Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Third Mushroom Watercolor

This third watercolor is called "All Habitats Depend." Written around the 8 x 8" tipped square image are these words from Paul Stamets:

All habitats depend directly on their fungal allies, without which the life-support systems of the earth would soon collapse. Mycelial networks hold soils together & aerate them. Fungal enzymes, acids, & antibiotics dramatically affect the condition & structure of soils. In the wake of catastrophe, fungal diversity helps restore devastated habitats.

Last week I wrote about my work with mushrooms in a grant application to Center for Cultural Innovation. I'd love to get this grant. It would enable me to paint BIG mushrooms, to visit Paul Stamets & other mycologists, & to devote a block of time to the project without wondering where the next month's rent's coming from. It's at least one or two orders of magnitude more probable than winning the lottery....

It felt good to clarify my intentions around mushrooms, Stamets' work, & mycological effects on the miracle of biological interdependence. Whatever happens, they were hours well spent. My fungal allies helped aerate & structure my artstic soil.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Second Mushroom Watercolor

When I started my second watercolor mushroom, I was inspired to rotate it 90 degrees, giving more drama to the small, fragile-looking mushroom I'd chosen to paint.

This little yellow mushroom was growing in Armstrong Woods. The fallen needles and sorrel leaves give an idea of its size.

The Paul Stamets quote I chose for this one is, Because ectomycorrhizal mycelium grows beyond the plant’s roots, it brings distant nutrients & moisture to the host plant, extending the absorption zone well beyond the root structure. The mycelium dramatically increases the plant’s ingestion of nutrients, nitrogenous compounds, & essential elements (phosphorous, copper, & zinc) as it decomposes surrounding debris.

How amazing is that! All those trees I love so much, continuously nourished by fungi I notice only during their brief "fruiting"!

This painting is now hanging with 6 other mushroom watercolors at Sebastopol Gallery. This rotation runs through February 27. I also have there a new chapbook of poems that includes 3 mushroom poems & 4 mushroom painting reproductions.

I continue to study mushrooms, in guidebooks & Stamets Mycelium Running, along the bikepath, in friends' yards, in the woods & fields, & at my drawing table.

My sense of mystery & gratitude deepens....