A darkly magical forest evocative of a bog is saturated with small butterflies. The trees are twisted and distorted freely, many of them bearing eyes or even faces. In the center, a large tree with a slumbering face stretches roots out into the stagnant waters of a pond, while to its side a shadowy figure seems to stare at the viewer.


This started from another reference picture I took of the North Carolina mountains, but it very quickly departed from the reference material outside of the scene’s very general layout.

The water, and the central tree’s roots, were all early modifications, as were the ghostly sources of the scene’s lights. After I painted all of this more or less realistically, I started to deform it, smudging eye-like shapes into multiple locations, then adding pupil-like shapes into the areas that I felt looked the most realistic or otherwise with the most expression.

Then came the figureā€”I wanted something very dark and anxiety provoking, but in a context which didn’t feel threatening. The faces came as a consequence of that idea: I put an amused expression above the figure, to pull back on the anxiety and more to “judge” the viewer (which is to say me) for being afraid of something just because it’s inscrutable. The slumbering tree followed, and then after that came some additional facial segments throughout the background, most of which take a bit of hunting to find.