Week in the Woods (26 IV)

Cassie, Dada, and even Mama got out into the woods this past week, sharing some beautiful Spring flowers, sunshine, and fellowship. The woods have really woken up and offer a chance to restore spirits taxed and tired by isolation.

Nature makes me so happy with its extravagance, ingenuity, and surprises, and Spring is perhaps when the natural world gives most generously to the human soul.

Not to be undone by a carpet of violets and spring beauties, these tiny British soldier lichens were showing off in a forest full of blooms. I was super excited to find them… Cassie & her mom left me behind as I took picture after picture! Read on to see what else we found!

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Week in the Woods (15 IV 20)

Even as temperatures dropped in the Pittsburgh area, Spring finally began to assert itself in woods long choked with last year’s leavings.

Flowers, ferns, and a few fresh fungi put new color & life into our excursions and gave Cassie & Dada lots to discover.

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Week in the Woods (5 IV 20)

Getting outside has been a bright spot in these strange, lonely days. While others have discovered the parks I love, I confess I’ve mostly stayed close to home. Still, there are interesting things to find if you know where to look.

Spring is underway, but Winter is still visible. New colors have appeared and the air is filled with the songs of the birds.

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Week in the Woods (26 III 20)

In these days of confinement and anxiety it’s been comforting to get outside even a little bit. I thought I’d share some pictures from the last few weeks, which saw Winter slowly loosening its grip on my area, even as we all hunkered down.

My wife spotted this stick snake on the short trail near our house. I love its goofy nose. Now we check for it each time we walk by.

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Week in the Woods (25 II 20)

Cassie & I were able to hit the trails for the first time in weeks yesterday. Lately it’s been either dry and cold or warm and wet, but never nice enough for a good hike. Our excursion was great fun, even though the woods were pretty drab. Here are a few of our finds!

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Mushrumps for Granny

At last her search is over. Granny has found an incredible patch of all sorts of mushrooms! Perfect for her soup!

What have we here?

There are a few poisonous fungi in these woods, but Granny knows what’s good and what’s not.

She’ll never tell you where she found them!

My plan is to add a few animals to complete the scene, but I’m basically done with this fun project at last. Don’t forget to check out the tutorial on sculpting the mushrooms I have scattered throughout this diorama.

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Warm Colors on a Cold Morning

I wanted to quickly transmute my new memories of a weekend in the woods with friends into something durable and creative, so I continued my turkeytail streak and completed a small mushroom drawing during Cassie’s nap yesterday.

This illustration is a sort of collage of mushrooms drawn from a natural grouping. Sometimes I grab one or two from one region, a few more from another, and combine them to my liking. It helps me pare down a large mass of fungi into an elegant little arrangement.

I liked the warm, muted, yellow hues of these mushrooms, and while I didn’t quite have the colors in my small collection of Copics to reproduce what I found in Nature, I blended what I had available to try to capture some of the feeling of the originals. I was also trying to be more economical with my micron pen this time, which is difficult for me, as I like a lot of tiny, busy linework.

I’ve managed to fall into a really productive, creative routine lately, in which numerous hobbies and loves are being mutually nurtured, my motivation is high and my stress low, and I’m happy to share with you the yield of my efforts. If you’ve been following along with my journey by checking out my frequent posts to ToadChapel, I hope you’ve found it enjoyable, too. And thanks!