I can't say for certain why it is that I like mushrooms so much. I find fungi fascinating, and the organic lines are pleasing to create. They fit in well with my themes of recreating self and growing new life out of the darkness, but I can't point to a specific genesis for my interest. I've never studied them, I can't identify most of them, and my understanding of their forms and variety rarely goes past, "Oooh! Neat!"
That said, I had a remarkable experience recently, and I might just have to start studying these things. Up in Wisconsin's north woods, my family and I spotted dozens of different kinds of mushrooms. Their abundance and variety and density absolutely astounded me. I found myself hyperventilating with excitement as the lot of us stood in the rain, agog at the fungi. We saw about four dozen groupings of mushrooms on a little trail that couldn't have even been a mile long. Their forms and colors and numbers were overwhelmingly diverse. I'd describe them here now, but I wouldn't know where to start, and -- more to the point -- I wouldn't know where to stop! Aside from my glasses fogging up and my difficulty in taking clear photos, I hardly even noticed the rain. I'd have stayed there for hours. I could have walked the loop four more times and could have seen something new every time. I'm sure of it. It was literally amazing.
This one was a good three inches across and looked like a hummingbird bath.
Days later, I'm still processing what I saw, and I'm trying to figure out how best to incorporate these new colors and forms and group formations into new works that I'd like to do. I have too many ideas to focus clearly on one yet, but we brainstormed a concept that might allow me to use several of these new inspirations in one larger piece.
I wonder, though, whether people will believe that these bright colors and strange combinations are pulled from nature. Will they assume that I've made a mistake when I break parts off and create holes and dark spots? Should I even worry about that? (Pro tip: the answer to that is usually "no")
The rain gave everything a high gloss, a look that I usually avoid because it doesn't scan as "natural" to me. Now I will reconsider.
I wish that I could take friends by the hand and lead them through that wet northern wood. I wish that I could make them see what I saw. I wish that I could bring them that same sense of wonder.
I suppose that that's the aim of this sort of art, though. Art is my way of taking you by the hand and showing you what moves me. Maybe I don't yet have the skill to really share that sense of awe, but I'll keep working at it and hope that it grows on you. If ever I become good enough at this that a person walking up to view my work feels the way that I felt in that forest, I will consider that a success.