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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

A new poem by jan-u-wine, with a Frodo Art Travesty made from Metsu’s ‘Man Writing a Letter’.

Posted on 2007.12.22 at 14:45
Tags: , ,

I said in our “Thank you”post I had a few Art Travesties planned, Frodo manips with which I could showcase poems of jan-u-wine. This is one of them.

Although the poem and manip are more thoughtful and brooding than cheery, I thought they might do well as a gift of the season—according to my understanding of the season, that is.

For me, Christmas is more grave, more moving, and more poignant than what is conveyed by lighted trees and jolly men who come down chimneys saying ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’ bearing sacks of presents. It has a joy for me, but a quiet, contemplative joy. To put it another way, if this entry were Christmas music, it would have more in common with “What Child is This" or “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”, than “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” or “Jingle Bell Rock”. :)


In case you want to skip some of the sections, this is the structure of the entry:

1. Discussion of the source painting and its painter (for art fans).
2. The finished piece in three sizes (the largest size is linked).
3. Jan-u-wine’s poem, That Which Matters Not, for which this manip was made, followed by a reflection.
4. A technical section, for those interested in the making of the manip.

I hope you enjoy the art and poetry. My thanks to Jan, not only for writng the fabulous poem that prompted this Art Travesty, but for her help writing and proofing the texts for this post.

1. About the painting.

Gabriel Metsu was a Dutch painter, born in 1629 or 1630 in Leiden, where he lived and worked until moving to Amsterdam. His life and career were both regrettably short: he died in Amsterdam in 1667. He was not yet forty. Metsu’s father, a Flemish painter, was probably his first teacher. He is said to have become the pupil of a reputed Leiden genre painter, Gerard Dou. Yet Metsu’s early pictures were not of genre scenes. He began painting historical and mythological subjects, “musts” for any artist who wished to be considered a Serious Painter. Yet as the WGA entry says,

“[H]is most characteristic works are genre scenes, some of which rank among the finest of their period. He concentrated on scenes of genteel middle-class life, fairly close to de Hooch and Terborch in style, but with a personal stamp. One of his best-known works, ‘The Sick Child’ (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), is often compared with Vermeer [also noted for his use of light].”

The writer of the Wikipedia article wrote my favourite assessment:

“What Metsu undertook and carried out from the first with surprising success was the low life of the market and tavern, contrasted, with wonderful versatility, by incidents of high life and the drawing-room. In no single instance do the artistic lessons of Rembrandt appear to have been lost upon him. The same principles of light and shade which had marked his schoolwork in the "Woman taken in Adultery" were applied to subjects of quite a different kind. A group in a drawing-room, a series of groups in the market-place, or a single figure in the gloom of a tavern or parlour, was treated with the utmost felicity by fit concentration and gradation of light, a warm flush of tone pervading every part, and, with that, the study of texture in stuffs was carried as far as it had been by Ter Borch or Gerard Dou, if not with the finish or the brio of De Hooch.”

Because he did not date his work, the painting, “A Man Writing a Letter” is only roughly dated at 1665-67. There is a companion piece, "Woman Reading a Letter", perhaps meant to show the same letter written being read.

An art critic reviewing a show of paintings depicting the writing and receiving of letters—a popular subject in Dutch genre paintings—wrote of the painting for this manip,

“Bathed in clear, silvery light, both paintings are packed with pictorial symbols. In ''Man Writing a Letter,'' we see a young man at an open window composing a letter. Behind him are a globe and a classical pastoral landscape in a carved gilt frame. He is a man of means and education.”

~ from “The Intense Dramas Of Letter Writing” by Benjamin Genocchio, cited from an article in The New York Times, Feb. 8, 2004.

None of the Internet entries I found on Metsu's life are long, the one at Wikipedia being the most detailed, but my sources can be read in full at Rijksmuseum Museum, Wikipedia, the Web Museum of Art (WGA), and HiBeam Encyclopedia.

~ Source painting: Gabriel Metsu's Man Writing a Letter, ca. 1665-67:


2. The Finished Manip ~ “Frodo in Gabriel Metsu's Man Writing a Letter”.

I have fallen in love with this Art Travesty, partly because the source painting is so lovely, and partly because of the way Frodo looks in it. The way he is turning away (or turning back?)—the twist of his body in the chair, the expression on his face—all these aspects are evocative and multivalent. Given the watchful look in his eyes, (a look practically of recognition), it is almost as if he feels the presence of another person within the room.

Thanks to Metsu, the lighting is beautifully rendered, as if he were writing in the morning, perhaps between breakfast and elevenses. Jan-u-wine, seeing this manip, called Metsu “a good scene designer”, the setting is so perfect for the transported Squire. The room and its appointments are those of a gentlehobbit of means and taste: not ostentatious, but everything well-made and carefully chosen. I quite love his modest but elegant 17th century Dutch gentleman’s dress, fastidious without being fussy. Jan wrote of this scene, “Frodo looks entirely natural and comfortable within this framework, as if this is truly an alternate universe that he might have inhabited.”


The first copy of the final manip is shown at an intermediate size. If you have a smaller computer monitor you still won't be able to see the whole image from top to bottom without scrolling, but it will give you a good sense for the over-all look of the piece.

~ Lj size (800 pixels wide) of the final manip:

The image below is cropped, top and bottom, from a still-larger version, so that the detail can better be seen. I love being able to see the things on his desk, and the beauty with which Metsu renders everything. It moves me very much when a painter has "a reverent eye" towards his subject, whether it be a hare and a piece of turf or the creating of the heavens and the earth. Also, cropping the top and bottom hides the fact that the Dutch gentleman in the original painting wears shoes, something Frodo was unlikely to have done.

~ Crop of a larger version (1000 pixels wide), in order to show detail:

~ Very large version:

For viewers with very large monitors, or for those who simply would like to see Frodo or the whole painting in better detail, the largest version (1100 pixels wide) of the full manip may be seen by clicking HERE.

Note: When the image opens, it immediately defaults to a smaller size. Open it to full size by hovering the mouse over the lower right-hand corner: click the button that appears.


3. Jan-u-wine’s poem.

Jan-u-wine's gorgeous poem, That Which Matters Not, was written only last week. The manip was made to illustrate the poem. When I first read it, I was stunned. When I had recovered I wrote back feverishly, “We must post this! I must find something to illustrate it!’’ But what?

I had already screencapped the RotK scene of Frodo writing at his desk twice (the film version, and the take of the scene included in the EE extra, 'The End of an Era'). I had done an art manip of Frodo seated at a desk before, too. But I did have another suitable painting tucked away in my “Art for Manips” file, Gabriel Metsu’s Dutch gentleman writing a letter. I sent a copy to jan-u-wine, suggesting it serve as the poem’s illustration, once it had been made into a manip.

Four days later I showed Jan the finished manip. "Perfect!" she said. Perfect, in what way, I wondered? The crafting was good, I thought, but not impeccable. I read the poem again. Moving between poem and manip I began to see the way the image in the painting mirrored the image made with words. It was the pairing of the two, the way the manip went with the poem, that she’d meant.

I’ll save the rest of my comments for after the poem. I want readers to be able to savour the experience of reading it for themselves, without any outside influences.

That Which Matters Not

~ by jan-u-wine

Shadowed dark lies without,
hallways drowned

in sleep and night.

A single candle stays upon the desk,
the round of its light soft

and dying
upon neatened pages.

Even the hearth-fire is spent,
whispering low

with tired
blue-orange eyes.

He does not know I am here,
standing silent behind him,

breathing as he breathes,
quieting as he quiets.

Watching every rush of quill upon parchment,

at every moment it stills.

Like the moon his hand is,
casting its Light upon the midnight of the sky,
silver-pale fingers


upon the desk's dark face.

The cuff of his writing hand is carefully unfastened.

There are no stains upon the linen.


No stains upon anything which matters not.

And I see the reversed marks of the letters upon the heel of his hand as he up-turns the page,

the banding of them half-circled against the bird's-wing working of his wrist.

How fragile and innocent-beautiful it looks in the shadow-curved light.

I watch the slow deliberation of it until my eyes cannot see else,
my ears so taken with the feathered scratch of the quill
that my heart assumes its rhythm.

And when the music of it stops,
I stop, too,

coming to myself
as one who has walked far in the dremes of the night.

I do not need the words upon the page to know where he might be,
or why it is the quill has fallen without note from his hand.

I can all but feel the start-and-stop pulse in the hollow of his throat,
slow threaded sweat winding its way like cold memory.

Oh, if I were really *there*......

What would I do?

Would I kneel and tell him that I love him?

That the darkness means......
that the darkness


That it is only because we are mortal that it means anything at all.

It will pass,

and in passing,
become Light.

Light, which time and circumstance will consume

until Day's candle drips again with tallow'd night.

There is nothing I might do,
nothing I might say

that should comfort him.

Already, he is above my small concern.

* * * *

His fingers touch the quill:

as if he does not wish to take it up again.

As great a burden, this, as ever the other was.


In the morning,
the soft calls of birds yet half-asleep

upon the sweet-cold air.

Sun fingers steal like wakened Spring across the floor,
ripple in the window-rounds,

their advancing warmth upon the tilted desk.

There is tea here, too, the small breath of it making a thin scent-wraith above the pot.

He is looking out the window now,
the quill at ease in its rest.

He looks *easeful*, too,

as if he has found,
between the darkness and the dawn,
his own rest.

If peace has a scent,
it flavours the air within this room,

if hope may be placed within a frame of flesh,
it lives in the assured calm of his face.

This is his victory,

this small moment,
with the sun slicing its rainbows through the window,

the book closed upon the desk,
the white-pink uneveness of his hand touching it,

as one might, with love, shut the eyes of a departed friend.

Only one of us cries.

It hardly matters,

for I am not
*really* here.....


(and ever after) there shall live a circle upon wine-coloured leather,

a salted signature of love unspoken.


A Reflection on jan-u-wine's poem.

As I said above, when I first read this poem on December 14th I was stunned. I know I say “stunned” a lot, meaning by it, “I thought it was sensational”. And I do mean that. But I also mean I was stunned in the literal sense—struck still—struck not only by the beauty of the poem itself, as writing, but by the emotional impact of reading it. "Experiencing it" would be nearer the mark.

Never had I felt so close to this character, so privy to what might have gone on in Frodo’s mind/soul/spirit/heart as he wrote the darkest passages of the Red Book, revisiting what had to be the worst moment he had ever known, and getting through it somehow, perhaps in the act of writing about it. Yet, paradoxically, I felt myself curiously distanced, as if there were an invisible wall between us. Like the person in the poem’s point of view, the person watching Frodo as he wrote and struggled and mastered himself, I could not speak, or reach to touch him, however close I was; the “wall” was in the way. And that invisible wall was not breached until the very end of the poem.

Who was it that watched, I wondered? It did not seem to be Sam. Surely Sam, seeing his master entering an obviously critical place in his memories, would have spoken, would have tried to intervene somehow, if only to comfort and assure. But if it wasn’t Sam, then who?

I asked the author. It was us, she said, the readers: we who love and care about Frodo so deeply, who feel so close to him, yet who are not really *there*.

It is our lot as readers to see our beloved character in his nakedness, not his living nakedness, but his emotional and mental nakedness, in a way no character in the book may. Or that is what I think. We don’t have the relational closeness Frodo has with Sam and his friends, but we are permitted another sort of closeness, one that permits us to see what is veiled from them. We see Frodo after his friends have left the room—when he lets out his breath and his shoulders slump, and there is no one left for whom he must put up a front, out of pride or love. But that is because from his point of view we are not there.

The paradox of becoming involved in the lives of fictional characters is that we *are* there, in a sense. We are close enough to hear Frodo breathe, to see the corners of his eyes crease when he smiles, to smell his fear. We simply can’t be seen. We’re there from our side, but, as far as Frodo is concerned, we don’t exist. It is the storyteller (or poet) that allows us to see Frodo more nakedly and more vulnerably than anyone in his acquaintance could. Yet we cannot speak a word to him, touch him, or enter his world in any way that might make a difference. We can only watch, and love.

Maybe that’s why we write fanfic (or make fan art). It is the only way we have to get through that invisible wall. As writers, we create scenarios and write characters—original, or developed from characters in canon—who do have relationships with Frodo. Through those relationships we can make a difference in the life of the character we love, if vicariously, a difference we cannot make as readers, because of the invisible wall that separates us.

When I read this poem, thinking of Christmas, it reminds me that the invisible wall can actually be breached—shatteringly, with a blaze of trumpets, or softly and silently as falling snow or water running under rock—but not by mortals. For me, that’s the depth of the message of Christmas. And it makes me joyful—in a modest, fastidious, gentlehobbit-like way—to think on it.


4. Technical Matters: Behind the Manip.

a. The elements of the manip.

After browsing my screencap files, I selected about half a dozen different faces I thought might suit this painting, keeping Jan's poem in mind. To make the selection, I made quick, sketchy cut-outs of the "possibles" and rough-pasted them on top of the head in Metsu's painting, in otherwise un-retouched copies of the image. Jockeying between the semi-finalists, I finally decided which face I thought worked best. For this manip, it was a face from TTT.

~ Preliminary mock-up for selecting the right face:

The face for this manip was taken from an Emyn Muil screencap in which Frodo has just heard Gollum affirm his promise on the Precious, and Sam is saying he doesn't believe him. To use it for this manip, I flipped the image horizontally.

~ Source of the head and face:

Because in the screencap the top of Frodo's head is cut off, extra hair was necessary to supplement the missing area. I made a "toupee" from hair in a related screencap from the series.

~ Source of the crown hair:

b. The manip-making steps.

After I had made up my mind which head to use, I opened a fresh copy of the painting. Since Frodo's head would be in a different position from the original model’s, and his hair would be much shorter, newly-revealed areas of the background needed to be constructed.

~ A close-up of the placement of the head in the source painting:

A working draft of the manip, below, is cropped to show more detail. Behind the rudimentary head for this manip (i.e. the cut-out head, with the piece of extra hair pasted on, retouched to match the painting in colour and lighting), can be seen the sort of "reconstruction work" necessary for these projects. I created the right side of the window frame, brought in surrounding background area to fill in at the top and right, and made more fabric for the collar area of the shirt. For the most part I used the cloning tool at various transparencies.

~ A close-up of the same area with the newly-visible parts of the background supplemented with new construction. An earlier working version of Frodo's head (hair on the left trimmed back) is pasted on for reference.

Below is a late version of the manip. The background work has been done, and the working head with its toupee has been pasted in. After saving it as a JPEG file, which fastens all the parts together permanently, my program then allows me to use the retouching tools and filters I will need to work on the picture as a whole.

The finished manip required using the cloning and blending tools in order to finesse the hair, neck and collar areas into the source painting. To add extra clarity to the face and bring it out better, I also further sharpened it and added highlights. After that, I "lassoed" the imported face and head in order to apply a filter. At a low setting, adding a filter helps match the new head's surface texture to that of the painting. In this case, I used "Watercolor - Damp".

After all that was done I did additional adjustments to the full image, tweaking the contrast, overall lighting, colour saturation, and sharpness.

~ Near-end-stage version, all the pieces in place, ready for the final retouching.


Have a joyous holiday season, dear readers!

~ Mechtild

Tables of Links (click images to open):

~ Frodo Art Travesty LJ entries (entries that present selected manips, which may feature notes on the paintings and manip techniques, as well as essays or poems).

~ ALBUM of all Frodo Art Travesties (a gallery of images only—be sure to enlarge images after opening).

~ All entries featuring jan-u-wine's poems.

~ Frodo & Elijah Wood screencap entries


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melyanna_65 at 2007-12-22 22:12 (UTC) (Link)
Another fantastic manip, dear!!! And, as always, I'm fascinated at how well Frodo's face fits with classical paintings.

And since I'm here, I'd like to wish you a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

mechtild at 2007-12-23 05:37 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you very much, Melyanna. Frodo really does have such a classically beautiful face, he suits many periods of art. And thank you for the holiday wishes. A beautiful Christmas to you, too!
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mechtild at 2007-12-23 05:40 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Mews. (A hot bath revived me after the day of entertaining and tree-deocorating, so now I can say a hearty "thank you!") You are always generous with your appreciation. :)

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aliensouldream at 2007-12-22 23:17 (UTC) (Link)
Can you be stunned three times in ten minutes? I was, first by the amazing artwork, then by the incredible and moving poem, then by your thoughtful interpretation. Thank you for this, artist and poet, a rare combination of beauty!
mechtild at 2007-12-23 05:43 (UTC) (Link)
Gosh, Alien Soul Dream, you are very kind to say these things. Thank you so much for stopping by. I am wowed. :)

Edited at 2007-12-23 05:44 am (UTC)
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telstar_gold at 2007-12-23 00:25 (UTC) (Link)
This is like a masterclass in creativity, & I'm utterly in awe. Both you & Jan have outdone yourselves here, thank you both so much. And I love your insightful thoughts on why we write fanfic - I think you're absolutely right!
mechtild at 2007-12-23 05:45 (UTC) (Link)
Telstar, you are making me/us blush! Thank you so much so being so supportive of our work.
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frolijah_fan_54 at 2007-12-23 01:34 (UTC) (Link)
Your analysis of the exquisite poem is amazing - it really did feel as I read it that there was a wall separating me from Frodo and try as I might I couldn't comfort him. Jan paints so exquisitely with words. It's breathtaking.

And the manip you've done matches those words - exquisite. It really looks like Frodo has just entered an alternate universe - it's so HIM. I hope you know the work you put into these is VERY appreciated - Jan paints with words and you paint with pictures. And you are each amazing.

I hope you both have a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy 2008!!
mechtild at 2007-12-23 05:47 (UTC) (Link)
And the manip (...) It really looks like Frodo has just entered an alternate universe - it's so HIM.

Doesn't it? Maybe the Shire was in Holland, not England. (Prof. Tolkien: "What? What's this nonsense???")

Thanks so much for your incredible support, Frolijah Fan. And have a beautiful holiday. :)
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Jo Ann
yeuxdebleu at 2007-12-23 02:20 (UTC) (Link)
Your manip is breathtaking. You do incredible work and seeing the example of how you do it is fascinating. And I love the poem. The explanation of it makes it even more wonderful. Kudos to both of you.

I wish you a lovely Christmas and the best of everything in the coming year.
mechtild at 2007-12-23 05:50 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Yeuxdebleu. I know not every reader wants to see the "nuts and bolts" part, but I always appreciate it when people show something about how they made what they made in their art or graphics posts.

Isn't that poem a heart-stopper? I could never do it justice, but it was rewarding to try.

Thanks for the Christmas wishes, and the same to you. :)
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verangel at 2007-12-23 02:53 (UTC) (Link)
I have not read the whole posting yet. I was so enthralled by the picture..it is beyond lovely..it is so fitting. I couldn't believe how gorgeous he looked at that desk and thoughtful...
then I read the poem and tears started stinging towards the end. Its magnificent and heartwrenching...just as I see the resolve that Frodo faced and the strength he had to build within to get to this point, finishing his journey completely, to say goodbye to those he loved so much. And the one who saw it, but didn't also or didn't want to.
Its so much and more.
much love for this wonderful gift at Christmas from you all.
hugs...xoxoxo v
mechtild at 2007-12-23 06:16 (UTC) (Link)
Verangel, I am so glad you read the poem. It's just engrossing to read. I feel that I am right there, inside the poem's space, with its vivid picture of Frodo, in that time and that place. I especially loved the way she showed him mastering himself and his feelings, in order to go on. What a character Frodo is, and what character he has.

Have a beautiful holiday season, Verangel, and thanks so much for your heart-felt comments.
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shirebound at 2007-12-23 03:08 (UTC) (Link)
That's a beautiful manip. And this... What an accompaniment!

His fingers touch the quill:
as if he does not wish to take it up again.
As great a burden, this, as ever the other was.
mechtild at 2007-12-23 06:16 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Shirebound. The stanza you selected really affected me, too. I felt as though jan-u-wine showed me, vividly, in this one moment, an insight into the many such moments that had to have happened during the Quest, as things got more and more dire, and the power and burden of the Ring and Eye continued to wax. That is: Frodo being tested, suffering, struggling; yet summoning the will—by sheer determination and strength of character—to overcome it.

A beautiful holiday to you, Shirebound!
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The One Mari
marigold6 at 2007-12-23 06:17 (UTC) (Link)
This is a beautiful manip - you'd swear that was the original face. And thank you so much for explaining how you do it; I'm always fascinated by the ins-and-outs - you have such a deft touch and such a good eye.

And Jan, your words...I have none that would be equal to them. Other than repeating what the others have said - exquisite is probably the best I can do.

And to you both - Happy Holidays. *hugs*
(Anonymous) at 2007-12-23 15:54 (UTC) (Link)
Dear Marigold....Mech's work is always magnificent, isn't it? It's an honour to 'stand' beside her.

thank you for your very kind comment. I think.....I think that when the words we are looking for are *heart* words, those that spring from intense emotion....I think those are hard to find.....

However, I also think maybe a walk in the cold air would be in order, just in case my head is susceptible to swellage.

happy holiday to you, too!

julchen11 at 2007-12-23 06:57 (UTC) (Link)
It's unbelievable what you and jan are doing ...
The manip is simply gorgeous ... it beyond gorgeous.
It fits perfect for jan's touching poem. I read the poem and tears started rolling down my face ...
the beauty of words, your incredible work ... so much beauty is hard to bear, mechtild. I simply love it. And so much more...

"I can all but feel the start-and-stop pulse in the hollow of his throat,
slow threaded sweat winding its way like cold memory.

Oh, if I were really *there*......

What would I do?

Would I kneel and tell him that I love him?"

Thank you, for this wonderful Christmas gift.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to both of you!


(Anonymous) at 2007-12-23 16:26 (UTC) (Link)
thank you, Julchen! Among a whole "world" of lovely and thoughtful posts, I do think this one has a particular *light* about it. I imagine that is due (in no small measure)to its subject.

It is the sort of joy that wounds us like 'swords', isn't it? One that we see when we look into the sky, see the stars so unutterably far away. It is a joy born of yearning, I think, a yearning of our hearts for things we can't quite put words to, things that only a heart can ably 'perceive'.

Thank you again and please have a lovely holiday!

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maeglian at 2007-12-23 09:44 (UTC) (Link)
Mechtild, your entries contain so much that is comment-worthy, I hardly know where to begin!

It is an absolutely gorgeous manip - that expression on his face... sensing a presence, a harbinger of something or someone, in this world or the unseen other... It does fit the poem very well. And the poem is, as you also say, beautiful. As is the source painting, I had not seen it before.

I like reading about how your manips come about, the technicalities of it as well as the inspiration and creative thoughts surrounding them.

Wishing every possible joy of the season, and happy holidays to you and yours!
(Anonymous) at 2007-12-23 16:30 (UTC) (Link)
Dear Maeglian, thank you for your comment. I'm so glad you enjoyed the poem and the beautiful manip as well!

best wishes for a happy holiday.

aredhelebenesse at 2007-12-23 11:33 (UTC) (Link)
Did I ever tell you how much I love your manips? That's incredibly beautiful again.

The poem is so heartwarming and melancholy at the same time. I had tears in my eyes when I read it.

As you said the reason why we write fanfiction or create fanarts is the longing to get there in this parallel world, either just to spend time with our "loved ones" who are not real in our world and for which we are not real in theirs, or to change the story (their history) in our way so that we can sleep peacefully again. I never thought about this subject in the way Jan-u-wine does in this poem, but it kind of opened my eyes when I read it.

Thank you very much for your wonderful post, dear Mechtild!
(Anonymous) at 2007-12-23 16:41 (UTC) (Link)
Dear aredhelebenesse .....I'm very glad you enjoyed both manip and poem, and thank you for your comments.

Mechtild not only has become an "illuminator" in regards to visual art, but her insightful essays and musings truly illuminate what it means to have a caring heart, what it means to be human, with that *wall* forever dividing us from what we truly wish to do or say.

It seems to me that such thoughts lead us, naturally, not only to give thanks for that which we have, but to also make an effort to be more forthright to those we *can* touch, in terms of expressing our joy in them.

Let us breach those walls in real life, before our *real* beloveds 'go where we cannot follow'.

thank you again!

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whiteling at 2007-12-23 18:19 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, what can I say? I am too wowed to find apt words... again you two have managed to touch my soul. The masterfully done manip and the poem that appears to me like there is Love and Empathy in person speaking. It's beyond wonderful! I enjoyed all four parts of the post in equal measure.

Mechtild, I have to gush some more on your manip! :-) I think you've done wonders on the (already beautiful) original painting. I just LOVE how you made Frodo's hair look similar to the texture of the carved gilt frame on the wall behind him! Fantastic! And the position and expression of Frodo's head adds such a poetical dynamics to it - I am absolutely blown away.

Mechtild and Jan, thank you so much for this gift filled with the season's spirit! *hugs to you both*
mechtild at 2007-12-23 21:15 (UTC) (Link)
I just LOVE how you made Frodo's hair look similar to the texture of the carved gilt frame on the wall behind him! Fantastic! And the position and expression of Frodo's head adds such a poetical dynamics to it - I am absolutely blown away.

Oh, thanks so much, Whiteling. You shower us with superlatives! I wanted to say in answer that if his hair resembles the gilt frame, I owe it all to the lighting in the Emyn Muil scene. As I was cutting around Frodo's hair in the caps I realised what a cool effect that upper backlighting was in that scene; it almost gives him an aureole, a halo (St. Frodo). I had to bring that light way down for the manip, of course, to match it with the painting, but even reduced it was still there, a golden tracery in his hair around the edges. I experimented with doing away with it (the golden highlights), since their placement didn't make perfect sense with the painting's light source, but, comparing it with the darkened version, I decided the highlights were perfect.

It did take a while to get the angle and seating of the head just right. I made my poor husband come in to give me a fresh pair of eyes, I had been staring at it so long, moving it all about. "Does that look plausible--the cant of the head and the shoulders? Is his head proportionate? Is it too big? Too little? Too tilted?" Poor man!

Anyway, a very happy, joyous Christmas to you, Whiteling!
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
alyrthia at 2007-12-24 03:46 (UTC) (Link)
such a lovely grave weight. Both the poem and the manip are the best.

I'm too tired now to comment more. But they moved me very much.

Have a lovely Christmas.
mechtild at 2007-12-24 06:00 (UTC) (Link)
Have a gorgeous Christmas, Alyon! You are probably worn out with holiday prep, but I hope you get a chance to enjoy it. And thanks so much for commenting!
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
(Anonymous) at 2007-12-24 19:23 (UTC) (Link)

Sigh... thank you on Christmas Eve day 2007

You two, 'met' and 'jan' , have created something even greater than the sum of its parts... and the 'parts' were quite wondrous by themselves, I might add. I can't believe the amount of work that goes into the manips, and the love that goes into it, and the same goes for the poetry, and the prose. We who are fortunate to come and see and read these lovely entries are able to feel the love you both have for Frodo, and of course we relate to to it fully.
I just wish I could do something as lovely in return for you both. I am sure that many of the visitors here feel the same way.

I also have those same feelings about Christmas.. the "Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming" sort of feeling. And I always need to feel the peace, after the rushing around.

Thanks to you both for something that lightens the spirit. I love Frodo too and love to see his own spirit lifted a bit.

Mary K
(Anonymous) at 2007-12-24 20:02 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Sigh... thank you on Christmas Eve day 2007

Dear Mary K (we KNOW who you are, dear!)......

thank you, Mary. As far as the poem(s) go, it is simply *I* who must thank *you*. Without the support you showed way back when (ok, maybe 2001 ISN'T so long ago), I would not be writing LOTR today. My life would be the poorer for that. So, I thank YOU for the tremendous gift you gave me. LOTR may have opened the door, but you dragged me through it....many a time!

(and the same may also be said of Ms. Met, to whom I am ....beholden.....very...beholden)

This......partnership of spirit that Mech and I have found ourselves in.....

well. It's one of those things that grow in the telling, one of those things that begin with a magic bit of "dust" (or a rare bit, eh, Mech?) and end with a flowering of something rarer and most beautiful. It's a blessing.

Beyond that, I've also been so buoyed up by the passion and love that are evident by the people that visit this LJ....they are inspiring. I see so many positive things in them. They give me hope. What greater gift should I ask for?

May we know and show love, this season, and always,

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