Ents and dragons take root and wing on the Peninsula

<I>Bruce Peterson photo</I><BR>A Peninsula mansion is becoming home to many dragons and ents, tree-like creatures created in the imagination of author J.R.R. Tolkien in his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. The metal sculptures are the work of Toledo-based Artist Marcus Devine, pictured with "Tumbleroot" the ent, which was installed two weeks ago.

"Once upon a time in the deep forests of the Willapa Hills, there lived a colony of treelike beings that actually had been around since the beginning of time. Legend had it that these treebeings actually were the custodians of all the forests of the world. As time marched on, these tree people watched mankind come into the world and begin to devastate the forests to build their world. This so saddened these treebeings that they moved away from the Willapa Hills on into deeper forests far away. There was one treebeing, however, that was so in love with the forests of the Willapa that he stayed behind to be with all his animal friends and the trees of the centuries gone by. So there is still one guardian of the trees left in the Willapa Hills and his name is Tumbleroot."

- Marcus Devine

PORT OF ILWACO - Straight out of "The Lord of the Rings," an Ent stopped for the night last week at the Wade Gallery at the Port of Ilwaco.

According to a "Lord of the Rings" Web site, Ents "are essentially spirits inhabiting trees, and they look like a cross between the tree each resides in and a human ... slow in thought and slow to act, but ... powerful beings, capable of cracking rocks and moving huge quantities of earth quickly and easily."

The 12-foot-high iron and red cedar sculpture is the creation of Toledo-based metal sculptor Marcus Devine, who parked his Ent, "Tumbleroot," at the gallery before transporting it to its new home on the Peninsula. He nearly created several traffic jams bringing the huge sculpture down I-5 and along Highway 30 on their way to the Peninsula.

A sculptor who specializes in copper dragons of all sizes, Tumbleroot was "one of my funnest pieces," Devine said. "It was almost magical the way the wood and the metal just came together. It's amazing what you can do with nature. There's a basic movement of lines that goes on in all life. If you learn how to control the movement of those lines, it all comes together."

Devine, 50, has lived in Toledo for 20 years, coming to the Northwest from Santa Barbara. He has been fascinated with dragons since he was 4 and has shown his work in Seattle, Santa Barbara and Montecito, Calif., Gearhart, Astoria, Seaside and Shelton.

His work has been commissioned by a Woodinville resident, a Montecito gallery and, the Ent's new owner, a Long Beach Peninsula resident who wishes to remain anonymous and who has also purchased five of his dragons. One of his dragon creations was purchased by actor Brad Pitt.

His first dragon sculpture, which he completed when he was in the eighth grade, ended up on permanent loan to the Santa Barbara Public Library, but was lost when the building was remodeled.

Future plans for the sculptor include building a 20-foot metal mosquito and a dragon chair. He'd also like to found a traveling gallery "like a gypsy wagon with coffee brewing for anybody stopping by."

Devine can be reached at his Toledo studio at (360) 864-4655 or by e-mail through Bruce Peterson at the Wade Gallery at (bruce@thewadegallery.com).

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