Winters in Nashville are interesting. It starts getting the coldest around January and it only snows for a few days on and off unless there is a rare winter storm, but those are not common. I’m not complaining though since being outdoors and walking in nature is my go to for relaxation and the most effective way to unplug from the constant buzzing of daily tasks and errands.
Since my hiking adventures began in Nashville I started noticing a common pattern. There are mushrooms everywhere! I had not seen as many mushrooms or the amount of varieties elsewhere (so far). It rains a lot in Tennessee, so I suspect that may have something to do with it. Mushrooms love humidity and need it to thrive.
So far one of the most vibrant mushrooms I have witnessed on my adventures has been a neon green kind. It pulsated with life from a far and the brightness of the green beckoned me from a far to come and take a closer look. It was an unexpected surprise to discover how interested I have become in these tiny, spongy and diverse fungus. Sometimes we end up finding sparks of joy in the most unexpected ways.
Here’s a sneak peek of how I created the Mushroom Fest illustration.
I started by drawing all of the elements very loosely and quickly using black ink on cold-press watercolor paper. (pictured above)
After all of the ink dried, I went in the next day and started adding color using acrylic paint and gouache paint.(pictured below)
It took several days to complete the final piece which measures 9″ x 12″ inches. The color choices are mostly invented but the shapes are based on actual mushroom types. I like the technique of starting with a pen and ink base to paint over because it leaves a subtle boldness throughout the piece without looking too overpowering. I would say it creates an edgy but still friendly aesthetic.
Finally, after everything was painted to my satisfaction, I scanned the painting, dropped it into into Photoshop and moved the composition around so everything felt a little more balanced. And Tad Dah! It was done!
Forest clam dense and velvet soft you cling to the rough edge of a mighty companion is it an arrangement of convenience? Or perhaps, something more? How did you get up there? So high does the rest of your kind know where you are? Your Orange burns bright amidst this barren way.
This year I had my first autumn experience. My eyes had never seen so much beauty all at once. As an artist I know I will never make something as beautiful as a creation made by nature, and I don’t ever want to try. There is something unexplainable about being in the Awesomeness of nature that no words can describe. It can only be felt by the senses.
As a Floridian, autumn was never a big deal and now I understand why. It’s always summer there, and I dare say a tropical paradise like no other place on Earth. There are two coasts to choose from and you can grow food and garden year round, and swim in the ocean in autumn. However, once you’ve lived there for a good decade your body becomes removed from the experience of the other seasons.
I’ve never lived in an extremely cold climate but I have visited cold places during winter. After seeing my first autumn I like to think that the beauty of the changing leaves is a gentle reminder from nature of the reality of our impermanence. Our lives are more fleeting than the changing leaves. The leaves will come back next year and put on another spectacular display but the next second in our life is never guaranteed.