blue crabs off our dock and I pulled oysters off of razor banks that blossomed offshore. Lorraine was a champion crab picker; we often boiled and enjoyed the sweet taste of them with just a mist of lime and a drop of melted butter all the while watching a crimson sun set over the Gulf of Mexico. A neighbor who had lived on the island for years invited us to supper one night. She, too, had a dock, and hers was larger and laden with nooks and crannies for benthic beasts. Yet when we asked whether she had a crab trap, she stared blankly. "You mean I can catch crabs out yonder?" It had never occurred to her.
And most of us are just the same. We are unaware that we are awash in wealth. Wild blackberries festoon the forests; squirrels and chipmunks scurry; blueberries ripen; bees bustle; pecans crackle underfoot. But we hurry home to find out if anything happened today .
"Behold I make all things new!" Because it's written in scripture doesn't mean it's "just" a fairy tale, "just" a nice thought some writer penned. Words like these flit off pages and smack us silly; they become one with who we are. Such sparks of power and grace are a battering ram, busting open the busy prisons we've built for ourselves.
But you are part of this bigger tale! You are given the grace to stop, and to breathe, and to look around you, this very moment, and to ask how you came to be where you are. And if you have a mirror, look at it! Who stares back at you from behind the glass?
Where is the teenager with the gilded dreams? Where the unstoppable warrior? What has become of the loving daughter and the noble son? How long has it been since you stopped to drink in the wonder, to watch the fairy lights in your own back yard?
Time's a-wastin'! Summer steeps! We sleep on silk sheets and toss treasures at every turn! Sorcery is nigh! Let not this moment pass you by!
The Magic Ring: Deluxe Illustrated Edition, by the Baron de la Motte Fouqué, is finally available! This is a new fully illustrated deluxe hardbound edition by Valancourt Books. You can purchase through the Valancourt Books website (see www.ValancourtBooks.com ), as well as from www.BN.com, www.Amazon.com, and other book retailers. I was privileged to have been asked to develop the cover and interior illustrations for this new edition, and it is one that finally presents this tale in a format in keeping with its magical and epic themes. Described as a cross between "The Lord of the Rings" and "Ivanhoe", this is a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and one that will appeal to all ages of folk who love chivalry, enchantment, and romance. You can keep up to date on the book's reception on the Facebook page entitled "The Magic Ring", or at Valancourt's website.
- MythCon 41, the 41st annual conference of the U.S. Mythopoeic Society, will be held July 9-12 in Dallas, and I will be participating (see http://www.mythsoc.org/mythcon/41/). I will be presenting two papers at this year's gathering, the theme of which is War in Heaven. At my first talk, which is entitled Fanning the Secret Fire: Sub-Creation as a Spiritual Voyage, I will discuss my work on Black & White Ogre Country as well as on the new illustrated edition of Fouqué's The Magic Ring. At the second, I'll be presenting a talk entitled A Journey Through Middle-earth: Sketches and Paintings of Tolkien's World. It should be a great time! Why not join us?
- Arjan Kiel, the gifted composer whose work is associated with the Fan Film "Born of Hope", has a demo CD of his Tolkien-themed music available to interested folk. He and I collaborated on the artwork for the CD and his revised website (coming soon), which uses painting images from "The Argonath", "Resurrection, "Tuor and the Swans", and "Legolas Comes to the Sea". To find out more, see Arjan's site at www.arjankiel.nl .
- The next full exhibition at Moreton in Marsh, "The Edge of the Wild", will be held August 13-16th. This is a free event, and it will feature not only the latest works from Ted Nasmith, Ruth Lacon, Peter Pracownik and myself, but also will serve as a celebration of the new Hilary Tolkien book, "Wheelbarrows at Dawn: Memories of Hilary Tolkien". In addition, copies of "The Magic Ring: Deluxe Illustrated Edition" by Fouqué, will also be available at the exhibit. Details and updates will be announced on the ADC Art & Books website (http://www.adcbooks.co.uk/ ), on the "Edge of the Wild" Facebook page, and on my website (www.JefMurray.com) .
- Volume 3 of "Silver Leaves", the journal of the White Tree Fund (http://www.whitetreefund.org/) is shipping! It features Tolkien/Fantasy Art and Artists as its theme. This issue should prove a worthy follow-on to Volumes 1 and 2. I've not seen the final layout, but I believe it may include a short article plus a few of my painting images in addition to the work of many other excellent artists.
- For folks interested in original paintings and sketches or prints of my work, please take a look at the ADC Art and Books online catalog at www.adcbooks.co.uk. It features Tolkien-themed works by Ted Nasmith, Ruth Lacon, Peter Pracownik, and myself. In addition, you'll find collectible items (e.g. Black & White Ogre Country: The Lost Tales of Hilary Tolkien) and rare books featured in the catalog and on the website.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010