2019 Topic 13: Mushrooms
So many tips in this post from Alison as she builds up her painterly layers of her mushroom journal spread. Must find my sea sponger, that texture she created is fab! ~Leandra
Hi everyone, it's Alison here from Words and Pictures with you today. After sharing one of my most complex creations with you last time I was here, this time I've got something altogether simpler and gentler!
When I signed up for this topic months ago, I was envisioning this page being very autumnal - the perfect fungi season - full of burnt oranges and rusty browns. But when it came to making it in August, I found I didn't want to head into autumn yet, so instead we're in a summer meadow, happening on one of those magical fairy rings of white or pale mushrooms amidst the dewy grass. And the other main inspiration was a Sylvia Plath poem.
I had a really lovely time sponging Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic paints onto my book pages for the background using a natural sponge - they really do give a better texture than the artificial sort.
This was really the point I realised I wasn't ready for autumn. Having used some Antarctic for the sky with Double Denim creeping in around the edges, I found myself rejecting the planned Brown Shed and Autumn Fire and reaching instead for Granny Smith and Hey Pesto to come up from the bottom of the page.
My mushrooms are drawn from three different JoFY sets, JoFY10, JoFY11 and JoFY37, only one of which is definitely meant to be fungal rather than floral, I think!
They're stamped in Watering Can Archival with some Olive tapped on at the bottom for the grasses. The soft grey keeps us in that delicate field mushroom palette, nothing too bold.
Then I used Chalk and Eggshell for the first layer of mushroom colour. They're both opaque so there's no problem covering up the background colours, but it does mean you lose some of the internal detailing of the images, plus I wasn't particularly on form with staying perfectly inside the lines. Don't worry, we'll deal with all that later.
Adding Taupe to my neutrals and mixing up different shades with it and the Chalk and Eggshell, I had a lovely time creating three slightly different "species" of mushroom. There's one with a gentle ombre to its cap (using a water brush really helps with allowing the Frescos to work wet in wet for a soft blended look)...
One of the species has tiny little spots and flecks (pure Taupe and pure Snowflake)...
And the "real" JoFY mushrooms are the sort where the surface of the cap starts to break up as the mushroom grows, leaving textured flecks across the top or sides.
The grass from around the foot of the JoFY37 mushrooms is repeat-stamped in Olive Archival to fill up the gaps...
... and amongst the blades of grass I added droplets of Glossy Accents to create my dewdrops. They catch the light beautifully as you move the book around.
You'll see in the close-ups that I polished up the edges of the stamped images as well as adding back in some of the cross-hatching texture. For this I used my dipping pen and some Colorex ink in Turtle Dove Grey.
I also used the Turtle Dove Grey to create some doodled borders, along with some white pen lines, and added some splatter with the same warm grey tone.
And last, but certainly not least, here are those words by Sylvia Plath. They're the first lines from a poem called Mushrooms. (They're stamped in Pumice Stone Distress Oxide so as to be very pale and discreet!)
If you know it, you'll know there's all sorts of subtext involved, and the mushrooms aren't only representing mushrooms in the poem... but here, that's exactly what they are!
Sometimes it's nice to leave complexity outside the craftroom door, ignore the dark underbelly of meaning and stick to something simple and light, and that's what I had a lovely time doing with these pages.
I hope you enjoyed coming for a morning walk and finding this simple fairy ring of mushrooms with me. I'd love to see what sort of mushrooms you're finding on your craft table. Thanks so much for stopping by.