The Process Behind 'Descent From Möbius Wood' #1


I thought it was about time that I looked at the process behind my first painting in The Seven Gates series: 'Descent From Möbius Wood'.

Unlike the others in the series, this image came to my mind fully formed. I had seen a tree that looked like a spider emerging from the ground in a local wood and knew that it would make a great subject. I just had to wait for some fog. And a sunny morning. It took a while...

Eventually I got the photo that I needed. After that I worked on it in Photoshop, making the central tree even more sinister. You can see the differences in these two photos:





I also added in the trees at the outer edges to frame the painting and draw the viewer into the centre.





I decided on the slightly unorthodox composition of putting the main subject in the centre because I wanted the main tree to be straight in front of the viewer, as if being drawn directly toward it.

When children paint pictures of trees, the trunks tend to be brown. But when stood in a forest concentrating on the colours present within a tree, purples, greens, greys etc. can all be seen. There is actually very little brown evident. So when I was processing my photo of the forest, I tweaked the saturation to bring out these natural colours. This helped me enormously when it came to adding subtle colour washes to the trees when I started painting.

In the next stage, I drew the forest image on my illustration board but I changed the central tree yet again. I was trying to balance the tree looking sinister with it not being spotted straight away but I couldn't resist adding more spiky bits and talon-like branches. That was the aspect that really appealed to me, as you can probably tell from my other paintings. But even now it surprises me how many people just can't see anything other than a pleasant fairy tale forest.

Next time, I'll describe the painting process and how I created depth in the image.

But as a final treat for today, here's a short video explaining the title of the painting in a little bit more detail:

For Part 2, Click Here.

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