Encouraged by his art teacher Paul Gregory always created paintings less conventional than his peers. His early work, mostly landscape, atmospheric and painted usually on location gave him a great appreciation of nature in all its diversity and moods. It was about this time he came across Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings; this was to fire his imagination and inspired him towards the world of fantasy art.
It was the late 70’s that Paul embarked on his first artistic Tolkien journey with his canvas Ride of the Rohirrim. This was followed by Carahdras and The Fall of Boromir. After the painting of the Rohirrim, Paul made the acquaintance of Peter Nahum, who on seeing Paul's work offered to organise a touring exhibition at Sotheby’s throughout Great Britain culminating at the fringe at the Edinburgh Festival. As a direct consequence of the Edinburgh Festival, Paul was invited to exhibit his work at the Barbican in London in 1984.
Paul's idea to keep the original work together at the time was financially unrealistic and this ended in him selling his work. Kate Bush was one of the buyers, later commissioning a larger canvas The Source of the Anduin, this was a brooding landscape with the Iron Hills in the distance, reminiscent of his earlier work.
Paul has over the past twenty years had a great deal of publicity in relation to his work on Tolkien, indeed even appearing on television several times. On one occasion he was approached by Central Televisions arts programme, who were doing a special about the life and mythology of J. R. R. Tolkien. He has designed album covers for rock bands which include: Saxon, Eriah Heap, Dio and Molly Hatchet and his works are in the collections of Ringo Starr, Kate Bush, Geoff Wayne and other celebrities. Paul does not consider his interpretation to be the definitive version, but does say it is a serious attempt at an impossible task.
“Smaug, the greatest dragon of his time, drove out the dwarves from their mountain kingdom. Later Smaug would be awoken by Thorin and company and then eventually slain by Bard, archer of Dale.”
Daoulas Abbey, Brittany, France, Fées, Elfes, Dragons et autres créatures des royaumes de féerie, 7 December 2002 - 9 March 2003
Stockholm, Prins Eugen Waldemarsudde, Paul Raymond Gregory inspired by the Writings of JRR Tolkien, 3 May - 7 August 2007
Southampton, Southampton City Art Gallery, 'Do You Believe in Faeries; from A Midsummer Night's Dream to Lord of the Rings, June - September 2009