Monthly Archives: September 2013

Searching for Mushrooms and Fungi

I have decided I would like to paint more mushrooms and toadstools.  September is a good time to start looking, now Autumn is here it is perfect growing weather.  Along our lane there is a spot where mushrooms grow every year.  I am not sure what they are as I have no confidence in fungi identification, but I have no intention of eating any, just painting them.  I have been watching this spot for about a week now and two days ago, whilst out walking the dogs, I noticed that they had appeared.



The dogs had to sit patiently while I took photos on my mobile phone (which incidentally takes amazingly good photos despite me).  These are the only mushrooms I have seen so far, but possibly conditions are not right around here.


This is what I would really like to paint – toadstools.  I have not seen any growing round here – had to use a photo from Painter’s On-Line free photos.

Last year I found these mushrooms growing down a very damp lane in Yorkshire.  I think they may be inkcaps of some kind.


You have to be prepared to get dirty when photographing fungi.  They tend to grow in muddy, wet places usually very close to the ground.  I was lucky with these as the road was a lot lower than the bank on which they were growing.



Colour is very important to me. What colour I wear can change my mood completely.  Here are some of the feelings I get from colour:

  • Brown – totally unable to function properly
  • Lilac – upbeat and capable
  • Blue – calm and assured
  • Green – uncertain
  • Lemon Yellow –  zingy
  • Red- confident

As a spinner, my handspun yarn only really comes to life after I have dyed it – that’s when I get the inspiration as to what to use the wool for.

Handspun Yarn

Handspun Yarn


At one time I only really grew flowers in the garden from the lilac, blue, pink range with white added (much the same as my choice of dye colours for my yarns).  That’s fine in the Spring, but as the season progresses there are more reds and yellows about and I think we feel the need for warmer, brighter colours.  I have now added heleniums, rudbeckias, dahlias and anthemis to my planting plans.

Helenium 'Ruby Tuesday'

Helenium ‘Ruby Tuesday’

Another plant I am growing for the first time this year is echinacea – the cone flower.  It comes in a range of new colours, but mine are all in shades of pink.  It is quite an architectural plant and definitely one to paint!  It will be quite a challenge to get just the right shade of pink as it is quite  bright when first opened, but dusky as it ages.  Thankfully it stays open for quite a long time, giving me a chance to hopefully do it justice.


I think perhaps our feelings for colour are a seasonal thing.  What do you think?  I would welcome your comments.


Talking with other artists it seems that one of the big problems is finding inspiration.  This is not an easy thing to quantify as what inspires one person will not necessarily mean anything to someone else.  For me it is that ‘something’ which catches your eye.  It happens in an instant, as you are passing or even just sitting.  Something that makes you look – really look – and capture it on paper.


Do you remember when you first began to paint?  When you first went to lessons and you were taught the basic techniques.  Suddenly the world appeared to be in glorious technicolour – you began to see things differently and everything was a potential painting.  I can remember driving back from my art class checking off the colours of everything with the new exciting names of my watercolour paints.   The sky was caerulean blue with some cobalt, that was fairly simple, but the greens – very complicated!

To get back to what inspires you, I think it is partly to do with keeping your mind open to the possibility that you might be inspired.  This is what happens when we first learn.  

Climbing rose 2