I wanted to paint a forest landscape scene today, and I love the way tree roots look, so I decided to paint the bottom of a tree with roots sticking out of the ground and green forest in the background. It was going pretty well until about an hour in…
… when I decided something was missing. I tossed around some ideas while I added highlights. More ferns? Well defined leaves on the ground? Mushrooms? I just couldn’t figure out what belonged in this forest.
Then it hit me.
If you aren’t familiar with the Studio Ghibli movie Princess Mononoke, there are tree spirits called Kodama that live in forests as a sign that the forest is healthy. They also exist in real life Japanese folklore, but I like anime better.
This is what they look like in the movie:
Oh, and here’s a rare gem. One of my early paintings from two whole years ago- a forest with tree spirits in it!
Fast forward to today’s painting…
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