Clearly there's some kind of danger (whether from the girl or elsewhere). The fact that the skeleton sitting next to the girl is whole yet has no flesh either means that there's something in the area that can strip flesh from bone or that there are no predators in the area (who would have torn the body apart to eat it). The only reason for there to be no predators is if there was nothing to hunt (strange for such a well vegetated landscape). The fact that there's nothing to hunt means either something killed off all the prey or the prey got smart and left. (Which takes us back to the first option that there's something bigger and badder in the area anyway).
That really only leaves us with a couple of options. 1) The girl is a trap by the bad monster that scared everything off, 2) The girl is a sacrifice in need of saving, or 3) The girl is bait.
The fact that the area isn't hugely overgrown means that the herbivores haven't been missing long. So the humans are likely still in the area.
The fact that there's only one set of bones means that these people probably haven't witness the true wrath that this creature is capable of (which goes along with the theory that the herbivorous haven't been missing long) which means that they might not be worn down to the point of blindly sacrificing their women. So, there a chance there are warriors hidden in the rocky cliffs nearby.
If she's bait, the warriors will likely try to stop the hero(s) before they can even get close to the girl.
If she's a sacrifice, taking the girl without killing the creature will probably put the rest of the village in danger. The fact that she's not struggling (the chain is just looped over the rock, there's a chance she'd be able to get it off... maybe) but has accepted her fate, means she was probably chosen because she is someone responsible for the safety of her village or that she volunteered. Which means she won't want you to save her because she'll see it as her *responsibility* to be the sacrifice to protect the village.
Either way, the hero(s) should either find a different path (if they don't want to be bothered with the whole affair) or should wait until the creature shows up.
... For the record, in my mind she'd bait and is wearing breakaway chains. There are warriors hiding in the bushes and cliffs and they have her weapons for her.
A very inspiring painting, that was fun. I look forward to your next one!
hmmm...on close inspection, it looks like a corpse next to her, but not a mere skeleton. It almost looks like some degree of biostratinomic autolithification has taken place, but its appearance looks more like a mummification, which seems odd.
The fact that she was not naked when chained could mean that when it happened, children were present. In ancient times, to mark a path or a boundary, a child was made to witness, and so that the memory would be vivid, something extraordinary would take place, so that even when the child aged and became an old man, he would remember the location as clearly as if he were there just yesterday.
(See the Wikipedia entry for "Beating the Bounds", which mentions the beating of children in conjunction with boundary marking.)
Perhaps the children of this tribe are beaten so frequently that there would be nothing noteworthy about that, so the next best thing is to sacrifice a slave-girl.
Woah, I wish I had your sort of comments and analysis more often!
I think those scenarios are quite plausible. I cant say for sure what lurks in the shadows. Nor whether we can trust the lady to be an honest-to-goodness helpless damsel. In these parts, good samaritans are often the dead ones.
You've put value into some of those long hours spent painting on this. Thanks!
I have an overactive imagination. I saw this and read the beginning of your artist's comment and for whatever reason I half expected the rest of it to explain that the 'damsel' in distress was actually a fake decoration situated on the tooth of some GIANT monster to draw in food... kinda like an angler fish with its fake glowing bait I guess... The rocks do look a bit like jagged teeth.
Anyways, awesome picture. The little skeleton is a nice touch.
My initial reaction was detached curiosity about said damsel, but only as an object. I started wondering why, and realised that the fore/aft blurs make me think this is a miniature landscape and miniature damsel chained to a rock, taken with a macro lens. Add to that the vast predominance of the land over the figure (size-wise) and I really feel like a floating observer. Interesting perception effect.