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Anna Vogels, 86, stands by some of the 40 The Lord of the Rings paintings she created. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

One LOTR exhibition to rule them all

Despite never having sat through the 558 minutes of The Lord of the Rings movie franchise, 86-year-old Anna Vogels has spent the past 11 months painting Middle-earth.
It’s true the Waihī soon-to-be great-great grandmother has no interest in watching the Peter Jackson-directed trilogy, nor is she familiar with the fictional world’s comings and goings, yet she has depicted key scenes from the famous fantasy in a series of 40 paintings.
“Mum was running out of ideas through Covid, and I thought: why doesn’t she do The Lord of the Rings, or something like that?” Anna’s daughter Pauline Vogels told The Profile.
“Mum started off [painting] the Hobbit houses, and so me and my daughter printed pictures off the computer for her.”
Using the photos as guides, Anna created paintings of Mordor and The Eye of Sauron, of Orcs and The Army of the Dead, of the Shire and of Gandalf, and the iconic portrait of Frodo and the One Ring.
Anna doesn’t have a favourite piece, but admitted by the end of her work, she’d got a bit “sick” of depicting the epic storyline.
“They’re all the same to me,” she said with a laugh.
The works are now in the gallery of the Waihī Arts Centre and Museum, where they will be on display for around a month.
Anna has always been creative. She and her husband John emigrated to New Zealand from Holland in 1967.
They used to own the Waitawheta Gardens, and John installed a kiln so Anna could fire her own pottery. She also crocheted, knitted, and made crafts and sculptures.
John passed away in June, 2018, and since then, Pauline has helped keep her mother busy.
Over the years, Anna has painted portraits, landscapes, and buildings, and has made sculptures out of matchsticks and miniature bricks. Her The Lord of the Rings series started in April, 2021, and was completed in March, 2022.
Each painting took around a week to complete, and all have a “3D-effect” and were made with a range of mixed media, including sand from Golden Bay.
To fuel her habit, Anna and Pauline had to buy a box of canvases from Sunny’s in Paeroa, and there is still no stopping Anna and her passion for the arts.
Now, with her The Lord of the Rings series completed, it might be time for another epic series, she said – perhaps Harry Potter.
DETAILS: Anna’s The Lord of the Rings paintings are now available to view at the Waihī Arts Centre and Museum, 54 Kenny St, Waihī.