“I liked white better”*

Are you a Tolkien fan? You should check out Sweating to Mordor, then. It’s a lot of fun following Eric’s exercise adventure and the Fellowship’s journey. Eric dives into all kinds of detail in Tolkien’s creation and illustrates his topics with photos taken with antique cameras. It is several levels of cool.

Saruman has been the topic of conversation lately. I dig that old wizard quite a bit. “The Voice of Saruman,” where we get to see him fall, is one of my favorite chapters in LoTR. As is “The Scouring of the Shire.” Also, casting Christopher Lee as Saruman in the movies? Okay, Jackson, you aren’t completely useless, even if you cut those chapters from the theatrical release of Return of the King.

Turns out I have a painting of Saruman in my house. Eric wanted to see it, and it seemed like something fun to share with all of you, so here we are. Sorry about the light flare across the middle. Our living room doesn’t have gallery-quality lighting, and I was too lazy to drag the photog set-up we use for Alpha Reader’s woodworking upstairs.


Saruman the White, although he’s gone Multi-Colored by this point

Anyway, I bought this painting from my friend Barb’s (the same person who got me into Tolkien in the first place) brother (the artist) my senior year in high school, so I’ve had it for thirty-four years now. You can kinda tell that the piece has been moved across the country a few times–the paint’s chipped off in several places.


Just chatting with ol’ Sauron. At least, I think that’s supposed to be Barad-Dur in the palantir.

Saruman’s face is still in good shape, though.


Yes, his eyes will follow you around the room and creep you the hell out. Especially in my parents’ old apartment, where it looked like the canvas was breathing sometimes. Strange air currents in that place.

I also like the added texture the artist gave to the pedestal holding the palantir. You can see a bit of it in the close-up above.

So, that’s my painting of Saruman. What do you think?

I have a couple other pieces by the same artist. Another large painting:


“Top Hat, Not Just A” – the artist took his inspiration from a San Francisco postcard.

And a lithograph:


“The Mortalness of Man #1: The Chemist”

Yeah, mortalness instead of mortality, I don’t know. But I love the image. There’s a lot of detail that’s hard to see in this photo, the heads in the vat and such. Oh, and Alpha Reader made the frame. This hangs on the short wall across from where Saruman is. “Top Hat, Not Just A” is across the room.

So ends the tour of M. Fenn’s art collection.

*Gandalf can be wicked sarcastic. This is one of my favorite lines of his.

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6 thoughts on ““I liked white better”*

  1. karengadient

    Very cool!

  2. Awesome painting! I love Barad Dur in the palentiri. Really fun!

    And thanks for the mention!

    For the ultimate in Tolkien/Christopher Lee experience, listen to Children of Huron read by him. It’s pretty amazing.

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