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After a very long hiatus from watercolor, I decided to be brave, break the fast and start oiling rusty know-how and devotion to a medium I love. I find that even with studies, using the best paper (I fell in love with Fabriano after my Dad gave me a few 300lb hot press sheets of this yummy paper), brushes, and paints, the outcome is so much better than if you started with thin scraps and second-rate tools.

This little family cluster of mushrooms was spotted in Lebanon Hills, Dakota County, Minnesota ~ a favorite stomping ground for finding subject matter, patterns and textures and of course, some really cool fungi! They look like a close knit group with the little ones snuggling close under the adults, hence the title.

Mushrooms happen to be a favorite food of mine though I would hardly call myself a “foodie.” I know mushrooms are a good source of plant protein (who knew?) and that some, not all, have medicinal qualities. I don’t know if my little family cluster of mushrooms are the editable kind. I would have to ask the lovely folks who have immigrated from Russia and Ukraine to tell me. We often see them and their families hunting for the “Golden Button” throughout Lebanon Hills. They know what they’re doing and happy to show us their bootie of buttons they’ve foraged. Yet, you can never be too careful. The mushroom becomes the murder weapon of choice in movies like “The Beguiled” and “Lady Macbeth.”  Given that, I’ll play it safe and continue getting my ’srooms from the grocery store or the farmers’ market.

P.S. Want your store bought mushrooms to stay fresher longer? Get them out of their plastic container as soon as you get home. Place them in a brown paper bag and into the fridge. I find the brown paper sleeve bags from wine purchase work great for this. Plastic degrades mushrooms fast, holding in moisture and making a muck out of your precious portobellos.

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