A NORTH Yorkshire artist who took the scenery of the region and turned them into Middle Earth has found a delighted international audience.

Saltburn beach, the Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland all feature in artist John Cockshaw’s digital depictions of scenes from the JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

He began creating his artwork about seven years ago, after being introduced to the author’s work by Peter Jackson’s trilogy of films. Now the Ripon artist has built up a collection of about 50 pieces of artwork, and says the project is still on-going.

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In recent weeks his work has received international attention on the back of the latest release of director Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Next year work by the professional artist will be shown in a special exhibition in Birmingham, Tolkien’s childhood home. The pictures will be displayed in a mill which is said to have provided some of the author’s inspiration.

Images by the 32-year-old have also featured on a website - theonering.net - which is a popular hub for Lord of the Rings fans around the world.

He has also been interviewed for the UK fan site; thehobbitmovie.co.uk.

“I’m mainly a painter, but this particular project is my first in digital image manipulation,” he said.

“Any references to characters in the book are quite small, so the paintings tend not to show recognisable characters. It was the sense of place of Middle Earth I wanted to show.

“So I collected a whole load of images whilst travelling around the country and abroad – anywhere where I see Tolkienesque features.

“Some of the places in the pictures were taken in Northumberland and Saltburn and the Yorkshire Dales have played a huge part. I take pictures wherever I happen to travel if I think it has real Middle Earth feel to it.”

John Cockshaw’s work can currently be seen at the Rapture Gallery in Harrogate.