Along with Cor Blok and Sergei Iukhimov, Jef Murray is my favourite living Middle-earth artist. Unlike the two former, Murray is solidly in the western-baroque tradition. I find his images are literalist but "with space". In many of his images there is a meditative quality - even when they are gloriously lavish with sensual light and thundering waves and powerful mountains - that keeps them from being illustrative; they draw upon the books, but in a deep sense, so that they exist as images in their own right. He's able to dramatize without killing the image. His paintings explore from the inside.
This is also the reason why the commentary he writes for each image gives a narrative as though he was actually present in what he has painted. And in a way, he has been.
I always look forward to his latest work. Among his most recent batch there is this image of a giant with a club - entitled "Forest Dweller" - that I found mesmerizing and frightening (in the best way). It could be a troll from The Hobbit.
If you haven't been, do check out his work, and sign up for his newsletter.