There was a flat space on the top of the hill of stone and a well worn path with many steps leading down it to the river, across which a ford of huge flat stones led to the grass-land beyond the stream. There was a little cave (a wholesome one with a pebbly floor) at the foot of the steps and near the end of the stony ford. (Chapter 7: Queer Lodgings. The Hobbit. JRR Tolkein).

Gandalf says of The Carrock “He called it the Carrock, because carrock is his word for it. He calls things like that carrocks, and this one is the Carrock because it is the only one near his home and he knows it well.”

“Who calls it? Who knows it?”

“The Somebody I spoke of-a very great person. You must all be very polite when I introduce you … He can be appalling when he is angry, though he is kind enough if humoured. Still I warn you he gets angry easily.”

“Some say that he is a bear descended from the great and ancient bears of the mountains that lived there before the giants came. Others say that he is a man descended from the first men who lived before Smaug or the other dragons came into this part of the world, and before the goblins came into the hills out of the North.”

This painting is another experiment in oils. The second from bottom however, has been developed electronically using Procreate on the iPad. In many ways I like the softness of that electronic image and would like to develop my oil painting style along these lines. There is no river in this painting as I could not work it into the composition, so I set the carrock as a lone sculpted hill in a meadow. If I continue to paint, I must obliterate the meadow and build in other less well defined shapes as in the electronic version, rocks and water pooling as it tumbles toward us.

This is a present for my son. The bear image is based on the tattoo on his shoulder. The Carrock derives from a stoneware sculpture called Forest and Strata by Andrew Matheson.