This is my own interpretation of the most popular diwata (guardian spirit) in Philippine folklore. She is widely known as "Mariang Makiling" (Maria of Makiling) who is said to be the guardian of a certain mountain bearing the same name.
My depiction of the diwata isn't the usual woman in a translucent white dress. Neither is this version of her the usual gentle guardian surrounded by forest animals. I wanted to present a figure who could enthrall and at the same time inflict harm upon those who are disrespectful. To make the painting a little less generic, I added the pintados (tribal tattoos), the kalis (wavy-bladed daggers) and other elements based on pre-colonial Filipino designs.
I'm actually unsure if the legend of Mariang Makiling became known before or after the Spanish era in the Philippines. Now that I've paid more attention to it, it seems rather odd to me that a diwata is named Maria which isn't a native Filipino name. However, she's always been referred to by that name even in the stories I've been told during my childhood years. Perhaps that's the reason I'm not feeling any discomfort towards having depicted her with several foreign features such as her complexion. That goes for how I spelled the title too.
A video walk-through of the painting process is being prepared right now. I'll include it in the digital painting demo DVD which I am planning to release this October.
This was made entirely in Adobe Photoshop CS5. It took me much longer than usual because I recorded the entire process and it's my first time to use Camtasia.
I hope you like it!