wow, the lighting is pretty incredible. and even though the subject is hanging in a tree it somehow feels peaceful to me. kind of like passing on and seeing the other side, it's very calm. that's how i see it, amazing work.
I never read something by James. May i gonna mix it up somehow.... but in my head i got a relation between H.P. Lovecraft (or Poe) and M.R. James. Like i said, i'm not sure about it. Anyway.... i like the link you've send! Thanks for that!
The deal is, try to use Palette-Knifes instead of brushes to paint trees! With those knifes you'll get much more realistic textures than with a brush! It's almost kinda magic how easy that works out. Of course it's a matter of practise at the end.... But, compared with the use of brushes, it'll cost you less practise. Talkin' about oil-paint, brushes are overrated. Try to use your fingers, knifes etc. Most people would say that i'm wrong.... but you'll get the best results with oil-paint. Especially based on the thickness. I only use diluter for fog, backgrounds etc. But anyway... that's only my own way of work. At the end it's all about feelin' comfortable with specific methods.
About the glowing... that's only somekinda contrast-illusion. No magic.
If I remember correctly, it is a story about when black people were hung in the south. If I am thinking correctly, it's a little (girl?)'s account of seeing the men hung in a tree at night by firelight.
Good story, albeit, horrifying in the truth of ugly-humanity. Though I haven't read it in a few decades.