Last summer, I spent too much time by myself and subsequently fried my brain.
Mom was in Canada for several months helping Anna with the baby. Dad was at work. I was in between jobs, writing a novel, and maintaining an internet fast until Mom’s return. For two months, I spent the majority of my time completely alone — the introvert’s ultimate habitat.
While the silence was in many ways heavenly, after a few weeks, I found myself having one too many staring contests with the void. The Void looked inside me and I looked inside the Void. From this dark and esoteric connection, strange obsessions were born.
Why mushrooms, you ask? I have no idea. I saw one in my yard one morning and was seized by the desperate and all-consuming need to know its name in Latin. I’ve been spiraling ever since. Every kind of mushroom. Not to eat, mind you. Just to look at. And know the names in Latin.
But as time wore on, Latin wasn’t enough. I wanted to pour more of myself into the mushroom obsession. (Also, I was bored.) So I did what any obsessive, mentally-unstable (and bored) hermit would do:
Dad came home to find his daughter hunched over the table, cackling like a hobgoblin. He peered suspiciously at the labor of my hands.
“…aren’t those poisonous?”
“THEY’RE CALLED GALERINA MARGINATA,” I screeched. “ALSO KNOWN AS FUNERAL BELLS, AND THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL.”
“So they’ll kill you if you eat them.”
“Technically, eating a tree would do the same.”
It didn’t end there.
“Amanita Verna.” I beamed. “Destroying Angel.”
“You’re painting murder plants,” he said, still not convinced.
“I once painted a murder dragon and no one blinked an eye.”
“…you’re still painting murder plants.”
“Craterellus cornucopioides. Death Trumpets. Believe it or not, they aren’t poisonous! They have a smoky, rich flavor and a pleasant, fruity aroma.”
He blinked slowly. “I’m not going to ask how you know that.”
Amanita Frostiana. I ended up finding one the next week and felt superior in my knowledge that it would eat my liver if given the chance.
But mushrooms aren’t all I’ve devoted my artistic wrath towards over the last year. In a wild shift of aesthetics, we also have…
Before you yell at me about destroying a book for the sake of art, let it be known I used a copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe that was already dead. The cover had fallen off and several of the pages were torn. I found it at a thrift store for twenty-five cents and in a burst of noble intentions, decided to give it a good afterlife.
More clouds. More dead books.
After this small digression into the world of aesthetic cloud paintings, guess what?
This is a little something I drew for Stop the Rain by Kassie Angle, which made me feel every single emotion and then some.
Did I paint this for 4th of July 2021? Yes I did. Did I remember to post it? No I did not. Does it remain the most spectacular thing I’ve ever painted? Probably.
Aaaaaand we’re back to cloud paintings.
This is part of a portrait study I did over the summer. I found some random face claims on Pinterest with dramatic lighting and used them to practice values. I’m not completely satisfied with how this one turned out, but hey, I like her nose. That’s half the battle.
Lighting Study #2. I like the softness of this one.
Lighting Study #3, AKA my favorite. Do you know why he’s my favorite? Because of how his shirt turned out. Artists hyperfixate on strange things and this is mine.
Speaking of hyperfixation…
By golly, look at that. More mushrooms. More dead book poetry. I cannot be stopped.
A smattering of sketch requests (in various stages of completion) people sent me on social media.
Mini paintings are fun.
I don’t use markers very often, so breaking out of my boring watercolor/acrylic/graphite groove was a shock for everyone involved. Not least because of all the things I could have used the markers to draw, I chose pie. I actually hate pie.
Do not let the simplicity of this piece deceive you; all together it took a whopping 15 hours to complete, at the end of which I’d lost a few fistfuls of hair and several nights of sleep.
This feels appropriate to end with. While hot-gluing moss onto a picture frame may not constitute as “traditional” art, I still felt like a genius while doing it. (Not to mention the mushrooms. I hope you noticed those.) But now that it’s actually finished, I have no idea what to frame in it.
Guys– I need suggestions.
What kind of painting would be worthy of the magical fairy moss frame?
Anyway, that’s all for now, folks. Hope you enjoyed this outpouring of artistic chaos! Believe it or not, this is only a fraction of what I did in 2021, but I don’t want to cram everything into one post, so you’ll have to wait for the rest. I’m stingy like that. Let me know what your favorite is, and any/all requests and suggestions for what you’d like to see more of!