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The Grey God, Odin by mlpeters The Grey God, Odin by mlpeters
First off -- not Gandalf, even if the hat is kinda similar. It's just a wide brimmed, pointed, medieval hat -- in this case, worn by the Norse god Odin and it's brim pulled down, on one side, to hide his missing eye.

This picture is a little gruesome, but I don't think it quite dips into the "mature content" category, containing nothing you wouldn't find described in a thorough book of Norse myths. Sacrifices were made to Odin by hanging the victims to symbolize Odin hanging himself (but not necessarily by the neck) from the great World Tree Yggdrasil for nine nights to acquire knowledge of the runes (note the rune-carved stones). The heads at the bottom of the picture symbolize those killed in battle, whose spirits go to Valhalla and will eventually fight for Odin during the final battle of Ragnarok.

Odin is atop his eight legged horse, Sleipnir, and carries his spear, Gungnir. His ravens Hugin and Munin alight on his shoulders to tell him what they have seen on their flight.
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:iconhxlxz2o:
hxlxz2o Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014
awesome! How did u make that? Paint?
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Professional General Artist
I drew it in pen&ink (dip pen and brush), made a full-size (11 x 17) photocopy on card stock, stretched the copy (tape it to a board, wet it, let it dry - - stretching the paper fibers, so it doesn't warp too much when painting), then paint with acrylic paints, used thin, like water-color and built up in layers.
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:iconcristalgreen:
CristalGreen Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014
Wow this is amazing, one of the best artworks of Odin I've seen, really well done! And love the drawing style.
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:iconfrostiefilly:
FrostieFilly Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Besides being a great work of art, I love your attention to historical, archaeological, and mythological detail.
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you - - I wanted to make it a complex and moody picture, with a lot of visual info, all centered on Odin.  Odin lends himself to that sort of picture, unlike Thor who is a lot more straight forward of a god.
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:iconragnarok6664:
Ragnarok6664 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Splendid work sir :)
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks!
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:iconmagnusalpha:
magnusalpha Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
"not Gandalf, even if the hat is kinda similar. It's just a wide brimmed, pointed, medieval hat"

I think what you're saying here is "It's not Gandalf, they both just have the same medieval-type hat that was common," but actually Gandalf is *based* on Odin.
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yep - - Gandalf was based on both Odin and a Finnish god/wizard,  Väinämöinen.
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:iconmagnusalpha:
magnusalpha Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes.
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:iconsuttungr:
Suttungr Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Großartig!
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:iconasguardviking:
asguardviking Featured By Owner May 18, 2012
Awesome piece this is one of the best visual representations of odinn i have seen very well done! And thats for putting all the references in the image of our allfather, I think the hanging mans torso ya can see would of been a little more with the addition of the blood eagle. but maby that would of been over the top. Awesome work!
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks!
Wasn't aiming for shocking gore (the Blood Eagle would have distracted from pretty much everything else)... more moody death imagery having to do with Odin being known as "the gallows god", both for how he hanged himself(though not necessarily by the neck - - accounts vary) in sacrifice to himself, from the world tree Yggdrasil, in his quest for knowledge and power... and how hanging was a method of sacrifice to Odin, like in the sacrifice of King Vikar.  The bodies and heads are enough - - they sort of blend in with the bone-like birches, dead leaves, the standing rune-stones and Odin, with his ravens and mounted on Sleipnir. 
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:icontelemnara:
Telemnara Featured By Owner May 17, 2012
Allfather has always been one of the most... interesting and ambiguous persons in Scandinavian mythology. Maybe not only in Scandinavian. And your picture reflects it very good. Great job.
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you - - that ambiguous, but interesting aspect was a lot of what I was trying to capture.
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:iconthorskegga:
Thorskegga Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Wonderful!
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2011  Professional General Artist
Thanks! This print was my best-seeler at the recent (August) Wizard World Chicago Comic Con.
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:iconmintoninsanity:
MintonInsanity Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Very nice.
But I'm sure I've already seen this image somewhere...
Oh yes, on a t-shirt of the Dutch band Heidevolk...
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011  Professional General Artist
Thanks! Yeah, Heidvolk asked permission to use this as a T-Shirt. They sent me a shirt and a CD :)

Odin is also one of my better selling prints at conventions (prints can also be bought through my website, mlpeters.com)
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:iconmintoninsanity:
MintonInsanity Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Oh! I'm pleased to "meet" the artist of that great design.

I really love it, this t-shirt is my favourite of my entire bands clothing collection (which is getting quite big).
Unfortunately Heidevolk didn't sell it anymore when I wanted to buy it. My boyfriend had to order it for me from an old dutch record dealer who didn't speak a word of English.
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011  Professional General Artist
And here (or on my website, mlpeters.com, where you can purchase a print), you can see it in color. I like the TV shirt, but it was a shame it had to be printed in b&w.
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:iconnickthebarbarian:
NickTheBarbarian Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2011
Un-fucking-believable! One of the best renditions of The Allfather I've seen in a great while!
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2011  Professional General Artist
Thanks!
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:iconodins-gift:
Odins-Gift Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2011
Simply awesome, and still one of my very favorite Odin pictures. Happy to have it in print on my wall :-)!
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2011  Professional General Artist
Thanks!
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:icontormentchris17:
tormentchris17 Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2011
hey, where did you score that print of odin?
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:iconodins-gift:
Odins-Gift Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2011
Well, the artist (mlpeters) sold me a print a few years ago ;-)!
I guess he still does that...?
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
Yeah - - I still have plenty of prints - - still have the original too, but it costs considerably more :)  Prints are available through my website, mlpeters.com
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:iconsnnanagfashtalli:
Snnanagfashtalli Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
This is simply incredible. Probably the best picture of Odin, ever.

The style reminds me just a bit of the Russian artist Bilibin, who also dealt with some darker themes illustrating folk tales.

Again, incredible.
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2011  Professional General Artist
Thank you! I'm a huge fan of Bilibin, especially his illustrations for Vasilisa the Beautiful, which I first saw in Time Life's Enchanted World series (a series of mythology, folklore, etc., with tons of Bilibin, Rackham, Dulac, Pre-Raphaelite paintings... great stuff).
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:iconmorphine-cloud:
Morphine-Cloud Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2010
Featured : [link]
Don’t forget to :+fav: it…
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:iconkatieliza:
katieliza Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2010  Student General Artist
Beautiful!
-ps: Gandalf is said to have been based off Odin, seeing as Tolkein was writing a British mythology-
I love it. I really do!
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010  Professional General Artist
Thanks!

Tolkein was very interested in the Anglo-Saxon culture's influence on Britain, and the Angles and Saxons brought the Norse gods (with slight variation... can't remember if they called Odin, Wotan, as they called Thor, Thunaer, etc.)

Gandalf was based partly on Odin and also based on the Finnish God/Wizard Vainamoinen (note missing accents over most of the vowels...) and, of course, Merlin.

I found old illustrations of Medieval Scandinavians wearing pointed (with the point floppy or folded), sometimes broad brimmed hats, like Odin's described wearing (though his isn't specified as pointed of crown), so...
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:iconalfonzzz105:
Alfonzzz105 Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2010  Student Digital Artist
its awesome... i really like the stone representation of odin's face on the gravestone, nice detail... with what did you colored this?
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Edited Jul 28, 2014  Professional General Artist
Crap - - did it again...
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks!  For color I used acrylics, used in thin washes, like water colors and slowly built up in intensity.
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
Oops - - didn't check the second page iof comments and forgot I'd already replied ages ago :D
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010  Professional General Artist
Thanks!

The paint is acrylics, used thin, like water-color and slowly built up in glazes.

The Runes say something, written in English, so curious viewers (and me) wouldn't need to know, or learn, Old Norse... they recite a fraction of the many titles, epithets and descriptions associated with Odin. I can't remember, but I think I based the representation of Odin on the stone on an actual rune stone carving.
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:iconalfonzzz105:
Alfonzzz105 Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2010  Student Digital Artist
Thanks for the info, I'll definitely try out that form of painting. It looks awesome!
Which Runes are you speaking of? Are they anything like or from the Poetic Edda or the Prose Edda?
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2010  Professional General Artist
No, the runes aren't copied from the Eddas, not directly - - just epithets and descriptions I'd read Odin had been called, much like the title of the picture (The Grey God). I've long since forgotten what I wrote there, but it shouldn't be too hard to decipher.

I was inspired to try building up the paint with glazing, by both Maxfield Parrish's oil technique and Charles Vess's similar use of colored inks. The same principle applies to acrylics and I've used it on most of my color work since. I think my Medusa painting was were I first tried this technique. I like that it's more stable than water-color -- no worries about disturbing the paint underneath when laying down another glaze or layer. It's like water color, but a little more suited for control-freak artists :)
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:iconalfonzzz105:
Alfonzzz105 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2010  Student Digital Artist
Ok, I think I get it now... Thanks a lot for the information on the painting techniques, I'll definitely look deeper into those artist's work, because I really like the opaque finish that it gives to the painting. Thanks a lot for the help!
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:icondragonkira:
DragonKira Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2010
Wow,this is so amazing! the scene looks like it is raptured from the old myths!
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010  Professional General Artist
Thanks! I love mythology and greatly dislike the use of the world "myth as synonymous with "lie" or "falsehood". Myth is metaphor and storytelling.
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:icondragonkira:
DragonKira Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010
I agree!:) And you're welcome!:)
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:icondragon-knight15:
dragon-knight15 Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks man, i didnt know about the hanging part. Thanks :D
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010  Professional General Artist
Yeah, Odin was sometimes referred to as "The Gallows God" -- the hanging sacrifices were symbolic of Odin's different sort of hanging, where he sacrificed himself on the World Tree, Yggdrasil for nine days and nine nights, to gain the wisdom of the nine worlds, just as he gave an eye to Mimir, in exchange for a drink from Mimir's well, granting him knowledge of past, present and future.

Personally, in the quest for knowledge, I'd rather just go to the library, or Google... :)
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:icondragon-knight15:
dragon-knight15 Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
thanks
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:iconpanda1345:
Panda1345 Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Well Gandalf was based after the Allfather. For Valhalla!
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:iconmlpeters:
mlpeters Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2010  Professional General Artist
Right -- along with the Finnish Wizard/God Vainamoinan and the British Merlin.
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:iconthescreamingnorth:
TheScreamingNorth Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
This is one of the most beautiful pieces of art I have ever seen.
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