Nature always seems inspiring to me. I am lucky enough to have a wooded area behind my house with walking paths that wind through the neighborhood and even stretches to the Neuse River which is about a mile from my backyard. In the fall, it’s gorgeous especially when it’s ‘raining’ leaves as they drop off. Even in winter with all the bare trees it’s beautiful and very sculptural. Early spring when everything comes back to life is just amazing. The only thing is…snakes are plentiful in this area of the country. And because we had a mild winter the prediction for more than the average number of snakes has been highly publicized in the newspapers and on the nightly news. I am NOT a fan of snakes.
So far, we have had TWO that I know of in our yard. One copperhead and one king snake. Copperheads are poisonous and king snakes will kill copperheads-yay! Well, the fact that they have appeared in my yard makes me a little afraid to head down that wonderful path through the woods to the river. Logic tells me that there are many more hidden in all those decaying logs and leaves along the path.
I tell you all this because I want you to know that I put my big-girl pants on and grabbed my camera so I could hunt down insects for this month’s theme here at Art Elements. Diana chose insects and I was determined to search for some out in the woods for inspiration.
Well….I found only one butterfly during my adventure and it would not cooperate for me to photograph him/her. But I found so much more inspiration from the lichen, mushrooms and toadstools that seem to be sprouting everywhere. The living, breathing fungus that I saw kept my mind off the fact that there were probably snakes lurking somewhere near me.
Last fall after we had a major deluge of rainfall I went walking and the toadstools were mostly orange and red. Now this spring they are all appearing white/cream (below).
There was also some funky fungus that looked almost jelly-like but very curly (below at top). The fungus on the log in the bottom photo was crustier looking. That log was further off the path so the photo is a bit further than I would like, but you can still see the patterns and textures, which to me is so exciting!
The lichens this spring are ranging from off white, to light brown, green and even rust colored.
Textures in nature, in artwork, in clothing and even in home furnishings are what lure me in. And the textures & colors in nature are just fascinating. They certainly inspire me to want to use some of these shapes and colors in my bead work and in my hand-embroidery! I see myself trying to replicate the delicate swirls and pod-like shapes from these lichen below in my needlework.
More yummy colors and textures from lichen on another fallen branch below.
I have always loved gathering up items that nature has seemingly discarded. Several of these branches with the lichen have came home to live with me.
I haven’t even mentioned the MOSS! Oh my-that emerald green!! Can you even replicate that? It is so vibrant and the moss is really fluffy at this time of year.
More luscious moss in photos below. Photo bottom left looks like hair growing off the side of the tree.
My walk in the woods wouldn’t be complete without showing you a photo of the Neuse River below. The day I was out walking a great blue heron just happened to be across the river on the banks fishing for his breakfast.
And one last inspirational photo from my walk through the woods…This is my favorite scene. I have taken photos of this particular area in the fall, winter and spring. I just love how the light filters through and makes it seem magical.
Well so much for finding insects! I have quite a few butterflies, dragonflies and a TON of Japanese beetles in my yard so I think I will have to be content with the ones in my yard as inspiration for the insect theme.
Now I am well equiped to start a whole lichen/toadstool themed body of work! Maybe bead embroidered, or felted and hand-embroidered or a combination of all. I would love to share some work in the future that evolves from these photos.
Hope you have found some inspiration in these pictures as well. It was really worth taking a walk to the river. And the best thing…I didn’t even see one snake that day!