Sunday, May 9, 2010

Morel Woods

'Morel Woods' oil, 8x10 © Marc R. Hanson '10

I went to paint the woods behind my house this afternoon. About ten minutes in I found some morels and that was all it took to ruin a perfectly good intentioned day of gathering field studies. Instead my head was glued to the ground for 'mo' morels! I did find more, not a lot, but enough for a taste. More importantly I found out where they are and will be back to check again.

I did paint this little 8x10 study of the interior woodland. This is such an amazing area that I am realizing that it's going to be a never ending source of material for my work. I can see doing some very large scenes of the deep woods. It's almost entirely very large and old maple trees. The canopy is so thick that there is very little under story growth on the forest floor. A perfect hiking and exploring area. And painting area. There are a lot of bugs. Probably bears and according to many around here a possible cougar.

These pics are of the area and of the morels I found.


Susan Renee Lammers said...

Nice painting! I don't know how you painted some many paintings in a month. It is only day 9 and I have 20 now. I have black circles around my eyes and black fly bites! My hands are sore! I admire your stamina!

rascal said...

Marc, are these morels everywhere like on the east coast? You've got me really interested.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Hang in there Susan. I didn't call it a 'Marathon' for nothing! It was a test for sure. :)

Rascal... they're in the woods in most areas. They're so good that I can't even describe it. Good luck, it's worth the effort.

Jim Bortz said...

Very cool painting, Marc. Glad you found some morels too!

Stacey Peterson said...

Lovely painting Marc - I love how you can simplify woodland areas so well and still maintain the feel of the place.

As for the morels, well, you lost me at the first picture. Mushrooms seriously freak me out - something about them just seems creepy and unnatural!

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thank you Jim... me too.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Stacy. It's kind of semi organized chaos isn't it? I usually just start by putting color all over until it's no longer as scary as the thought of trying to organize it was at first. Then it's just a matter of taming the mess until it looks somewhat 'woodsy'. Thank goodness they don't groom the woods... I'd be sunk if then!

Mushrooms... I wouldn't touch another mushroom in the forest other than these. They're very easy to identify and there's only one other called a 'false morel' that could be taken by mistake. If you learn the difference, it's so different that you would have a hard time mistaking the two. They're about as safe a wild food as one could find and eat.

Do you like them normally, from the store? If not, then these aren't going to sound any better. But if you do even 'sort of' like the purchased variety, you will die when you try fresh morels. It's like eating that "crab style' seafood leg stuff that comes individually wrapped in a plastic tube... or grabbing a lobster or crab fresh out of the boat, off of the dock in a fishing village. NO comparison at all.

I sautéed the morels for a few minutes in nothing but butter, salt and pepper and they were mouth watering good.

But then... the fewer people who do like them means more for the rest of us. :-)

Unknown said...

just fantastic! they are magic - and so's your painting -) said...

Wonderful painting Marc.

Katherine Muschick Schneider said...

Interesting pink flowering foliage in the photo of the woodlands.

I read that bears will eat mushrooms - glad you beat them to the morels..

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Tom and Joan.

Katherine... maybe that's why I'm having so little luck in finding those tasty morel morsels.

Up behind my house is an area that is all state park that until this past winter on skis, I'd never explored. Now I've been going on hikes up there this spring. I can't tell you how extraordinary it is. Mature maple forest with trees that are 3,4,5feet in diameter. You can walk for a long time, hours, and not see it all. When you were here for the workshop, I didn't know it was there.
The lilacs are from old settlements, over 100+ yrs old, that are now in the forest that has overtaken them. There are traprock walls around depressions that were old foundations of the houses and out buildings all over. And beds of day lilies, and rows of lilacs in areas, all planted ages ago when people lived up in the area that is now state park and woods. Very, very cool.

Lisa Riehl said...

I love this forest painting! It's so different than the westcoast cedar and fir forests that I live close to here. Beautiful job!

And of course I have to comment on the morels - I'm jealous that you've found them. I know they are here but I've not found any. But they are fantastic! I've even bought some smoked dried ones. Wow, what a flavour.

Jesse said...

You do a great job of simplifying the complexity of the woods. It's something I can't do right now, I will!

Woods make for a great subject. Their attitude can go from dark and foreboding to cathedral like.

Frank Gardner said...

Really nice painting Marc. There is a great sense of depth along the forest floor. It balances well with your handling of the canopy and the trees.

Conor Wilson said...

Glorious work as usual Mr Hanson. I am working in oil's now too, inspired by your work and others like you.

Artist UK