Monday, May 15, 2023

Middle Earth Map

 It only took 13 years! Click on the image for a larger view.

I painted this piece on a tabletop at the end of my first wave of "landscapes from space" - it was, and still is, the most elaborate and ambitious project based on the acrylic technique of dies soaking into materials to create landforms.

I tried twice to affix a transparent sticker to the glass tabletop, to show the names of the places in some form. But the effect wasn't good; the type wasn't legible enough; and after all a layer of plastic impedes the light getting to the surface.

Last summer I built a frame device to convey a high-resolution camera (borrowed) two inches at a time across the painting's surface. Only last week, I finally took advantage of a lull in mapping to begin stitching the images together - there were scores of little photographs to blend and eliminate seams.

But finally I had the painting all scanned and tuned up and, well, improved by Photoshop in many ways (one gets rid of all the hairs, little scratches, and bloops that pile up when a table sits around for many years). Setting the type was easy – I had already done it on an older, less satisfying photo of the piece.

SO HERE IT IS. Middle Earth from JRR Tolkein's fantasy novels, Jeff style. I researched this carefully; I have the Atlas of Middle Earth on my shelf still. The only question now is: Should I approach the Tolkein estate and ask if they'd like to collaborate on creating a poster for sale?

I'm going down to Butte College's Maker Space this week to print me up a huge, huge print of this just for me. For now. I'll figure out how to launch it out in the world. 

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