Monday, September 17, 2012

Sketching Mushrooms

As a colorless fall descends on the mid-west I find myself a little relieved that the intense heat of summer has finally subsided.  It's been a hot summer in the mid-west USA, not the kind of heat I am used to in Australia, but a different kind of hot.  Sadly hot!  Having experienced drought in full fury, I look around me and sense yet another drought about to take hold of this lush and fertile place.  Everything looks tired and parched.

The experts say (whoever they are), that the color will not come this fall. The extreme lack of rain over summer means that the trees will simply brown and drop their foliage.  Mostly avoiding their shimmering display of color transition in favor of life preservation...who can blame them.  That certainly seems to be happening so far.

As you know, I'm never without a sketchbook and camera, and this weekend we jumped on our bikes and went riding through the exquisite trails of the Cedar Valley, hoping for a glimpse of some rogue fall color.  The forests are still rich and green and just breathing in their beauty is revitalizing.  I don't get a lot of opportunity to sketch with kids in tow, but I did get some snaps, and these mushrooms (or toadstools??) were just crying out for interpretation.

Sketching the elements of nature is my way staying creatively fit. Coming back to basics is a necessary part of my own art journey, and my sketchbooks are filled with random and interesting snapshots of the world around me.  Some good, some disastrous, but all necessary.

So, Jenn McLean over at Just Add Water Silly and The Artist's Playroom has issued a wonderful challenge this week..."In Your Own Backyard".  My backyard extends far beyond the boundaries of my home, my backyard includes the beautiful town of Cedar Falls, and the exquisite nature trails and state parks of the Upper Mississippi Valley.  Most people think of the Mid West as farm land and corn fields, and that's true for a lot of it, but there is so much more to this part part of the world.

The landscape around me is very different from what I grew up with, but over the years my love for the heartland has grown strong, and although the smell of the Aussie bush will never fade from my heart, the crisp cool forests, shimmering green corn fields, and the interesting fungi of the Heartland have taken their place well and truly in my senses.

On another note, Jenn McLean is a Contributing Editor of FEATURING Magazine, a FANTASTIC art and art-journalling glossy that comes out of Europe.  And of course, like all things European, is filled with some amazingly creative individuals, and some wonderfully diverse takes on creativity.  Jenn mentioned to me that the second Issue of FEATURING is now available for pre-order, click here to see what's in it.

FEATURING magazine is also doing a giveaway that closes September 21, the magazine is giving away thirty inchies on the back of Issue #3 and everyone who purchases a pre-order copy of issue 2 gets entered into the draw to win an inchie (a small piece of the winners' own artwork displayed on issue 3's back cover). For more info on pre-ordering Issue #2, click here.  There is a theme for Issue #3, and if you'd like to submit art or ideas, consider the theme "The Soundtrack Of My Life", and submit your artwork by November 30. You can find all submission info by clicking here.

Anyway, this sketchbook page of "Mushrooms" was done in watercolor pencils & ink.

Thanks for checking in xx