As I compile the responses from the artists in our current show, “Mushrooms”, I feel as though my office in the back of our gallery space is in the middle of a forest. I am surrounded by the most beautiful representations of mushrooms and fungus. This open call show has brought in so many different types of artwork—pyrography, alcohol ink, fiber work, photography, paintings, pottery, glass work, and the list just goes on.
We have pieces from over 20 artists. Some of them have responded to a questionnaire about them, their artwork, and where you can find them and/or their artwork. But I’d like to introduce you first to the woman who made ALL of this possible.
Kelly Green is on of our co-op members and has coordinated shows for us in the past. This show is her 2019 effort.
I've been drawing and fascinated by art since I was very young. I really enjoy working in an endless variety of mediums from pen & ink drawings and painting on canvas to sculpting and customizing toys to photography and collage. Sometimes I use each on their own and sometimes they are all mixed up. It's very organized random chaos.
My process depends on the piece since I work with so many different mediums, and time plays a big role in how I proceed with each piece. I always have a bunch of different pieces and/or projects going on simultaneously which means making constant messes throughout the house. From randomness happening in my studio, to framing on the dining room table and multiple projects belonging to me and to my very creative daughter on every other surface available, the whole house can easily be overwhelmed by the creation process, and I am usually scrambling to try and keep the art messes under control.
I usually only paint, draw, or work on any detailed pieces when the house is completely quiet during the early hours before dawn. I cherish these rare meditative creative moments when the elegance and depth of silence can transform thought into spontaneous visual imagery.
I am super excited to be showing Bee and Butterfly Baths made out of recycled glass that I made with my amazing daughter Hali who is 8 years old and quite the artist herself already. She designed and stacked all of the glassware and I did all of the gluing. It was great fun, and they turned out really cool and beautiful.
I applied to Commonwheel for this gallery show after, (like most of my brilliant ideas), it was suggested to me by our super insightful Marketing Manager Juanita. A lot of my artwork actually has a lot of mushrooms in it for various reasons. I enjoy drawing, painting, and sculpting mushrooms because their shapes and colors are amazing, I find them an incredibly interesting and vast organism. Sometimes I just try to recreate them and sometimes they morph into Octopuses and/or hold symbolic meaning in my art. I thought it was a brilliantly fun idea to have a whole show dedicated to this amazing Fungus so I went for it.
I'm a proud member of Commonwheel Artist Co-op in Manitou Springs and Colorado Creative Co-op in Old Colorado City. I also have some art work available in the super groovy hippie and mushroom friendly Poppy Seed in Manitou Springs.
My website: http://www.flyvisions.com/
On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kellygreenhbaum/
I loved to paint as a child, and a career in the arts was the only choice I ever considered. My studies were in Textile Design, and I received a degree, LSIAD from Canterbury College of Art in 1975. I have always enjoyed creating patterns and was lucky to join the Hallmark team in Kansas City in the early eighties. My occupation as an Illustrator lasted for twenty-five years, most of them working as a freelance and licensing artist with major companies in the US. Presently, I am expressing my creativity in watercolor, as this allows me to work fast and in a spontaneous way. As I have retired from product design, I am able to devote my time to the pursuit of painting, which is a wonderful transition.
Lately I have taken on painting without a sketch or drawing on the paper. On the one hand this offers greater freedom; on the other hand, this requires a lot of concentration, as you can’t alter watercolor much. In this piece I started painting the mushrooms general shapes and added the detail later.
The piece I entered is called “Dancing Mushrooms”. I was trying to convey playfulness, while developing the many patterns that are present on mushrooms.
I happened to be working on this particular theme and saw that “Commonwheel" was having a show depicting mushrooms. What a fun moment of synergy!
My work can be found at www.beatricetrezevant.com, Trezevant Art on Facebook, beatrezevant on Instagram.
I am a collector of hobbies and a jack-of-all-trades. I’ve painted, knitted, crafted, and written stories since a child. In high school and college, I delved into the performing arts, becoming a Dance and English major and choreographed an entire musical as well as original dance pieces. After college I dabbled in professional modeling and got very involved in the medieval re-creation society (SCA), where I learned medieval sewing, embroidery, knitting, and weaving, as well as medieval dancing and singing. I enjoyed knitting sweaters and making costumes for my four children as I raised them. Later I started my mermaid swim tail business, opening my small factory here in Colorado Springs where I designed, sold and shipped mermaid swim tails all over the world for seven years. I even got to choreograph a mermaid dance/swim solo – a fascinating challenge. After closing my business in 2018, I transitioned to being a full-time novelist, and I’m also learning to spin my own yarn. I’ve also gotten into LARPing (live-action role playing) instead of medieval recreation, which is a great place for improv acting as well as costuming.
Above is my dryad character at my medieval-style LARP in winter, knitting a red cap in the round. I also spun the yarn to knit the medieval shawl you see here, with a turquoise crocheted edging.
I’m drawn to knitting strange and unusual pieces. I also long for the days of my youth when I traipsed through the woods for hours at a time. Mushrooms transport me to mysterious forests again. I’ve been working off a template with varying patterns for caps and stems, which I can mix and match. I’ve begun to experiment off of the pattern, creating unusual shapes to the stems – making them bulbous then diminish to very narrow stems.
For these pieces, I find special felting yarn. I knit the cap, then the stem. I use hot water and felt the pieces by rubbing them together – creating heat and friction. Once dry, I stuff and stitch them, matching a cap to a stem. I forage the woods for unusual weathered wood from nature, matching a mushroom to a piece of wood, then gluing the mushroom into just the right spot. Sometimes I take a single mushroom and tuck it into a plant, onto a homemade wreath, glue it onto a flat stone, etc.
I love Redcap Path. This piece of wood has many tiny little “paths” eaten into it, leading to this mushroom with the flat, curly cap. The redcap is one of the most beautiful mushrooms – standing out like a spot of joy in the dark forest.
I learned about the show from another writer/artist. I’ve been knitting these mushrooms for a while and am now getting requests for them as gifts, so I wanted to participate in this special call for mushrooms. This is the first time I’ve submitted and am selling my art!
My author website will be including knitting patterns and progress on my various projects: www.jerilynwinstead.com. I also post my work on my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/jerilynmermaid
Drawing and painting was a favorite activity for me as a child. Both of my parents were artists who met and fell in love as students at the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, so looking back, I think they naturally supported and encouraged me. I learned so much from their constructive criticisms, which is so vital to the process. I also wanted to make them proud of me, so I tried really, really hard at getting better. My main focus was always drawing, but later on, I've taken an interest in alternate mediums and surfaces to include 2D & 3D. I enjoy making an ordinary object something beautiful and special.
The first step in my process is the idea or inspiration, and usually, I know right away if it's something I can turn into an actual piece or image. I think about it quite a bit before I actually start, like what colors I want to use, or how I want it positioned on the surface. With my salt lamp art, I sometimes try to find an image in the salt crystal itself, and then work the design into the natural shape of the lamp. Next, I prepare the surface by hand sanding. I begin with a light sketch and then apply darker and more permanent paints and layers. I use a Dremel tool to sharpen and create more detail. Then I finish up with several coats of sealer.
My favorite piece for this gallery showing is the salt lamp entitled, "Mushroom & Butterfly" due to its whimsical feel and vibrant colors. It makes me want to do a HapPy DaNce :)
When I saw the Commonwheel's call for artists with a mushroom theme, I had two pieces that I had already completed. I had an epiphany and got busy submitting my entry form! It's hard putting your work out there, but I'm so glad I did, as should every artist. I love seeing other artist's creativity and work so that inspired me to apply as well.
In the past, I've had my needle felting work in two shops; The Pink Tulip in Indianapolis and The HeArt Market in OCC, but currently you can find me on my Facebook page, Bittie's Shop, where I sometimes post videos while I'm working on the salt lamps or drawings.
I'm an avid "Pinner" and have a large variety of visual interests and boards on Pinterest, to include a "Fungi" board! Just search for "Bittie's Shop" and I should pop up.
I started an Etsy Shop about a year ago and add new pieces as often as I can. Here's my Etsy Shop address: www.bittiesshop.etsy.com.
If you like my work, please consider giving me a like and a follow on all of the above!
I am a self-trained artist. Art was a found blessing in my life. Growing up, drawing and painting was just a rainy-day activity when I couldn’t be outside. However, after many years of unexplained illness, I was diagnosed with the chronic disease Lupus in 1992. During the difficult times trying to get my disease under control, I struggled with significant cognitive loss. For several years, I lost the ability to read or write…. but drawing was my life jacket. Since then a simple means to express myself has become my identity and a growing business. I am an active volunteer with the Wake Forest Guild of Artists and currently serve on the Wake Forest Public Arts Commission. I live in Raleigh, NC with my husband, two teenagers, and far too many pets.
I often choose subject matter connected to nature because I love dramatizing saturated hues and shadowed forms. My unique mixed-media techniques are work intensive and use both de-constructive and building processes. Each canvas becomes its own anthology. I start with a slew of understudy paintings done on variety of papers and materials. Once I rearrange and set the patchwork of squares into a composition that will make a good foundation, I then overlay my intended image. This lends the work to have depth, texture, and just a tad randomness. The common thread for all of my work is the creativity joining representational, raw, tactile, and abstract elements.
My favorite piece accepted into Mushrooms is “Humbled”. The painting is a reproduction of a photo I took while hiking in the Keweenaw Peninsula, MI. The intention behind this painting is a juxtaposition of how we view our life span versus that of the everyday life cycles of nature. “Humbled” is the stage of life when we have reached our maturity and we gain gratitude for even the smallest of blessings. In this case, a battered, leaning tree was giving way to a rich golden stand of mushrooms.
Since I integrate multiple elements into each work, I find it challenging to pick out appropriate call of entries. However, my creative heart was so happy to see Mushrooms! I see beauty in the unexpected…. So, I had mushroom art! Thank you for this opportunity.
Wake Forest, NC : Southern Suds & Gifts 213 S.White Street Wake Forest, NC 27587
My love for art started when I took Introduction to Art in high school, winning Second Place in a student art show with my very first painting. Being poor, I relied on teaching myself but would take college courses or private lessons as I could afford them. I mostly focused on acrylic painting but eventually added airbrush in 2008 and oils in 2009 (I had briefly worked with them in 1987). I’ve been doing murals since 1995. I’ve loved charcoal and graphite since high school, and I began working with pastel chalk in 2012 and colored pencils in 2014. I’ve been sewing since middle school and created “Bearing My Soul” Custom Teddy Bears in 2009. I’ve been whittling since 1992. My sister introduced me to pyrography in 2015, and I’ve been on fire for it ever since! (See what I did there?) It is very difficult for me to choose a favorite medium, which is why my art business is called “Stephanie’s Smorgasbord,” because I offer a little bit of everything.
When I am working on a painting, I will picture the layout in my mind for days, weeks, sometimes longer. I gather several reference photos before I get started, then sketch the layout in my sketch book, then onto the canvas, erasing and redrawing many times until I am satisfied with the composition. Unlike many artists, I don’t like to “prime” my canvas—I prefer to work on a white background. I put down basic shapes and colors, quickly working my way around the canvas (acrylic has a fast drying time!) building up layers until the canvas is covered, most likely redrawing many objects that got covered up in the initial stages. Once I am satisfied with the background, I break out the small brushes to work on the fine details and foreground objects. I believe I have one of the most unconventional methods of painting on the planet! Most artists mix their paint on their palettes, then apply it to their canvas. I do that to an extent, but for the most part, I mix my colors directly on the canvas, adding layers until l I get the details right. Even as I go through the painting process, I may change many of the objects based on shape, color, or size until I settle on what looks good. Once finished, I let it rest for several days, then look at it with “new eyes” to see if I need to tweak any additional details that I hadn’t previously done during the process.
My favorite piece for this show is “Fungi Fiesta” (credit for the title goes to my son Christopher Merchant). My 24”x48” acrylic painting of a forest scene with shafts of sunlight and mushrooms in the foreground. I birthed the concept when I was temporarily living in Maryland, which is when my obsession of mushrooms and appreciation of the forest began. I never realized how many different mushrooms there were! I spent hours photographing them and adding them to my Instagram feed (stepmercjohn), where I followed many other mushroom enthusiasts (machelspencephoto, yellowelanor, jill_bliss, and freymanbg are some faves!). I dreamed of doing a large painting for myself and began collecting reference photos, but it wasn’t until I moved back to Colorado in 2018 that I got serious about putting it all together. I bought a canvas but was so busy that it sat in my closet for over 6 months until my friend Carole Morrison (“Off the Leash Art”) sent me the link to Commonwheel’s Call for Artists. This was the kick in the pants I needed to get started! If it sells, I get to create another one! If it doesn’t, it’ll look fantastic in my new art studio! The painting took almost 80 hours to complete, and I loved every single mushroom I painted!
My obsession with mushrooms inspired to apply for this show! I have mushroom jewelry, mushroom embroidery, mushroom pillows, mushroom art, mushroom wreaths, mushroom knick knacks, mushroom keychain, mushroom fabric, mushroom kitchen canisters, trivets, salt & pepper shakers, coffee mugs … the list goes on! Of all the things I have ever collected, my mushroom collection is the largest! (Hmmm … I may have a serious problem here!) I am so grateful to Carole Morrison for sending me the Call for Artists link—she said, “This is right up your alley!” I felt like the show was created “just for me,” but I know there are many others who love mushrooms as much as I do!
Facebook Business: Owner, Stephanie’s Smorgasbord
Facebook Personal: Stephanie Merchant
Instagram: stepmercjohnart, stepmercjohnart
I have always loved drawing and painting, but it wasn’t until I retired that I had the time for it. It was then that I started taking classes for certification in Botanical Illustration at the Denver Botanic Gardens. I discovered within myself a curiosity, love and wonder at the complexity of a plant’s structure and found that I wanted to record all that!
Botanical Illustration is a precise form of art. It requires accuracy which can only be achieved by studying the plant where it is growing, measuring it, counting its components and noting their arrangement. Only then do I start to make preliminary sketches. I try to capture, not only the plant’s beauty, but also the accuracy of its make-up. This can result in several messy sketches! When I am pleased with a composition which shows as much detail as possible, I will make a contour drawing from it, showing only the outlines, by tracing the sketch. On a separate trace, I will make a value study, which shows only the shadows and varying degrees of shade. I will then transfer the contour drawing on to a clean, final piece of paper. I will set that aside, while I try to match the colors of the plant and mix up batches to use while I’m painting. Then the fun part starts, setting the plant in front of me, referring to my value study and my sketches, I start to paint – exactly what I see - with all its lovely details!
I only have one piece in this exhibition “Sarcodon imbricatus”, or the scaly hedgehog mushroom. I remember doing the preliminary sketches, while sitting under a tree, getting a slightly damp behind, in the mountains! Fun memories!
I have loved looking at all the exhibitions that have come and gone in the back gallery at Commonwheel. I have been interested in showing one of my pieces, but this is the first time I felt there was a “fit”.
My work is displayed at the Commonwheel Co-op and I have my own web-site at smithwickbotanicals.com
I recently moved from Delaware to Colorado Springs to pursue my photography career. I got my first DSLR camera in 2010 and have loved taking photos since. My junior year of college I officially declared my major as photography and dove in head first. Landscape, nature, and wildlife photography have always been my "jam" as I like to say. Photography gives me a means to find myself. Sometimes it takes getting lost to be found. Even at the most remote locations, in solitude, as long as I am camera in hand, I’ve never felt lost or alone, in fact those are the moments in which I feel most alive. Photography completes me in a way nothing else can. I have been taking small steps to further my career since moving to Colorado and I could not be more excited to see what the future holds.
First and foremost, I have to venture out into nature. Mother Nature is the ultimate artist and her inspiration is endless. I guess Photography is a bit of a different process than most mediums. I keep my eyes peeled at all times, constantly looking for interesting compositions (hint, they’re everywhere) but other times they jump out and smack me in the face. That’s one of the great things about Colorado, almost everywhere you look is picturesque. When I see a composition I like, I line it up through my lens to see how it translates through the camera. If I like it, I’ll go ahead and click the shutter. The editing process is a huge part of photography. I’m not big on Photoshop. I use Lightroom to adjust saturation, contrast, and highlights/shadows if needed. I like to bring out the bright, warm tones in a photo.
My favorite piece accepted for this show is Chanterelles. I just love the contrast between the green and the orange. I also love how the composition of it leads your eye from mushroom to mushroom. When I look at my photos I am always taken back to the moment I took it. This one was taken while I was hiking through the Great Smoky Mountains. I am back in the lush, mountainous, serene forest and it makes me feel at peace again.
This question is a bit ironic to me in this context. I was never big on mushrooms until I went on my road trip around the country last summer. Mushrooms are such a unique and diverse plant and I did not realize this until my trip. Traveling around the whole country I found countless different kinds and ever since I have loved mushrooms, so when I saw this mushroom-themed show, I knew I had to be a part of it! I am very excited to see the rest of the art on display.
While in high school, my art class took several field trips to the Appalachian Center for Craft. From the first visit, I knew that I wanted to study at the Craft Center. It’s beautiful location and amazing facilities was the best place for me to pursue art. I graduated from the Appalachian Center for Craft in December 2017. I graduated with a BFA in Ceramics and a minor in Social & Behavioral Science. I’m currently the Gallery Manager at the Craft Center and I also teach ceramics to high school students through the Appalachian Center for Craft’s Focus on Fine Craft Program.
My forms are thrown on the potter’s wheel and then altered and pinched to leave my own touch, documenting my relationship to each vessel. I paint quick, expressive imagery using Amaco Underglazes, inspired by my perception of environments I’ve encountered in my life. I carve through my imagery to reveal my terracotta clay body beneath, providing contrast in each piece. This process is called sgraffito. My pots are then bisque fired to Cone 08 (1728 degrees), glazed in a clear glaze, and then fired again to Cone 3 (2106 degrees).
I enjoyed making my Mushroom Bud Vase! It’s different than what I usually make! I came across the call for entry for this show on Instagram and I thought it would be a fun show to enter!
Galleries: Appalachian Center for Craft Retail Gallery, Smithville, TN
Julia L. Wright
My love of Nature and being outdoors has been part of my life as far back as I can remember. Creating art in many forms has been the basis of my life starting with theatre when I built sets and directed others in High School and college. After college, I created fiber-based crafts that often incorporated found objects. For about 20 years, I traveled to art shows, participated in RenFests and showed in many galleries. Feathers have always been part of my art creations and that evolved into my creating feather masks, earrings, hairclips and pendants.
I have taken thousands of photographs on my hikes and in many gardens. About seven years ago I started using my realistic nature and other photos to illustrate my books and journals. And more recently, I began to use my realistic photographs to create different types of decks of cards for children and adults. Original versions of my photographic Nature-based images are just one way I express my love of Nature. Mushrooms have often been subjects of those photos in late summer and early fall when the pop up out of the Earth to delight folks that look closely at the ground.
A few years ago, I “fell down a rabbit hole of creativity” and began using my Nature photos to create abstract, kaleidoscopic and mandala style images by taking a little part of a Nature photo and playing with it in Photoshop. Two of these styles of images can be seen in this show.
When I am sitting at my computer, I get totally lost in the process and my imagination can run pretty wild thinking about how to take the images I captured and create something totally unique and fun or hone in a specific element found in a photograph, such as a mushroom. It uplifts my spirit to honor the beauty of the amazing places I get to hike and glorify Nature in various artful ways.
All art involves an artist taking up some media and transforming it into a new form or image that comes from their vision and imagination. I try to transform what most people see as ordinary into something extraordinary with a unique way of seeing the world.
Working in my feather studio or on a computer or taking photos on my hikes always has my creative juices flowing. I am constantly looking for some new way to use the images I captured in the wilderness or a garden to create a bit of awe and wonder when someone sees the finished art.
So, my favorite piece in this show is the one that I played with and abstracted. “Meet Me at the Vortex By the Orange Mushrooms” is my favorite image I submitted to this show. It incorporates bits of bark to look like a couple of adventurers thinking of stepping into another realm. A group of brilliantly orange mushrooms marks the place for them to meet and contemplate where they might go next.
Nature is my most powerful inspiration. When hiking or passing a beautiful garden, I often stop to take in the amazingly beautiful natural creations that surround me. A driftwood stump or a rock formation or some fungi popping up out of the ground can be as enticing to my eye as a beautiful wildflower. Each one makes my heart sing and my spirit soar with joy when I take the time to really look at the beauty others pass by each day without noticing it.
I have a great respect for the pristine areas found in our surrounding mountains. And I have respect for folks that hunt for edible mushrooms in a consciously sustainable way. The often share this fun adventure with friends and family members to increase awareness of what Nature offers to us on many levels. So glad to be part of a show that celebrates this often-misunderstood types of flora. I have the hope when people view photos expressing the beauty of Nature, the might become a bit more aware how they can take actions to keep where they travel as pristine as when they arrived and look closely at some fun fungi that may be overlooked for their less showy aspect than wildflowers exhibit.
Stores/Galleries: Commonwheel Artists Co-op
Manitou Art Center in the First Amendment Gallery
My books are also on Amazon under the brand name of HieroGraphics Books.
I’ve dabbled in many artistic media, but I’ve found that fused glass is the one that gives me the most joy. I love experimenting, and particularly enjoy creating 3-D pieces in the kiln. This requires a number of firings at varying temperatures, all taking between 9-20 hours, with 4 or 5 hours of cool-down time. My inspiration comes from nature, including both the mountains and the sea. I have been working in fused glass for over 14 years, I have four kilns, and have taken over every inch of available space in my house and garage for my studio!
I create the components of my pieces individually, which requires cutting glass, finishing the edges, and firing to create each one. Then they are fired flat in the kiln, fired again together to create the piece, and fired slowly a final time to drape over a form which creates a 3-D piece.
My favorite piece for the Mushrooms exhibit is my Mushroom Luminary. The idea for this piece has been brewing in my mind since I first heard about the exhibit. It turned out just as I imagined it, and I’m very pleased with the result.
I’ve loved mushrooms since I was first introduced to Alice in Wonderland as a child, so I was thrilled when I heard the theme for this exhibit!
My work can be found on my Facebook page, LoLo’s Paloozas (www.facebook.com/LoLosPaloozas/), and is currently sold in the Strictly Guffey Gallery in Guffey, Colorado. I exhibit at many other venues in the Colorado Springs area including the MAC, the Modbo, Cottonwood Center for the Arts, and others.
I have been making glass art for 25 years. Inspirations for me come from everything around me. I look for interesting patterns, textures, and colors from nature and try to depict those inspirations in glass.
For this mushroom show, I have made some really fun lampworked glass mushroom beads which have been strung for necklaces. The process for making a glass mushroom starts by melting a pencil thin rod of glass in a torch. I then wind the hot glass onto a mandrel and squish the glass into the form of the top of the mushroom. The stem of the mushroom (a bit of a rod of glass) is then delicately placed on the underside of the mushroom top. Once I’m happy with the form, I anneal the glass, cooling it slowly over time. This annealing process assures that the glass is molecularly sound, and the glass mushroom will be just as beautiful in 10 years as it is now.
All of the mushrooms that I have made for this show are favorites for me in different ways. I have made a variety of styles of mushrooms for this show, and each is very unique!
I was inspired to apply for this show because I’m a “fun guy”!
My work can be found at The SideDoor Gallery in Old Colorado City, The Poppy Seed in Manitou Springs, and Commonwheel Artist Coop at which I am a member.
I dabbled in just about every media before discovering pyrography, also known as wood burning. I was drawn to the arts because it’s a language I can understand. As a deaf individual, I connect to the details of the visual world. My art is largely inspired by my passions. I adore animals, nature, science, and I also don’t mind smelling like campfire!
Pyrography has been around for centuries. It’s an age-old technique where a heated metal pen is used to burn wood. Each burn begins with selecting a wood slice and studying its character – the knots, grain, texture, and size. Next, I practice design ideas in my sketchbook. When satisfied, I draw in pencil the base sketch to the wood slice. I use a Razertip (10 amp detailed burning system) to burn the wood slice. The detail of each burn is achieved using a variety of wire tips and a range of heat settings. Each burn is unique because each wood slice is unique, which in turn affects how the wood is burned. My favorite part of my process is burning – it’s a slow, smoky art. I also love mixing my medias, after burning I will add watercolors or dried flowers to the wood slice.
Deciding which piece is my favorite is a tough choice – I really enjoyed burning complex mushroom gills in some of my other pieces. However, I would have to say “Moon Shrooms” is my favorite. I loved playing with rocky and smooth textures to bring imagination to life.
Mushrooms are such a fun subject matter – they are imperfectly perfect. Nature’s reminder that flaws are beautiful. I was also inspired by Commonwheel’s charm and cooperative mission: community.
On social media you can find my art by searching Woodstove Studios. Woodstove Studios started in my childhood home which was built in the late 1700s. My warmest family memories are gathered around our wood stove. Wood and wood burning will always smell like home.
Etsy Shop: Woodstove Studios
I enrolled in my first pottery class in 1975, I have not put clay down since. I love that I can take this malleable material, "clay" and move, manipulate, and form creative pieces to oneself and hopefully to many others!
I've been throwing mushrooms on the wheel for 8 years. I made these unique to this show, as they are "salt fired". A process where, when the kiln reaches 2400 F you add rock salt which instantly vaporizes and glazes the pieces with salt vapor. The finished piece has an "orange peel" texture, and an earthen or woodland appearance
My favorite piece for this show is the tall spiral mushroom that has the orange peel texture and some movement.
I wanted to participate in the show to see the public reaction to something unique.
My work is available at Hunter Wolff Gallery - 2510 West Colorado Avenue www.hunterwolffgallery.com
I work primarily in acrylics and my favorite subjects are florals, landscapes, fall scenes, animals, (especially lions and cows), mountains, abstracts, and now "mushrooms".
Both paintings* accepted for this show were inspired by a hike on the Pancake Rock trail 10 years ago during the height of the mushroom growing season. I had taken several photos and selected 2 that I very much enjoyed because of their location, natural color, texture of their surroundings and light. Creating new paintings for this show was a challenge as I had never done a mushroom before, and I remember still the excitement of finding these lovely shapes of nature that were so unique and fun to look at, almost playful.
I applied because I like the challenge of a new theme for me and knowing the colors of the forest floor and colorful mushrooms would complement my style. I hoped I could give the subject new life and style on canvas.
I sometimes post my work on Facebook. I currently have 2 paintings at First Pres. Downtown and 3 locations that are part of the "Art Aloud" art and poetry shows: Hooked on Books (downtown on Bijou), Academy Art and Frame, and Pikes Peak Market Place on E. Pikes Peak.
*I would say this is my favorite of the 2 because I experimented with more variety of color and the angle was harder to work with. The variety of colors are a more Impressionistic landscape.
Michael Ryder graduated from Metro State in Denver with a focus on large acrylic or resin paintings. Having spent a lot of time with some Navajo silversmiths he switched to jewelry, but presently enjoys both painting and silver work. Paint application is very important to achieve the effect he’s looking for.
by Juanita Canzoneri
I interviewed Helen Smithwick in her studio on the west side of Colorado Springs. Large windows looked out at Pikes Peak through bare spring tree branches from the homes across the street.
Helen is a botanical illustrator, which means she makes illustrations of plants and flowers. Animals have crept in from time to time, but that’s technically not botanical.
She received her certification in this through the School of Botanical Art and Illustration in Denver, graduating with honors in 2013. Helen attended this school because she always enjoyed art and never had any piece of paper to prove that she could do it. “It kind of seemed cool to have a little piece of paper,” she says.
She spent the first few years after receiving certification exhibiting her work in shows. It’s fun to get dressed up and go to an opening every so often, but that wanes after a bit. She applied to Commonwheel last February to “see if I could sell anything.”
“I’m enjoying Commonwheel,” Helen states. “I love the people. I’ve met the neatest people—different, eccentric, wonderful, kind. They’ve been just amazing. When I had to go to Australia for a family emergency, everyone just jumped up and pitched in to cover my shifts and help out.”
Helen has a lovely British accent, having grown up in the south of England, near Winchester. She met her husband, Bob, in West Africa while she was teaching in the British equivalent of Peace Corps. They were both in a tiny village on the coast of Ghana.
They moved to Colorado when they were first married and started a family.
“I’ve drawn all my life. I was the kid sitting in the corner doodling around my notes. You’re told as a young person that art isn’t something to pursue, but I always did it on the side. My kids would laugh when they could come across a stack of my old drawings and exclaim that they didn’t know I would do this.”
“When I retired a very good friend of mine told me about the Botanical School and said it was exactly what I would need, so we started taking classes together. She dropped out but I continued. You get to a point where you’ve taken half the classes and you think, I might as well finish this. “
Most people achieve their certification in two or three years. Helen took three years.
The nice thing about botanical drawings is that your subjects are just outside the door. Helen prefers to work from live specimens, which means she sometimes must work very quickly, keeping the plants in the refrigerator. She’ll work 8-hour days on a drawing, taking 2-3 days to complete a piece to make sure the plant lasts.
This proves to be a problem in winter when the plants are dormant. She keeps a stash of dried plants in the corner of her studio, “but those get boring so I will work from photographs. I do not like doing that because I feel a photograph distorts. But I’ll do it because sometimes in the winter you want to work on something other than a dried specimen.”
Coming from England where you “just throw a seed in the ground and it grows” she hasn’t found gardening in Colorado to be one of her favorite things. Her husband prefers to garden. “Here, I discovered, you have to actually water things. I love to get my hands in the soil and mess around in it but, no, I’m not a very good gardener.”
“People give me plants. I borrow them, I go out and find a lot of wild flowers.” It’s good to have friends who garden. “I’m shameless. One year my Shasta Daisies didn’t do well, and Bob and I were out walking and passed a house with beautiful daisies. I just went up and knocked on the front door and asked if they would mind if I took some of their plants to draw them. They said I could, so I did.”
Because of her School of Botanical Arts training Helen works in a variety of media—graphite, carbon dust, watercolor, pen and ink, watercolor pencil, colored pencil on Mylar. Her favorites are watercolor and watercolor pencil.