An (Accidental) Trip to the Druid’s Gove

The Sign of Alchemy Series - Druid's Grove

A dear friend of mine’s daughter is starting what will surely be an excellent career in art. When the new artist, Selphie Brown, started accepting commissions, I decided to get a new perspective on the Jeweled Woods’ beauty.

Selphie and I explored various illustrations, and after a few quick sketches, I decided to have her draw the Jeweled Woods. If it’s been a while since you’ve read Niv’leana, the novel where the beautiful forest is first introduced, here’s the description.

The afternoon sun shimmered through the tall canopy of the Jeweled Woods, scattering multicolored light onto the forest floor. Squirrels scampered across limbs gathering nuts from the vibrantly colored trees, and birds chirped as they enjoyed the bounty of late summer. Green, blue, orange, red, and purple leaves sheltered the grove, creating a mystical haven for its inhabitants. The scent of lush vegetation filled the air, accentuated by notes of pine and the fragrant orange flowers that lined the floor.

from Chapter 1, Niv’leana – the first Sign of Alchemy novel

The Jeweled Woods is unique, and I’ve worked with various artists over the years to capture its wonder. Amber Strickland’s Jeweled Woods graphic is certainly what I consider the authoritative version of the mystical forest.

Nevertheless, Selphie set out to illustrate the woods, Niv’leana’s childhood home. Interestingly enough, what she had drawn was not quite what I had expected. In this case, that’s a good thing!

Inadvertently, she painted, with near-perfect precision in a misty, watercolored aesthetic, the Druid’s Grove from the second book, Olivia. This sheltered, mysterious grove exists in a place just outside of time and features an endless twilight sky over a dense green canopy. Various wildlife, insects, and fireflies bring life to the grove, while a pond of pristine water nourishes its inhabitants.

Niv stood in the grove and soaked in the delectable sights that now materialized around her. Large, thick trees towered to the canopy. Tree houses, nestled in the trunks, dotted the landscape. The quiet forest now came alive with activity—squirrels scurried on the ground, birds sang in the trees, and in the distance, a rabbit gnawed on some greens.

from Chapter 27, Olivia – the second Sign of Alchemy novel

I wasn’t sure exactly what I want going into the art project, but I’m beyond delighted with a new illustration of a never-before-seen aspect from the Sign of Alchemy universe. It is often said, “ask, and you shall receive,” but in this case, the creative vision filled an unmet task in the ongoing growth of this expansive world of magic.

I am grateful to Selphie for her hard work and creative mind and look forward to seeing more from this up and coming artist in the years to come.

The Sign of Alchemy Series - Druid's Grove

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