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Time for Mushrooms!

(This post was written on November 19th, 2016, but I never got to post it. Since we’re at that time of year again I guess it’s ok to share it now, better late than never!)

It’s the time of year for mushrooms! Whether you like to forage to eat (not me) or just admire (me), they are popping up everywhere. Now that we’ve had some rains and the ground is getting cold and soggy…I’m seeing them so much more.

Huge old Sycamore (Maple) I admire.

Huge old Sycamore (Maple) I admire.

At the top of the lane I like to walk up most days, there’s an especially old huge Sycamore tree I admire. At it’s base are what I think are three different kinds of mushrooms. I tried to go up to draw them the other day but got side tracked with the Brown Trout painting adventure. So this time I went right to them and found a good seat on one of the huge roots.

Drawing with mittens on!

Drawing with mittens on!

It was really cold just sitting there so I had to do the entire drawing wearing my mittens! I think I did pretty well with that in mind. Also to save time I did not do a pencil sketch first but drew directly with the permanent ink pen. That went ok too!

Look at all these lovely mushrooms!

Look at all these lovely mushrooms!

I love this new (to me) type of mushroom, I like imagining how the top split apart as it grew and expanded, kind of like how the continents split apart a long time ago! Each crispy looking brown shell part tops a bit of the mushroom flesh, making a great three dimensional subject to study.

Side view of one mushroom.

Side view of one mushroom.

Above shows the side view of one mushroom, you can really see the texture on it’s cap and see it’s ring around the stem like a little collar!

Below you can see how I progressed along, feet getting colder all the time.

My drawing is getting there, just one more mushroom!

My drawing is getting there, just one more mushroom!

I was definitely feeling the cold chill by now, but I really wanted to add one more mushroom behind these.

Mushrooms, brown permanent ink

Mushrooms, brown permanent ink

This is how far I got in the field, I got that last mushroom in! Now when I have time, I’ll add some more details of leaves and grasses…digging into the dark areas a bit. Then I’d really like to add the reddish brown color of the mushrooms using watercolor. We’ll see if I get that far.

Beautiful, I'm guessing at "Shaggy pholiota?

Beautiful, I’m guessing at “Shaggy pholiota?

Above is a picture of another mushroom cluster growing under that tree, I’m guessing it’s “Shaggy pholiota” (totally guessing from my small field guide!). It was so wonderful looking in it’s neat little cluster that dispite being very chilled to the bone, I decided to do a quick pencil sketch.

Very quick pencil sketch of mushrooms.

Very quick pencil sketch of mushrooms.

This also was done wearing mittens, it was really hard to do like that and to be very cold at the same time! But maybe I can find time to do up a little watercolor study with it? I loved the texture of these mushrooms, shaggy on top and stem.

Here you can see them growing in the root area.

Here you can see them growing in the root area.

Here’s a picture of the cluster growing in the root area, and I believe those on the root below it are more mature individuals.

A bright "Yellow Brain Fungus"

A bright “Yellow Brain Fungus”, (Tremella mesenterica)

This Yellow Brain Fungus I found growing on a stick broken off of the tree. The branch was heavily damp and covered with lichens and dead leaves. When I turned the stick to look at all it’s sides, the fungus flopped about a bit; it was so cool! I laid it back down on the ground, hoping to observe it each time I come back.

Do you see any mushrooms growing where you live? Post me a comment about them and where you are located, you don’t have to know what kind they are, I usually don’t know them either!

 

Hunting For Acorn Caps

(I wrote this in November. Sorry it’s a bit late, but I thought you’d still enjoy the pictures of my walk!)

A hunting we will go, a hunting we will go…high ho the dairy oh….a hunting we will go!

When you need something for a project and you can’t buy it at the local store, it’s great to know you have it right in your own backyard! I want to make some felted acorns, have you seen any of these? Oh they are so cool; I love the texture and colors of the wool and the real acorn cap is just perfect.

On my property there is a place I call “Oak Lane” because all along it there are huge, ancient oak trees growing and I watch over them the best I can. Well I set out for a short walk, only taking my camera and a plastic bag and glad that I put on my Wellies or barn boots because ‘AY CARUMBA’ it was wet!

Just what I was looking for, Bracket Fungus and Moss!

Just what I was looking for, Bracket Fungus and Moss!

I also had it in mind to collect reference pictures for my illustration projects. I found some excellent bracket fungus and moss for “Miss Mouse’s House”. I made up a sketch (in the new, big studio sketch book!) of her house and I can’t believe when I was walking, I found JUST the thing! I hope to share Miss Mouse with you when I get more sketches done.

What was supposed to be a short walk turned (as usual) into a long ramble, taking pictures every few steps. Seriously, every few steps…”oh look at that color!” “Oh…look how the trees reflect in the water”….glad no one came with me, I was able to wander slowly, drinking it all in and taking lots of pictures for future reference. When you walk slow and pause often, you also can take notice of so many things around you.

(c) P1410476 reflections

Reflections in the water, along Pasture Lane as I walked.

When I made it to Oak Lane, I picked up a small stick with a forked tip and used it for shuffling the wet leaves away. We’re not talking about oak trees in a yard with neatly trimmed grass! No…it was wild and absolutely covered with leaves, and how beautiful. But any caps I did find were mostly covered with mud, so into the bag they went to be studied later.

(c)mysterious pod (1)

Interesting and delicate pod or gall I found under the leaves.

Another neat thing I found, this thing that looks like some kind of a gall? It was on the ground under the leaves and I’m guessing it was on the tree or a small plant before because it had a stem. There’s a hole so whatever grew up inside it came out. It is paper thin and very interesting, so I put it in my bag, hoping it wouldn’t get squished. (see note at end of post)

Can you see anything in all these leaves?

Can you see anything in all these leaves?

The best find of all was when I noticed something move in the leaves, a tiny, tiny movement but I saw it. Then I just stopped and watched, and waited…then saw it again and really had to watch it not to loose it in the leaves again, a tiny Wood Frog!

A beautiful and tiny Wood Frog!

A beautiful and tiny Wood Frog!

Not very big and exciting you say? NO it IS! How many years have I walked on my land and do you think I see them all the time? NO, I hear them but don’t see them. So I snapped as many photos of this frog, that seriously was only as big as my thumbnail, as I could. Then when I was satisfied I had gotten enough, I used my stick to carefully move a blade of grass that was blocking my view of him.

Nice side view showing his mask.

Nice side view showing his mask.

It’s totally ok that it made him hop onto new leaves, I got even better pictures of him! You have to be patient and yes, it gave me a very stiff neck, all that looking down and crouching.

(c)Wood Frog (18)

Here’s a top view of him, you can see the patterns on his back that help him blend in.

I think because it was so cold he was moving slower than normal, a great time to get photos of frogs. Then I heard another Wood Frog across the lane calling and I thought, maybe that’s his mate or in ‘children’s book land’ his friend? It’s wandering through the woods alone when you can let your imagination have play too, and it’s good for you!

(c)'raisin' fungus 1

This was an unusual fungus I saw more than once, it looked liked someone squished raisins on the branch!

On the way back then it started to rain, then it hailed on my head! It was ok, the clouds were magnificent and the the cold breezes blowing, making my cheeks glow, it was wonderful to be there at that moment and really take it in.

Such beauty in a much overlooked wildflower, Chicory.

Such beauty in a much overlooked wildflower, Chicory.

I found two Chicory plants with beautiful blue blossoms on them still, hanging on to any sun they can get now.

And one little Aster in the middle of the ‘Maze’, an overgrown field with paths I cut years ago. The white Aster looked up at me with it’s tiny little face, and asked if winter was coming soon? I told it to prepare and go to sleep before the snow falls. It was sad but missed it’s friends, as they had all gone, so it nodded it’s head and drooped a little in it’s tiny stem.

Though I see interesting and beautiful things, walking alone on my land, I’m sometimes like the little Aster. It focuses my thoughts as I walk in quiet and when I see the beauty I want to turn to my sweetheart to share it with him, and he’s not there. And the discoveries I make I want to share with my Dad…and then I miss him again and again, not being able to talk to him. I’m sure many of you know what I mean, but instead of focusing on who isn’t there, I try to share my experiences with those I can.

The wild rose hips and their leaves were just beautiful, magical colors!

The wild rose hips and their leaves were just beautiful, magical colors!

I can show Gary pictures and talk to him on Skype until we can walk together. And my dad, I thank him for encouraging my love of nature and my creative endeavors as I quietly promise to follow through on my children’s stories. And to all of you, so glad you stop by to read my ramblings and see what I’m up to!

Have you gotten outside to take a slow walk lately? Noticing the change of seasons?

Maple leaf I made by wet felting wool.

Maple leaf I made by wet felting wool.

I made this leaf out of wool by wet felting it, isn’t it cool? I can keep it forever and it won’t lose it’s color. Here’s a picture with two leaves I made.

Two Maple leaves I made into felt from wool.

Two Maple leaves I made into felt from wool.

Now here are those felted acorns I made! Aren’t they cool?

Colorful wool needle felted acorns, caps from two different oak trees.

Colorful wool needle felted acorns, caps from two different oak trees.

I have since added pretty beads to the strings and made them into ornaments.

* My online friend Ed has kindly sent me a link to a page about the mysterious empty gall I found. It’s from an Oak Apple Gall Wasp, please read about it here, it’s fascinating! And here’s a page all about galls and the ‘critters’ that form them. Thanks Ed!

“Shaggy Ink Cap Mushroom”

I am not sure when I started to be fascinated by mushrooms and fungi, but when I go hiking I find I’m always stopping to notice them tucked away under branches, logs or leaves. Sometimes they’re right in front of you on the sides of dead or dying trees or right on the path, or they may be hiding waiting for your keen eye to catch them.

I spotted this pair right in the lawn (that needed cutting!) and what an interesting mushroom. My best guess is a “Shaggy Ink Cap”. I wondered why it was named that until I saw it a few days later.

Shaggy Ink Cap watercolor sketch

Shaggy Ink Cap watercolor sketch

I did this little sketch with just watercolors, I wanted to avoid doing a careful pencil sketch and just kind of block in some green to form the light shapes of the mushrooms. I used a waterbrush which is handy but can be a bit limiting; it’s not as easy to mix quick pools of color in your pan and you must have a paper towel handy to clean between colors. Also I usually use just the one size waterbrush when doing a quick sketch so you use it to make wide and narrow lines or marks. The challenge on this set of fungi was the shaggy part, how to paint it without fussing too much? The “shags” were light and pointy, really their form was created by the darks around them…above and below. If I was doing a careful study I’d spend more time on that feature.

Me working on the sketch

Me working on the sketch

Here’s a picture of me working to show my set up; I’m sitting on my blue foam pad because the grass is damp and chilly, it was early morning still. It’s not the best posture for someone with a ‘bad’ back, no support, but what are you going to do? That’s partly why I worked so fast, I get achy!

Looking over my shoulder

Looking over my shoulder

You can see my new little field kit there, I use it as a purse and carry my bare essentials for field sketching. The art supplies take presedence I have to admit…no make-up just some money, credit card and the rest is for drawing! My motto, “Be Prepared”! I’m holding the watercolor pan in my left hand, waterbrush in the other. I have regular brushes in the pan in case I want to use them or have water with me.

Shaggy Ink Cap

Shaggy Ink Cap

This is how it looked the day I painted it.

Two days later

Two days later

And this is just two days later, I was shocked! I guess that’s where it gets it’s name, INK cap. It was eerie looking, dripping black goo, like it had melted.

Two days later close-up

Two days later close-up

I would like to learn more about this, and why it does that. Any of my readers know?… leave me a comment please. I didn’t have a chance to draw it at this stage, been too busy going off on hikes. I have been photographing many types of mushrooms, my favorite so far is the Fly Agaric…bright red cap with white flecks on it. I hope to do a painting of that one too.

“Rydal Water-Last Day” 9-12-08

In the morning looking out my window, I was greeted by an unusual sight, sheep in the courtyard! I guess it would be very frustrating to have a garden here as the sheep kind of wander where they like, especially if their gate is left open. The owners of Cote Howe B+B told me it was hard to protect the garden and they try to put fencing around it.
This morning I was leaving Rydal Water, I was sad to say good-bye. I went out behind the B+B to wait for my friend Gary to come, it was chilly and damp. I climbed up on top of a big wooden gate with huge stone posts and did a balancing act as I swung my legs to the other side. The stone wall is fascinating in itself to study, notice the huge cap stone at the end on the left…I don’t know how deep it goes into the ground, but I’m sure it goes down a few feet at least. This is how the stones were set for Stonehenge and the other stone circles around England and Ireland. The big stone here is used as the post, the wall being built up against it and also gates can be hung on it. The wall has a niche in it, I forget what the owner told me it was for? Does anyone know?
Above you can see some beautiful forms of fungus’s and moss. It seems anything that wasn’t moving in England this fall, was covered with mosses! I’ll try to identify these later from my field guides, if anyone has some good identification, leave me a comment please!
There were sheep in the field, an occasional hiker and just a beautiful view looking towards Rydal Water and the path I took yesterday for my hike. I sat on a gate and sketched the sheep and path view, the bunny is from when I was standing by the garden and saw him there. I sat so quietly sketching that the sheep came right up under me, when I spoke to her, she was very surprised to see me! That’s the neat thing about sketching in nature, you sit so quietly engrossed that wildlife will come around you.
Below you can see my original page, this is what I did as I sat on the fence, I painted it in while looking at the photos on my computer screen, using my tiny Altoids watercolor kit and just one waterbrush. You can see my tiny color tests in the spiral area of the paper.

“Hiking on my Land” 1-23-09

Today as the sun shone and the temperatures climbed to a balmy 30 or so degrees, I felt a very strong urge to just grab my field kit and go for a hike with Ginger. I notice whenever I go out field sketching or work on a painting in the studio, it’s like having a visit to the therapist! I feel like I’ve just had some kind of adjustment, and all is right in my world! Troubles melt away as I stop to catch my breath and listen to the wind gusting through the trees. Today was no different. (click on any picture to see enlarged view)
First small sketch done with a micron 05 permanent marker, it’s along the path that’s called “Long Lane” on my farm. To warm up and to see if drawing with my fingerless mittens would feel comfortable, I did the top of a small oak tree, then turned and looked down the lane where Ginger was disappearing down, and did a quickly scrawled sketch. It’s ok that it’s not beautiful and meticulously drawn, I can remember the scene in my mind just be looking at it. Sometimes the field sketch can have more movement and show more excitement than a carefully executed studio drawing. I also find that being able to work loosely in the field keeps my studio painting fresh and lively looking.
Just me in my dad’s old wool hunting coat that I treasure, using the fingerless mitten ok. I picked up this pair in England at a regular clothes store at the mall, I made sure they had wool in them, and I like the dark brown color (to hide the dirt of course silly!). At this point I think my fingers were cold, sometimes I worked with the top pulled back and sometimes closed. I’m using a waterbrush here and watercolors, I put my kit in a new bag to try out, an over the shoulder binder type thing, but no room for apples or water bottles. Extra things had to go in the back secret pouch on the hunting jacket, made for carrying dead birds that the hunter (dad) would shoot. It’s actually a handy pouch…I slid my sketchbook in there when I would get moving on my hike.
This is a page with a simple color study of the red bark on bushes and the little fern heads coming up through the snow. Their forms, almost silhouette because they’re so dark, are wonderful to study.
The photo above shows a leaf I found in a tiny birds nest that was tucked into a tangled bush. It’s small things like this that if you take time to notice the subtle beauty your enjoyment of the natural world and simple walks would be much more memorable. This leaf is a simple shape, but I love the mixture of subtle colors, there’s a promise of green there that makes me think of spring, it’s almost as if the green was frozen from the fresh times of summer. The pattern of the veins and cells is really something too, the wet sheen on it’s surface reflecting a cool light.
Then turn the same leaf over and it’s a whole other leaf! This side has a network of raised veins showing, like fine meshwork netting and the contrast of the color of vein to leaf is at once noticed. The fall like colors are not showing on this side. When you pick something up, turn it over and explore everything about it; if you draw it, you will study it deeply, noting it’s every interesting detail. Sometimes this is good to do once you get back home and can sit in the warmth and take time to study it.
Here’s another nest I found that almost looks like it has an ice cream scoop for an egg waiting to be hatched by the warm spring sun. (It’ll have to wait awhile still!) Walking in winter is a good time to look for birds nests, just look at bushes or trees for clumps of dark areas, usually made by leaves and small branches. It’s fun to look closely at them, how the tiny branches are laid criss cross and woven, and imagine two birds picked up ever single twig and made that. Some nests are tiny things..some larger and could even be for grey squirrels. I don’t ever disturb the nests…I feel they are there to be used somehow by other creatures, mice, bugs, etc. and I just let it alone. I will carefully pull some leaves out of a nest to see what the cup might look like.
Now this page has notes you can read, but I’ll explain a bit more. I went to a part of my land that has huge old oak trees on it, and one in particular that is dead. This dead tree had all kinds of funguses growing on it and was great to study.
I learned something new that I didn’t expect, there was an interesting type of fungus growing on the underside of all the large branches. It was a beautiful natural yellow with some orangey colors in it, but very muted. The funny thing was I noticed the snow beneath it had yellow spots following the branches, NO Ginger didn’t do that! haha…but as the snow piled on top of the branches melted, the yellow color in the fungus was dripping down to the ground. I wonder if the Indians or settlers used that as a color for something?
Here’s a close up, if anyone can help me identify this I’d be grateful. I looked it up in my mushroom and fungus books but can’t find it specifically.
This fungus is as far as I can tell, a “Redbelt” shelf fungus. I did a painting in the field while looking at it and looked it up when I got home. (The painting is below). The odd thing was, as closely as I thought I looked at this, I still missed something interesting. When I got home and uploaded my photos, I noticed on some close ups there were little blackish bugs crawling all over the place!! Ewww….I have to admit, I like studying bugs, but the idea that there were bugs all over this fungus and tree and I didn’t know it kind of made me uneasy! But the fascinating thing was that there were bugs out doing their thing in the middle of the winter! You would be surprised at what you’ll see on a mild winter day!At this point, at the end of my hike after being out two hours, my toes were frozen and getting numb. This is when the idea of hot cocoa creeps into my mind and Ginger’s happy face asking, “Can we go home yet?” starts to distract me.
This last page I finished at home while drinking that hot cocoa; the tree and fungus I did in the field. I brought home a stick with neat fungus growing on it, the leaf I photographed and a dead leaf. This stick was very interesting to look at under a magnifying glass, the black fungus was shiny and the rose colored had a velvety sheen almost. I made a stab at identifying the rose colored as Hypoxylon Fragiforme, any experts out there can verify this? I added color notes too so you could see what paints I used.
I hope you enjoyed our hike today in the winter chill! Sign up your email in the right column to recieve updates when I post new things. Happy Hiking!

My Journey Across Northern England 9-7-08

This is about my first day in England and the drive across the country through the Lake District to Ravenglass, West Cumbria. Forgive me for not having sketches for this entry, I kept busy with my camera recording what I saw, and being so exhausted it would have to suffice. Everywhere I looked, all was new to me and exciting, so the camera clicked away! Let me tell you about my travels with the photos below.

This first one is the view I had upon waking on my first day in England. It’s outside Alnwick in Northumberland, (Northeast England) a gorgeous countryside just bursting with fresh greens of all sorts and rolling hills. I had a hot cup of tea with a biscuit, parted the curtains and there you go…lovely. The stone structure across the street is a bus stop.
The next picture shows a view from the other window, looking down the street. The mist hung heavy across all the houses in the tiny village, you’d never know there were very tall hills just behind the houses! I love the mystery in the roofs disappearing into the fog.
The next picture below is just outside the door, I went for a walk with my host Major Bullman and his very old dog “Bracken”. It felt good to shake the travel fog from my mind and breath some clean fresh air, I had to pinch myself to remind myself that I was really in England! haha…
Then my friend Gary and I set out to cross England to the Lake District. Along the way I saw amazing sights, beautiful lakes and views. The red fungus below is from our stop at Ulswater Lake; I haven’t tried to identify it yet, but would love to do a watercolor sketch of it. It had the neatest golden thread all over beneath it, like spun gold fibres, a spiderweb that perhaps had pollen all over it? Or spores from the fungus?
This is a picture of a VERY tired me (!!) at Ulswater. You can see how much rain the area had been getting, the little islands behind me were under water!
This below is Ulswater, it was placid and peaceful, the sun was just coming out in spotlights upon the distant hills…it was so dramatic and inspiring!
This is a breathtaking area that we stopped to take in the view at, a valley near Brotherswater on the way to Kirkstone Pass. I just couldn’t get over the prettiness of the view here, but it was getting late and we had far to travel still!
The view below is an unbelievable place, looking down the Kirkstone Pass towards Lake Windemere with the woodland around Hawkshead in the distance. If I remember right, the b+b and pub here are at the highest point in England. (I’ll check on that!) I joked with my friend that we should have a pint of beer here just because of this! But alas, we needed to press on, can you see the darkening of the sky?? We still needed to cross some mountains to reach Ravenglass on the West coast.
Below is a stone wall, a stone wall you ask? Why? Well I found it interesting that as for many things, when you take the time to notice, there is an art and beauty to it. Gary explained to me that those who build the old style stone walls, with no mortar, all have their own style when they create. This one shows the rows of flat stones laid in between the big round ones, a mark of this wall makers. I snapped this picture out the window while Gary was asking directions!
We stopped here at a cafe parking lot with a great view, as you can see! Here we’re looking down Hartside Pass in Cumbria, towards the Solway Firth. You can see the Irish Sea and Scotland in the distance! That ribbon of road is where we would drive next…a long and winding road. You can just see a tiny white cottage on the right side, that is an open cottage for travelers who may get stuck in bad weather. It makes me wonder just how bad the weather gets here? But I like the idea of the shelter for travelers.
Well I guess that’s it for this entry! Next will be sketches and paintings from Muncaster Castle in Ravenglass!

“Swallow Hollow” Iroqouis Wildlife Refuge 8-12-08

What a day I had at the Swallow Hollow nature trail, part of the Iroqouis Wildlife Preserve. The above photo was just one of the many beautiful scenes I saw that day; the trail follows the water in a nice loop, sometimes going through woods, mostly near the marsh or some natural looking water canals. Much of the trail is a boardwalk to keep you up from the very wet ground, especially after such a rainy summer!

This is a picture of my new sketchbook cover, it’s a sketchbook that I designed and made myself with a long format. I thought it’d be fun to put some pictures of my paintings on the cover, to show people I meet some of my work. I can add or take pages from the sketchbook as I want to.

This is the first page of my sketchbook from my day out. I stopped at a nice area in the Tonawanda Wildlife Management area, Elizabeth Hilldurger Estate project. I was so happy to see two Great Egrets (or in my old Peterson guide American Egret) flying around. The one roosted in a tree far away, I tried to do some little sketches by looking through my binoculars.
The watercolor of the water scene I did using my little watercolor ‘altoids’ field kit and just a water-brush. It’s pretty simple looking but I did it quickly while standing up.

This is me pausing to sketch along the boardwalk. You can see I have my art kit bag on my waist and a backpack with other supplies on my back. Almost all of what I draw, I draw while I’m standing and looking at things.
Along the way on my walks I usually meet some nice people who are curious about what I’m doing. I met a couple walking their dogs, Papillions…Pudgie is the puppy furiously digging the hole in the back…Max is the one gazing up at his owner. Maybe this is the kind of dog I should get to keep me company in the house? I’ve seen them before and thought about it. Their owner told me Papillion means butterfly in french….well at least it’s their names meaning, I guess because of how they look with their ears perked.

Next is another page from my sketchbook, click it to see it closer. I met a little Leopard frog along the way and did quick little sketches of him, then painted it at home using metallic watercolor paints. He really had a metallic look to his skin, so beautiful! At the end of this post you’ll see a little video clip of him!

I saw many Harvestman spiders in the woods and did a sketch of one on a dying milkweed leaf. I also took photos so when I got home I was able to paint it with watercolors. I took step by step photos of the painting, perhaps I’ll get to post it separately later.
I did some reading about Harvestmen Spiders, which are only distantly related to spiders, they are not venomous, lack fangs and do not bite. They use their legs to walk, breath, smell and capture prey! There are 5,000 species, about 235 known in North America, most are drab brown or grey, but a few are rusty red, mottled spots or have a stripe down their back. Now that I know that, I know I was lucky to see a rusty red one, and the one I painted had a mottled kind of dark stripe on it. One more interesting detail to keep my eyes open for while hiking! I hope you take a closer look next time you meet one.


This next page shows a light pencil sketch I did of the path, I also took some photos so later I could color it in. I haven’t gotten that far yet! The mushrooms at the bottom of the page I went specifically to Swallow Hollow to try to find again and paint, I saw them there just a week before. I could use some help indentifying them if anyone has expertise in this area?? I have become fascinated with mushrooms and fungi…when you walk in the woods, just take a close look at the ground or on trees or dead logs, you’ll be surprised at what you might discover! I’ve seen gorgeous yellow or orange mushrooms that I didn’t expect. The picture of the orange mushroom I could use help identifying too.

I set up my stool in the woods and I painted this study from life. It was difficult because the lighting kept changing, first direct, raking light, then very dark shadows. As I painted a Harvestmen Spider crawled across my sketchbook, pausing over my painting to ‘taste’ the wet paint! Before I could get my camera, he crawled off down my leg….he being a spider that he was I helped him hurry off me! I don’t mind them too much, but don’t want them lingering. At least I can say, knowing they are harmless helps me not to react like Little Miss Muffet! Remember her story?

This is the last page from my outing…while I was in the field I sketched the tiny mushrooms in pencil…kneeling in the pine needles to gain a closer look. They’re done at life size. Then while walking later I went over the lines with a sepia colored Micron Permanent ink pen. Later at home I printed out the photos I took of them and added the watercolor. I have found that when I do something in graphite pencil in the field, I get disappointed at how it will smear or fade with all the use the sketchbook gets, so I like to use my micron pens a lot to draw.

The while fungus is fascinating…they are hard to notice…you might just step right past them, but you have to be aware of everything and look everywhere when you walk. These are also drawn at life size, aproximately 2″ tall and coming up like delicate white filaments from the forest floor. A mystery to me, if anyone can tell us please do.

The butterfly was a type I saw all day, following me it seemed, to see what I was doing in their woods? I sketched it in the field on a leaf, but later painted it from a photo. Can anyone help me with identifying it?

I added a short video clip of my meeting with the Leopard Frog along a sunny path, check it out!

“Allegany Nature Pilgrimage” (moss, lichens, fungus, dragonflies and moths) 5-31-08

This is a continuation of my weekend at the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage at the end of May. This post I have some pictures of fungus, lichens and moss from the non flowering plants hike I took led by Alice Brown.
This is a fungus I’ve seen growing on my land in Clarence Center NY, in the Adirondack mtns. and at Allegany. It’s a fungus I identified as Trametes Versicolor, the common name is Turkey Tail, so named because of the variable bands of color. I’ve seen it in all seasons which makes it kind of fun to look for, check dead trees and branches on the ground etc. I read on a website that a tea can be made from it and that it’s used to fight cancer and hiv. Don’t quote me on that but it’s what I read, I do know that mushrooms can be very good for you. I wouldn’t recommed going out and eating these though…my mushroom book (Simon and Schuster’s Guide to Mushrooms- Excellent Book!) says that it’s inedible because of texture.
This is a flat fern type of moss, I don’t know my mosses yet so if someone can help me out here. I have to look for a good field guide, you know…tall, dark, handsome! haha…no really, the kind with pages is fine!
This is a picture of mosses on the side (type?) and in the center is a type of lichen, foliose type I think. I’ve always liked the cool color of lichens..like the green patina copper gets when it’s out in the elements.
Then there was the night I was headed to bed, enhausted from all the hikes and early mornings, but saw this show-stopping Luna Moth! Wayne Gall had a simple white sheet up each night with a really bright light to attract all kinds of bugs. I never imagined I’d ever see a Luna Moth and there it was! Wow! It caused quite a bit of excitment. I definitley have to do a painting with one of those in it. Notice the antennae…so large.
This is a page from my sketchbook, just some quick sketches of the dragonfly talk led by Jeremy Martin. Below is a picture of a dragonfly that just came out of the ‘Exuvia’, or shed skin. That’s what I did the small sketch of above. I have written in my sketchbook that I took a picture of a Springtime Darner…maybe that’s the type below.
Well as I said, not too many drawings on this Nature Pilgrimage…I needed the whole following week to stay there and digest all that I learned, and go back and sketch things. Be sure to check my post about Thunder Rocks coming up!