Friday, November 11, 2011

Tom Bombadil and Goldberry portrait miniatures

Tom and Nancy were friends of mine in the 1980s. They were part of the then-active Darkover fantasy fan community as well as explorers of esoteric spirituality. I did these miniature nametag portraits for them for DarkoverCon, the same convention that is now approaching its 34th (can you believe it?) meeting.

They were also Tolkien fans (who isn't?) and so I decided I would portray them as Tom Bombadil and his wife Goldberry, a pair of nature spirits who appear in Book I of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, as the Hobbits and their associates trek out of the Shire and into unknown territory. The faces here are highly idealized, but they are built on the couple's real looks. Nancy had sky-blue eyes and a cloud of frizzy golden hair, and she modeled for me many times. She had two orange cats which I depicted in her portrait. Tom was a huge Deadhead who had been to over 100 Grateful Dead shows, and he introduced me to the Grateful Dead fan world, where I eventually attended about 11 shows.

In the old days of hippies and outright fantasy in the late 1960s, Tolkien, and especially these two characters, were thought of as analogues for a hippie, all-natural, and, uh, mind-expanded lifestyle. I did not see these friends indulging in anything illegal, and in fact Tom had a PhD in economics, so if he did indulge, he somehow found a way to coexist in a highly technical field. They went on to have two children and are still living somewhere near me, though we drifted apart for various reasons and I have not seen them for many years. The fantasy lives on.

Nametag miniatures are the usual, November 1985.

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