A Flanessian Forest Pond

Sometimes I get so caught up in making everything "modular"  due to the limited space I have for storage of items in the Tower, that I end up creating many pieces that all work extremely well together, but at the same time, limit the scope of my "world."
Cavern terrain is a great example. I have tons of it. It's easy for me to create from DAS clay, or similar plaster, air-dry clay's or the like, it is easy to paint, envision, rough out, and finalize with hues of grey, stone, and purples, and I've written quite a lot about that here (see the "Table of the Underdark" post and earlier posts about modular "Gale Force 9 style" terrain).

But when I envision my "world," the campaign setting, the realm of high, epic fantasy that I create, there is one type of terrain that I imagine more than any other; Woodlands, meadows, rolling green, pine covered mountainous deeply thick forests. Like "Olympic National Park" or "Pacific Northwest" type-forests.

It is hidden within these forests that all the mysteries, the cave entrances, and the secret worlds of my campaign realms usually begin. But sadly, creating forested terrain is tough, time consuming, and especially, hard to store. It takes up massive amounts of valuable shelf real estate due to trees and shrubbery, and lacks the stacking ability of simple rock-like cavern terrain.
But I really needed some more forest type scenery, and missed delving into that realm for projects. So for this latest project, I started small.

A pond.

Now, part of me really wants to make this a bubbling, oozing, dark, cavern-like pool of bleak potential pool of mystery, but I need to remember that this world, my world, is a beautiful place too. So I wanted something that did not necessarily look "deadly" or "dangerous", or even "mysterious." Light shades of greens and blues. Almost friendly and inviting. Something where a great moment of storytelling or action could still take place.

The Base:
For the base of the pond, I started with a simple terrarium piece I picked up at a thrift store. It was a basic, unused lizard water dish I believe, but it was the perfect starting size to make into a water feature. I have also used similar structures in the past as craters, pits, or even Lava pools, as the thick base and sides work exceptionally well with materials like hot glue and such.

The basic grey of the water dish resin took paint well, so I went with a textured stone base paint and this prevented me from necessarily having to do a wash, which kept the stone a bit more on the "lighter" side, and not as grim or dark in its color. Remember, a happy friendly pond here....

Next I opted to do a fill of the pool with basic hot glue. This dries foggy of course, which is fine, as the main feature were looking for here is structure. The glue allows for swirling patterns of waves or water of varying thickness, and since I wanted this to be a slightly "mossy" pond, that allowed me to easily create a sense of "depth" in the water feature.

Next was paint. For this I simply applied acrylic craft paints (most of what I use is of the cheap variety since I treat with a  final coat of specific finish materials anyways). I wanted swirling blues and greens, so this was the portion that needed to be done in several layers to achieve the desired effect. I started with a  basic sea blue, then moved to a  lighter dry-brush of green and finally a wash of a slate blue, allowing the wash to fill in the cracks, and dips in the surface texture, again, adding depth and the illusion of surface material or even plant growth just below the surface.

Lastly, the polyurethane was added in thick, THICK, layers over the dry paint. This allowed the polyurethane to move and flow in a thick, and smooth solid coat over the paint. This also gave the pond a shimmer and a sealant coating which added more depth to the watery look, and also finished off the "wet" look.

Finishing touches came from cutting small plastic reeds from a cheap Ikea faux grass square, and gluing with E600 clear sealant against the lip of the pond. To add additional realism, I used real rocks of the small dollar store plant and flower vase variety and added them with a dab of E600 clear glue to the pond and then added a bit more of the Polyurethane over those, again, wanting the rocks to look "wet."

The final outcome was a piece that looks like it has a greenish hue from moss or plant life just below the surface, due to the Polyurethane creating a slightly yellowish finish over the green and blue paint surface. But it also has a distinct "natural" look that makes me want to keep adding more...usually a sign that it is finished and needs to be left as is. Simple, natural, and realistic looking, not for a cave or some fantastic underdark locale, but for a simple, clean, fairy forest.....


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