Fantasy Art   Edward Frank
  Mar 24, 2006 17:16 PST 


I have been looking at images of trees drawn by fantasy artists.   There is an amazing variety of styles found on the web for the subject. I have enclosed a series of links to some specific galleries and images. I would like to hear your impression of how trees are portrayed in fantasy art and literature, and perhaps provide some links to some of your favorite images. The last two links refer to sites dealing with "The Tree of Life" a popular image in art, both religious and fantasy.

Mushroom Fantasy 

It is hard to select favorite images from this group. If I were to pick four, they would be:
Grove Guardian, Mushroom Fantasy, treelife, and Thought

Ed Frank

Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists

Rob Alexander
· Bonecarver

Mark Allen
· Gottland Trees

Cari Busiak
· Tree of Creation

Linda Champanier
· Twilight of the Silver Stag

Cynthia Cummens
· Into the Woods

John R. Gray III
· Harvest

Laura Hamill
· Forest Nautica Gate Goddess

Beth Hanson
· Summer Oak

Timothy Kobs
· Palace of Faerie

Barbara Revilla
· Fairy

Mathew Taggart
· Honor Bound

Leo Winstead
· Lair of the Ettercap

Debora-Anne Woods
· Maiden Hair

fate.jpg (88581 bytes) Fate

Galleries at  

Tree of Life

feebleminds free animated gifs and 


wicked-tree.jpg (125486 bytes) Wicked Tree

Miscellaneous Art
Tim Woods:  Fantasy Tree

These woods are cursed, they say…

Anne Bell:  Fantsy Woods:

Purple Fantasy Tree
Colorful Fantasy Tree

Bifrost Gallery

Magic in the Woods
Tree People
Bifrost: Tree Life

Tree of life info:


Re: Fantasy Art   Dean Hedin
  Mar 24, 2006 22:24 PST 

I always thought Arthur Rackham's tree depictions were interesting:

You can find more by just googling his name.
RE: Fantasy Art
  Mar 25, 2006 05:37 PST 

Some of the works of Maxfield Parrish, who was popular 80-90 years ago,
would qualify, I think----not of the current style of fantasy art, but
with that ethereal feel. Here are a few examples.



The Glen:

Steve Galehouse

White Oak in the Fog - photo by Steve Galehouse

I liked the mention of fantasy art---often an artist's rendering can better
convey the message or feel than a photo (but I've attached a photo above that 
I took of a white oak near my home that verges on "fantasy art', for me at least!).

Re: Fantasy Art   Edward Frank
  Mar 25, 2006 18:35 PST 


Here are some sites with fantasy art inspired by Tolkien, including the
Willow and the great Ent Treebeard.

Tolkien Inspired Artwork:

Alan Lee:

John Howe:

Ted Nasmith:

Hildebrant Brothers used as examples

Hundreds of images, including trees, uncredited. Many seem to be by Nasmith

Edward Frank
RE: Fantasy Art    Darian Copiz
   Mar 26, 2006 12:01 PST 


I was amazed that you left out LOTR art in your first email. I picked
out some images from the artists in your second email. I have images
similar to some of these in my head when I go searching for ancient
trees. Talk about gnarl factor...

Alan Lee:

John Howe:

Ted Nasmith:

Re: Fantasy Art   Edward Frank
  Mar 26, 2006 12:15 PST 


I was trying to provide a variety of styles as examples, rather than having
an all encompassing listing of various fantasy trees. I planned to look at
some of the Tolkien images in a later post after giving others a chance to
comment. I have already downloaded many of the images, particularly the Ted
Nasmith ones to my computer, Thanks for your expanded list. So you have
any comments comparing or contrasting trees as they appear in fantasy art
with real trees? Why are they different in the artwork? and why do these
differences see so prevalent across the spectra of fantasy art?

RE: Fantasy Art   Darian Copiz
  Mar 26, 2006 12:53 PST 


I think many of the trees do look like, or similar to some real trees I
have seen. However, there are very few trees that I have seen like
that. Much of the art accentuates elements that often denote very old
age, such as fat trunks, contorted branches, mosses and lichens, etc.
They mostly depict open grown trees, rather than those in a deep forest
and even some of those in a forest have open grown characteristics. I
think there are several reasons for the way they are depicted. Most
people are more familiar with open grown trees and relate to these, and
are more familiar with them than those that grow in the forest - in the
open one sees the tree, in the forest one sees part of the tree. The
ancient characteristics stem partially from the genre of the artwork.
Much of fantasy is concerned with an ancient or long forgotten past.
Old trees are a great way to help depict the mood. They are sentinels
of a primordial forest that originated in the beginning of time.
Although in the real world, this is not quite true, ancient woods still
hold some kind of allure for many of us. I'm not quite sure what. I
think the trees in fantasy art tap into this. Although that allure is
not something relegated only to fantasy, but perhaps why fantasy is

For me, dark gray skies and a wind whistling through the barren branches
of an ancient tree on a forlorn hilltop tap into something powerful that
I can't quite explain - maybe it is a sense of connection with the
elements, the earth and time.

I'm attaching a link to a picture depicting some of the characteristics
discussed. The picture is from Wistman's Wood, a well known wood in
Dartmoor, England. I have been to Dartmoor, but did not take the
picture and unfortunately did not visit the site, although it is on my
list of places to go.

d29v1884_small.jpg (11279 bytes)


RE: Fantasy Art
  Mar 26, 2006 14:29 PST 

Darian, Ed, and all-

I think the depiction of trees in fanatsy art and the allure of ancient
woods and forests is also related to the European tradition of the
"Green Man", which predates written history and Christianity, but has
survived to this day as, at least, a decorative motif. Lots of info on
the internet, here's just one link:
Re: Fantasy Art   Edward Frank
  Mar 26, 2006 15:08 PST 


Steve Galehouse sent a link to an article about "greenmen" in his last post.
It is worth a look. The article has numerous photos of images in gothic
churches and elsewhere to illustrate the theme. The first paragraph of the
article begins:

The Green Man
Variations on a theme
Ruth Wylie
'The Green Man', a name coined by Lady Raglan in 1939, is a mediaeval image
usually found in churches. Carved in stone or wood, depicted on stained
glass, illuminated manuscripts and where else, he can be recognised as a
face, often grotesque, with foliage sprouting from his mouth, nose, eyes or
ears. Alternatively, he may be a face composed entirely of leaves. Exterior
or interior, he features on capitals, corbels, choir stalls, bench ends,
fonts, screens, roof bosses - indeed, any surface open to ornamentation.


On another note, Steve not wanting to get the group off on a tangent, sent
me a link individually to lyrics to a song ... It seemed appropriate to me
to the discussion at hand. So I say tangents away... He writes:

Here are the lyrics of an older Van Morrison song, "In the Forest", that
relates to the fantasy art topic--I didn't post it to the entire ENTS group,
not wanting to get off on a tangent, but there seems to be a lot of
subliminal interest in the attraction and force of "the forest".

In the Forest

By the sacred grove, where the waters flow
We will come and go, in the forest

In the summer rain, we will meet again
We will learn the code of the ancient ones
In the forest

By the waterfall, I will hold you in my arms
We will meet again by the leafy glade
In the shade of the forest

With your long robes on, we will surely roam
By the ancient roads, I will take you home
To the forest

In the forest, in the forest
In the forest, in the forest

With your long robes on, we will surely roam
By the ancient roads, I will take you home again
To the forest

Satisfy the soul baby
Birds sing all day long of the mother lode
We can let it roll, in the forest

With your long robes on
I know where you're coming from
By the big oak tree you've gotta come and go with me

In the forest, in the forest
In the forest, in the forest

By the waterfall
I will hold you in my arms, and we will meet again
By the leafy shade, in the, in the forest

Satisfy the soul
Birds sing all day long of the mother lode
We can surely let it roll, in the forest

With your long robes on
I know where you're coming from
We will surely roam, down by the ancient roads

Ed Frank

Re: Fantasy Art   Edward Frank
  Mar 26, 2006 17:07 PST 


Here is a link to a philosophical essay(s) entitled:

1) A Brief History of Nature and the American Consciousness

2) Changing Perceptions of Nature and the Rise of the Sublime

3) Nature's Bounty and American Economic Prosperity

Ed Frank
Fantasy Art, Dreams, Poetry, and Mythos   Edward Frank
  Mar 31, 2006 19:52 PST 

Fantasy Art, Dreams, Poetry, and Mythos - all are to some extent
interrelated. I have read that people from different cultures all around
the world have dreams that share many of the same aspects. Chase dreams are
very common. Does this represent something that is in all of us at an
instinctive level? Something from a shared, ingrained, deeply buried
cultural background? Something of both?

The trees in fantasy art represent those of the primordial forests - deep,
dark, mysterious. Do they hold creatures of great evil slithering in the
darkness or beautiful shinning creatures with mystical powers. For good or
evil these things are found in our minds in the ancient forests. These are
the trees depicted in the drawings, described in our poetry, and envisioned
in our dreams. The trees may be great powerful creatures reaching for the
sky, or they may be twisted and misshapen. The one thing they have in common
is they are ancient and large. Younger trees just don't have the physical
presence or power to be expressed in these mythological contexts.

Ed Frank