Fantasy oil painting “Mushrooms shelter”

Original fantasy oil painting “Mushrooms shelter” ©YueZeng 2023

Initial thoughts

This starts with the mushrooms.

I like the idea of putting two tiny mice under the mushrooms. They are hiding from the hunter, in this case, yes, the cat. Soon I gather enough reference photos for this piece. But I do have hard time choosing the color theme. At first, I thought about night time when the mushrooms were glowing like my previous work. But this lost the point. Those two mice didn’t need a spotlight when they were hiding for their life. I also tried adding a magic circle around mushrooms but it didn’t fit. Also, nighttime would make the whole scene dark, too dark to spot the mice if the mushrooms did not glow. So it needed a little daylight but not bright summer sunlight.

I was stuck there for a while. So I started to go through my picture storage looking for inspiration. Then I found out several vintage poster illustrations. I thought that might work. With old film like green and yellow hue and a little bit dark outline, the cat , mice and mushrooms finally merged into one piece.

Digital sketch

Digital sketch of oil painting “Mushrooms shelter”


I have a little conversation for those two mice.

Brown one (Right) “Is it still there?”

Grey one (Left) “Yes! Don’t move!”

Brown one (Right) “What are we going to do?”

Grey one (Left) “We wait for eagles. The eagle will come!”

OK, it is not about “the Lord of the Rings”. It is because the bald eagle caught house cat into their nest for dinner. And it was captured on nest camera last year. After I read that news I was deeply concerned for my cat… 😂

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My paintings are an outlet to express the imagination I have inside my head that I can not put into words. After trying many mediums, I always find myself coming back to paint and brushes. In my current artistic practice, I use oil paint and mainly create portraits of mythical creatures and animals transfixed in the shifting colours of seascapes and landscapes. There is a natural spirit and magic to these creatures and their energy draws me in. Choosing to paint these creatures as real living wildlife rather than abstractions, I use bold and vivid colours to express the imaginary intertwined with reality, finding magic between the seams. Using a saturated colour palette, I create bold and striking imagery, contrasted between foreground and background, subject and landscape, and light and darkness. Weaving their bodies and the surface of the landscape into each other through organic forms and flowing brush strokes, I find beauty, strength and innocence in these creatures that reflect my inner world.