Friday, 30 November 2012


I am inspired by fungi at the moment, they are definitely one of my favourite subjects to paint. From the initial hunt;like finding treasure, then putting into 2D and creating all the different textures.
I found these beauties back in October in the Ystwyth valley woodlands; a mixture of conifer and broad leaved species grow here. They are Boletus chrysenteron or red cracking boletes, due to the cracked surface of the velvety cap which shows the soft pink and yellow flesh underneath. These boletes have yellow pores instead of gills. I have painted pine needles, a birch leaf and mosses as habitat indicators.

I wanted to show some of my inspirations for painting fungi.

Alexander Viazmensky, a wonderful fungi painter living in Russia. The link is already in my link list on the right here but I'll give it again.
I love the beautiful and intricate illustrations of Ray Cowell whose work is held in collections at Kew. Here is a link to Rays' Kew information.
Suzanne Lucas was the founder president of the SBA. She was an avid and prolific fungi painter and gained many gold medals with the RHS. I have one of her books called 'In Praise of Toadstools'.

Also there is Beatrix Potter, of course, a famous illustrator and mycologist. She has some of her fungi paintings in a book called 'Wayside and Woodland Fungi'. Now that's a book I'd love to find!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Fungi finished

The finished piece. That's after fiddling around for a bit but I think I'm finally happy with it.
Added touches of quinacridone gold, quin. burnt scarlet and quin. deep gold. The green I used was serpentine genuine, from Dan Smiths,in fact all these paints are from Dan Smiths. The serpentine is a Primatek paint made with minerals, and has a brownish after glow perfect for these dying fronds.

Here's an interesting link about these paints.

Hmmm. what next?


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Autumn Work in Progress and ISBA

 Wood Blewitt, Parasol mushrooms and bracken, a work in progress.
This painting is a rework from an earlier one that went wrong! I have many paintings that are on the to do again pile, usually due to rushing the compostion stage to get out the paint brushes. Hopefully I'll learn one day - Botanical artists are supposed to be patient aren't they? just not me.

The wood blewitt or Lepista nuda is a great mushroom, with a bluey purple colour. The first wood blewitts I ever found were so purple, I couldn't believe the colour. I thought I must've been on magic mushrooms! The parasols are beautiful and elegant and can grow really large. Both types of fungi are edible but the blewitts have to be cooked.
I found them growing by the roadside while driving along (I do this a lot). They were with short grasses and  bracken which made a good backdrop; its drying fronds changing to autumn colours. Lots of umbers and raw sienna used here.
I hope to finish the painting very soon.

 I visited the botanical gardens in Dublin not long ago to meet up with everyone and we had a masterclass with Susan Sex, a fantastic Irish artist. She is truly an expert, and made painting look incredibly easy. Dublin is an amazing place and I met some really lovely people.