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Toadback Road by ursulav Toadback Road by ursulav
Generally when people ask where I get my ideas--or why I get my ideas, or what the heck is wrong with me that I have these ideas--I say "I did a lot of drugs in college."

This is true as far as it goes, and it's short and pithy and exactly the sort of answer people expect from a weirdo artist, which is why I use it. However, it doesn't actually have any bearing on the question--I might as well say "because I'm from Oregon," or "because I like wombats." While I did indeed spend my college years hammering on the Doors of Perception (and occasionally leaving bags of flaming dog-doo on the Front Step of Enlightenment) it had very little apparent impact on my art. At the time, I was painting very standard cheesy Larry-Elmore fantasy stuff, and it wasn't until years later, when I was far too busy to take a weekend off to meet god (and not nearly able to bounce back from the hangover as I did when I was twenty) and my spinal fluid was as pure as driven snow--I don't even drink, fer cryin' out loud, my liver could probably sing madrigals with my spleen--that my art got really WEIRD.

While I have no particular regrets about my misspent youth,* I never actually got any painting inspiration out of 'em. Very few hallucinations translated well into art, unless I had wanted to paint garishly colored psychedelica, which I didn't, and still don't. Most of the things you experience in those altered states are either inane or inexplicable, and you're left making random hand gestures and going "Like--it was like--you KNOW--like---" Just doesn't make for good art. Briefly having a blinding vision of the unity of the cosmos is all very well and good, but what COLOR is it?

But now, that has changed. Because finally, over a decade later, I managed a painting based on a hallucination. I had taken a vast quantity of the wee little mushrooms knows as Liberty Caps and was wandering aimlessly through the woods, down a logging road that had fallen into disrepair. The ground was damp and lumpy, mud packed with rocks, and in the depths of my slodgy psilocybin soaked brain, I thought "Wow. This road looks like a warty toad skin. Obviously the ground is not a toad--" (even high, I knew full well that there are design limits on the size of amphibians) "--but it'd be really neat if it was!"

The irony, of course, is that something from the depths of drug induced stupor is if anything, a pretty reserved and mellow sort of image for me. Not even any man-eating pears...

Anyway, it's digital, done in Painter 7 with an Intuos tablet. Prints available, for $10 and $20, plus shipping. I take paypal, check and money order, send a note or visit [link] for details!

*Naturally, kids, you shouldn't do drugs. This anecdote is not an endorsement or suggestion that you do. But if you're going to, try not to be an idiot. This is about all that we can ask of our fellow man, so I'll leave it at that.
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RoyalDuchessMajesty Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2014  Student General Artist
This is perfection.
LucyandMe Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2012
I absolutely love this....
manjork Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2010
AllMadland Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I think this was the first deviation of yours that ever I saw. For me, it was sort of the ambassador for your entire gallery. It was this painting specifically that ushered me into the beautifully strange and drug-induced mind of Ursula V.

I love how surreal it looks--sort of Salvador Dalí, minus the naked ladies. I love the subdued brown colors and the multiple parts of nature present--flora and fauna in the same frame, interconnected.

The colors, the faded trees in the distance, and even the texture of the toad's back all convey a sense of temperature and time of day. Looking at it makes me feel like I'm outside, right there.

And, of course, I love the curly smile on the toad's face.

I really do love this piece. Looking at it makes me happy. :heart:
emmalazauski Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2009  Professional
Nice! I'm loving how the landscape fades off into the light/fog.
D3RPMUFF1N Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Well that certainly explains the bumpy country roads!
Sangiev Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009
Your wonderful work has been featured in this News Article : [link]
Would be cool if you could :+favlove: to show your support :)

nikisiou Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2008
Judging from that one, I was sure I'd find more forest landscapes in your gallery. Although I did find many amazing pictures, I didnt find another one with a similar atmosphere. I hope inspiration drives to you to forestry in the near future. :3
GracesCreations Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2008  Professional General Artist
I had a dream that a frog ate me, your painting has just confirmed that it will indeed happen.
lyanyne Featured By Owner May 18, 2008
Another fave! :faint:
madugongmaria Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2008  Professional General Artist
the painting is beautiful. your anecdote makes it much much better. u have a way with words :D
Master-Kankuro Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2008  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Coool!! An other nice pic. of you!!!!
khari-guardian Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2007
Love the expression, hehe... I'd love to come across that at the end of a road...
lazarusmumble Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2007
Reminds me of the Edge Chronicals. I think that's just the forest.

Nice haze, there. And are those giant fox gloves beyond the trees?
celduin300 Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh his face is so descriptive i love this illistration Wonderful
Becka-Van-Filth Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2007
beautiful, i assumed it was a painting at first. do you do any painting yourself? x
hotah Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2007   Digital Artist
lilia-levantera Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2007
very cool.
BentWrenchStudios Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
Awesome. All of your characters seem alive. If I look close I can see them smile at me...
Ombrenuit Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2007
That rocks!
AprilMcGuire Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2007   Digital Artist
I'm not sure if I faved this just because of the picture, or the description :D you seem to have an incredibly entertaining way with your words <33
LliaOlsen Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm always disinterested and possibly scared to start drinking alcohol or do drugs, for the reason I might not be in control for that one moment. Or maybe that some good would actually come of it and I would wonder if doing more would mean more good.

My brother before he was blown up in Iraq always told me some of his most craziest things came just from a little weed.

how much is a little? Alas, I'm still unable to bite or believe that I too am held back and that the only way to unlock any smidgen of random potential is to inhale...

Even with such an amazing piece before my eyes, I hold fast and refuse to fold. :)
Tie-Me-Up-With-Roses Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2007   Writer
Crap, now I'm gonna be scared to step on the toady.
I, like, love wombat butts.
kargath64 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2007
Wombats pwn.
glowworm56 Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2007
THe toad looks so peaceful.
Crab-Hermit Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
killthewaitress Featured By Owner May 23, 2007
the image itself is beautiful but i must say i thoroughly enjoyed your background story. Looks like that toad knows it all.
GhoulKing Featured By Owner May 13, 2007
I like the palette, and the big grin on the toad. Good work!
m-o-m Featured By Owner May 9, 2007
Very, very cool. :+favlove:
forestshimmer Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2007
This is so lovely!
Reminds me alot of the Neverending Story.....and childhood memories.
I wish I had the means to buy this print from you, because I adore this!
Tiaekyco Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2007
very cool. It reminds me of the frog in "The Neverending Story". just a thought.
e-bojnowski Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2007
as I was walking down a road I ran into a giant toad and he demanded I scratch his nose, so I did... and we became best friends because every time he asked anyone else to scratch his nose they had run away screaming.
tr33fr0g Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2007
awesome, will certainly need to add to my favs!
pretendimagination Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2007
this should be a print
ursulav Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2007
It is. You can order it through my website at [link]
pretendimagination Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2007
yay! <3 i love it
XCBDH Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2007  Professional General Artist
Yo, I think I fav'ed another one of your pics earlier, but seriously, I love this concept, and toads are one of the coolest animals on the planet, so I'm gonna fav this one too. reminds me of Golden Axe...if ya know what I'm talking about.

Watch those shrooms though. That stuff gets dangerous. You might need to spell it out more for some, because folk will use this pic as their excuse to go nuts on that junk.
MountNeverest Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2007
i can relate to so many things about this! First, the style reminds me of disney movies like fox and the hound or Iron giant, and for some reason of where the red fern grows, though its not animated. 2nd i really like the frog, i call it's sort a puddle frog, and looking at it i can almost hear it croak. third, i cracked up when i looked up madigral in the dictionary. your liver takes over when your spleen can't function right, which i leaned the hard way by lacerating my spleen! 3rd, my drug usage in college which i am still attending hasn't influenced my art much, except for when i drive, and am high, i'll go forever in any direction in PA where i live and i found some really cool spots to photograph or write/draw at. also, i think the dumb/exceedingly "enlightened" things i've done have lead to some cool writing/drawing in reflection. the culture is what has influenced me a lot, and i hope to influence back. but i like this airbrushing a lot! have a good day
Channy Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2006
wow, after reading your narration about the drugs and such, I took a look at myself and reminded myself that I already give off the impression that I do why make myself even more crazy:)

anyway, i love these types of colors in art and this is a very pleasant surreal piece of work. I love toads a lot, I used to catch baby toads and play with them every summer when I lived in IN.
pierrottheviolet Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2006
wooowww..i loved the drawing before reading the story behind it, but its absolutely adorable after
gothic-mosha Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2006
dude. your art it amazing!! i want to :+fav: all your work!! but it would take waaaaay tooooo looong so im going to watch you and :+fav: half your work!! or three quarters.. and have you ever thought about writing a book with all your creatures from your pictures in the book ? because i would buy it like BAM! that. =D :manhug:
RaluDreamwanderer Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2006
oooh:) brill
Toru-Inu Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh wow, that's really awesome! I love the way it blends together from toad to scenery and whatnot. Awesome!
Saca Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2006
Your comment is sooooo funny - reminds me of my mispent youth playing with LSD in the 70's. You have a way with words that brings a chuckle to the reader. The image is great, very well done & fun to view!
galefra Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2006
Wow, any time I'm feeling blue, I'll pop over to your gallery and read your narrations .... then I'll be smiling for the rest of the day !! You rock ! :-D
Porterish Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2006
prplflwr20 Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2006
My first inclination was to think that this is your interpretation of the land version of an oceanic froggie with camo-coral on his back. However, I read your explanation afterward, and I found I like him even more on the basis of your inspiration!
anteatersnout Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2006
Thanks for the great description, I have spent plenty of time out in nature and it puts you in the scene. The color and imagination that you put into this piece is incredible.
greenfroggies Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2006   General Artist
description was fun to read!
GrimmGirl Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2006
Swankafied!! (i'm going to Oz!)
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Submitted on
March 7, 2006
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