I never read The Lord of the Rings as a kid, in fact I never heard of it until I married my first late husband, Wern Kliewer. He was a true fan of the book series, and since he was so enthusiastic, I decided to start reading the books, beginning with The Hobbit.
The Hobbit took a long time to read, but I enjoyed it enough to begin the larger part of the series. From then on, I was hooked, and now had a joint enthusiasm with my husband about The Lord of the Rings. When we knew that Peter Jackson was creating the movie versions, we were very excited about it. We attended The Fellowship of the Ring as a family, and loved it!
Wern worked as a computer tech for Manitoba Public Insurance, and occasionally needed to go to Toronto to upgrade his skills. One time he took me along for the trip. We found a museum in Toronto featuring some of the sets and pieces from The Two Towers, which was scheduled to come out in December of 2001. In person, we saw the mithril shirt, swords, part of the set of the Dead Marshes and the interior set of Isengaard. It was thrilling, and we looked forward to seeing The Two Towers in Winnipeg, where we lived.
In fact, we pre-purchased our tickets for the December showing. Sadly, at the beginning of December 2001, my dear husband suddenly died during the night. He had an enlarged heart, and it gave out on him.
My family attended The Two Towers without my husband – a poignant moment. He had been so looking forward to it, but we thought of him in heaven speaking to J.R.R. Tolkien himself.
Ever since that time, my enthusiasm for the movie version of the books has not waned. In fact, I watch them once a year, always finding new lines or scenes that I didn’t remember, and enjoying it all over again. It was after one of those showings that I was inspired to paint a map of Middle Earth, but not one with words. I wanted to paint a version that showed Middle Earth as if it was real – as if it was viewed from a satellite.
I studied online maps of Middle Earth, both Tolkien’s versions and modern versions, combining the two, but in general, my map reflects Tolkien’s version the most. I started the painting during the pandemic, but encountered a block where I couldn’t finish it. I had been remarried to my precious Darrell Hall, and in the beginning of 2023 he was found to have stage four pancreatic cancer and died suddenly in February.
I distracted myself by beginning to finish the painting for a potential showing later in the year, and completed The Satellite View of Middle Earth. The final touch was cloud formations, one set to remind one of something familiar in the movies.
Here is a video depicting the creation of A Satellite View of Middle Earth: