Not the Last Afterall

Whatever happened to posts about birds or flowers or trees? There will be more of those to come, I promise. But first, just a few more mushrooms which, as you will see, were worthy of paint. First, the pear-shaped puffball, whose smoky spores release when gently squeezed. And then the inconspicuous tannish-brown clitocybe. Who would have thought lavender gills would be hiding underneath that unassuming cap?

Tips and Techniques– Use your sketchbook to try a variety of artistic approaches. Part of what’s keeping me going on mushrooms week after week is not only the incredible variety, but also the challenge of finding new ways to paint them. The pale puffballs growing from leaf litter seemed perfectly suited to negative painting– a series of layers that move from loose to defined and light to dark. In contrast, the diagram on the right side of that page was simple and quick. The clitocybe and cortinarius page is my traditional pen and ink approach, which works well for fitting a lot of specimens on a page, noting key features, and trying to figure out what they are. I recently saw an artist who created a whole jumble of mushrooms on a page and I thought that would be fun…but maybe next year.

Coming up this week on 10/6: I’m looking forward to the second class in the DRAWN TO NATURE- SKETCHBOOK SERIES, Poetry of Nature at Winslow Art Center (via Zoom) 3-5PM Pacific Time, 6-8PM Eastern Time. REGISTER >

18 Comments on “Not the Last Afterall

  1. I knew it! You’re insatiable curiosity about mushrooms won out! And aren’t puffballs the best! Poof! Wow, lavender gills on the Clitocybe ….. did you try a spore print? Wondering what color spores drop from this species? Your tips and techniques to try new approaches to familiar objects is an excellent reminder. Thanks so much Jean for sharing!

  2. I love your posts and beautiful art work. Just a word of caution not to inhale the spores of the puffball when they “puff”, as it could be very poisonous to have the fungus in your system. I didn’t know that in the beginning when my kids and I used to make them “puff”. Evergreen Erb on a mountain in Vermont

    • I just read that when learning more about these. It makes sense, but I hadn’t heard it before. I only released the spores on one of these, but wasn’t close enough to breathe them in.

  3. Love your puffballs! Your sketches made me remember seeing gigantic puffballs at the top of a nearby hill. I went there yesterday and there they were—five big white beauties in size from a softball to a soccer ball. When it warms up this afternoon, I’ll hike back up and sketch them. One can never have enough encounters with fungi. Thank you, Jean

  4. Mushrooms have been rare in these parts this year due to dry conditions. But it’s such a pleasure to see them on these pages. Thank you. I do miss our ‘shrooms.

    • Hopefully you will get some rain and they will appear where you live…perhaps in full force as they have here once we got significant rains after a dry summer. Happy to share these with you!

  5. What a pleasure, Jean! Puffballs are so much fun – yes, totally worthy of paint but you have to think about how to portray those simple, off-white spheres – which you did, of course. A context sketch and a life stage sketch, excellent! The second sheet is beautifully done – there’s something very appealing about the bits of dirt and grass combined with the colors of that Clitocybe. It’s really a gorgeous color combination! Nature does it again, right? But it takes great skill to translate it to the page.

    • Linda- you are always so generous with your comments. Thanks so much. I always enjoy seeing nature through your lens. In grand vistas, small details, and ever-changing conditions, there is so much to enrich and sustain us.

      • You’re welcome and thank YOU! That last sentence really sums it up – we are enriched and sustained by nature. 🙂

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